This weekend marked an historic gathering of ranked choice voting advocates from across the United States and Canada as FairVote sponsored a two-day training for volunteer activists on Nov. 11-12 in Washington, D.C. The training was tailored to volunteers to learn more about organizing, coalition building, messaging, digital media, implementation and fundraising around ranked choice voting.
More than 50 volunteers attended the event with many others watching online. Twenty states from across the Union, as well as the District of Columbia were represented, along with two Canadian provinces. Several partner organizations, such as Voter Choice Massachusetts, Florida Initiative for Electoral Reform and RCV for Colorado brought multiple members to the activist summit, to help move their organizations forward.
Key members of FairVote’s staff served as presenters, and were joined by Jeanne Massey of FairVote Minnesota, Dave Meslin of Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto, Kyle Bailey from Maine’s Committee for Ranked Choice Voting and Oregon State Rep. Dan Rayfield.
Massey spoke to the group about the recent RCV elections in Minneapolis and St. Paul -- cities that saw historic increases in turnout, expanding diversity on city councils and support for RCV all around. Meslin inspired volunteers to get out in their communities to have face to face conversations and to never lose the inquisitive, optimistic nature of childhood. Bailey rallied the troops to get involved in the People’s Veto to get RCV in Maine, while State Rep. Rayfield spoke about his experience building winning coalitions in Oregon around RCV.
The weekend event provided volunteers the tools needed to bring ranked choice voting to communities across the country. New FairVote groups are springing up in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Missouri with a focused energy for electoral reform and strengthening democracy. Heading into 2018, these groups will join more statewide organizations to continue the RCV movement nationwide.
This activism will continue to be sparked through our new Toolkit – which allows new volunteers to connect directly to the activists on the ground.
The weekend provided opportunities for ranked choice voting volunteers in Massachusetts to meet reform counterparts from Oregon. The Florida Initiative for Electoral Reform shared ideas and strategies with Nevadans for Election Reform. We at the national office of FairVote are proud to help bring these partner organizations together and help build the movement for election reform in the years to come.