1997 Computerization
In 1997 the Election Commission computerized the City of Cambridge PR elections using a precinct-based optical scanning system and specially designed software. The PR count, which used to be performed manually during the course of a week by a staff of over a hundred, is now completed in a matter of minutes through the electronic sorting, counting, and transfer of votes.
Unofficial results are available on election night. These results are “unofficial” because all ballots have not been counted. The tabulation does not include ballots with write-ins or ballots marked in a way that cannot be read by the scanners. These are auxiliary ballots that must be processed manually and added to the computer totals. They are added on the day after elections. Only there are the results declared to be officials.
To learn more about the unfolding of a PR election in Cambridge, check the Cambridge Board of Elections official website:


Error rate

In Cambridge, the elections have an average of 3,16% error rate.  This figure includes both incorrectly marked ballots and blank ballots where the voter may have only participated in a higher-level election.  In the future, to further reduce this error rate, Cambridge could allow error correction for the voters.

There were very few invalid ballots.

2005City Council election
2005 School Committee election 4,44%
2007 City Council election 0,64%
2007 School Committee election 3,16%
 Average 2,26%

Recent Articles
October 19th 2009
A better election system
Lowell Sun

Election expert Doug Amy explains how choice voting can "inject new blood" into the elections of Lowell (MA), and give voters a greater incentive to participate.

October 16th 2009
Haven't Detroit voters spoken enough?
Livingston Daily

In Detroit, there have been three mayors in the past two years and the current one has come under scrutiny. Perhaps a system like instant runoff voting will help bring political stability to motor city.

August 21st 2009
Black candidate for Euclid school board to test new voting system
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Limited voting, a form of proportional voting, will be used in Euclid (OH), in the hopes of allowing better representation of minorities.

July 2nd 2009
Reforming Albany
New York Times

FairVote's Rob Richie responds in a letter to the editor making the case for proportional voting systems to bring substantive reform to New York's legislature.