We had an inspiring win for election reform on Tuesday.
In an advisory ballot measure placed on the ballot by a 7-0 vote of the city council in Takoma Park, Maryland, fully 84% of voters voted to use instant runoff voting (IRV) in future city elections. A majority of the city council has already committed to implementing the new system in time for the mayoral and city council races in 2007. IRV has now won by landslide margins in four consecutive city elections.
The same day, San Francisco's first citywide IRV election also went well and will save the city millions of dollars. Right now, a second round of counting has begun for the city Assessor's race because no candidate won a majority of first choices. Rather than mail out 125,000 absentee ballots and hold a low turnout December election, San Francisco now just needs to count the second choices on the ballots cast for the third-place candidate. IRV likely will elect Phil Ting as Assessor-Recorder with a majority of support while not splitting the vote of the two Asian American candidates. It's a real testament to the power of this system to create positive and inclusive campaigns and efficiency for taxpayers.
Cambridge (MA) also held its 28th ranked ballot election for city council and school board. With candidates elected at-large, this choice voting system not only avoids vote splitting, but provides fair representation to the city's diversity.
Thanks for reading. I hope you'll visit the following links to learn more about our work here and ask you to consider a donation to FairVote. We played an integral role in the success here in Takoma Park and are moving forward with innovative approaches to provide more voter freedom and equality for all Americans.
Rod Donald, international reformer and one of the central figures in the remarkable drive for proportional voting in New Zealand has died at age 48. Read one tribute
108-year-old woman Effie Hobby voted again on November 8th as she has in every local, state and national election since women won suffrage in 1920. As we observe Veteran's Day, FairVote salutes people like her who have helped keep our democracy strong. Read more
St. Louis Cardinals' pitcher Chris Carpenter edged out Dontrell Willis and Roger Clemens for the Cy Young award. He was elected by sportwriters who ranked pitchers in order of preference -- as indeed most athletic awards are determined. They know that ranking choices is a fairer way of picking a winner than just voting for one.
FairVote's comments on the elections were featured in national wire stories, editorials and radio shows like NPR's Talk of the Nation. We highlighted how IRV would have greatly improved the tenor and voter options in the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia. We bemoaned the low turnout experienced in so many communities, often tied to voting rules and practices that could and should be changed. We talked about how proportional voting methods are the key means to balance the goals of fair representation, accountability of leadership and universal voter choice with state legislative races this year again showing the appalling problems we face in all three of those goals.