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Voice for Democracy

Newsletter of Californians for Electoral Reform

Summer 2010

President’s Letter

By SteveChessin

Our newsletter editor informs me I only have 500 words to inform you about our Annual General Meeting in May, so I had better get right to it!

Our keynote speaker took ill and was unable to make the meeting, so instead we had an extended discussion about Proposition 14 and the efforts to defeat it. (Unfortunately, it passed. We expect lawsuits against it and if they fail we expect other activity to preserve the ballot status of minor parties.)

We also had an extended discussion on our legislation, AB 308, that would allow military and overseas voters participating in a two-round runoff election to indicate their runoff choice at the same time as their first election choice by using a ranked ballot. (Unfortunately, that bill number was hijacked for another purpose on June 9, but we expect our bill to be reintroduced next year.)

The Wilma Rule Memorial Award was given to Steven Hill in recognition of his work contributing to the advancement of proportional representation in California for consistently advocating proportional representation in his books, his speaking engagements, and his interactions with elected officials, election officials, voting system vendors, non-governmental organizations, and the general public. Unfortunately (I'm using that word a lot in this letter, aren't I?), Steven could not be present to accept the award, as he was on his way to Washington, DC, to speak about his new book, Europe's Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age (see here for a sample). Now that he's back in town, I'll arrange to get it to him. [Editor's note: There will be more on the Wilma Rule Memorial Award in our next newsletter.]

Finally, we elected our Board of Directors. Elected, in alphabetical order, were: Steve Chessin, Dave Kadlecek, Paula Lee, Pete Martineau, Joe Nemec, Casey Peters, Bob Richard, Christina Tobin, and Richard Winger. We thank out-going board members Chuck O'Neil, Gabri­elle Weeks, and Cat Woods for their service.

Our first item of business for the upcoming year is ensuring the success of the IRV elections in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro this November. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters wants to have an IRV expert in every polling place, and we hope CfER members from all over will volunteer to help. According to California law, any registered voter in California can help at any polling place. Right now the Alameda County registrar thinks he can only hire poll workers who also live in Alameda County, but we're insisting that he check the laws on that, as other counties routinely employ out-of-county poll workers.

Steve Chessin has served as President of CfER since 2001 and was Co-President from 1999-2001.

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