Re: Ballots for elections with many races

From: Steve Chessin <steve_dot_chessin_at_sun_dot_com>
Date: Wed Apr 28 2004 - 14:42:12 CDT

>From Wed Apr 28 12:03:40 2004
>From: David Mertz <>
>Subject: Re: [voting-project] Ballots for elections with many races
>Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 15:03:27 -0400
>On Apr 28, 2004, at 2:35 PM, Mark Winegar wrote:
>> Why are we limited to a single page?
>It is DESIRABLE for ballots to fit on a single page for several
>reasons. It avoids the possibility of pages becoming separated at any
>point in handling (voter forgetting second page at printer; separation
>during sorting; concern about cover substitutions in recounts; etc).
>It is more straightforward for a blind voter to scan a single sheet for
>However, the desirability of a single page is not the only issue to
>consider. Obviously, representing a voters votes is a higher priority
>than sticking to a single page. And state laws about the layouts of
>ballots might restrict our layout options.
>My question that started it was to try to get a sense of the parameters
>around when we will be able to stick to our goal of single-page
>ballots, and what our levels of fallback would be. E.g. is a small
>font that requires a magnifying glass for some voters better or worse
>than going to a second or third ballot page?). Is the extra cost and
>failure possibilities of a double-sided printer worth incurring to
>avoid multiple physical sheets? Obviously, many of these answers will
>finally depend on the usability studies Doug Jones frequently urges...
>but they're worth keeping in mind even now.

Another thing to keep in mind (and I thank Dennis Paull for reminding
me) is that, when ranked choice voting (IRV, STV, Borda, Condorcet,
Bucklin, bottom-up, etc.) is used, the printed ballot will need to
contain *all* the choices the voter ranked in each contest.

Cambridge, Massachusetts uses STV. (I've seen 29 candidates for the
nine city council positions with half the voters ranking at least four
candidates, and 10% ranking at least eight.)

San Francisco will use IRV this November. (They had nine people
running for Mayor last time, of which five or six could be considered
"serious", so likely for people to rank at least that many.)

I expect at least Santa Clara and Alameda Counties (California) to be
using IRV by 2008, if not 2006. Vermont may use it by the end of the
decade. I expect ranking of candidates to become the preferred method
of voting in the United States by 2020, if not earlier. So expect the
after-voting ballot to be just as long as the before-voting ballot.

--Steve Chessin
President, Californians for Electoral Reform
1426 Lloyd Way, Mountain View, CA 94040
(650)-786-6200(w), (650)-962-8412(h)

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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:21 2004

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