Voice for Democracy


Newsletter of Californians for Proportional Representation

March-April 2002


   Prop A wins!  

From Steve Chessin, President of Californians for Proportional Representation:


First, CONGRATULATIONS!  San Francisco's Proposition A passed by 56% to 44%, and many CPR members contributed time and/or money to ensure this victory.  San Francisco may now become the first city in California to actually use Instant Runoff Voting in its elections, either this November or at the latest November 2003.  (Why, you may ask, does an organization with Proportional Representation in its name support IRV? Aside from IRV being a good reform in itself for single-winner elections, IRV gets voters used to ranking their choices and election administrators used to handling and counting ranked ballots, all of which will be necessary in order to implement Choice Voting, the only form of pure PR that can be implemented at the local level in California.)


Also, Proposition 41 passed, making $200 million available to counties (in a 3:1 matching ratio) to help them replace punch-card equipment with touch screens or optical scanners, both of which can easily accommodate the ranked ballots necessary to both IRV and Choice Voting.


While CPR doesn't endorse candidates, I do note that the Democratic nominee for Secretary of State, Kevin Shelley, is on record supporting IRV, the first major party candidate for this office to do so.  Also, the Democratic nominee in the new 39th Congressional District, Linda Sanchez (sister of 47th CD representative Loretta Sanchez) is a PR supporter.  We are making visible inroads into at least one of the major parties.


Secondly, our Annual General Meeting is fast approaching.  The date has been set for Saturday May 18th, with the Board retreat Sunday May 19th.  We'll have more details in a subsequent mailing.


One of the things we will do at the AGM is hold elections for our Board of Directors.  Elsewhere in this newsletter you will find a "Call for Nominations".  Please consider increasing your level of participation in CPR by running for the Board.


Finally, I want to apologize for not having a President's letter last issue.  I wrote it, I just forgot to email it to the editor!  Mea culpa.  (It was mainly an exhortation to help with Prop A.)


--Steve Chessin


Inside:  Call for Nominations – IRV action in Oakland and Riverside – Web poll – A logo – Next steps


Call for Nominations


We will be electing our nine-member Board of Directors at our Annual General membership meeting in May.  While I expect that many of the current Directors will run for re-election, we are always looking for people who want to increase their level of activity with CPR.  Also, we elect our Board using PR (we practice what we preach!) and PR only works if the election is contested.


The Board itself meets in person every three months, and by conference call in the in-between months.  Board members are encouraged (but not required) to get involved with some area of interest, such as membership development, outreach, communication, chapter coordination, finance, lobbying, or education.


Candidates may be self-nominated.  To nominate yourself, send your name and a statement of up to 250 words to CPR Elections, c/o Steve Willett, 6422 Irwin Court, Oakland, CA  94609.  You may also send your name and statement via email to stevew @ initcomp . com.


Nominations and statements must be received by April 13th, 2001, in order to guarantee appearance in the ballots that will be mailed to all members prior to the AGM.  (If you use US mail, we recommend you mail your statement by April 6th, 2001, to guarantee timely delivery.)


So consider running for the Board.  It's fun, and you get to help set the direction of the PR movement!  Members from Southern California and newly active members are especially encouraged to run.


East Bay News


On March 5, Oakland again gave a nod to IRV when it passed Measure H, which provides for a special election to fill a mayoral vacancy. Like last year's Measure I for City Council vacancies, Measure H again calls for turnout-increasing measures like preferential voting (IRV) to be considered. Measure I's passage resulted in a Special Elections task force which has recommended that mail-in ballots and/or IRV be used to increase turnout for council vacancy special elections. On March 14, Oakland's Rules Committee will vote on this recommendation; if it passes, the City Attorney and Clerk will be directed to draft the appropriate ordinances and legislation to realize these recommendations.


Berkeley's city clerk reports she will complete the IRV feasibility study by this May, allowing the council there ample time to put it on the November ballot if they so choose.


