Setting the record straight on RCV
Minneapolis reported that costs associated with the 2009 move to RCV were approximately $365,000, of which a third were one-time startup expenditures. The city projects RCV costs of roughly $240,000 in the 2013 election. While the report did not factor in potential long-term savings achievable through the elimination of the primary, it did note that cost-efficiencies are expected as equipment is updated and voters and election judges become increasingly familiar with RCV.
The largest RCV-specific expense was the hand count, which would be eliminated in 2013 with the use of machines, reducing the overall RCV-specific expenses by more than half. Minneapolis leases equipment from Hennepin County, which aims to replace its aging machines by 2013 and is collaborating with other counties to reduce purchasing costs.
The county’s outdated equipment is due for replacement whether Minneapolis uses RCV or not, and new equipment can tally both RCV and traditional elections. The only cost directly attributable to RCV would be any special programming required to tally ranked ballots.
While RCV-capable equipment is used in other states, none is certified for use in Minnesota. Timely certification is key to securing new equipment by 2013 and this depends on the federal certification process — not on the number of cities using RCV as the recent Journal article suggests.
Minneapolis’ RCV voter education program was the second largest outlay in 2009. The investment paid off: 95 percent of voters polled called RCV easy to use and just one of the nearly 46,000 ballots cast was defective. The city wisely plans to continue investing in voter education and doesn’t predict a large reduction in education costs in 2013, but again, expects increased cost efficiencies over time as familiarity with RCV grows.
Finally, Council President Johnson’s criticism that RCV did not fulfill a promise of boosting voter turnout indicates a misunderstanding of RCV’s effects. Local election turnout is driven mainly by a competitive citywide mayoral race, which did not occur in 2009. RCV fosters increased participation by combining two elections into one and eliminating the disparity in turnout between the primary and general election.
See FairVote MN’s statement on the city’s report: fairvotemn.org/MplsCostReport.
Executive director, FairVote
A call for an apology
How unfortunate that reporter Cristof Traudes chose to describe the “personality” of the recent legislative session as suffering from schizophrenia.
A minimal amount of awareness would have informed him that schizophrenia is not a “personality” but a major illness. It is unlikely he might have used polio to describe the “personality” of a session that limped along or confused another disability with a personality flaw.
Carrying the schizophrenia metaphor further, he only makes it worse by borrowing the worn out and inaccurate picture of a schizophrenic as “split in two.” And did some editor actually sign off on this? Shame on you. You owe your readers and people with this brain disorder an apology.
Take The Greenway Challenge
The Twin Cities community will be taking over the Midtown Greenway this September, and we want you to join in the celebration!
Riders in the first annual bike-a-thon on the Midtown Greenway on Sept. 25, 2010 will be delighted by live music, colorful community art and delicious snacks along all 5.5 miles of the Greenway trail.
We’d love for you and your friends to participate; cyclists commit to ride 44 miles in the Greenway on event day and secure a minimum of $250 in personal pledges beforehand.
Fantastic prizes await the fundraising fanatics — the top pledge-getter wins airfare for two and a week at a chateau built in an old winery in the bike-friendly Loire Valley of France. This grand prize is being donated by Bob Corrick and Beth Parkhill. Other prizes will be given away via raffle open to all bikers in the Challenge, and for best costume and best decorated bike.
The Midtown Greenway Coalition invites trail users to sign up months early so that the pledge raising is a cinch, and will be hosting Pledge-Raising How-To parties throughout the summer.
Cyclists have all afternoon to complete their ride, and can begin as early as 11 a.m., with an awards ceremony capping off the event at 6 p.m. at the Cepro site (10th Avenue entrance to the Greenway by Midtown Exchange).
All funds raised go directly to keeping your Greenway safe and beautiful. You can register for The Greenway Challenge online following links from midtowngreenway.org, or by contacting or visiting the Midtown Greenway Coalition office inside the Freewheel Midtown Bike Center to request a hard copy of the registration form. Thanks in advance for your support!
Midtown Greenway Coalition