MEMO: Voting Results of the Maryland Green Party 2021 Officer Elections
TO: Interested Parties of the Maryland Green Party 2021 Officer Elections
FROM: Maryland Green Party Co-Chairs Jon Cook and Virginia Rodino
DATE: June 30, 2021
Below are the findings and conclusions after our internal discussions and informal consultations with individuals from Fair Vote, the League of Women Voters, and GPUS.
In separate conversations with representatives from Fair Vote, the League of Women Voters, and GPUS, we were alerted to the serious issue with how our tabulator gave Andy Ellis unprecedented and inappropriate access to the unannounced results:Both of the Co-chairs were present when the Tabulator told us directly that they would try to “appease Andy” by giving him additional information about presumed results, three days before the Assembly. It was requested again at that time that the Tabulator cease sharing information with anyone, particularly anyone who had publicly stated a position on their candidate preferences. Unfortunately the Tabulator did not heed these multiple requests. The Tabulator had also made negative comments about Mary Rooker’s voting recommendations, and the fact she did not have another Co-Chair candidate running on her slate.
The Tabulator declined having another person counting with them. This is also problematic in any election situation.
The Tabulator refused to give requested tabulations during and at the end of the Assembly to the Co-chairs. This communication had been agreed upon three days before during our planning meeting – a very natural agreement that would have been the most basic expected outcome of our transaction with the Tabulator. This startling unprofessional refusal that transpired during the last 40 minutes of our Assembly is the reason why we had to pause in order to figure out what was happening. Struggling to announce any results, Virginia Rodino announced some winners who had been in uncontested races that were not verified at the time. It is true that this partial announcement of winners was only an educated guess and was not produced through any actual tabulations:
Virginia Rodino never had access to either the completed ballots or their results until Monday, June 28 after she requested them from the Tabulator again. Three days before the Assembly the Co-Chairs met with the Tabulator who was asked specifically to assist because they lived in another state and could not vote. It was also assumed that the Tabulator was highly skilled in Ranked Choice Voting.
Key tabulation aspects told to us by our tabulator were erroneous. The Co-chairs are at fault for not securing a professional expert who was impartial, who did not have opinions on any of the candidates and who would commit to not sharing preliminary results during the weeks leading up to the election with anyone outside of the Assembly Committee. This past week we have discovered that organizations like Fair Vote and the League of Women Voters will oversee elections for a nominal cost and we urge the MGP to enshrine in its bylaws to do this moving forward:
At the meeting between the Co-chairs and the Tabulator a few days before the Assembly, we came to an agreement that the votes would be tabulated in a proportional and representative manner, as was stated by the rules sent out to voters on their ballot. The next day, the myth of the faulty ballot was the only reason given to the Co-chairs on why we could not tabulate the votes in the way that we agreed upon, which was to follow the directions voters were given on their ballot.
Unfortunately we trusted the Tabulator’s assessment on this matter, but asked them to please give us tabulations using both methodologies once voting had closed on Saturday afternoon. The Tabulator had agreed, but then refused to tabulate the votes based on the rules listed clearly on the ballot, would only say that “Mary didn’t win” and instead would only tabulate using the rules that had been edited, changed, removed and replaced multiple times during the course of the election on the MGP website.
According to the lawyer at Fair Vote and representatives from GPUS and the League of Women Voters, the rules as posted on our website are confused at best, and contradict themselves within the same set of rules:
The rules on the website announce at the beginning that tabulation will be “proportional or preference balloting” which contradicts counting “the 2nd ranking as equivalent to a 1st ranking for the “Two Position” elections of Co-Chair and membership coordinator.”
The preliminary results shared by the Tabulator is a “winner take all” single-block method that delivers results that are not proportional.
Additionally it was pointed out to us that:
The rules listed on the website appear to be “two different opposing approaches” cobbled together by someone who either did not understand those approaches, or was intentionally trying to cause a block vote.
