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

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Voice for Democracy

Newsletter of Californians for Electoral Reform

Summer 2007

Call to Action: Urge Your Senator To Support and Co-Author AB 1294

Click Here for Details

In This Issue

Presidents Letter

CfER Local Option Bill Passes Assembly, Now in Senate

Call to Action: Urge Your Senator to Support and Co-Author AB 1294

AB 1662 Wins Broad Support in the Legislature

Small Step, Big City: People Were Talking in Los Angeles

Ranked Voting Ballot Measures Since 1998

About CfER

Call for Volunteers

Local Chapters and Contacts

Support Our Work

Voice for Democracy

President’s Letter

I'm real excited about the progress our two bills are making in the Legislature, but there are articles elsewhere in this newsletter about that, and I'm limited to 500 words, so I'll stick to internal business and let others tell you about our bills.

We had a very successful Annual General Meeting on May 19th. Read the AGM report here.

CfER Local Option Bill Passes Assembly, Now in Senate

AB 1294, introduced by Assembly Member Gene Mullin (D-19) and Assembly Member Mark Leno (D-13), would allow all cities and counties to use ranked voting systems to elect their representatives.  Now that the bill has passed the Assembly with a strong majority vote, then the Senate Elections Committee, it must next be passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee, which considers the fiscal impact of the bill.  If that is successful, it will then be voted on by the full Senate.

Read more about AB 1294 here and heed the Call to Action below.

Call to Action: Urge Your Senator To Support and Co-Author AB 1294

AB 1294 is CfER's bill to allow cities and counties to use ranked voting systems, including instant runoff voting and choice voting.  We are very pleased that the bill passed the Assembly and has been moving forward in the Senate, but know that we need to keep the momentum going and steadily build support for the bill if it is to be enacted.

We will need your help to move AB 1294 in the California Senate.  We need you to make two contacts today in the state Senate.

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 -- probably on August 20.

   Senator Tom Torlakson,
   Chair, Senate Appropriations Committee
   Postal: State Capitol, Room 5050, Sacramento, CA  95814
   Phone: (916) 651-4007
   Fax: (916) 445-2527

Please contact your state Senator today and urge their support for the bill.  In particular, please ask that they co-author the bill, and provide them with the co-author request letter available at

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 the Senate roster available at:

You can find out who your Senator is using your address or a map at:

If your senator is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee (i.e. Senators Torlakson (Chair), Cox, Aanestad, Ashburn, Battin, Cedillo, Corbett, Dutton, Florez, Kuehl, Oropeza, Ridley-Thomas, Runner, Simitian, Steinberg, Wyland, Yee), be sure to ask them to support the bill when it is heard in committee.


  1. Local governments deserve flexibility in choosing the system that best meets their needs.
  2. Ranked voting can lead to dramatic improvements in voter turnout and participation, especially among minority and low-income communities.
  3. Ranked voting can save local governments and taxpayers considerable money.
  4. IRV has an extremely successful track record in its usage in San Francisco and elsewhere.
For detailed talking points, please visit:

AB 1662 Wins Broad Support in the Legislature

AB 1662, authored by Assembly Member Paul Cook (R-65) and sponsored by CfER, would require that absentee voters located overseas be able to use ranked ballots when voting in elections that might lead to a runoff.  With one committee hearing and one floor vote left to go, it has yet to receive a "no" vote in the legislature.

Read more about AB 1662 in this article.

Small Step, Big City: People Were Talking In Los Angeles

For a moment it seemed like City Hall, Los Angeles, would be on our side, the side of IRV.

On June 13, the Rules and Elections Committee had a meeting to consider various election reforms, and instant runoff voting was "the star of the show."

Read this report from Los Angeles VoteFIRE.

Ranked Voting Ballot Measures Since 1998

As of July 29, ranked voting is already on the November ballot in three places -- Sarasota, Florida, Aspen, Colorado, and Clallam County, Washington.  Here we provide a useful reference on the previous ballot measures to date.

Check out this boxscore.

About CfER ...

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.


The method by which we vote has dramatic consequences, and nearly one third of the state's electorate consistently goes without a representative that speaks for them in Sacramento. The choice of electoral system can determine whether there 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 and ethnic minority groups receive fair representation or get shut out of the process entirely.


CfER works for legislation that would allow cities and counties to adopt voting 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.

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

Call for Volunteers

CfER is an all-volunteer organization and has no paid staff.  We have a lot of great ideas for how to expand our local and state activities, but we are hard pressed to do so without more volunteers, especially ones who can help us build infrastructure and keep the trains running on time.

The details are on this page.

Local Chapters and Contacts

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

Support Our Work

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.

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 © 2007 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.