Voting Machines and Instant Runoffs

By Steve Abramson
Published December 4th 2005 in New York Times
To the Editor:

Your editorial about voting machines ("While We Weren't Looking," Nov. 13) was right on the money in every sense. Our voting rights must not be sacrificed to the lowest bidder, nor to the most influential lobby.

In 2001, Gov. George E. Pataki created the New York State Task Force on Election Modernization. The task force concluded that each county board of elections should be authorized to select and test its own preferred electronic voting system under the supervision of the state board. Currently, only Nassau, Suffolk and Monroe Counties own, maintain and control their own voting machines.

The New York State Citizens' Coalition on Help America Vote Act Implementation has requested that any machines selected in the state be capable of running software to both handle a ranked ballot and tabulate an instant runoff to produce a majority winner in multi-candidate races, an important issue on which the report was silent.

Steve Abramson
The writer is director, Citizens for Instant Runoff Voting in New York State.