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Fwd: IRV news and the situation in TX (HB 1362)

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  • Phoebe Love
    My mom lives in Austin and she sent me this. Phoebe ... opportunity to make a ... machines IRV- ready. Ohio ... implementing the Help ... moving forward. Below
    Message 1 of 2 , May 1, 2003
      My mom lives in Austin and she sent me this.

      Phoebe
      **********


      >I wanted to let you know that there is a rather nerdy
      opportunity to make a
      >big difference -- getting a standard to make new
      machines IRV- ready. Ohio
      >has just passed such a standard in its draft plan for
      implementing the Help
      >America Vote Act (HAVA), and the Texas process is
      moving forward. Below is
      >a short item about it -- you can get the link at:
      >
      >http://www.electionline.org/article.jsp?id=electionline_Weekly_--_April_24_
      >_2003
      >
      >Our information about arguments to make for
      IRV-readiness are found at:
      >
      http://fairvote.org/administration/index.html
      >
      ><<Texas: Last month, Texas released the first draft
      of its preliminary HAVA
      >plan. Much of the plan focuses on education
      initiatives for both voters and
      >election administration officials. It includes major
      get-out-the-vote
      >proposals and election training sessions. The state
      has proposed spending
      >$6.4 million to replace voting machines, $15 million
      to develop a statewide
      >voter registration system, $2.5 million for education
      programs and $45
      >million for grant funding to counties. Click here for
      other Texas planning
      >information.>>
      >
      >Rob
      >
      >Rob Richie, Executive Director
      >The Center for Voting & Democracy
      >rr@..., www.fairvote.org
      >
      >6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 610
      >Takoma Park, MD 20912
      >(301) 270-4616
      >
      >"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
      >adjourned.
      >
      >John St. Denis, Randy Kunkee, Micah McBride and I all
      >testified from our group, plus there were three
      people
      >from Dallas -- Joy, Tom and Tom -- who indicated
      their
      >support for the record but did not testify. My mom
      >was also there and indicated her support for the
      bill.
      > The few committee members who were there when we
      >testified (I believe there were only 2 of the 9 at
      the
      >time -- the Chair, Rep. Mary Denny, and Rep. Linda
      >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.
      approval
      >voting (where you vote "yes" or "no" for a list of
      >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
      Texas
      >cities, he testified in favor of the bill. We were
      >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
      don't
      >think so. You can only make one ranked vote for each
      >candidate." After thinking about it, I think a
      better
      >answer would have been, "Sure, but the effect would
      be
      >that the voter would not participate in the runoff if
      >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
      went.
      > I think we coordinated our effors well and offered
      >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
      of
      >the new CVD flier to the committee clerk to
      distribute
      >to all of the members.
      >
      >Thanks again to everyone who participated.
      >
      >=====
      >Steve Agan
      >Co-Chair, Green Party of Texas
      >713.992.2354.cell
      >713.529.3513.home
      >713.236.7635.work
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