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 184.108.40.206). 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