Voice for Democracy


Newsletter of Californians for Proportional Representation

January-February 2001

Pressure mounts for Electoral Reforms!

by Paula Lee

STATE:  The California Legislature has introduced 3 bills to modernize voting equipment.  They are: AB 28, AB 55 and AB 56. These bills are all requesting funding for modernization and AB 56, proposed by the Assembly Speaker Hertzberg, will likely be the one to come out of committee.

CPR is supporting all three bills and will testify at the committee hearings requesting that equipment be compatible for use with ranked ballots.  Most modern equipment such as touch screen and optical scanned ballots are compatible with IRV and PR. AB 56 GRANTS FOR UPDATED VOTING SYSTEMS:
Department of Information Technology to award grants to counties for the purchase of updated voting systems at a ratio of $1 of county funds for every $3 of state funds:- appropriate $300,000,000 from the General Fund.

CPR will take a neutral position on AB 45 introduced by Republican Tony Strickland and testify at committee hearings to provide education about proportional alternatives to allocation of electors by Congressional district.  AB 45 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORS: Political parties nominate an elector in each congressional district and 2 electors on a statewide basis.  The elector nominee in each congressional district whose presidential candidate has the highest number of votes in the congressional district and 2 presidential electors on the basis of the presidential candidate having the highest number of votes statewide. For the latest info on California bills, go to www.assembly.ca.gov and www.senate.ca.gov

ACTION:  Please call your California representative and encourage them to support AB 56.

FEDERAL: HR 57 - Federal Elections Review Commission Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Jim Leach (R-IA).  This bill establishes a 12 member nonpartisan commission to study and make recommendations with respect to the Federal electoral process. The Act asks the Commission to examine and report to the President, Congress and the Federal Elections Commission on many issues including the electoral college, voter registration, ballot access, Internet voting, polling place closing times, training of poll workers, impact of ballot design, options for redress when there are irregularities, early voting, criteria for participation in presidential debates, the feasibility of limiting the campaign season, the presidential primary process AND..... the impact of winner-take-all voting and the feasibility and advisability of election reforms such as instant runoff voting, proportional representation, candidates appearing on multiple ballot lines, cumulative voting with a particular focus on the impact on voter turnout and expanding political dialog.

ACTION:  This bill has 45 co-sponsors currently. In California. Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Bob Filner, Tom Lantos, Barbara Lee, Nancy Pelosi and Lucille Roybal-Allard are co-sponsors.  Call and thank them!   If your representative is NOT listed call and ask them to co-sponsor this important bipartisan bill...HR 57

Seeing this legislative action in the area of electoral reform is encouraging.  It is critical that we in the electoral reform community let our representatives know how important this is to us!  Make a few phone calls today, to contact your member of Congress call 202-224-3421.  There is tremendous momentum in the House on this bill and your phone call will help.  Call now! 

Now is the time to “Get active”

CPR calls for action.

    Despite our split political persuasions this last elections has the benefit of bringing the issue of election reform to the limelight.  This attention is welcomed but will be short lived unless we can articulate the issues and changes needed.

    Several important actions are pending.  Bills to fund election equipment will provide the opportunity to use ranked ballots. 
    A bill to set up a commission to study the election system and many initiatives to use Instant Runoff voting are also the result of the last elections.
    The ongoing League's study of election systems is very appropriate and we must all get behind this very important initiative.  A critical look at our two party system and what it does for choice is needed.  When we look at the other systems of the world we see how proportional representation gives better coverage to our diverse views.  This is what we need if we want to preserve our diversity and unity.
    My plea to the membership is to get active.  Come to the AGM to mix and find out what you can do.  Plan to return to the Retreat the next day

Marda Q Stothers, Co President,  Californians for Proportional Representation


Stanford Electoral Reform Conference
March 3, 2001
    Americans are discovering that the quality of our democracy is determined by the quality of our voting system.
    How can we improve our voting methods so that they more faithfully result in government of, by, and for the people?
   Join a discussion of these topics and learn what you can do about it on Saturday, March 3 from 10-3 at the Stanford Electoral Reform Conference.
    Featured speakers include John Anderson, independent presidential candidate in the 1980
election and president of the Center for Voting and Democracy (CVD), Pam Karlan, Stanford law professor, Mischelle Townsend of Riverside County and other election officials, Caleb Kleppner, Dan Johnson-Weinberger and others from CVD.

Topics to be discussed include: the importance of voting systems to our democracy; what's likely to happen on a national level, including national equipment standards; opportunities and challenges regarding voting equipment upgrades in California, and a report on Riverside's successful introduction of a touchscreen system this year; electoral reform issues including Instant Runoff Voting, Proportional Representation, Direct Representation, and redistricting; and opportunities for reform in California.
    We will have interactive demonstrations of high-tech voting equipment and the Instant Runoff and PR methods.
    Directions can be found on the website: http://www.calirv.org  Ample free parking is available outside Tresidder. Assistance with lodging and transportation arrangements is available. Sponsored by CVD, the California Instant Runoff Voting Coalition, and CPR., there is no charge for this event.  However, an r.s.v.p. would be very much appreciated to assist in planning. Call Nancy Couperus (650) 941-4808  or e-mail couperus@mindspring.com
for more information and/or to let us know that you plan to attend.


Outreach in Sacramento Feb. 24th/25th
    I am looking for volunteers to help table for PR and IRV at the Republican Convention at the Hyatt Hotel Feb 24th and 25th in downtown
    This is a great opportunity for outreach and I hope to hear from you...especially if you are a Republican or Libertarian.  Actually, I could use your help as advocates of PR and IRV.  Please  e-mail your availability so I can make up a schedule.  Waiting to hear from you... Thank you so much! Paula Lee
(530)-644-8760 email at paulalee@jps.net


Mark Your Diary !

Los Angeles Meetings
February 11, 2-5 p.m.  February 28, 6-9 p.m.
Meetings will take place at 446 S. Van Ness Ave., Los Angeles (2 blocks north of Wilshire Blvd., 5 blocks west of Western Ave.) CONTACT: 213-385-2786 prorep@hotmail.com  CPR, 2163 Vestal Ave. Los Angeles CA 90026-1955

South Bay

The next meeting of the So Bay Chapter will be Sunday, March 11 at 4pm. Call Jim Stauffer at (408) 432-9148 jstauffer@igc.org


    In less than a year after CPR voted to change our name, we have made significant progress toward becoming a full-fledged statewide organization.
    Edward Teyssier has agreed to serve as CPR's San Diego County Contact and has assembled local activists from at least four different political
parties.  Another chapter is likely to form in Ventura County.
East Bay
   On December 19th, the Berkeley City Council passed a four-part resolution supporting IRV and East Bay members were instrumental in lobbying the city council.  The resolution calls for an IRV study and instructs the City to write letters and lobby both state legislators and members of Congress, encouraging them to use IRV.  East Bay members are also pursuing ways to implement IRV in Oakland after the passage of Measure I.
Los Angeles
    On January 20th, the Los Angeles County Chapter of CPR distributed more than
1500 pieces of literature to those attending Inauguration Day protests in Pershing Square.

    New chapters and initiative campaigns for the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Santa Monica are being planned.
South Bay
    The statutory language is there, now CPR members in Santa Clara are working on having ranked ballots actually implemented for local elections.  The South Bay Chapter has also formed a subcommittee to lobby state and federal
lawmakers to support proposals that will help advance electoral reform.

Local Chapters and Contacts


San Diego County Contact is Edward Teyssier, 858-546-1774/email at  edward@k-online.com 


Southern California Contact is Casey Peters (213)-385-2786/email at proprep@hotmail.com


Monterey County Contact is Nat Lerner (831)-442-1238/email at natscottl@yahoo.com


South Bay Chapter Contact is Jim Stauffer (408)-432-9148 /email at jstauffer@igc.org


San Francisco Chapter Contact is Betty Traynor (415)-558-8133/email at btraynor@energy-net.org


East Bay Chapter Contact is David Greene (510)-658-3085/email at david@diana.lbl.gov


Sacramento County Contact is Pete Martineau (916)-967-0300/email at petemrtno@aol.com


El Dorado County contact is Paula Lee (530)-644-8760/email at paulalee@jps.net


North Bay Contact is Wayne Shepard (707)-5520-5317/email at paldebits@juno.com


Vice-President of Local Chapters is Rob Latham  510-632-1366 x116 /email at freeca@msn.com



Voice for Democracy is published by Californians for Proportional Representation (prior to May 2000 Northern California Citizens for Proportional Representation). Our web site at http://www.fairvoteca.org may have more current information. Please submit articles or letters for publication to: c/o Nat Lerner, Voice for Democracy, 68 Penzance Street, Salinas, CA. 93906-1339 or e-mail to natscottl@yahoo.com



Join us today!


To join CPR and participate in the electoral reform movement, just complete the form below and send it with $25.00 check made out to CPR to:-

Membership, CPR  P.O. Box 128 Sacramento, California 95812


Name: ________________________________











Want To Learn More About the Different Election Systems?

    The League of Women Voters Election Systems study is progressing.  The Local Leagues throughout the State have received the Election Systems Study Kit and Leaders Guide and the study committees are working to learn about different election systems so that they can act as a resource at consensus meetings that each group will hold between now and April 2001.The consensus forms will be due in the State office by May 1st.The State study committee will then compile the forms and determine if there is any statewide consensus for a position on election systems. If you are interested in learning more about the majority/plurality, semi proportional and proportional election systems, I would recommend you get involved in your local League of Women Voters group and participate in this study. The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization for men and women. The mission of the LWV is to encourage the active and informed participation of citizens in government and influence public policy through education and advocacy.  Call your Local League today, as many have begun this study, and get involved.  To find a local LWV in your area, call Paula Lee at 530 644-8760/ e-mail paulalee@jps.net.

STOP PRESS: On February 7th. Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL) introduced HR 506, the "Congress 2004 Commission Act.". The bill will establish a commission to study a number of things, but the number one and two issues it will consider are: 1. analyze the current size of the membership of the House of Representatives... 2. examine alternatives to the current method by which Representatives are elected (including cumulative voting and proportional representation) to determine if such alternatives would make the House of Representatives a more representative body. - Eric Olson, CVD, 2/10/2001.
The text of the legislation is available at the Library of Congress' Thomas website.  You can read it at: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas2.html





Voice for Democracy


P.O. Box 128

Sacramento, California 95812