Instant Runoff Voting

CT Attorney General’s opinion on Ranked Choice Voting

AG William Tong concludes that for State Offices (General Assembly, Judge of Probate, Governor, LT Governor etc.) would require a Constitutional Amendment.

I would go one step further that the Constitutional requirement that such offices be counted and certified within 10 days of the election would be all but impossible to coordinate across the entire State if they required multiple hand recanvasses (recounts) , as the order of elimination can be critical and more than one can be very close.

Testimony opposed to six bills on RCV and RLAs

On Monday I testified against five bills on Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) and one on Risk Limiting Audits (RLAs),

As I said,

I am not opposed to the concepts of Risk Limiting Audits (RLAs) or Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) but I am opposed to all six of these bills as they are insufficiently detailed. They also provide no guarantees of transparency..

Both of these concepts involve detailed technical and computational issues. Neither are as simple as looking at marks on ballots and simply counting votes. Officials, candidates, the public, and the SEEC need to know exactly what is expected of officials, so they can perform as expected and such that all can determine if they are doing what is required, uniformly across the state…


Ranked-Choice Voting, Ned Lamont, and Connecticut

Last week, in return for an endorsement, Ned Lamont endorsed Ranked-Choice Voting Minor party endorses Lamont after a pledge for election reform

Monte Frank got one thing right that we have not seen recognized by anyone before:…

As I said in my testimony summary:

I am open to the benefits of IRV. Yet, I have several reservations about the use of IRV in Connecticut and other states. I support a comprehensive study of all IRV, RCV, and related options along with the challenges of implementing them in Connecticut. 

I remain skeptical of all the touted benefits and if Connecticut voters are ready for the associated complexity, costs, and delays. For more see my testimony.

Lessons we likely will NOT learn from Iowa

There is a lot of lessons that could be learned from Iowa. Yet we may not learn them. On the other hand we may learn other lessons. In no particular order:

  • Bernie and Pete both won…
  • Change anything in the rules, and the result is likely to have been different…
  • People tend to tout their favorite reform as a cure for any crisis….

The bottom line: Be careful what you ask for, the cure may be worse than the disease. Its complicated. Don’t let a crisis go to waste, but avoid knee-jerk solutions.

“‘It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

Four pieces of testimony on five bills, including Blockchain and RCV

On Wednesday the GAE Committee held testimony on another raft if bills.

The bills, and links to my testimony, in priority order: (Take a look at all the testimony <here>, best to look by bill number than date)

H.B.5417 A proposed study to use blockchain to solve some undefined problem in voter registration. I opposed, perhaps the only one in the room who is a computer scientist. In summary, if someone wants to sell you or asks you to invest in blockchain – Run. Run fast and keep your eye on your wallet and passwords! …

It’s Impossible to Know (how) Your Internet Vote Counted

As West Virginia plans, once again, to allow Internet voting for military voters, it is a good time to remind everyone that Internet voting (web page, web application, email, fax voting etc.) are all unsafe for democracy. And that block-chains cannot solve those problems.

One of those problems is that there is no guarantee that your laptop or smart phone has not been hacked in a way that  alters your vote. Another challenge is the, so called, Secret Ballot.

As we have said: Making it harder to vote, not a good idea

New report: California: Ranked-choice voting linked to lower voter turnout <read>

The headline only articulates part of the problem:

The analysis revealed a significant relationship between RCV and decreased turnout among black and white voters, younger voters and voters who lacked a high school education… Studies have also found high rates of disqualified ballots due to voter errors. In addition, some minority groups were particularly disadvantaged by the RCV process

ACLU Forum on Electoral Dysfunction

On Wednesday night I participated on a panel in Waterford, CT on Electoral Dysfunction, sponsored by the ACLU, Common Cause and the LWV. It was a very good discussion with a variety of views from the panel, a wide range of excellent questions, and unsurpassed moderation. In the near future we may have video available. I promised to provide more information here on the topics covered.

San Francisco voters have trouble with ranked-choice elections.

We have often articulated our concerns with Instant Run-Off Voting also often called Ranked-Choice Voting. This article from the New York Times provides some further confirmation of our concerns

IRV: Is it legal in Connecticut? Can our scanners compute it?

Recently we posted and commented on an article in The Day, covering the Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) proposal for New London. The article quoted Secretary of the State Bysiewicz on the constitutionality of the IRV and if our AccuVote-OS scanners could be used for an IRV election. The post prompted comments and the need for more complete answers. We queried the Secretary of the State’s Office and Jeff Silvestro, General Manager of LHS Associates. Mr. Silvestro responded: