Fwd: IRV news and the situation in TX (HB 1362)
- My mom lives in Austin and she sent me this.
>I wanted to let you know that there is a rather nerdyopportunity to make a
>big difference -- getting a standard to make newmachines IRV- ready. Ohio
>has just passed such a standard in its draft plan forimplementing the Help
>America Vote Act (HAVA), and the Texas process ismoving forward. Below is
>a short item about it -- you can get the link at:IRV-readiness are found at:
>Our information about arguments to make for
>of its preliminary HAVA
><<Texas: Last month, Texas released the first draft
>plan. Much of the plan focuses on educationinitiatives for both voters and
>election administration officials. It includes majorget-out-the-vote
>proposals and election training sessions. The statehas proposed spending
>$6.4 million to replace voting machines, $15 millionto develop a statewide
>voter registration system, $2.5 million for educationprograms and $45
>million for grant funding to counties. Click here forother Texas planning
>Rob Richie, Executive Director
>The Center for Voting & Democracy
>6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 610
>Takoma Park, MD 20912
>"Make Your Vote Count!"
>IRV Supporters and Texas Greens,
>I wanted to report on the hearing for the IRV bill
>yesterday in Austin. I thought it went well overall.
>The main problem for us was that we didn't get to
>testify until after 7:30 p.m. and those of us who
>drove from Houston and Dallas didn't get home until
>after midnight. Ours was the last bill to be
>considered and the hearing didn't start until 5:00
>because the full House did not adjourn until about
>4:00 yesterday. We were all there at 2:00 ready to
>go. On the bright side, I heard that the House
>defeated a private school voucher bill before they
>John St. Denis, Randy Kunkee, Micah McBride and I all
>testified from our group, plus there were three
>from Dallas -- Joy, Tom and Tom -- who indicatedtheir
>support for the record but did not testify. My mombill.
>was also there and indicated her support for the
> The few committee members who were there when wethe
>testified (I believe there were only 2 of the 9 at
>time -- the Chair, Rep. Mary Denny, and Rep. Lindaapproval
>Harper-Brown -- both from the Dallas area) seemed to
>be receptive and interested in what we had to say.
>The only person who spoke against the bill was a
>gentleman from Dallas who said that these new voting
>methods were too complicated for voters and that
>converting the optical scan equipment would be too
>expensive. I cannot remember the name of the
>organization that he represented, but I believe they
>were some kind of elections administrators.
>Fortunately, he testified first so we were able to
>counter his arguments, pretty effectively I thought.
>Also testifying in favor of the bill was a woman
>representing the Austin League of Women Voters and a
>(former?) member of the Austin Elections Committee,
>which has studied these voting methods extensively.
>Rock Howard was also there. He is a member of the
>Texas Libertarian Party and Americans for Approval
>Voting. We ran into him before the hearing and had a
>lively discussion about the merits of IRV vs.
>voting (where you vote "yes" or "no" for a list ofTexas
>candidates). He favors approval voting over IRV for
>reasons that I won't go into here. Because HB 1326
>allows for either voting method to be adopted by
>cities, he testified in favor of the bill. We weredon't
>glad for that.
>The one question that Rep. Denny had at the hearing
>was whether a voter could vote 1, 2, and 3 for the
>same candidate. I believe my answer was, "No, I
>think so. You can only make one ranked vote for eachbetter
>candidate." After thinking about it, I think a
>answer would have been, "Sure, but the effect wouldbe
>that the voter would not participate in the runoff ifwent.
>his or her first-choice candidate was eliminated. It
>would be like voting in November but not showing up
>for the runoff in December."
>Overall it was a good experience and I'm glad we
> I think we coordinated our effors well and offeredof
>good information in an interesting way. I will post
>news of any movement on the bill as I get it. Rep.
>Rodriguez (the bill's author) told us that this has
>been offered for the past four legislative sessions
>but has never made it out of committee. If it gets
>passed out of committee, it will be one step forward
>for IRV in Texas.
>Attached is some information about the cost of recent
>runoff elections for Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas,
>Houston and San Antonio. I am mailing a copy of this
>to Rep. Denny to see if we can have it added into the
>legislative record. We had a blow-up of this at the
>hearing, but I forgot to get a copy into the record.
>Since the bill is still pending, I don't think this
>should be a problem. I did remember to give copies
>the new CVD flier to the committee clerk todistribute
>to all of the members.
>Thanks again to everyone who participated.
>Co-Chair, Green Party of Texas