E-Newsletter July 14, 2007
FairVote is taking a lead role in organizing a national Claiming Democracy conference on advancing electoral reform that will take place in Washington, D.C. on November 9-11. On November 10th we will hold our 15th anniversary dinner in D.C.’s Union Station. This will be a special affair with leaders from FairVote’s history and high-profile supporters in attendance. Stay tuned for more details – and please save the date!
It’s been a terrific 15 years and an exciting spring. Here’s our July update.
P.S. If you are a Working Assets customer for its credit card plan, cell phone plan, personal long distance plan or business long distance plan, please consider voting for FairVote in the coming weeks with all or at least many of your points. Also, if you are a federal worker or know federal workers, FairVote is again part of the Combined Federal Campaign (#10132). Upgrade Democracy Video Contest, we invite people to create a short digital video answering the question, “If you could change anything you wanted about elections, what would our democracy look like?”
Entries will be posted to YouTube. A panel of celebrity judges and the general public will evaluate the nominated videos, cash prizes will be awarded, and the winner will be honored at our anniversary dinner in November. Help spread the word! More information at: www.upgradedemocracy.comInnovative Analysis series provides a fresh take on American politics. We have used New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s rumored presidential bid to look at how the current presidential system – one that could be changed by statute – is vulnerable to mass confusion, thanks to the Electoral College and plurality voting rules – but how the Electoral College presents no special barrier to third parties (see FairVote’s “Perot Simulator”). We also used the vote in the Senate on immigration bill to show the power of political geography in influencing legislators’ votes.
Sign up for Innovative Analysis by sending a note to communications director Paul Fidalgo at communications (at) fairvote.org. FixThePrimaries.com. With all the different reform proposals to the problems of frontloading and the possibility of a de facto national primary in 2008, one thing is certain -- there is no coherent policy for how to organize presidential nominations.
There should be. We seek to raise awareness of the problem and draw reformers together to eventually unite around a solution. Our ultimate goal is formation of a national commission that can help the parties coordinate reform steps so that we have a sane process by 2012. Primary schedule reform will work best if the major parties work together. Presidential Elections Reform program director Ryan O’Donnell will soon have an oped on our plans in a major California paper.
[Visit the FairVote Blog's Campaign by Numbers]
[Read WSOC News: Movement Started To Take Over Electoral College]
[More information at: www.nationalpopularvote.com ]
In the Raleigh News and Observer, Political Science professor, Clyde Frazier, makes a strong case in favor of the national popular vote plan. Read more [HERE].www.cfer.org], ranked choice voting bills, AB 1294 and AB 1662, have passed the Assembly and the state Senate Elections Committee. AB 1294 would allow all localities the option to use instant runoff voting and choice voting, while AB 1662 would protect the voting rights of overseas voters, like members of the armed forces in war zones, through ranked ballots in elections with runoffs.
Cary (NC), a city of 110,000, will use IRV to elect its mayor and city council in October (see caryvotes123.com). Sarasota (FL) will vote on IRV in November, while St. Paul (MN), Los Angeles (CA) and Aspen (CO) are among several cities taking big strides to vote on IRV. We expect at least one viable statewide ballot measure in 2008.
Two states have launched task forces to study advanced voting methods. Led by Rep. John Kefalas, Colorado lawmakers are studying proportional voting and instant runoff voting. Composed of legislators from both major parties, election administrators and civic leaders, the commission expects to make its recommendations by November. Meanwhile, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has created the Ranked Choice Voting Issues Group to help cities like Minneapolis implement choice voting and IRV.
On the communications side, there have been some terrific editorials and commentaries on IRV this year, including a ringing endorsement from USA Today. See articles and commentaries on IRV [HERE]. See also the newly redesigned instantrunoff.com and our new site includeeveryvoter.org for information on using IRV for overseas voters in runoffs.[HERE].
Auguring the bi-annual release of our flagship reports on congressional elections, FairVote guest-blogged [HERE] in The Hill's Congress Blog on the "monopoly politics" of U.S. Senate elections.
Internationally, Canada’s biggest province of Ontario will vote this October on a potentially historic measure to implement proportional voting, based on a citizens’ assembly recommendation. See more at: http://www.voteyesformmp.ca/
New leaders in Europe’s last winner-take-all holdouts, Great Britain and France, both are showing interest in proportional voting. British prime minister Gordon Brown has stated his support for proportional voting for seats in the House of Lords and is intimating openness for changing plurality voting for the House of Commons. Both France’s new president Nikolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon have expressed support for at least some parliamentary seats elected by proportional voting.rtv (at) fairvote.org.
[Read our "Connecting young people with democracy" – Op-ed in the Providence Journal] www.dcvote.org) coalition correct this injustice today: contact your Senator to tell them you support the DC Voting Rights Act of 2007. The Redistricting Game on Capitol Hill with Rep. Jim Tanner, and offered his insight on the importance of taking partisan calculations out of the process of drawing congressional districts. Read more about John Anderson [HERE].[HERE].
Also, check out some of the excellent blog posts by interns, covering the latest developments in election reform at http://archive.fairvote.org/blog
We have new job openings as well, including one position in North Carolina. Visit our job opportunities page [HERE].[HERE].
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