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Voice for Democracy
Newsletter of Californians for Electoral Reform
Call to Action: Urge Your Senator To Support and Co-Author AB 1662
In This Issue
CfER President Steve Chessin reports on our Annual General Meeting (AGM) last May, and on an interesting trip to Long Beach in early July. Read his report here.
On July 15 the Davis City Council approved a charter to be placed on the November ballot. If the charter is approved by the voters, the council will be able to adopt choice voting (a.k.a. single transferable vote or STV) by ordinance. Since three of the five council members have indicated their support for choice voting it is likely that it will be adopted if the charter passes.
Read Chuck O'Neil's full report on Davis.
AB 1662 is CfER's bill to use ranked ballots to improve access to the ballot box for overseas absentee voters. It would apply to general elections held within 90 days of the primary. These include all special elections to fill vacancies in the Legislature and Congress and elections in at least 10 charter cities. Overseas absentee voters would be able to return a special ballot ranking all of the candidates along with their normal first-round ballots. If they are unable to return their second-round ballot in time, this ranked ballot would be used to determine their second-round vote.
As detailed in previous issues of Voice for Democracy, AB 1662 passed the Assembly last year and has been approved by the Senate Elections Committee. It is now in Senate Appropriations, which must approve it by August 15 at the latest. We estimate that the cost of implementation would be AT MOST $100,000, but this year the annual summer budget crisis is more severe than usual. We need to keep the momentum going and continue to build support for the bill.
We need your help to get AB 1662 through the Senate and signed by the Governor. We need you to make two contacts today in the state Senate, as described in the box below. Please visit CfER’s AB 1662 action page for more information, including detailed talking points.
(1) Please contact Senator Tom Torlakson, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and urge him to support the bill when it is heard in committee soon -- by August 15 at the absolute latest.
Senator Tom Torlakson,
(2) Please contact your own state Senator today and urge their support for the bill. In particular, please ask them to co-author the bill. Download this co-author letter and forward it to your Senator. Senators Battin and Hollingsworth are already co-authors.
You can call, fax, email, or send a postal letter to them. Written comments, especially handwritten letters, have the greatest impact, but do whatever works for you. For contact information for your Senator, please view this Senate roster. You can also find out who your Senator is using your address or a map here.
(3) If your senator is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee -- Senators Torlakson (Chair), Cox (Vice Chair), Aanestad, Ashburn, Cedillo, Corbett, Dutton, Florez, Kuehl, Oropeza, Ridley-Thomas, Runner, Simitian, Wyland, and Yee -- be sure to ask them to support the bill when it is heard in committee. An in-person visit or call to their district office is especially effective.
CONDENSED TALKING POINTS
For more detailed talking points see http://www.cfer.org/legislation/ab1662.php#talking.
The only CfER-sponsored bill currently before the Legislature is AB 1662 (ranked ballots for overseas absentee voters), which is alive and well in the Senate Appropriations Committee. See the articles above for details. CfER has also endorsed three bills currently in the Legislature. Read about them here.
In 2006, CfER Board members and LWV members Paula Lee and Rob Dickinson held a caucus at the LWVUS Convention on the National Popular Vote (NPV) compact, with overflow attendance. Last month, at the 2008 Convention, we held another well-attended caucus, which led to 2008 convention delegates adopting a study of the NPV! Read Paula's convention report.
Activists in Los Angeles came very close to getting IRV on the ballot this year. But time ran short, and there were still questions that the council wanted answered, so it will probably be on the ballot next March. There's lots more news here.
... that both Barack Obama and John McCain support IRV? For more, see FairVote’s documentation of this.
... that IRV has now been used, very successfully, in San Francisco, Burlington VT, Cary NC, and Takoma Park MD ... and that choice voting has been used for decades in Cambridge MA to elect the City Council and School Board?
... that ranked ballots are used by overseas voters in Arkansas, Louisiana and South Carolina.?
Help us grow! Download, print and distribute this membership flyer.
Californians for Electoral
Reform (CfER) is a statewide citizens' group promoting election
reforms that ensure that our government fairly represents the
voters. We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with
members from across the political spectrum. Since our founding in May
of 1993, our numbers have grown from about two dozen to hundreds of
members participating in local chapters across California.
ELECTORAL SYSTEM IS IMPORTANT
method by which we vote has dramatic consequences, and nearly one third
state's electorate consistently goes without a representative that
them in Sacramento. The choice of electoral system can determine
will be "spoilers" or vote-splitting effects, majority sweeps of
representation on city councils, or pervasive negative
campaigning. The choice
of electoral system determines whether minority perspectives or racial
ethnic minority groups receive fair representation or get shut out of
CfER IS THE LEADING ADVOCACY GROUP FOR THESE
REFORMS IN CALIFORNIA
works for legislation that would allow cities and counties to adopt
methods that allow people to rank their preferences when they vote. CfER also works with
activists in its local chapters
to enact fair
election methods in cities and counties across the state.
more information about CfER, please visit
CfER was established by citizens like you who think that our government should be representative of the people. A lot of progress is already being made, but the future depends on you.
To join CfER, or renew your membership, please visit
For the membership of CfER Board of Directors, please visit
For a directory of CfER's officer, please visit
We will soon be able to accept contributions on our website. Meanwhile, checks payable to "Californians for Electoral Reform" or "CfER" can be mailed to the address below.
for Democracy is published by
Californians for Electoral Reform
Sacramento, CA 95812
Contents copyright © 2008 by Californians for Electoral Reform. Signed articles are the responsibility of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Californians for Electoral Reform.
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Page last revised August 1, 2008