Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER) is a statewide citizens’ group promoting critical election reforms that ensure government fairly represents the voters. To that end, the primary focus of CfER is to promote the implementation of election methods such as Ranked Choice Voting and forms of Proportional Representation.
Our two very strong focus issues are Proportional Representation (PR) and Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). We occasionally endorse related issues, but do not work for them or donate to them.
We promote and recommend RCV for single-winner elections and PR for multiple-winner elections. We strongly oppose plurality voting for multiple winner elections. We strongly oppose both plurality and traditional runoff elections in single-winner elections.
There are three main types of PR — Choice Voting, Party List, and Mixed-Member Proportional PR. We are neutral as to which particular system is used in partisan elections. For non-partisan elections, Choice Voting is the only option for achieving true proportional representation.
There are also semi-proportional systems such as Cumulative Voting and Limited Voting. These are superior to non-proportional systems, but inferior to fully proportional systems. As such, we typically support such efforts, but do not promote them.
Ranked Choice/Instant Runoff Voting
CfER endorses RCV for single-winner elections. However, we do not support changing an at-large system to districts in order to use RCV. Where there are at-large elections, we recommend using PR.
CfER is strictly non-partisan. Our focus issues (PR and RCV) are politically neutral on a long-term basis, and as a result, we have people involved across the political spectrum. We never endorse candidates. We do not consider whether a particular reform benefits Republicans, Democrats, alternative parties, etc. We only care if it benefits Californians as a whole.
We are also very careful to avoid the appearance of partisanship. Thus, e.g., we do not share tables with any political party at conferences. We try to avoid CfER meetings at the offices of political parties. We also seek to make people of all political persuasions comfortable at our meetings, by focussing on our core issues, and strongly discouraging any partisan or unwelcome side comments from any partisan perspective.
Strategy for Winning Statewide RCV and PR
We expect to win RCV and PR elections locally first, then as these systems are shown to work at a local level, expand them to counties and then to statewide elections. We also need to gain the support of larger and more powerful organizations, and of “opinion-makers”, those who others look to for guidance.
Finally, we make sure that we stay positioned to take advantage of any statewide legislative opportunities, and we do take the initiative for statewide legislation when we feel the timing and chances of success are good.