Lowering the cost of voting

By Diane Hbino and Fred L. Olson
Published March 4th 2009 in Gazette

The League of Women Voters commends Erik Connell of FairVote for his accurate appraisal of issues involved in filling a vacancy for the District 4 seat on the County Council and his proposal of using instant runoff voting (IRV) as a solution ("More economical solution to costly special election," Feb. 25 commentary).

The Montgomery County League conducted a two-year study on alternative election methods and agrees that a single IRV election — where a candidate is required to receive a majority of votes cast in order to win — is preferable for its timeliness, lower costs and broader candidate support over conducting party primaries and a general election. We know that implementing the option is not feasible now. However, we urge the council to consider replacing the primaries and general election with a single IRV election for future mid-term vacancies.

We encourage District 4 residents to take an active role by voting to decide who will represent them on the council. The new member will be making important decisions affecting the county in the critical months ahead. Look for our Voters' Guide of the candidates' views on community issues in early April at www.lwvmd.org/mont.

Diane Hbino, Rockville

The writer is president of the Montgomery County League of Women Voters.

In addition to instant runoff voting (IRV) we need to have voting by mail, which will be much less costly than voting in local precincts in one day.

We need to have a much higher voter participation in special elections to measure the will of the general public. An IRV mail procedure would provide a low-cost effective special election that we could boast about to the rest of the public.

Fred L. Olson, Silver Spring

The writer is an election judge at Leisure World.