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E-Newsletter June 30, 2006

Released June 30, 2006
FairVote NewsFlash

June 30th, 2006

Headlines

Instant runoff voting makes ballot in Pierce County, Washington. The Pierce County Charter Review Commission approved a measure on June 17 to place instant runoff voting (IRV) on the ballot for almost all county elections. Under the proposal, parties will use conventions or caucuses to nominate one or more candidates for each office, and voters will have a full range of choice among all candidates in one high turnout general election -- avoiding low turnout primaries in August in favor of a spoiler-free, choice-filled majority election in November. With nearly 800,000 people, Pierce County would become one of the largest jurisdictions using IRV. This November Minneapolis is also voting on IRV, where the Better Ballot Campaign is making great strides.

National Popular Vote making strides in California The National Popular Vote Campaign had yet another victory in California with the passage of AB 2948 by the Senate Elections Committee. Under the National Popular Vote plan, states would enter into a formal agreement with other states to award their presidential electors the national popular vote winner once the number of states participating in the agreement would guarantee that candidate's election.

Rhode Island House and Senate pass bill to lower voter registration age The Rhode Island House and Senate this month passed HB 8022, which would allow young citizens to “pre-register” to vote when after turning 16, with their registration automatically becoming active when they come of voting age. FairVote has been a major backer of the legislation, and hail the Rhode Island bill as a step toward full and accurate voter rolls in America — ideally combined with civic education programs in high school.

What now in wake of Supreme Court okay of Texas Gerrymander? The contentious Texas congressional map drawn mid-decade and contributing to a swing of seven Democratic seats to Republicans, has been upheld by the Supreme Court - except for one district in southwestern Texas. FairVote's Rob Richie was quoted in news coverage on the New York Times website and elsewhere about what this development means for redistricting reform's future. See the FairVote blog for our case for national redistricting standards and proportional voting systems.

Amarillo adopts cumulative voting for Board of Regents After four successful cumulative voting elections for the school board, on June 27th the Board of Regents in Amarillo voted unanimously to adopt cumulative voting to settle a voting rights lawsuit and provide fair representation of political and racial minorities. East Baton Rouge's city council also debated cumulative voting this month.



Get Involved

Notes

FairVote Summer Intern Blog Project begins with a youthful outpour of posts on topics ranging from VRA renewal to Ken Blackwell. The Blog is more active now than it has ever been! [More]

FairVote Board Member Krist Novoselic spoke on a panel on election reform at this year's Daily Kos convention. Check out his podcast [Here]

FairVote Rolls Out its First Multimedia CD, co-produced with the Arizona League of Women Voters, with a wealth of information and activist tools on instant runoff voting and choice voting.

Voting Rights Act Renewal. FairVote strongly backs the movement to renew the Act especially in the face of blocking tactics in Congress, but urges legislatures to taken further steps to ensure voting rights for minorities.

The National Popular Vote is the subject of FairVote's half-day course at this year's American Political Science Association Conference in Philadelphia, with leading scholars. Seating is limited. [ More information ]

Features

⇒ FairVote's new report, Majority Rule in International Presidential Elections: The Dominant Role of Runoffs Around the World, looks at the 28 major democracies that have high human rights rankings and elect their president. Of these nations, 23 use runoff elections, and 21 require the winner to have a majority. One of them, Ireland, folds uses instant runoff voting. Of the remaining democracies only the United States lets the popular vote winner lose the election. Read the report and Rob Richie's recent Washington Times letter

⇒ FairVote on CSPAN, Radio and Political Conference Circuit FairVote's director Rob Richie likely will be on CSPAN's Washington Journal at 9 am on Wednesday, July 5. He has been busy with several radio appearances set up by the Mainstream Media Project; upcoming shows include programs in Bradenton (FL), Astoria (OR), La Crosse (WI), Cleveland (OH), Richmond (IN), Columbia (MO), Manitowoc (WI) and Washington, D.C. See the latest on FairVote events.

Rob addressed several well-attended caucuses at the national League of Women Voters conference in Minneapolis. FairVote was well represented at this month's Take Back America conference in Washington D.C., where we held a mock IRV election among Democratic presidential nominees. See the results. FairVote will have booths at the NAACP and American Political Science Association conventions and seeks to reach out to potential reformers on the left, right and center.

FairVote Board Member Krist Novovselic discussed instant runoff voting on National Public Radio in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he also addressed the conferences of Yearly Kos and Young Democrats of America. This weekend Krist will speak at the Libertarian party national convention.

Commentary and News

AC opts for new voting method
Amarillo Globe-News Amarillo, TX follows the experience of its school board, adopting cumulative voting for college regent elections.

Justices Back Most G.O.P. Changes to Texas Districts
New York Times FairVote's Executive Director Rob Richie is quoted in a call for political action to bring choice and fairness to redistricting.

Reform DeLayed
The Nation A commentary on the Texas redistricting includes a call from FairVote's Rob Richie for proportional voting.

Give D.C. a First Say
Washington Post Outlook FairVote's Rob Richie and Ryan Griffin urge the Democratic National Committee to pick Washington, DC to join the early window of presidential primaries.

Time to shift to popular vote
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel FairVote's Rob Richie and Bill Shein respond to critics of the National Popular Vote proposal and laud the program as the only reform option for our broken presidential elections.

Another take on how we elect commissioners
Chapel Hill News FairVote's Jack Santucci is quoted in an editorial suggesting at-large elections in Orange County, NC would see more cooperative campaigns under cumulative voting.

Electoral and popular votes
Washington Times FairVote executive director Rob Richie's letter in the Washington Times underlines the value of establishing majority thresholds for winning executive offices in presidential elections.

There's a way around the Electoral College conundrum
The Buffalo News Op-ed backs the National Popular Vote as an elegant solution whose time has come, citing FairVote's John Anderson.

Removing Obstacles From the Right to Vote
New York Times Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. argues that the most significant hurdle to fixing flawed elections is our lack of a constitutionally protected right to vote.

States join forces against electoral college
Los Angeles Times Editorial gives a strong endorsement to the National Popular Vote as an essential addition to our democracy.

Lottery won't improve voter turnout; use money to better election system
Arizona Daily Star FairVote's Ryan O'Donnell argue that to bring more voters into the democratic process, we need serious efforts like a citizens' assembly on electoral reform

Rx for U.S. elections
Sacramento Bee Editorial backs the National Popular Vote Campaign as the cure for broken presidential elections.

Support Fair Elections!

As this newsletter shows, there is a lot happening in every part of our work seeking “the way democracy will be.” In several areas, all across the country, we stand a “tipping point,” that could lead to profound changes in our elections. Read our latest postal newsletter to reporters and help make change happen this year by giving generously to FairVote!