Californians for Electoral Reform has been working for Proportional Representation and Ranked Choice Voting for over 20 years, and we continue to work on these issues actively. We are an action-oriented group, with chapters and contacts around the state, working in the State Legislature, and working in many local communities, promoting and educating about Proportional Representation (PR) and Ranked Choice Voting (RCV).
We have led successful campaigns for RCV in San Leandro, Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley, and spoken to thousands of people. RCV is now much better known than it was 20 years ago and is being seriously considered in several jurisdictions around the state. We have twice got legislation through both houses of the legislature and to the governor’s desk. We are well known in Sacramento and in electoral reform circles, and have a lot of respect in Sacramento and statewide.
You can join for free. You can also send in a little (or a lot of) money to help the movement if you can. If you have time and energy you can get involved in a campaign or education work. If you want to get our quarterly newsletter and monthly updates, you can do that too, at no cost.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Steve Chessin – President
Steve has served twenty-seven years on the Board of CfER; four as VP of State and National Campaigns and twenty-three as President or Co-President. He is also active with the Democratic Party and serves on the Santa Clara County Citizens Advisory Commission on Elections (CACE). Steve has organized opposition to bills that would have prevented jurisdictions from using RCV. These include AB 759 (amended to remove the offensive language), SB 286 (changed to be about a different subject entirely), and AB 2808 (held in committee so would not advance); advised members of the San Jose Charter Review Committee on ranked choice voting, and drafted a charter amendment for them; began the process of having Santa Clara County consider switching its elections from two-round runoff to RCV; participated in presentations on RCV to the Redondo Beach City Council and the San Bruno City Council; given numerous talks on RCV and PR. As President, Steve also prepares the agenda for our monthly board meetings.
Paula Lee – Vice President, Treasurer
Paula joined CfER and the League of Women Voters to advocate for proportional representation over 20 years ago. Her contribution to CfER and California reform efforts has been my continued focus on educating & advocating for Proportional Representation/RCV within the LWV resulting in a position all Leagues in CA can use to support PR/RCV. Paula led 2 national campaigns that resulted in national electoral reform studies and official national LWVUS positions that support the National Popular Vote Compact, Proportional Representation, and Alternatives to plurality voting like Ranked Choice Voting. These positions can be used by all Leagues in the country to support full representation of voters. Paula uses her local political connections as a Sacramento LWV leader (Pres.) in coalition building support in Sacramento with electeds, laying the groundwork for a future RCV campaign while training some local activists.
Felix Ling – Chief Financial Officer
Felix has a long and keen interest in proportional representation and has been advocating for electoral reform for almost 20 years, mostly online on social media (see https://twitter.com/perfctlyGoodInk and https://www.quora.com/profile/Felix-Ling-1) as well as via comments at various blogs and publications such as the Wall Street Journal. He has served as the co-chair of the Alternative Voting Committee for the national Libertarian Party last year. I have also been running the Twitter account for CalRCV since their launch meeting.
Lorelei Moosbrugger, Ph.D. – Director of Education
Lorelei is a political scientist and lecturer in Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her expertise is in the political consequences of electoral systems. Lorelei joined the Board because she believes that single-member district plurality elections are probably the worst way to elect representatives – they limit choice to one of two big parties, reduce voter turnout, minimize incentives for voters to be informed and foster tribalism. To make matters worse, primaries empower the extremes and gerrymandering prevents more moderate voters from holding their party accountable at the polls without defecting to the other side. She is also on the Advisory Board of RanktheVote.us to contribute to the growing movement working to improve the quality of our democracy by changing the way we vote. She is focused on empowering college student communities anxious and ready for change.
Phill Courtney advocates for proportional representation to end the two-party duopoly. Phill worked within the Democratic Party until the early nineties but joined the Greens in 1991, wishing to be a member of a party that actually represented my political values. His commitment to the Greens has even resulted in two congressional campaigns in 1998 and 2002. However, Phill saw that getting people to join the Green Party isn’t “the solution” to our political problems. The perverse power of our two-party, winner-take-all system is amazingly effective at neutralizing dissent. The best hope is change our system of electing people to office—a system that allows people who do not support the status quo to get people who speak for them into the halls of power in Washington D.C.The best bet for doing that is proportional representation.
Dave Kadlecek has worked for proportional representation since early on in CfER’s predecessor organization NCCPR and is an active member of the Peace and Freedom Party. He believes that those who are affected by decisions should make those decisions collectively and democratically. That’s why Dave supports proportional representation, to make “representative democracy” (where decisions cannot be made directly by all those affected) genuinely representative.
Dave Robinson has worked with CfER for about 20 years, including some years of board service. Early on, Dave helped CfER broaden its mission to include single-winner ranked-choice voting (RCV). He built and maintained demochoice.org, which hosts free single- and multi-winner RCV polls for small groups around the world. While serving on the student government at Stanford University (where he first connected with CfER), he led an effort to change the election of its president from a two-round runoff to RCV. This increased graduate student voter turnout about tenfold, and is still in use. Alumni with RCV experience now serve in Congress and other leadership positions. Dave campaigned door-to-door during the ballot measures for RCV in San Francisco and Albany, served as a poll worker for RCV elections in Oakland, and tabled at party conventions and similar events. More recently, helped CfER advocate for newer voting machines that support more rankings, which are now being used in San Francisco and Alameda Counties.
Joan Strasser is serving her fifth term on the Board of Directors. She has been active in the proportional representation movement since the mid-nineties. She has participated in three Bay Area IRV campaigns, a local League of Women Voters study group on IRV, has tabled to educate about proportional representation at street fairs and and several Democrat and Republican state party conventions, as well as at Junior States of America events.
C.T. Weber is active with the Peace and Freedom Party and is a long-time supporter of proportional representation (PR). He founded Volunteers Organizing Toward Electoral Reforms (VOTERs) in the early 1980s. Its purpose was to raise awareness of PR. VOTERs launched an initiative for a list system of PR which failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. However, it did raise the awareness of PR in California and the country, Later after what is now called FairVote was founded, VOTERs was limited to southern California. The organization dissolved when C.T. moved to northern California. C.T. has also been a long-time union organizer, steward, and elected leader (including four terms on the California State Employees Association, Board of Directors). As President of SEIU Local 1000, District Labor Council 784, he served on the SEIU 1000 State Council and was a delegate to the Sacramento Central Labor Council (Sac CLC). He is currently a delegate to the Sac CLC representing California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) where he serves as a vice president.