Posted by Emily Risch on November 20, 2019 at 3:56 PM

FairVote Honors 2019 Champions of Democracy

Annual Awards Event Honors Board Chair and Former Nirvana Bassist Krist Novoselic With FairVote’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Other Winners from around Nation as Ranked Choice Voting Movement Grows

Washington, D.C.--FairVote’s annual awards ceremony celebrated the organization’s allies and progress in the movement for democracy reform, including efforts to bring ranked choice voting and fair representation to more cities and states across the country. FairVote celebrated this year’s victories and honored a remarkable group of leaders in democracy reform efforts with its 2019 Champions of Democracy Awards -- including activists, academics, former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Harvard professor Danielle Allen, local Republican leaders in Utah and more. 

“From national leaders to local reformers, a remarkable group of champions are advancing forward-thinking efforts to strengthen our democracy and ensure better elections,” said FairVote president and CEO Rob Richie. “It’s been a year of striking victories in the movement for ranked choice voting in a wide range of states, and we look forward to growing along with our allies and continuing to build on these wins.” 

The program presented the following award recipients: 

  • Krist Novoselic, FairVote Board Chair, Lifetime Achievement. Introduced by Nick Troiano, Executive Director of Unite America. For a decade of impact as board chair, overseeing a major period of growth in FairVote’s work seeding and winning advances for critical voting reforms. 

  • Danielle Allen, Harvard University Professor, Achievement in Communications. Introduced by Cynthia Terrell, RepresentWomen. For achievement in national communications and her work making compelling cases for bold ideas like ranked choice voting that can help perfect our democracy.

  • Rep. Jamie Raskin, National Impact Achievement. Introduced by Kristen Clarke, ED of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights. For leadership on electoral reform and democracy issues and tireless work to make elections fairer, stronger and more positive--from his introduction of the Ranked Choice Voting Act this year, to the co-sponsorship of the Fair Representation Act. 

  • FairVote Washington, New Organization Achievement. Introduced by Michelle Whittaker, RCV for Maryland. For impressive work advancing the conversation at the grassroots level and making real change possible by building a movement from the ground-up. 

  • Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President, City Reform Achievement; Jumaane Williams, NYC Public Advocate, City Reform Achievement; Brad Lander, NYC Council Member, City Reform Achievement. Introduced by Scott Greytak, Represent.US. For vision and years of commitment and hard work championing ranked choice voting that helped lead to the passing of ranked choice voting in New York City for all primaries and special elections. 

  • Amelia P. Gardener, Utah County Clerk/Auditor, Local Reform Achievement; Julie Fullmer, Mayor of Vineyard, UT, Local Reform Achievement; Bill Wright, Mayor of Payson, UT, Local Reform Achievement. Introduced by Stan Lockhart, Utah RCV. For their groundbreaking and highly successful implementation of ranked choice voting in two Utah cities in 2019.

  • OneVirginia2021, State Reform Achievement. Introduced by Andrew Parvenu, California Redistricting Commissioner. For tireless and creative coalition building in Virginia that won a giant step forward to redistricting reform in the movement to end partisan gerrymandering in Virginia. 

The event celebrated national momentum around ranked choice voting, which has already been used for congressional elections in Maine and in dozens of state and local contexts, ensuring that winners will be elected with majority popular support but without time-consuming and expensive runoff elections which regularly generate lower turnout. 

In notable developments this year, New York City voters adopted ranked choice voting by a landslide for use in all primaries and special elections in the nation’s largest city of 8 million people, and will see its first use in an open seat mayoral election in 2021. Eleven cities used ranked choice this November, with the five newest cities from a cross-section of states: Utah, Michigan, New Mexico and Minnesota.

Maine recently became the first state to use ranked choice voting to decide Electoral College votes in the general presidential election in 2020, and will allow RCV for presidential primaries starting in 2024. Hawaii and Kansas will use ranked choice voting ballots in their party-run 2020 presidential primaries, and Alaska and Wyoming are likely to join. Voters can rank their favorite candidates in order of choice and then those ballots will be tallied like a traditional RCV tally until all remaining candidates have at least 15% support, at which points delegates will be allocated on a proportional basis according to party rules. 

FairVote also introduced its new board chair Alice Underwood, a New York City actuary who will step into the shoes of Krist Novoselic, who will be joining FairVote’s advisory committee.

Click here to see the full program and learn more about FairVote’s Champions of Democracy awardees. Video recording of the full program available here. 




FairVote is a nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms that give voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a representative democracy that works for all Americans. 

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