Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hendersonville Instant Runoff Voting - presentations at retirement home, city bill-pay dept, LWV & Apple Fest

The City of Hendersonville, North Carolina will be conducting its November 3 municipal election through instant runoff voting, or what they call instant runoff voting.
I wrote the Henderson County Board of Elections Director to find out what the ballots would look like, how they would be counted, and how would the voters be educated about the program and how much would that cost.

The Henderson County BoE Hendersonville has 4 educational/public presentations scheduled,
4 of them: 2 events at the City Hall bill paying department, 1 at a League of Women Voters Forum, and 1 at Carolina Village, a continuing care retirement community. Voter education is described as demonstrating the voting machines. "We also demonstrated the machines at the recent Apple Festival on Main Street in downtown Hendersonville." ~ Henderson BoE.
Hendersonville used these venues to educate voters in 2006. Perhaps that is why some voters were surprised when they came to the polls.

Hendersonville voters will once again have the disconcerting experience of casting an IRV ballot on touch-screen voting machines. With touchscreens, the voters will see a field of choices, make their selection, and then go to the next page. On the next page they will see the same candidates names - again. Voters may experience confusion wondering if they made a mistake in paging through the ballot.

Instant runoff voting advocates including FairVote make alot of promises about the purported benefits of IRV. But when we have important questions the answers are partial, unsatisfying and disappointing.

Right now, we don't know how Hendersonville's IRV votes would be tallied, perhaps the hope is that like in 2007, they WONT be tallied. We do not know what this year's IRV touch-screen ballot will look like - yet. We do not know what the voter education materials will look like. We do not know what the IRV training materials will look like yet. Below are my questions to the Henderson BoE and their reply in blue. You won't learn of the real costs of IRV in this tiny little election where the IRV votes likely will never be counted.

1. Will Hendersonville's IRV election be held on touchscreens or opticalscanners? Yes, the touchscreens will be used for one stop voting andelection day voting at the precincts.

2. If on touchscreen, please forward to me a copy of what that ballot will look like to the voters, screen by screen. I will forward when Ihave received the final, tested coding from the state.

3. The dollar amounts you have allocated for IRV voter education and to
how that is allocated. We have set no dollar amounts for education.We are trying to do education during out regular office hours and any education event held after regular work hours are being handled with comp time with no cost to the county or City of Hendersonville. I have attached a copy of a flyer with public demonstrations that we have scheduled. We also demonstrated the machines at the recent Apple
Festival on Main Street in downtown Hendersonville.

4. The dollar amounts budgeted for IRV poll worker training. We always train the City of Hendersonville pollworkers separate from the other municipalities so there will be no additional costs for training.

5. The IRV voter education program and your IRV poll worker training program materials. We are still working to complete IRV trainingmaterials.

6. What media you are using to educate minority groups about IRV and dollars allocated and or spent. We are educating all votersthrough the Hendersonville Times
News, WLOS and our website.

7. The method, algorithm and spreadsheet that will be used to report andtally the IRV results. I do not have that information from the state at this time.

Beverly W. Cunningham, Director
Henderson County Board of Elections
828 697 4970


Here are the scheduled events.

Hendersonville Pilots Instant Runoff Voting

Demonstrations will be

Date Time Location

Oct. 7, 2009 9 AM to 12 PM City Hall Bill Payment Lobby

Oct. 7, 2009 6:30 PM LWV Candidate Forum, City Operations Bldg.

Oct. 9, 2009 11 AM to 2 PM City Hall Bill Payment

Oct. 14, 2009 10:30 AM Carolina Village

On-going 8:30 AM to 5 PM Henderson County Board of Elections Office
For more information, contact:

Henderson County Board of Elections
75 East Central St.
Hendersonville, NC 28792
(828) 697-4970

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