Posted by Myeisha Boyd on April 12, 2018 at 11:17 AM

There’s been a whirlwind of activity to report since our last email with a lot of positive news. Here’s the latest:

Big Event Today -- A Briefing on Capitol Hill

FairVote is hosting a briefing on new public opinion survey data from the University of Maryland on the components of The Fair Representation Act: ranked choice voting, redistricting with independent citizen commissions, and multi-member districts. We can’t spoil the surprise with precise numbers here, but suffice to say there’s a lot of public support for these important reforms.

Today (April 12, 2018) at 2pm EDT, Dr. Steven Kull, director of the University’s Program for Public Consultation will present the survey findings, and then we’ll hear remarks from several members of Congress, including Rep. Don Beyer, Rep. Jim Cooper, Rep. Mike Gallagher, Rep. Ro Khanna, and Rep. Jamie Raskin. For the FairVote perspective, FairVote New Mexico Director Maria Perez and our Executive Director Rob Richie will comment. It promises to be a really interesting and informative event!

Best of all, you’ll be able to watch the program LIVE on our Facebook page! We’ll of course report the findings and share news from the event on our Voices and Choices blog by Friday.

FairVote In The News

Rob Richie and former Illinois Congressman John Porter have published a new op-ed on ranked choice voting and the presidential election, while Richie joined Kevin Johnson of the Election Reformers’ Network in a Daily Beast analysis of RCV and crowded primaries. FairVote is quoted in recent rational coverage, including a profile in The Atlantic of ranked choice voting in Maine, and in a Chicago Tribune column by Eric Zorn on RCV.

Krist Novoselic and Rob Richie were featured on The Young Turks and in a Google Talk. FairVote senior fellow David Daley wrote about RCV for The Hill and on Fair Representation Act for The Hour, his hometown paper.

Santa Fe’s 1st Ranked Choice Voting Election

Santa Fe voters were strongly supportive of the city’s first use of RCV in its March 6 mayoral and city council elections, according to our election analysis report. Ninety-four percent of respondents said they were satisfied with their voting experience, while only four percent of respondents said they were unsatisfied. Seventy-one percent said they support using ranked choice voting in future elections, and nearly nine-in-ten voters reported ranking more than one candidate. Voter turnout was the highest it’s been in the last four mayoral elections since 2006. You can see much more info here. Hats off to FairVote New Mexico and its Director Maria Perez for their work.

Maine to Use Ranked Choice Voting, Absent Court Action

Maine will use ranked choice voting in crowded primaries on June 12th even as voters also have an opportunity to vote to keep it for future primary and future congressional elections. The League of Women Voters of Maine is heading an educational project on RCV, and the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting is leading the referendum campaign. There is a legal challenge to use of RCV that will be heard by the Maine Supreme Court, but we are confident that RCV will be used. Read a strong commentary on where things stand by the editorial page editor of Maine’s largest newspaper.

Wins in States and Cities

We were thrilled with two important wins in states for ranked choice voting. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed legislation establishing that cities in Utah can use RCV starting 2019, while Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed legislation funding implementation of ranked choice voting for elections in Benton County in 2020. More than 20 states have had RCV legislation, with hearings in states across the country; two states that tried to limit RCV (Tennessee and Minnesota) had their bills shut down after surges of grassroots energy.

Meanwhile last month, Amherst (MA) became the latest city to adopt RCV, with first use expected in 2021; read the latest from Voter Choice Massachusetts. Santa Clara (CA) will vote on adoption of RCV this June, even as its neighboring city of San Francisco uses it for a hotly contested election for mayor. Nevada reformers have launched a statewide ballot measure drive. Stay tuned for more state and city news, and sign up to get involved in a state near you. 

The Blog and Podcast

Our Voices and Choices blog has a steady flow of news, commentary and podcasts. We’re hearing from folks outside of FairVote, including recent pieces by John Palmer, Paul Schimek and Margaret Morales. The podcast is taking off, posting recent interviews with Carmen Lopez-Wilson in Santa Fe and Diane Russell in Maine.

A New RCV Webinar

The Ranked Choice Voting Resource Center has a new, major webinar, “From Idea to Implementation: A Ranked Choice Voting and Voting System Symposium” scheduled April 23-24. Join election administrators, elected and government officials, voting systems representatives, and RCV proponents for this online symposium focused on: Best practices and case studies for RCV presented by some of the country’s leading election experts; Presentations from the nation’s voting system vendors about their latest voting systems and RCV capabilities; and discussions about RCV and the process for implementing by election administrators who have administered this voting method.

Carnegie Report

FairVote's project Represent Women was featured in a Carnegie Endowment report, “Tackling Women’s Underrepresentation in U.S. Politics: Comparative Perspectives From Europe.” It notes that the United States “has fallen behind most established democracies with respect to women’s representation in politics.” Represent Women Director Cynthia Terrell Richie was one of the featured speakers at an event discussing the findings of the report.

Last but not least...

We have a new piece out on FairVote at 25, a brief look at back at our storied past, our eventful 25th year including the victory in Santa Fe and our noteworthy activist summit last fall and more inside info about the organization.

As always, thank you for your interest and support of our work. Feel free to send any comments or questions to Rich Robinson at [email protected].


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