Welcome to Left Out, reality-based independent radio on WRCT 88.3FM, and on the worldwide web at leftout.info. Left Out discusses the news from a perspective left out of the mainstream media. Left Out is co-hosted by Bob Harper and Danny Sleator. Today's program is produced by Matt Hornyak. Listeners are invited to call the program at (412) 268-WRCT (9728). Bob Harper is off today picking up an award for his research.
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Jan Kok is an engineer and political activist who has taken a keen interest in alternative voting systems -- that is, different ways for voters to express their preferences. We'll describe and discuss the pros and cons of various systems, perhaps including plurality, instant runoff, approval voting, and a little known alternative called range voting.
In Range Voting, basically, the voter gives a score to each candidate. (Think of the judges of an olympic figure scating competition.) The candidate with the highest average score wins. Warren Smith, a mathematician, has written a number of papers about the advantages of range voting. Studies by Smith show that Range Voting is significantly better than all the others in handling the problem of third parties. Smith and Kok have put together www.rangevoting.org, which delves deeply into these issues.
ES&S iVotronic voting machines were used last months' Allegheny county primary election. Colin Lynch is a graduate student of computer science at the University of Pittsburgh. He's been very active in a local movement to get machines that have a voter verifiable audit trail. See this web site: www.votepa.us.
Today Colin is in the studio to discuss the new voting machines, and whether we can have confidence in the results. He'll also discuss the politics which led to the situation we're in, and ongoing efforts to improve it.
That's the title of an article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr, which appeared in Rolling Stone. The caption is:
Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.
The article deftly summarizes a plethora of schemes used by the republicans to give Bush an advantage in Ohio. This article should be required reading, and talk of this article should be cramming the mainstream media, but it's gotten almost no attention.