Riverside News


The Riverside IRV Coalition is sponsoring an educational forum on Instant  Runoff Voting (IRV).  The event will be Tuesday March 26th, 1-5pm, at the  Riverside Central Library (3581 Mission Inn Ave.).  Panelists include  Riverside County Registrar Mischelle Townsend, Moreno Valley Councilmember  Bonnie Flickinger, and Dan Johnson-Weinberger from the Center for Voting and  Democracy.  Councilmember Flickinger, a Libertarian, was in a four-way tie for second place for last week until the final tally left her out of the  runoff election by less than 50 votes.


The purpose of the forum will be to explore the use of IRV in Riverside City  and County elections.  Riverside County has been a pioneer in the use of  electronic voting systems, making IRV easy to implement.  Two Riverside City  Council members have expressed a strong interest in IRV but will unable to  participate the forum due to a conflict with a City Council meeting.


Seating is limited, so please contact Charlotte Fox of the League of Women  Voters at (909) 302-0180 or at lottiefox @ cs.com for reservations.


New Preference Voting Web Poll




This website allows you to vote in some sample preference voting polls, view nice graphs of the results, and even create your own poll. It is an open-source, cross-platform package that is easy to set up on other servers and is designed to process large numbers of ballots efficiently.


It uses CVD's specification for preference voting, neglecting the parts relevant to write-ins and duplicate rankings, which are not allowed in the web poll.  New features will be added in the next few months, including pie charts and ballot authentication.


We want to make this system both comprehensive and user-friendly.  Please try it, and have your friends and family try it, too. If you find anything confusing or strange, or if you have general suggestions, please let us know (email demochoice@directrep.org).  We hope to convince high-traffic websites to use this system.

Here is the “Voter Voice” logo mentioned in the previous issue.  The logo appears in full color at http://www.directrep.org/votervoice.jpg.  At the Annual General Meeting in May, CPR will consider resolutions to change our name and statement of purpose to reflect the principles of a republic: all voters deserve a voice in government, chosen from diverse options; and decisions should reflect a majority of voters.


Next Steps


With the success of Props A and 41, and with momentum for IRV in several other cities and counties, we are swimming in new opportunities to make progress.  It will be a challenge for us to keep up with the action!  We need to make sure that equipment purchased with Prop 41 funds is compatible with ranked ballots.  This will require research and interaction with many state and local officials.  We need to watch the San Francisco Department of Elections and help educate San Francisco voters to make sure that Prop A is implemented smoothly.  We need to build on our success to bring IRV to charter cities that already have momentum, like Berkeley and Oakland, and that already have adequate equipment, like

Riverside, Santa Barbara, Fresno, and Eureka.  We are at a stage where every bit of time, effort and money that you can contribute to this effort can make a big difference.  Let’s keep it up!


Dave Robinson, this issue’s editor





                                Local Chapters and Contacts


San Diego Area

Edward Teyssier

(858) 546-1774

edward @ k-online . com

Los Angeles Area

Casey Peters

(213) 385-2786

cp @ pcmagic . net

Monterey County

Nat Lerner

(831) 442-1238

natscottl @ yahoo . com

Santa Clara County

Jim Stauffer

(408) 432-9148

jstauffer @ igc . org

East Bay

David Greene


dmgreene @ igc . org

SF County

Betty Traynor

(415) 558-8133

btraynor @ energy-net . org

Sacramento County

Pete Martineau

(916) 967-0300

petemrtno @ aol . com

North Bay

Wayne Shepard

(707) 552-5317

Pauldebits @ juno . com

El Dorado County

Paula Lee

(530) 644-8760

paulalee @ softcom . net




Voice for Democracy is published by Californians for Proportional Representation.




Please submit articles or letters for publication via e-mail to

vfd @ directrep . org.


©2002 Californians for Proportional Representation





Californians for Proportional Representation – PO Box 128 – Sacramento, CA 95812






Voice for Democracy


P.O. Box 128

Sacramento, California 95812