Former Wake BOE member Debra Goldberg contacted our legislators and asked them to say "NO" to the IRV pilot in S 1263. Since she is taking care of some personal family business, I asked for and received permission to share her comments on the lists::
This is part of her own action alert message to her friends:
From: firstname.lastname@example.orgHere is what she e-mailed to the legislators:
Subject: ACTION ALERT!! IRV pilot threatens the viability of NC's Verified Voting law
Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2008 23:33:28 -0400
I was on the Wake County Board of Elections when the first pilot for IRV was held in Wake County – Cary, last fall. I am convinced that IRV, even if it saves money, which is highly questionable, is not practical, to implement while still protecting the integrity of our votes.Protecting our democracy by keeping our verified voting standards is not a special or partisan issue. North Carolina voters of every background (republican, democrat, liberal, conservative, disabled groups, minority groups, mainstream groups) agree that we do not want any changes to our voting which may, in any way, compromise the integrity of our votes. Please join in our effort to halt IRV in NC. Ask your friend to do so too.
Subject: S 1263-say no to IRV pilot
Please say no to adding an IRV pilot to S 1263 or any other bill. We want no more Instant Runoff Experiments. Our votes are too precious.
I was on the Wake County Board of Elections when the first pilot for IRV was held in Wake County – Cary, last fall. I am one of only a few people in NC who has direct experience implementing IRV. I can tell you that IRV has few, if any, benefits and many serious problems.
Our Wake County Board of Elections counted the IRV votes by hand during the pilot. It was a small municipal election and only one race went to instant runoff. Based on my experience with even that one small experiment, I am convinced that IRV, even if it saves money, which is highly questionable, is not practical to implement while still protecting the integrity of our votes. Hand counting is too difficult, staff intensive, cost intensive, facilities intensive, monitoring intensive, time intensive, and too subject to error and question to be practical. And as an additional significant concern, if we were to accept IRV, in order to count IRV votes we would surely be pressured (in fairly short order due to the complexities, huge staffing time requirements etc. associated with hand counting) to accept questionable software on undesirable electronic touch screen voting machines. Because there is no certified software, anywhere in the US, to count IRV, IRV will, by necessity, lead to a push to strip standards from our verified voting law in order to automate the counting of IRV votes, using untested software, thus compromising our exemplary NC verified voting laws.Protecting our democracy by keeping our verified voting standards is not a special or partisan issue. North Carolina voters of every background (republican, democrat, liberal, conservative, and many others) agree that we do not want any changes to our voting which may, in any way, compromise the integrity of our votes. IRV has already, and will if expanded or continued, cost NC dearly in voter integrity while producing few if any other benefits and creating many complications to our voting system.
The rationale for IRV, that we can save money on expensive low turnout runoffs, is just not true. What the proponents of IRV don’t tell people is that IRV is very expensive when all cost factors are considered as well as cumbersome and difficult to administer. To accurately and impartially assess the true costs of IRV, one must consider all cost factors: staff, facilities, storage, security, education, the high costs associated with hand counting, etc. And if we were to accept new software and electronic touch screen voting as standard in order to accommodate IRV, we need to figure in the costs of the machines, of replacing them every couple of years, of maintaining them, of buying the software, of keeping the software running, of staffing the problems associated with them on election days etc..
The previous IRV pilot authorized by the NC Legislature allowed for 10 cities in 2007 and 10 counties in 2008 to participate. Two cities, Cary and Hendersonville agreed to participate. Every other city saw too many complications and declined participation. The pilot expired.
That some interests are still pursuing IRV leads me to question their motives. IRV is cumbersome, expensive, difficult, prone to compromises in our security and trust in our elections, so why would the IRV advocates be pushing it so strongly?I would be glad to discuss with you my experiences on the Board of Elections and with IRV should you feel I may be of additional help to you.
Most other states in the US do not hold statewide runoff elections. If NC wants to cut costs, I would urge lawmakers to consider joining these other states rather than adopting IRV and compromising the integrity of our votes.
Again, I urge you to squash the efforts to expand or continue Instant Runoff Voting in North Carolina. IRV is unproven and likely expensive and difficult. We must protect our democracy by protecting the integrity of our votes. I am counting on you to help protect NC voters.
Debra D. Goldberg