WHEREAS, the federal government will send $40 million in Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds to Minnesota, largely for new voting equipment; and

     WHEREAS, this represents an historic opportunity to ensure that the state acquires voting equipment with the flexibility to process all ballot types used in the United States, including those not now used in Duluth, such as ranked and cumulative ballots; and

     WHEREAS, Minnesota’s two main equipment vendors have already developed ranked ballot capacity for precinct-based optical scanners in other jurisdictions; and

     WHEREAS, much of the development work has already been done; and

     WHEREAS, this will reduce the cost of acquiring this technology; and

     WHEREAS, the cost will be even less if acquired with the original purchase as opposed to acquiring it as an after-market add-on; and

     WHEREAS, this heightens the urgency for this change to happen now, before the large HAVA appropriation is spent; and

     WHEREAS, the technical change that would allow processing of alternative voting methods could also be used to enhance election security; and

     WHEREAS, the ranked ballot firmware creates a data file that keeps track of the contents of each ballot. It essentially makes an electronic backup copy of each ballot that could be used to reconstruct an election in the event that paper ballots were lost or destroyed; and

     WHEREAS, the benefits of this certification change could be realized immediately.

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Duluth City Council recommends and requests the state of Minnesota to add ranked and cumulative processing capability as a certification requirement for new voting equipment.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to each member of the Northeastern Minnesota state legislative delegation, the Minnesota secretary of state and the governor.

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:  This resolution asks the state to buy voting equipment that allows a change to rank or cumulative voting methods.