Friday, October 19, 2007

VIPER---sounds like a snake or perhaps an alarm protection system for your car?

Nope, it's the state's effort to get all emergency personnel on the same page when it comes to radios (walkie talkie not the type blasting Justin Timberlake!).

Three years ago the state began efforts to create the statewide system and three years later less than half the state has access. The numbers are even lower for local agencies who have bought the radios ($1500-$5000 a piece).

Today at the Emergency Response Commission meeting state leaders said they jus got $22.1 million in funding that will push the range from roughly 45% of the state to 60%. Local governments are getting more grants as well to buy radios.

The 60% will come by 2010 or earlier.

It's a big help, but the state still needs at least 5 years to get the full system up and running and needs millions more.

Essentially if you think of it this way, local agencies can't talk to other local agencies easily on traditional radios. That causes problems when multiple agencies respond to the same incident or disaster.

Sec. Bryan Beatty used this example for me. Imagine a National Guard helicopter spotting someone on a roof stranded but they couldn't use the radio to call people on the ground.

This issue came to the forefront after 9/11 and again after Katrina.

Beatty claims NC is the only state to offer VIPER to all state and local agencies for free.

Before I'm off for the weekend, make sure to check out Political Connections tonight at 6 or online or ondemand (CH. 1234) when we take on new elections laws. Wake Co. Elections guru Cherie Poucher and Democracy NC's Bob Hall join us.

Sunday in place of our regular program from 11-12 we'll air highlights from this weekend's GOP gubernatorial debate in High Point.

Have a good one!


Anonymous said...

Instant Runoff Voting is already proving that it will disenfranchise voters. It even happened in the city of Cary, where the electorate is highly educated and informed, and about 96% have internet access.

Instant runoff gets test run
Cary election previews vote in Hendersonville By Jordan Schrader, October 15, 2007

...When the count ended, Frantz led by a couple of dozen votes, with an official total due Tuesday.

Frantz said he wouldn't support another instant-runoff.

Hundreds of people he met left the polls not understanding the system, he said.

He prefers an actual runoff with a clear choice of two candidates.

"Even after all this is said and done, none of us got a clear majority," Frantz said.

A voter in Hendersonville told reporters about his experience of voting an IRV ballot:

"It doesn't make any sense to me, and I can guarantee you because of the way they have it set up there are people in this town that are going to lose their vote," he said.

"You would think that all the hoopla that has been made over voting glitches both intentional and unintentional that somebody would have looked at this and said you know, this is not such a bright idea. But they let it through."

..."I call it instant confusion," he said.

It can't be emphasized enough - this is an experiment, it will disenfranchise many voters if it is allowed to spread, it is a poor fit for our voters, and it WILL be the next infamous Butterfly Ballot for elections.

North Carolina was infamous for its 2004 meltdowns (plural), and banned paperless voting and made great headway in improving our elections.

IRV is a 21st century form of a Voter Literacy Test, Instant Confusion, Chaos and a Butterfly Ballot.

See and find out why election integrity activists, computer scientists and others think IRV is bad for voters.

Anonymous said...

The Wake County Board of Elections will meet on Tuesday, October 30, at 12 noon. On the agenda is a great deal of new business dealing with the Cary IRV election as it pertains to transparent elections, public confidence in elections, and also how election results or exit polls are conducted and reported on.

Please attend and you will get a very good idea of why some people feel that the experiment didn't work out as well as some boosters are claiming - precisely because the experiment isn't over yet.

Wake County Board of Elections
337 S. Salisbury Street
Raleigh NC 27601
Telephone (919) 856-6240