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City Officials Call on County to Implement Instant Runoff Voting By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday August 30, 2005

Berkeley election activists rallied on the City Hall steps Monday afternoon to call on Alameda County to hire a voting machine vendor that will support independent runoff voting (IRV) and provide a verifiable paper trail. 

City Councilmembers Kris Worthington and Max Anderson were joined by Mayor Tom Bates and Nancy Bickel from the League of Women Voters, who co-chaired the committee for Measure I, the March 2004, Berkeley ballot initiative calling for implementation of IRV, which allows voters to list candidates in their order of preference and which is supposed to eliminate the need for costly runoff elections.  

Tuesday’s Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting will consider a call for a Request for Proposals to find a new election equipment vendor capable of meeting the state’s verified paper trail audit requirement. 

Supporters want the supervisors to add a requirement that whatever system is chosen will support IRV elections. 

“If you don’t get active and make sure it’s included, it won’t happen in 2006, or even in the next (presidential) election,” said Worthington. 

He said that runoff elections cost about $100,000 for a city council seat and more than $300,000 for citywide mayoral and auditor elections. 

“We want IRV,” said Bates.