County Plans Conference on Instant Runoff Voting

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday October 06, 2006

With the cities of Berkeley and San Leandro already approving the use of instant runoff voting (IRV) whenever the Alameda County voting system can accommodate it—and Oakland voters scheduled to decide on an IRV ballot measure next month—the Alameda County registrar’s office has set up tentative plans for an IRV conference later this month with representatives of the county’s municipalities and other interested parties. 

Last June, Alameda County Supervisors approved a contract with Oakland-based Sequoia Voting Systems to provide electronic scanners and a small number of touchscreen voting machines for the county’s election system. 

As part of that contract, Sequoia will write IRV-compatible software for use in the Alameda County machines by November 2007. Alameda County registrar’s office spokesperson Guy Ashley said the county wanted to have the software in place a year in advance of the 2008 Presidential election “because we want to be able to try it out in smaller elections first, to see if it works.” 

“Sequoia wants us to provide specifications on how we want IRV to work in Alameda County,” Ashley said. “We want to set up a meeting with the county’s stakeholders to talk about the key things people want in IRV.” 

No meeting date has yet been set.