Californians for
Electoral Reform
PO Box 128, Sacramento, CA 95812
916 455-8021

Home   |   About CfER   |   Join / renew   |   Calendar   |   Search

Voice for Democracy

Newsletter of Californians for Electoral Reform

Summer 2005

In this Issue

Presidents Letter

Davis Moves Toward Choice Voting

SB 596: Ranked Voting for Local Jurisdictions

Citizens Assembly: A New Model for Electoral Reform

Los Angeles Voters for Instant Runoff Elections

Chapter Roundtable

Two Appointed Positions Vacant

About CfER

Local Chapters and Contacts

Voice for Democracy

President’s Letter


I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that our previous newsletter editor resigned, so there hasn't been a CfER newsletter in about a year. The good news is that, with the infusion of new people into the organization, we have a new editor and a good plan for staying on track to keep it quarterly. But I get ahead of myself.

First, let me tell you what happened at the Annual General Meeting on May 14.We had an excellent presentation by State Senator Debra Bowen (D-28) on the future of election reform in California. (Senator Bowen is the chair of the Senate Elections, Reapportion­ment, and Constitutional Amendments Committee and the author of SB 596, which would allow all cities, counties, school districts, and special districts to use either IRV or choice voting in their elections.) Her goal is to create a system where people have absolute confidence in the voting system.

We also elected our new board at the meeting. Elected were (in alphabetical order) Steve Chessin, Rob Dickinson, June Genis, David Holtzman, Dave Kadlecek, Paula Lee, Pete Martineau, Bob Richard, and Gabrielle Weeks. We continue to have two members from Southern California (David Holtzman and Gabrielle Weeks), and now have a member from the North Bay (Bob Richard).

We continued the tradition we started last year of giving out three Wilma Rule Memorial Awards. These are given to those persons whose work has contributed most to the advancement of proportional representation in California. The first, in the statewide category, went to Senator Bowen, for sponsoring and authoring SB 596. The second, in the municipal government category, went to Chris Jerdonek, for convincing the members of the City of Davis Governance Task Force to recommend to the City Council that they be elected using choice voting. The third, in the non-governmental organization category, was given to Steve Willett, for overseeing CfER's own choice voting elections since 1998.

At the retreat on May 15 we elected our officers. I continue as President, Paula Lee and Rob Dickinson are our two Executive Vice Presidents, Dave Kadlecek continues as Treasurer, Bob Richard took on the job of Secretary, and Chuck O'Neil is our Chief Financial Officer.

Our appointed Vice Presidents are Dave Heller (Chapters), Bob Richard (Communication), Rob Dickinson (Development), Dave Robinson and Jeffrey McKnight (Information), Pete Martineau and Paula Lee (Legislation), and June Genis (Media Relations). Bob’s portfolio includes the task of newsletter editor, which is why you are reading this.

We are looking for folks to take on the Membership and Outreach portfolios (see the job descriptions elsewhere in this issue).

I was going to talk about the very successful San Francisco IRV election, the (slow) progress towards IRV implementation in Alameda and Santa Clara counties, and "tease" the rest of the articles in this newsletter, but I've run out of space. We'll have to talk about the first two next time, and you'll just have read the rest of the newsletter for yourself.

Steve Chessin

President, Californians for Electoral Reform

Davis Moves Toward Choice Voting 

The university community of Davis is well on its way to becoming the first U.S. city since the late 1940s to adopt choice voting for municipal elections. On May 24 the City Council voted unanimously to take the first step toward placing two measures on the June, 2006 ballot--one to adopt a city charter and a second on choice voting for city council elections. Read the whole story here.

SB 596: Ranked Voting for Local Jurisdictions

Legislation that would allow all cities, counties and districts to adopt ranked voting is alive in the state legislature. State Senator Debra Bowen (D-28) introduced SB 596 on February 18. CfER worked closely with her and her staff to craft the language in the bill, and is working statewide to promote its passage. Get the details here.

Citizens’ Assembly: A New Model for Electoral Reform

“Government of the people, by the people and for the people” should refer to legislatures whose members represent all voters, not just the group who voted for the winning candidates. When existing institutions fail to meet this standard, shouldn’t “we the people” be actively involved in redefining the electoral process? The Canadian province of British Columbia has created a model for giving citizens exactly this kind of responsibility and authority. Many activists in CfER think this model could work in California, too. Find out why here.

Los Angeles Voters for Instant Runoff Elections

L.A. VoteFIRE has started! A new group, Los Angeles Voters For Instant Runoff Elections (L.A. VoteFIRE), has become the CfER chapter for the City of Los Angeles and other communities in Los Angeles County that do not have their own CfER chapters. Read more here.

Chapter Roundtable

Our chapter roundtable this summer provides a whirlwind tour of the state, from Humboldt County in the north to San Diego, with stops along the way in Mendocino, Alameda, El Dorado, Fresno, and Los Angeles. Before we depart, however, we must give brief notice of two statewide developments. Take the tour here.

Two Appointed Positions Vacant

CfER currently has vacancies in two appointed positions, Vice President for Membership and Vice President for Outreach. Here are the job descriptions.

About CfER ...

Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER) is a statewide citizens' group working for election reforms to ensure that our government fairly represents all voters. We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with members from across the political spectrum. Our primary purpose is to promote the implementation of election methods such as instant runoff voting (IRV) and proportional representation.

Since our founding in 1993, we have grown from two dozen members to hundreds of activists and supporters participating in local chapters across California.  We have participated in successful campaigns for IRV in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Santa Clara County.  Members who are students have helped their colleges adopt instant runoff and choice voting.  We speak frequently to organizations and at public forums.

 For 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

Local Chapters and Contacts

To find a CfER chapter coordinator in your area, please visit

Voice for Democracy

Voice for Democracy is published by

Californians for Electoral Reform

P.O. Box 128

Sacramento, CA  95812

Phone: 916-455-8021


Contents copyright Ó 2005 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.