An enthusiastic crowd of good government activists and conscientious citizens gathered in the Rayburn House Office Building this past Monday, November 18, to honor FairVote’s 2019 “Champions of Democracy.”
The food was good, the conversation was lively, and the audience was energized. That’s because FairVote had brought together people from all backgrounds, walks of life, and sides of the political spectrum to recognize that we are all fighting for a common goal: a better and fairer democracy.
The big year for ranked choice voting (RCV) drew particular support. Among the honorees were Congressman Jamie Raskin, Dr. Danielle Allen, departing FairVote board chair Krist Novoselic, OneVirginia2021, New York City public officials Brad Lander, Jumaane Williams, and Gale Brewer, FairVote Washington, and local Utah leaders Amelia Gardner, Julie Fullmer, and Bill Wright.
Congressman Raskin, a former FairVote board member who earned a 2019 Democracy Champion Award for national impact, introduced the Ranked Choice Voting Act in Congress earlier this session. Raskin, an ongoing advocate of RCV and fair representation in word and deed, has helped ensure that two bills which passed the House included language to ensure more voting equipment is ready to run RCV elections.
Dr. Allen, who earned a 2019 Democracy Champion award for achievement in national communications, is a Harvard professor and frequent contributor to major publications (see her new article in the Atlantic) who has consistently pressed for democracy reforms like ranked choice voting and fair representation.
Krist Novoselic was honored with a 2019 Democracy Champion award for lifetime achievement. Krist served as FairVote board chair for the past 11 years and has long been at the forefront of the movement for better governance.
OneVirginia2021, which received a 2019 Democracy Champion award for state reform achievement, has worked tirelessly to fight for redistricting reform and the abolition for partisan gerrymandering in Virginia.
New York City councilor Brad Lander, NYC public advocate Jumaane Williams, and Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer were honored for city reform achievement as elected leaders truly willing to lead in the successful effort to get ranked choice voting to the ballot and approved by voters this year in New York City.
Utah County clerk Amelia Gardner, Payson, Utah mayor Bill Wright, and Vineyard, Utah mayor Julie Fullmer—honored for achievement in local reform—all showed tremendous leadership in becoming the first officials in their state to pilot ranked choice voting this fall.
FairVote Washington, which earned a 2019 Democracy Champion award for new organization achievement, has quickly scaled up its operations in the state of Washington in the fight to get ranked choice voting passed there.
Presenters included Kristen Clarke (president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights), Nick Troiano (executive director of Unite America), Michelle Whittaker (director of RCV for Maryland), Scott Greytak (senior counsel of Represent.Us), Stan Lockhart (president of Utah RCV), Andre Parvenu (California redistricting commission) and Cynthia Terrell (founder of RepresentWomen). At least two Members of Congress, Don Beyer of Virginia and Ben McAdams of Utah, were on hand to celebrate their winners from their states.
We are honored to have had the opportunity to recognize these amazing activists and organizations for their outstanding efforts. If you missed the event live, don’t fret! We have the entire event right here, via Facebook Live.