Constitution Project on Equipment Flexibility

In August 2001, the Constitution Project's Forum on Election Reform issued a report on BUILDING CONSENSUS ON ELECTION REFORM . The Constitution Project, based at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute in Washington, DC, is a bipartisan nonprofit organization that seeks consensus on controversial constitutional and legal issues through a unique combination of scholarship and activism. The Chair of its Forum on Election Reform at the time the report was released was Morton H. Halperin and its Working Group Chairs were

Stephen Ansolabehere, Massachusetts Institute of Technology*
Marlene Cohn, League of Women Voters Education Fund
Norman Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute*
Trevor Potter, The Reform Institute*
Richard Soudriette, International Foundation for Election Systems

Among its "essential elements of reform" was the following about the importance of supporting alternative voting methods (page 10 of the report).

Ballot Methods

In addition to employing vote-casting technologies that enhance the ability to vote accurately and privately, voting technology should also be flexible enough to enable states to choose among a variety of ballot methods. In all federal elections and most others, voters are asked to vote for a single candidates for an office. But in various state or local elections, voters may be allowed to vote for more than one candidate for an office, such as voting for two at-large county or city council representatives. But other formats are possible, and have their strong advocates, such as formats that allocate more than one vote for a single candidate, as in cumulative voting; or rank candidates in order of choice, as in choice voting and instant runoff voting.

This report does not take a position on the merits of particular ballot methods. Our point is only that voting technologies should have the capacity to accommodate various ballot methods. The development and selection of a particular voting technology ought not to impede the possibility of subsequent legislative adoption or modification of the kinds of ballot choices that should be made available to voters.

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