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E-Newsletter April 28, 2006

Released April 28, 2006
FairVote NewsFlash

National Attention for 100%
Voter Registration

FairVote policy innovation set to sweep nation

Friday, April 28th 2006

Dear Friend of Fair Elections,

FairVote's vision of "the way democracy will be" is achieving increasing clarity - both for communicating a coherent understanding of how all Americans can cast an equally secure and meaningful vote and for establishing a roadmap for change. We're seeing real movement on our core proposals in states and cities around the nation.

This month, we highlight our goal of full and accurate voter rolls — 100% voter registration. Our chairman John Anderson published a powerful New York Times commentary with Election Assistance Commissioner Ray Martinez and joined me at a news conference launching Rhode Island legislation that we expect to see widely imitated: lowering the voter registration age to 16 to enhance "motor voter" laws and make it easier for 100% registration programs in high schools.

Here's a concrete way to think about the power of 100% voter registration. New Orleans just held an election for mayor, with a May 20 runoff to follow — the city's first elections since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. Voter turnout was relatively high among those in the city, but low among those forced to flee their homes — including one young woman who came all the way back from her temporary home in Atlanta to vote, only to find she wasn't on the voter rolls.

What if America had a voter registration system where citizens, when changing their addresses, could designate whether it's permanent or temporary and have their voter registration automatically updated? What if displaced voters then automatically received an absentee ballot and a voter guide with substantive information about their choices? We can't do that in time for New Orleans' runoff, but shouldn't that be our national aspiration?

Thanks for reading,

ROb Richie's signature
Rob Richie
Executive Director


Headlines

Rhode Island Advances FairVote Plan on Voter Registration FairVote's John Anderson and Rob Richie joined state legislators seeking to make Rhode Island the second state to allow all 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote. Click for a link to Rob's talk on 100% Registration at American University.

Illinois Drives to Revive Proportional Voting From 1870 to 1980, Illinois elected its state House of Representatives using cumulative voting. Now there is a bipartisan effort to put cumulative voting on the ballot this November — and achieve a system producing political maps of different shades of purple rather than red and blue - where the major parties represent all parts of the state and all voters have diverse representation.

Vermont Debates IRV Statewide In the wake of Burlington's success in using instant runoff voting for mayor, Vermont legislation has moved to the senate floor to move the state toward implementing IRV for statewide elections in 2008. Backers include the Secretary of State, the Grange and the leading Democratic candidate for governor.

Major Report on DC Primaries Research Fellow R. Edward Griffin releases a groundbreaking new report on the Washington, DC Presidential Primary: Outside Looking In: How the Democrats Can Give a Voice to its Most Loyal Constituencies

Amarillo Struggles to Expand Proportional Voting After three successful cumulative voting elections for school board, Amarillo is considering settling a voting rights lawsuit to implement cumulative voting for college board elections — and potentially city council elections. Amarillo's next school board elections are on May 13.

Colleges Keep Adopting IRV and Proportional Voting Colleges and universities keep adopting fair election methods. This spring, Georgetown University voted for instant runoff voting. UCLA went to IRV for student president and choice voting for Student Senate. More than two dozen universities have adopted IRV in recent years, winning high praise from students.

Takoma Park Prepares for IRV Implementation On April 10, 2006, the city council of Takoma Park, Maryland voted unanimously for a second and final time to change the city council charter to ensure all future city elections are held with instant runoff voting.



Get Involved

Notes

Chris Pearson We say goodbye to Presidential Elections Reform Program director Chris Pearson, who leaves to fill a vacancy in the Vermont Legislature, representing his home district of Burlington.


Image of Hill's Book FairVote colleague Steven Hill, now at the New American Foundation, publishes a new book based on FairVote's pro-democracy agenda, Ten Steps to Repair American Democracy. Steven features many of FairVote's reform proposals.

[ See it on Amazon.com ]


Employment Opportunity
Immediate opening for an experienced director for FairVote's Presidential Elections Reform program. Based at FairVote's national office just outside Washington, D.C, the director will immediately play a central role in the National Popular Vote coalition.

[ Find out more! ]


Features

⇒ National Popular Vote Passes Colorado Senate The National Popular Vote plan for states to join together to guarantee election of the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote cleared the Colorado Senate on April 17th. Missouri and California have held hearings, and more newspapers have endorsed the plan.

⇒ FairVote Rolls Out Report Series FairVote's Voting and Democracy Research Center has launched a new series of reports with analyses of national elections in the Ukraine, West Bank and Israel and how to implement proportional voting in Essex, Vermont.

Rob Richie kept burning rubber on a democracy road tour that went to Utah, where Rob participated in a strategic gathering on how best to achieve redistricting reform. He then headed to the northeast, visiting Dover, Delaware where he gave testimony to a charter review commission, and accompanied FairVote Chair John Anderson to Providence, Rhode Island, where he met with officials on moving forward with 100% registration for high school graduates. In town he addressed teachers convened by the CloseUp Foundation, a workshop on the National Popular Vote plan at the National Conference of State Legislatures and a conference organized by leaders of the Carter-Baker Commission on Electoral Reform.

Rob Richie on the Road in a funny car

Commentary and News

Voters' ed
New York Times

FairVote Board Chair John Anderson and U.S. Election Assistance Commissioner Ray Martinez call for automatic voter registration for high school seniors.

Cleisthenes wept
Salt Lake City Weekly

Editor Ben Fulton highlights FairVote's reports and insights in endorsing a national popular vote for president.

Time to rethink presidential elections
The Denver Post

The National Popular Vote effort receives support.

Bill lets 16-year-olds preregister to vote
Providence Journal

Supported by FairVote Executive Director Rob Richie, Rhode Island legislator introduces a bill to lower the voter registration age to 16. Also featured in the Boston Globe.

Before the robots marched on Springfield
Chicago Sun-Times

Leading Illinois Republicans back an initiative drive seeking to restore cumulative voting for state house elections.

State legislators vote to tweak electoral college
The Durango Herald

Colorado becomes the first state to consider the National Popular Vote plan following its approval by the state's Senate Judiciary Committee.

An election to reflect the will of the people
The Washington Post

Former members of Congress and National Popular Vote advisory committee members explain why they endorse the National Popular Vote plan.

Charter commission works down list of issues
The News Tribune

An article reporting that a Charter Review Commission in Pierce County may recommend adoption of IRV.

College dropout
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

FairVote's Rob Richie defends criticism of the National Popular Vote plan.

IRV works
Burlington Free Press

A commentary supporting IRV by the leading Democratic candidate for governor of Vermont.

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