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E-Newsletter February 6, 2006

Released February 6, 2006
FairVote NewsFlash

Reform as a Bipartisan Concern

Monday February 6, 2006

Greetings!

Last week, the House GOP elected a new majority leader. The Republicans use a multi-round vote if necessary to ensure a majority winner. After the first count, the front-runner and presumed victor Roy Blunt fell 7 votes short of this majority. With the field narrowed in the second round, Blunt lost to John Boehner when Boehner picked up the "change" vote and won a comfortable majority. His win shows how a system like instant runoff voting can better reflect the true consensus by honoring the principle of majority rule. It's no wonder IRV continues to pick up steam in cities and states.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party of California endorsed the American Plan, a fairer primary schedule for presidential nominations for both parties that was endorsed last spring by FairVote and later by the Young Democrats of America. This is the latest salvo in efforts to make more votes count in electing our most powerful office. Stay tuned for big news on this goal in February.

Bipartisanship also was on display as both Democratic and Republican lawmakers in the California Assembly introduced legislation to create a representative body of citizens to propose electoral reforms that would either be adopted legislatively or placed on the ballot.

Finally, FairVote joins our nation in honoring Coretta Scott King, who died last week 38 years after the assassination of her husband Martin Luther King.

For a better democracy,
ROb Richie's signature
Rob Richie
Executive Director


Headlines

Democratic Party of California Endorses the American Plan FairVote was the first national group to endorse and promote this fairer primary schedule, which has been steadily gaining support. Stay Tuned for big Presidential Elections Reform news this month!

Addressing Louisiana's Post-Katrina Representation Problems FairVote's detailed report explains how proportional voting in Louisiana would protect voting rights, maintain stable representation and uphold the principle of one person, one vote in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The Palestinian Elections FairVote's analysis of the recent Palestinian elections shows how their winner-take-all seats greatly exaggerated the degree to which public opinion has swung to the Hamas party.

Burlington's Mayoral Race with IRV is heating up. Vermonters will watch the March 7 election closely as they consider expanding IRV to federal offices. Burlington voters will also use IRV to express their views among options in a nonbinding ballot measure, as will voters in Los Osos Community Services District in California.


IRV Easy Even When You're Three!
Julia Shannon-Grillo, 3 1/2, of Burlington waits in line to cast her ballot during a mock instant runoff voting election at Contois Auditorium at Burlington City Hall on Friday afternoon. Her mother, Burlington City Councilor Joan Shannon (left) and several other city workers and residents attended the run-through.




Get Involved
Notes
  • Jamie Raskin, a FairVote board member and one of the leaders in passing the IRV ballot measure in Takoma Park is running for State Senate in Maryland. During his announcement speech he promised to "introduce a bill during my first week in office to promote 100% voter registration of all students in the state before they leave high school." www.raskin06.com

  • Christina Bernard joins the FairVote staff as Development Associate. Christina, a Harvard graduate, comes to us after several years working with the World Health Organization.

  • Thanks to our departing interns Dominic Holt, Zo Tobi, Daniel Riddle, Cecilia Campbell-Westlind, and Brandon Smith, who did great work as part of FairVote's fall team.

Feature

David Moon on CNN's Lou Dobbs show

On the need for universal voter registration. (.mov - 3.7MB)

New Study Finds Increased Turnout in San Francisco's IRV elections FairVote's Chris Jerdonek shows that voter turnout in the decisive round of last year's citywide IRV elections was nearly three times what it would have been with runoffs.

Call for a Citizens Assembly in California The bipartisan proposal for a citizens assembly to study California's elections and make recommendations has long been advocated by FairVote, and follows a successful assembly in British Columbia, where citizens ultimately recommended choice voting.

IRV Ordinance Introduced in Maryland, Arizona and Anchorage. In recent weeks a legislator submitted an ordinance for an April vote of the people to amend the charter to use IRV in Anchorage municipal elections. New IRV legislation also was introduced this week in Maryland and Arizona — see our state legislation page for a complete rundown of action around the nation.

100% Registration Moves in Hawaii Hawaii state senator Les Ihara recently introduced a bill to study how to achieve 100% voter registration of Hawaii high school students. Hawaii is uniquely positioned to implement this type of systematic policy because it is the only state that allows young people to pre-register when they turn 16.

Hollywood Ranks the Vote The Oscar nominations were announced last week. Voters in the Academy of Motion Pictures use the choice voting method of proportional voting, helping to explain the usual diverse mix of films and actors. The Los Angeles Times wrote about choice voting this year.

Students Support Reform Dozens of colleges and universities now elect their representatives by IRV and proportional voting. There's been strong new interest at schools like the Universities of Iowa and Alabama. See our website for more resources on bringing better democracy to your school.

Moving Toward Voting Rights for DC FairVote is pleased to take a more active role in advocating voting representation in Congress for the people of Washington, D.C. Please see D.C. Vote's website for the DC FAIR Act, the best chance to earn D.C. voting rights in years.

Commentary and Articles

ONLINE RESOURCES

FairVote Canada's "Electoral Dysfunction" Our sister organization analyzes the outcome of the recent Canadian parliamentary elections and unveils a clever new video arguing for proportional voting in Canada.

Minneapolis IRV Campaign website presents one of the most interesting opportunities for instant runoff voting this year.


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