CVD homepage
What's new?
Online library
Order materials
Get involved!
About CVD

Election Watch

July 5, 2003

Dear supporters of IRV in San Francisco:

This Wednesday, July 16, at 7 pm will be the most important Elections Commission meeting yet. The agenda of the Elections Commission includes an item to set a date -- possibly as soon as late July -- to pull the plug on IRV for November's election. This date is unreasonable, as the Secretary of State's certification process will not be completed yet. We need to fill the meeting with people who can give them a strong message: DON'T PULL THE PLUG!!!

WILLIE BROWN IS ORGANIZING TO STOP IRV. The word is that Willie Brown is making phone calls and actively recruiting people to show up at this Wednesday's Elections Commission meeting, as well as to the Secretary of State's certification panel in Sacramento on July 28. His accomplices at the consultant firm Barnes, Moser and Whitehurst (BMW) are renting vans to bring people to the Sec of State certification panel in Sacramento on July 28. They are pulling out all the stops, trying to affect the Sec of State's decision, as well as that of the Elections Commission -- trying to squash this pro-democracy reform and the will of the voters.

We CAN and WILL fight back. Please come to this meeting of the Elections Commission to support implementation of IRV for this November's elections. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT MEETING. We urgently need to fill the Elections Commission meeting with people speaking in support of NOT PULLING THE PLUG ON IRV (see below for a suggested message for your testimony).

Also, for those who can not make the meeting, below are the email addresses of most of the commissioners. Please email them your testimony (see sample letter below).

Elections Commission meeting

Wednesday, July 16

7PM, City Hall, Room 400

(If you can not stay to speak on the agenda item your input can be heard at the very beginning of the meeting during the general public comment period).

There are two procedures for counting IRV ballots awaiting certification by the Secretary of State. One procedure is from the voting equipment vendor ES&S for the upgrade to their existing optical scan (not touchscreens) equipment for conducting a fully automated count. The second procedure is from the Department of Elections, a backup plan in case it takes too long for the first application to be certified for this November. It's what is known as a "partial hand count." The Voting Systems Panel will meet on July 28th in Sacramento to review and decide about the Dept of Elections' backup plan. The panel date has not been set yet for ES&S' application, but should hear that application sometime in mid-August.

We urgently need to fill the Elections Commission meeting this Wednesday evening with people speaking in support of NOT PULLING THE PLUG ON IRV before the Sec of State has decided on certification of the pending procedures.


Dear Elections Commission,

Instant runoff voting is the law in San Francisco. Pulling the plug on implementation and not implementing the law is a very serious matter. We already have problems with voter cynicism and apathy, and choosing to not implement the law or the will of the voters will contribute to more cynicism, more apathy. Therefore, the Elections Commission should do everything it can to allow the maximum amount of time for implementation before making such a momentous decision. It seems entirely reasonable to wait until the certification process of the Secretary of State's office has been completed for both pending applications before making any decision about pulling the plug.

The voters passed instant runoff voting, and the Elections Commission and the Department of Elections needs to do everything in their power to not cut it off while it is going through the normal certification procedures. The vendor's application is moving forward, they have received federal certification and now we are waiting for state certification. Let's give this process a fair chance to work. It's what the voters voted for. Please do not stop the implementation process prematurely.


(name and organizational affiliation, if any)

Here is contact info for the seven commissioners:

Tom Schultz [email protected]
Brenda Stowers [email protected]
Richard Shadoian [email protected]
Alix Rosenthal [email protected], [email protected]
Rev. Arnold Townsend [email protected]
Michael Mendelson, 415-391-0555 fax
Commission Secretary Shirley Rodriques, [email protected]

top of page

     The Center for Voting and Democracy
6930 Carroll Ave,  Suite 610, Takoma Park, MD 20912
(301) 270-4616        [email protected]