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Voice for Democracy

Newsletter of Californians for Electoral Reform

Winter 2009

In This Issue

President's Letter
Davis Voters Reject Charter Proposal
IRV in Los Angeles: More "Studies" Ahead
National Electoral Reform Roundup
Measure Y Defeated in Albany
News Briefs
Join CfER or Renew Your Membership now
About CfER
Local Chapters and Contacts
Support Our Work
Voice for Democracy

President’s Letter

CfER President Steve Chessin's letter includes some good news, some bad news and some mixed news. Read his report here.

Davis Voters Reject Charter Proposal

On a day that produced mixed results for ranked voting proposals around the country, voters in Davis rejected a proposed home rule charter by a 54% to 46% margin. If adopted, the charter would have allowed Davis to adopt choice voting, which voters approved in an advisory measure two years ago.

Read Bob Richard's post mortem on the Measure N campaign.

IRV in Los Angeles: More "Studies" Ahead

On November 3, the Los Angeles City Council postponed taking action on instant runoff voting (IRV). Instead, it launched a "task force" to further study IRV--which it has been studying since 2002. As a result, IRV will not appear on the March 2009 ballot.

An update from the New America Foundation's Gautam Dutta is here.

National Election Reform Roundup

This November's ballot measures showed that Americans are ready to transform our politics. Landslide majorities voted for spoiler-free, majority elections through instant runoff voting (IRV)in Memphis, Tennessee and Telluride, Colorado (67%), which extends a nearly unbroken string of wins for IRV in ballot measures since 2002.

FairVote's Rob Richie summarizes the wins and losses here.

Measure Y Defeated in Albany

Like most small cities in California, Albany's mayor is currently a councilor appointed annually to the position by the city council. Measure Y proposed a change to direct election of the mayor every four years. Election would be by a majority, with the council to decide in advance of the election between a traditional runoff and IRV.

The story on why it lost from Albany resident Preston Jordan is here.

News Briefs

British Columbia voters get a second chance to adopt choice voting; California's overseas voters might still be able to use ranked ballots in runoff elections with tight deadlines; a Minnesota judge rejects a challenge to IRV; Oregon considers a local option bill.

Read these news briefs here.

Join CfER or Renew Your Membership now

Help us grow! Download, print and distribute this membership flyer.

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

For a directory of local chapter contacts 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 © 2009 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.