The second annual Voting Methods & Election Integrity Symposium will take place at Infinity Park in Glendale, CO on Saturday, November 14th, 2015 from 9AM-4PM MT. The event is hosted by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation and co-sponsored by Fair Elections for Colorado, with additional sponsors expected to be announced. The Symposium will be livestreamed for free online.
The first annual Symposium took place on Nov. 15, 2014 at the same venue, hosted by Free and Equal and co-sponsored by organizations such as Fair Elections for Colorado, FairVote, Dr. Jill Stein (2012 Green Party presidential candidate), the national Libertarian Party, the Center for Election Science, and Ballot Access News. The event was also supported by Glendale Mayor Mike Dunafon, who presented an opening address via video.
At the first annual Symposium, solutions and reforms to America’s flawed electoral system were presented by voting methods experts Rob Richie (FairVote, via Skype), Bill Redpath (Libertarian Party), and Aaron Hamlin (Center for Election Science), as well as election integrity experts Richard Winger (Ballot Access News, Free and Equal), Harvie Branscomb (Coloradans for Voting Integrity), and Suzanne Staiert (Deputy Secretary of State of Colorado), discussing relevant topics such as approval voting, ranked choice (a.k.a. instant runoff) voting, and proportional representation; as well as decisive issues such as the use of closed source electronic voting machines, Electoral College, gerrymandering, ballot access barriers, and Top-Two primary systems.
Harry Hempy (2014 Green Party gubernatorial candidate), Lily Williams (2014 Libertarian candidate for Colorado State House & Colorado state leader for Our America Initiative), and Matthew Hess (2014 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate) spoke during the lunch hour.
With the 2016 presidential elections coming up, important issues like abolishing the Electoral College are hot-button topics, in addition to changing the methods of voting to ranked choice voting, approval voting, etc. A mock election was held at the first annual Symposium. Alternative party and independent candidates did exceptionally well under a system of ranked choice voting and approval voting, because it gives people the opportunity to vote their hearts without fear of tipping the election to an unfavorable candidate.
The experts that participate in the symposium will be integrated into Free and Equal’s revolutionary Election Assistant, to provide relevant, powerful, and educational commentary about the electoral system for use by voters and candidates alike.
With the issues facing America in the world, it is important to not only address, but implement these various solutions sooner rather than later, ideally by the 2016 presidential election. Even something as simple as getting the public more involved in election watching, where individuals watch the votes being counted to ensure accuracy and fairness, can do wonders to make sure that the voters’ voices are heard. Many states have already used alternative voting methods, from approval voting in Oregon to ranked choice voting in Maine on the municipal level. These solutions are not abstract, they are practical and vital to the future of open and transparent elections.
The Free and Equal Elections Foundation