Action Alert: Ranked Choice Voting - Ways and Means Committee
After a hearing last Friday February 12th, the Montgomery County Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly unanimously passed on MC 22-21 to the Ways and Means committee as HB 767 - Voting Methods. This bill would allow Montgomery County to institute a change in the way Montgomery County conducts voting in the future. These changes in "Voting Methods" might include "Ranked Choice Voting" or "Approval Voting".
“Ranked Choice Voting” means a method of casting and tabulating votes in which voters rank candidates in order of preference and votes are tabulated in a manner that reflects voter preference.
"Approval Voting" is a type of voting that allows a voter to cast a vote for as many of the candidates per office as the voter chooses. The winner of each office is the candidate who receives the most votes.
A hearing for HB 767 is now scheduled for next Tuesday February 16th at 1pm. The deadline to sign up to testify before the committee was last Friday at 3pm, but we can certainly make our voices heard by emailing the committee as a whole or individual members of the committee.
Please copy the letter below, add the subject line and then be sure to insert your name and address at the bottom. You can email to the committee as a whole at the following address: [email protected]
You may wish to send a message to individual members of the W&M committee. You will find their names and email addresses listed below.
Thank you for making your voice heard!
Subject Line: HB 767 – Voting Methods – OPPOSE
The Honorable Anne Kaiser, Chair
and Members of the Ways & Means Committee
Maryland House of Delegates
Dear Chair Kaiser and Members of the Committee,
HB 767 (MC22-21) would grant authority to the Montgomery County Council to determine the method of electing not only the County Executive and County Council but all “local” offices including Judges of the Circuit Court that Montgomery County shares with Frederick County, the States Attorney and the Sheriff. Is this appropriate? Election methods are the same for all of these offices in all counties in Maryland.
HB 767 will also set a precedent and could affect other counties in Maryland. Maryland has a direct vote system. The candidates are listed and the candidate that receives the most votes wins. The formulas or algorithms that might be used in Ranked Choice Voting are subject to manipulation that might favor one candidate or party over another.
Ranked Choice or Approval Voting will complicate the voting process and confuse voters.
- Under Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), Voters are making 3 or more choices for each position without knowing who the top-voted candidates will be in the 2nd or 3rd They are making their decision based on a hypothetical “what if” basis, not on the reality of who the top candidates are.
- Ranked Choice Voting makes the voting process more complicated. There is a drop-off in Voters voting for “down-ballot” races already. Making the process longer and more confusing will likely discourage voters from voting. It will increase wait times at the polling places for voters to choose 3 candidates for each office.
- In races with large numbers of candidates Voters, whose chosen candidates receive the fewest votes, will have their votes discarded—not even counted. Such action disenfranchises the voter.
- RCV complicates/slows vote counting and certifying elections process, while voters wait for an algorithm to calculate winner in multiple rounds. Delays/confusion undermine voters’ trust in the election system.
- “Instant Run Off” is a misnomer. If 50.1% of the vote is magic number to be elected, then hold a real “Run Off” election where every voter knows exactly who the candidates are and has an equal voice in the outcome.
Please vote for an Unfavorable Report for HB 767 – Voting Methods.
Thank you very much for making your voice heard.
Your voice Counts!
Members of the Ways and Means Committee:
Democrats from Montgomery County:
|Kaiser||Anne R.||[email protected]|
|Luedtke||Eric G.||[email protected]|
|Palakovich Carr||Julie P.||[email protected]|
|Wilkins||Jheanelle K.||[email protected]|
Democrats from other Counties:
|Washington||Alonzo T.||[email protected]|
|Patterson||Edith J.||[email protected]|
|Lisanti||Mary Ann||[email protected]|
|Buckel||Jason C.||[email protected]|
|Long||Robert B.||[email protected]|
|Boteler||Joseph C. III||[email protected]|
|Hornberger||Kevin B.||[email protected]|
|Hartman||Wayne A.||[email protected]|