Weekly Ezine Number 410
What Is Happening with Election Reform?
What Is Happening with Election Reform?
The answer is—a lot!! The following is information we got from Fair Vote.org.
The tweets below tell the story. After a decade of serious debate and two years of some intensive work (led by FairVote last year and by Common Cause NY this year, with a good boost from Represent.us), the New York City charter commission tonight has voted to put on the November ballot ranked choice voting for all primary election (including the open seat election for mayor) and all special elections. They voted narrowly not to include use of RCV for general elections, where fusion voting add a layer of logistical complexity.
In other fronts:
* Sally Hudson, the star volunteer co-founder of FairVote Virginia, was effectively elected to the Virginia state legislature yesterday after winning her primary — first scaring out of the race a long-term incumbent, then handily defeating a new challenger.
* Maria Perez, now with Common Cause NM, is pushing hard to the Monday city council vote finish line to have Albuquerque join Las Cruces and Santa Fe in using RCV this November.
* Voter Choice MA is doing gangbusters as it heads toward a 2020 ballot measure; this week all three Massachusetts candidates for president in 2020 (Elizabeth Warren and Seth Moulton on Democratic side and Bill Weld on Republican side) indicated support for RCV. There’s a real chance of at least one more viable statewide measure in 2020.
* Six Democratic state parties plan to use RCV in their party-run primaries or caucuses next year. (See story below.) Scott Siebel and I are in Santa Fe right now, and are scheduled to meet with heads of all six parties to talk about plans for implementation and voter education during a national meeting going on here; Jeanne Massey of FairVote MN and two other state leaders will present on RCV to the gathering this week as well.
* At least four other cities will use RCV for the first time this November – Vineyard and Payson in Utah (with many more to follow in in 2021 if this goes well), St. Louis Park in Minnesota, and Eastpoine in Michigan, which will importantly use the fair representation, proportional form of RCV in a two-seat election as the resolution of a Voting Rights Act case.
* We’re gearing up for national legislation for Maine-style RCV to be introduced with fanfare next month and the Fair Representation Act later in the fall as we use them as an organizing tool to build power and help those in states and soon the nation.
LOTS of good news as covered some in today’s “media monitoring” blast. We sent that blast our every week day, so if you want to be on the list, let me know.
What’s happening in democracy today (hint: there’s a lot!) – FV’s media monitoring 6-12-19
Opinion: NYC Can Choose a Better Democracy With Ranked-Choice Voting City Limits (June 12)
Op-ed calling for the New York City Charter Revision Commission to approve ranked choice voting cites low turnout, a typically apathetic electorate, a need for consensus, and positive, issue-based campaigns as reasons to support the measure.
In an attempt to boost participation and modernize its election processes, the Kansas Democratic Party has submitted a plan to the DNC to abandon its traditional caucuses and instead adopt a ranked choice voting primary in which voters will be provided mail-in ballots.
Who knew? Ranked-choice voting is coming to the presidential election. The Fulcrum (June 12)
In this article, one of the most comprehensive written on ranked-choice voting in presidential elections, the author notes that Iowa and as many as five other states will be using ranked choice voting in their candidate selection process. In the piece, which details specifically how RCV will be used in these certain states, FairVote Senior Fellow David Daley is quoted and FairVote CEO and founder Rob Richie is paraphrased.
The Ezra Klein Show Vox (June 11)
On this podcast, Elizabeth Warren appears to support ranked choice voting (45:00 mark) and touts it as a pro-democracy reform that stemmed from grassroots organizing. The transcript for this podcast episode is in the piece below.
Elizabeth Warren’s plan to pass her plans Vox (June 12)
In this piece, which is a condensed version of her Vox podcast appearance, Warren provides tacit support for ranked choice voting as a pro-democracy reform.
Elizabeth Warren sounds very open to ranked choice voting Boston.com (June 11)
Elizabeth Warren, in Ezra Klein’s podcast, cites ranked choice voting as a reform that gives her hope that the democratic process is ‘reinventing itself.’
Chart a steady course: The right and wrong way to edit the City Charter NY Daily News (June 12)
This piece, authored by the Daily News editorial board, strongly urges the NYC Charter Revision Commission to endorse ranked choice voting, noting that RCV leads to higher on voter turnout, less candidate squabbling, and less money spent on costly runoff elections.
Ranked-choice voting, for a more representative democracy NY Daily News (June 12)
This piece, co-authored by two female candidates for NYC City Council, calls for the NYC Charter Commission to adopt RCV as a way to promote women and people of color seeingk office in the city.
Ranked choice voting: Dems hosting speaker on June 12 Estes Park Trail-Gazette (CO), (June 11)
The Estes Valley Democrats are hosting Linda Templin, Executive Director of RCV for Colorado, at a local library in hopes of raising awareness of RCV in hopes that it can eventually be adopted in the area in future elections.
It’s official: Six challengers aim to unseat SF Mayor London Breed in November San Francisco Chronicle (June 11)
San Francisco, which is one of the most prominent U.S. cities to use ranked choice voting, will be holding its mayoral elections in the fall. This piece mentions that the elections are conducted using RCV.
Chris Selley: Possible referendum on voting system in Quebec another letdown for electoral reformers? National Post (Canada), (June 11)
This article notes that supporters of a mixed member proportional (MMP) voting system—which uses single-transferrable vote, a form of ranked-choice voting—are facing daunting obstacles in their quest to get the method approved by referendum in the province of Quebec.
Local elections 2019: All you need to know Sun Live (NZ), (June 12)
This article provides a primer for New Zealand voters who may be unfamiliar with their single-transferable vote system. This system, which is a form of ranked choice voting, is used in local and national elections in New Zealand.
Sally Hudson wins 57th District primary CBS19 News (VA), (June 11)
Sally Hudson, founder of FairVote Virginia, won her highly contested primary for Virginia state legislature and is expected to be a positive force for RCV if elected to the legislature.
Maine Exhales The American Prospect (June 12)
This feature on current Maine governor Janet Mills notes that she won a ranked-choice voting gubernatorial primary in order to face off against incumbent Paul Lepage (the general election did not use RCV). A quote from the piece: “RCV has emerged as a solution to the perils of Maine’s plurality dynamics in certain races.”
Headlines for Tuesday, June 11, 2019 Kansas Public Radio (via AP), (June 11)
Dispatch from the AP notes that Kansas Democrats submitted a plan to the DNC to switch from their traditional caucus system to a ranked choice voting primary, which they believe will allow more voters to participate in the candidate-selection process.
Andrew Heaton: Libertarian Laughter To Lighten Us Up – Part 2 Liberty Nation (June 11)
Libertarian Andrew Heaton supports ranked choice voting as an antidote to the entrenched “duopoly” of the two-party system.
How Can Cities Improve Their Mayoral Election Process?
And the cherry on top to all this good news is we had an OpEd published in the Kansas City Star about how much better Kansas City’s Mayoral Election would be if the city was using Ranked Choice Voting. The points made about Kansas City’s election apply to the election in your city, too. Check out the article here.
The KC Star followed our OpEd three days later with an Editorial endorsing Kansas’ use of RCV in its Democratic Presidential Primary, as noted above.
Then, to complete the trifecta, the Star published a letter to the editor from my friend and former professor Max Skidmore. More than our personal relationship, the significance of Max’s letter is that it so clearly points out the limitations of our current voting system and therefore illustrates the need for the changes we’re advocating.
We also attended the MO Libertarian Party State Convention last weekend. One of our achievements there was to finalize a partnership with them to staff their booth at the MO State Fair. Our hope is to spread the word about Election Reform.
See you next time.