News

Progress made on voting equipment

Getting IRV-ready voting equipment in your town just

got easier. The Federal Elections Commission last month revised its Voting

Systems Standards that are used by most states, including Minnesota.

They now provide for equipment vendors to say whether and how their machines

will support cumulative voting and ranked order voting. Local governments

shopping for voting equipment will now know clearly whether the vendor

offers these features.

The section on "Voting Variations" begins, "There

are significant variations among the election laws of the 50 states with

respect to permissible ballot contents, voting options, and the associated

ballot counting logic. The TDP accompanying the system shall specifically

identify which of the following items can and cannot be supported by

the system, as well as how the system can implement the items supported" (VSS

Section 2.2.8.2). The subsequent list of items now includes "cumulative

voting" and "ranked order voting," which includes Instant Runoff Voting.

Even though this does not require equipment manufacturers

to accommodate IRV, it puts competitive pressure on them to do so. Federal

legislation appropriating money for upgraded voting machines is working

its way through Congress. When those funds become available, there will

be a surge of demand for new voting equipment. Having these standards

in place will help local governments know whether the machines they are

considering buying have the capacity to process a ranked order ballot.

The Center for Voting and Democracy, along with a

coalition of civil rights, voting rights, and election policy organizations,

called for this change in the standards.

FairVote Minnesota can assist local citizens and their

local governments to include capacity for cumulative or ranked order

voting in their purchasing requests. Contact info@FairVoteMN.org.

Source: Center for Voting and Democracy

See also http://www.fairvotemn.org/articles/archives/machines_03012002.html

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