Thursday, June 24, 2010

Damn the voters, damn honest elections, Instant runoff voting full speed ahead

Damn the facts, damn the voters,damn election transparency, damn the Public Confidence in Elections Act we worked so hard for, its Instant Runoff Voting full speed ahead says the Charlotte Observer and Bob Hall of Democracy for NC.

It gets tiring trying to protect elections in NC. Will we haul our ballots to Raleigh so we can count them since IRV has to be centrally tallied? All this to make a few non profits happy? Even the Washington Post reports that traditional runoffs benefit minority candidates, so why are some groups trying to replace that with IRV, which will hurt vulnerable groups? Why push IRV in a state traditionally known as a Jim Crow state? What really galls is that we know IRV is greatly flawed and it doesn't work as advertised.

North Carolina's runoff system is a costly relic

Time to consider other options: 'instant runoffs' might do.

Charlotte Observer. Thursday, Jun. 24, 2010

Really? Tell the Washington Post that we shouldn't have statewide runoff elections, tell that to minority groups who benefit from runoff elections in state and local elections.
June 22, 2010 ..."Charles Bullock, a runoff expert and political science professor at the University of Georgia,also points out several cases in which runoffs have actually aided African-American candidates"
Where's the beef? No one else is complaining except the pro IRV groups who look for any excuse to promote their flimsy agenda. But if all you want is to save money, then don't hold runoff elections, 42 other states don't have them.

So soon do they forget! Who will clean up the mess? We did it in 2005 by hard work getting the Public Confidence in Elections Act written and passed. We've had good elections since 2006, even cutting our undervote rate for President down to only 1% in 2008, a miracle, and good thing with Obama and McCain only 13,000 votes apart.

Our Elections haven't been really screwed up since 2004, so some folks must miss that, and have found a way (IRV) to push the envelope and make North Carolina elections a national embarrassment again. Like in 2004 when our election nightmare might have resulted in the Supreme Court picking our President again, had it been a close enough election:

North Carolina's ballot blues

Winston-Salem — We've got a problem

"North Carolina has the worst election problem in the country right now."

Computer scientist Dr. David L. Dill of Stanford University

"A Florida-style nightmare has unfolded in North Carolina in the days since Election Day, with thousands of votes missing and the outcome of two statewide races still up in the air."

AP Newswire, November 13,2004

Our key decision-makers are ignoring the seriousness of the problem

"Except for the lost votes in Carteret County, Gary Bartlett, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, called the problems 'easily remedied and lessons learned.'AP Newswire, November 13, 2004

November 26, 2004 — North Carolina's election problems will not be that easily remedied. This year's disaster shows that many election workers are in over their heads.
Problems with voting machines, central tabulators using outdated and secret software, registration confusion, poll worker training, provisional ballots and absentee ballots are not easily remedied.

Add to all this the lack of a voter-verified paper ballot and you have no disaster recovery plan.
This is the case with more than 40 counties using touchscreen or "dial a vote" machines. The security of their votes depends on the software, source code and hardware of the voting machines. Election workers' ability, or lack thereof, to operate and troubleshoot the machines can affect the security of the votes as well.

• Lost: 4,500 votes in Carteret County — paper ballots verified by voters and retained by the election officials would have saved these votes.

• Omitted: an entire precinct of 1,209 votes in Gaston County.

• Missing: 12,000 more votes in Gaston County not reported. The election director hired a voting machine technician to upload the county vote totals and did not oversee the process.

• Bamboozled: Guilford County bought vote-tabulating software that used outdated technology and with insufficient vote storage. As a result, Guilford County's public vote totals for president were off by 22,000 votes.

• More votes than cast: Craven County reported 11,283 more votes for president than cast, voting with the same software as in Guilford County.

The State Board of Elections has relied on the advice of voting machine salesmen and turned a deaf ear to the good advice and warnings of computer scientists.

Voting machine salesmen gain access to some election officials via a private organization called the Election Center. This organization's mission is to educate and inform election officials, yet it admits to accepting money from voting-machine companies. The Election Center hosts conferences for election officials at which salesmen provide parties, prizes and even a dinner cruise on the Potomac. North Carolina's director of elections, Gary Bartlett, sits on the board of directors of the center.
Continued computer breakdowns and miscounts prove the need for a voter-verified paper ballot. This is not a receipt but a paper printout of the ballot, to be verified by the voter and kept by the election officials in case of recount, audit or computer breakdown.
The State Board of Elections can do the right thing by consulting computer scientists to recommend real requirements for our voting systems. It should also allow sufficient time for a thorough review by outside experts, to ensure that North Carolina's voting system is the most secure and trustworthy in America.

Joyce McCloy is coordinator of the North Carolina Coalition for Verified Voting.
(originally printed in the Raleigh News & Observer on November 26, 2004 )

About us: The North Carolina Coalition for Verified Voting is a grassroots non-partisan organization fighting for clean and verified elections. We study and research the issue of voting to ensure the dignity and integrity of the intention of each voting citizen. The NC Voter Verified Coalition has consistently fought for increasing access, participation and ensuring the voter franchise. Contact Joyce McCloy, Director, N.C. Coalition for Verifiable Voting - phone 336-794-1240 - email Join the NC Coalition for Verified Voting website and

Protect our votes, protect our voters, say NO to Instant runoff voting
Visit this link to sign up for email updates: