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Voice for Democracy

Newsletter of Californians for Electoral Reform

Summer 2008

News Briefs

Activists in Los Angeles came very close to getting IRV on the ballot this year. But time ran short, and there were still questions that the council wanted answered, so it will probably be on the ballot next March.

IRV will not be used in Berkeley this year, because a July 14 federal and state certification deadline was not met. It will almost certainly be used in the next election.

IRV is on the ballot in Glendale, Arizona, where they are calling it Ranked Choice Voting. It is Proposition 404.

IRV is also on the ballot in Memphis, Tennessee this year.

The Cincinnati NAACP is beginning a petition drive to change Cincinnati City Council elections to a choice voting proportional representation system.

In British Columbia folks are hard at work, preparing for the STV (choice voting) referendum next year. In 2005 they got 58 percent of the vote, just falling short of the 60 percent popular vote threshold that was required. They were able to get over 50 percent in 77 of 79 districts.

IRV should be on the ballot next year in St. Paul. It was placed on the ballot by a petition drive, but the city council has not set a date yet. Activists had to gather 5,100 valid signatures, and they succeeded.

The Spring 2008 student election season brought another successful round of IRV and choice voting elections. FairVote estimates that at least 30,600 students voted in IRV and choice voting elections for student government in nine colleges. Already used by more than half of the nation's top thirty universities (based on rankings by "U.S. News and World Report"), IRV has been recently adopted by students at UCLA, North Carolina State University, Santa Fe College (FL) and the University of Iowa, where IRV was used for the first time this year with the highest turnout student election ever. More details in this FairVote press release.

On May 27, Colorado governor Bill Ritter signed HB 1378, a bill to allow all Colorado municipalities and special districts to use instant runoff voting and choice voting. This is very similar to our AB 1294 that Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed in California last year.

On June 26, the Illinois Senate sent a good bill to the governor. This bill would allow oversea voters to use ranked ballots in elections that may have a runoff. This is very similar to our AB 1662.

Jim Lindsay

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