California's history of pace-setting changes in the United States bodes well for reformers. Instant runoff voting (IRV, ranked choice voting) is becoming entrenched in Bay Area cities. Last week ,a 9th circuit court of appeals panel unanimously - and definitively, with an erudite ruling swatting away every argument made by the well-financed plaintiffs - upheld its legality in San Francisco, while FairVote's Champions of Democracy event honoring East Bay cities' implementation of IRV in 2010 featured inspiring speeches by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (see photo), Oakland mayor Jean Quan, Berkeley city councilor Kriss Worthington and San Leandro mayor Stephen Cassidy.
In Sacramento, the National Popular Vote plan for president earned an easy 51 -21 win in California's Assembly and should reach Gov. Jerry Brown's desk this year. The state senate also advanced sensible changes, including election day registration, to increase secure access to voting.