Either way, if we tabulate following the one line on the website that directs counting the first and second choices as one, this would “violate the spirit of Ranked Choice Voting.”
“This will ensure fairness, as multiple votes per rank are not feasible with the ballots being used.” This line on our website demonstrates that the rules were being edited and changed after having been sent out to voters because we would never have released a faulty ballot and then state a caveat in our rules that the ballot wasn’t somehow adequate, causing us instead to use an admittedly “unorthodox” way of tabulating our votes.
Unfortunately, the Tabulator was both misdirected in their inappropriate conversations with one of the key supporters of one of the slates, and also independently made incorrect conclusions about the voting process and the integrity of our ballot — after the ballot and the rules had been approved by the Assembly Planning Committee and had been released to voters:
The Co-Chairs were told that the ballot was faulty by the Tabulator after the Tabulator had had conversations with Andy Ellis. A lawyer from Fair Vote as well as the others we consulted with assessed that the ballot itself was not only completely sound for single-member and multi-member seats, having “two ballots” for a co-chair position or “three ballots” for the delegate position is never done. Standard RCV tabulation is designed to handle multi-member seats with the “normal” ballot. Therefore, our ballot is completely sound with no integrity issues.
Fortunately, the only place that the rules stayed consistent was on the ballot. These were the only rules approved by the Assembly planning committee. And crucially, the rules listed on the ballot are the only set that every voter had equal access to viewing.
While some registered Greens may have been sent an indirect link to the website which listed the rules if you clicked on a few different tabs to find them, each and every voter received a ballot where there were very clear and, importantly, unchanging and unedited rules on tabulation.
The rules stated on the ballot: “Results will be determined by ranked-choice voting and single transferable vote. You may rank as many or as few choices as you wish (i.e. if there are three candidates, you can assign ranks of 1, 2, and 3 or only 1 and 2 or 1 only)”:
According to the lawyer from Fair Vote, “If people have two votes, then you are definitely not using single transferable vote.”
These rules printed on our ballots are the same rules we have followed for every preceding MGP election. Past precedent is an important legal standard that supports the tabulation rules listed on our ballot.
The website rules were clearly changed during the voting without consultation with anyone two days before the Assembly. Any changes at all but certainly of that magnitude should have been approved by the CC.
Note: Assembly Planning Committee
Initially the planning committee had broader representation among the majority of active MGP locals. Early on representatives of two of the locals refused to speak or return any messages regarding this work. The invitation to participate was made repeatedly and publicly. No one who wanted to participate in helping to plan the assembly was turned away.
Concluding from the thorough process the Co-chairs engaged in to answer questions and concerns that arose during our voting process, our ballot and our tabulation methodology, we offer the official election results as follows. We welcome a meeting with any locals who want to set up a chapter meeting to discuss further, and we look forward to working in a productive and positive manner with the new officers.
We understand that everyone received the raw ballot data from the tabulator and are able to check these tabulations using the standard STV method that all voters received on their ballots.
Official Election Results
Co-Chairs: Olivia Romano and Mary Rooker (breakout below)
Recording Secretary: Katherine Mays
Treasurer: Devonie Doles
Round 1 (Total 82, Threshold=27)
- Justin Sindall 16
- None of the Above 24
- Matt Hand 42 — winner
Round 2 (Total 55, Threshold 19)
- None of the above 26 winner
- Ashley Esposito 32 — winner
- Margaret Flowers 28 — winner
- Mary Rooker 33 — winner
- Matt Hand 1
Alternate Delegates (Threshold=23):
- Devonie Doles 38 — winner
- None of the above 24 –– winner
- Olivia Romano 20
- Justin Sindall 8
- Olivia Romano 23 — winner
Bylaw #1 (Primaries): Accepted (67, Threshold=62)
Bylaw #2 (Assemblies): Rejected (55, Threshold=62)
Co-Chair Round Breakout: Threshold=33
|Candidate||Round 1 Votes||Round 2|