CfER has had several long-term campaigns for state legislation. Here is a
differently organized list that may be more or less up to date.
- Local option to use ranked voting --
would allow cities or counties to use ranked voting systems to elect
their representatives, even if they do not have a charter. The
bill would allow these jurisdictions to use Instant Runoff Voting for single-winner elections or Choice Voting (a ranked voting system similar to IRV) for
multiple-winner elections. It would also add to the state Elections Code the guidelines and procedures registrars and equipment
vendors need to count and report ranked voting elections. Visit CfER's resource page on this bill for historical info that will aid our
AB 1121 from the 2009-2010 session by Assemblymember Mike Davis (D-48) would have been a pilot program for 10 cities or counties.
The path to AB 1121 started with AB 1039,
introduced by Assemblymember Loni Hancock (D-14) in 2003. In 2005, Senator Debra Bowen introduced SB 596, coauthored by Hancock. Both bills
would have allowed all California cities and counties to adopt alternative voting methods, not just those with charters like San Francisco. In 2007, the
AB 1294, by
Assemblymembers Gene Mullin (D-19) and Mark Leno (D-13), only to have it vetoed by the governor.
- Ranked ballots for overseas vote-by-mail voters --
It would require that overseas voters -- including active members of the military -- be able to use ranked ballots when voting in
elections that might lead to a runoff. When the first and second rounds of a two-round runoff election occur close together, it can be difficult for
absentee voters located overseas to receive their second-round ballots (which aren't printed until the first-round results are known) and return them in
time to be counted. Only a small number of California cities have second rounds within 45 days of the first round, but a larger number have second rounds
60 to 70 days after the first.
AB 308 was introduced by Assemblymember Paul Cook
(R-65) and would do this.
Learn more on our archived AB 308 action page.
- IRV for special elections -
introduced by former Assembly Speaker Hertzberg in 2001, would use IRV to
fill vacancies in the U.S. House or state legislature. It did not make it
through its committee, but it may be possible to reintroduce it in a future
session. Our volunteer lobbyists worked with Hertzberg's staff and others to
develop and promote the bill. We have a resource page. We are also working to build a coalition
in support of the bill.
A variation on this would apply to recall elections. Currently, if the governor or other officer is
recalled, his or her replacement is elected in a wide-open "most votes wins"
election - and that winner is very likely to not have many votes. IRV is the perfect fix.
Here is a draft of a bill.
- Multi-member districts for US House seats - A longer-term
priority is federal legislation allowing use of
multi-member districts in the election of a state's delegation to
the U.S. House of Representatives. This would permit the use of a
proportional method within each district. Bills in the 107th and 106th
Congresses could have accomplished this.
- We would like to see an amendment to the California constitution that
would allow for the use of a full (proportional) representation method to
elect the state legislature.
- IRV for statewide executive offices -
here is a rough draft (pdf) of a ballot
measure that would implement IRV
statewide. We have another version of such a bill.
How to take action
- Read the above information about the bill(s) you are interested in.
- Find out how to contact your
and state senator.
- Using the sample letter for help, write a letter
and fax or mail it to your chosen legislators in Sacramento.
- Please consider a followup call to Sacramento or a visit to your district office.
Ask us or send a note to an election reform email list to find people to join you on your visit.
- Ask civic groups you're associated with to send letters of endorsement to the
Elections Committee (or comments via the above link to the comment form).
- Please email us to let us know what you've accomplished.
We need your help, and it will make a difference!
CfER often advocates for or against other election-related bills.
The California Legislative Counsel's website contains up-to-date versions of all bills being considered in the legislature, along with votes and other status information for each bill, and a form that can be used to contact legislators about each bill. The current government and election codes also appear there.
Maps of assembly, senate, and house districts are in the Berkeley Statewide Database.
The Assembly and
Senate websites can help you find your legislator and the membership of the committees on elections in each body. Because these committees act on behalf
of the entire state, it is justified to send letters to any or all committee members. Most of them
aren't very familiar with IRV, so contacting them will help!
The California Elections Code is
Here are links to the
League of Cities,
as well as the
Association of Counties.
The support of these groups would be of great help to any election reform legislation.