E-Newsletter October 24, 2012

Released October 24, 2012


We're in the final two weeks of the election, and there's a lot going in states across the nation as we approach a hugely important election. Here's news from FairVote:

Krist live on CSPAN to talk about our Fair Voting 2012 Report: I hope that you can tune in tomorrow morning (Thursday at 7:45 am Eastern) on CSPAN's Washington Journal for a 45 minute segment with FairVote board chair Krist Novoselic. Krist will focus in particular on our fair voting plans to replace winner-take-all voting for congressional elections with American forms of proportional representation. It's a call-in show, which gives you a chance to share your thoughts our democracy and how we can advance to Democracy 2.0

Join Washington Post in checking out how congressional election s are and how they could be: Our twin reports Fair Voting 2012 and Monopoly Politics 2012 have an invaluable interactive map that allows you to compare your state's congressional elections as they are with how they could be. The bottom line is that a simple statutory change would establish a level playing field and result in every voter in every state likely having shared representation of more than one party and a real reason to vote in every election. The Washington Post highlighted our report's findings on the impact of redistricting on competition.

Reception this Friday in Washington, D.C.: For those of you in the DC area, please join Krist, me and our great team of democracy fellows for a Capitol hill reception on Friday evening at 5 pm with congressional staff, public interest reformers and area supporters. Just let us know you're coming: RSVP here.

Richie on CSPAN: I enjoyed my opportunity to be on CSPAN's Washington Classroom this week. The program will air again in the days ahead. My segment (lasting about a half hour) starts at the 23 minute mark. I addressed questions about the Electoral College, the National Popular Vote plan, instant runoff voting and FairVote's new Promote our Vote website with resources to build a movement for a constitutional right to vote and higher voter turnout in your community.

Electoral Dysfunction on PBS stations around the nation: Electoral Dysfunction is an excellent new film narrated by humorist Mo Rocca. It masterfully shows what hotly contested elections are like down at the grassroots -- and how the battle over suffrage is an ongoing one. I was fortunate to be an adviser to the film, and pleased to see strong arguments presented for establishing a popular vote for president, universal voter registration and a constitutional right to vote. Check the film's website for more on the film and when it's airing in your local PBS station.

Presidential candidate debate using instant runoff voting to pick debate finalists: Last night I was an analyst for Free and Equal, discussing electoral reform before a debate among four of the nation's six presidential candidates  who on the most state ballots. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney didn't participate but Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Virgil Goode and Rocky Anderson had a spirited discussion of their policy views from across the spectrum, with Larry King as moderator. there will be a final debate on October 30 between two candidates, who you can help select with instant runoff voting.

Instant runoff voting on the ballot in Pomona (CA) & being used in four cities: Instant runoff voting is a ranked choice voting system that makes it easier for voters to have more choices on the ballot. It will be on the ballot as a charter amendment in Pomona (CA), a city of more than 150,000 in Los Angeles county and being used this Sunday in a Palms Neighborhood Council election in Los Angeles.

IRV is also being used in four Bay Area cities this November, including Oakland and San Francisco. See a collection of our resources about Bay Area IRV elections and an article I helped write about the Berkeley mayoral election. Last week I made a presentation on IRV to an impressive commission in Rhode Island studying advanced voting methods to handle more voter choice.

FairVote analyses show case for a national popular vote never stronger: FairVote this year has issues a steady stream of blogs, opeds and analyses that hammers away at the "shrinking battleground" in presidential swing states -- a problem we first highlighted in a 2005 report by that name. See our presidential tracker series and peruse our regularly updated blog for more on just how bad it's gotten -- and that's without the real prospect that once again the Electoral College winner loses in the popular vote.

This is one problem we are getting close to fixing. Please take a moment to contact your state legislator to ask them to support the National Popular Vote plan for president.

Richie on the road, from MIT to Bridgewater State / "Top Wonk": My colleagues and I have had many opportunities to make lectures and participate in conferences this fall. Here's an excerpt from my talk at Bridgewater State from its "what is fair" series, and here's the agenda from last Friday's conference on presidential election reform at MIT where I spoke on panels on Electoral College reform, moving toward better voter registration laws and single winner systems like instant runoff voting. FairVote has a number of great speakers. Please see information on our Speakers Bureau page about bringing someone to your community or campus.

I've done a number of radio interviews too this fall too. Thanks to Public Agenda for naming me a "Top Wonk" and featuring FairVote on its Practical Progress guide to civic groups and for the Institute for Public Accuracy highlighting our analysis in a new release.

John Anderson's widely-published commentary on instant runoff voting and other notable new writings: Our long-time board chair John Anderson wrote a powerful commentary on the case for reforming presidential elections with instant runoff voting that has run in more than a dozen newspapers around the nation. I have two long pieces making my case for proportional representation and the national popular vote plan in Presbyterian Church USA's Unbound and have published several new commentaries at Huffington Post.

Don't miss our new websites Fair Sports Rules and Promote Our Vote: We've recently launched two very different websites. Fair Sports Rules highlights ways that the structure of sports could be improved in practical ways that incorporate some of our ideas for improving elections. Promote Our Vote lays out a plan of action for building a movement for the right to vote in the United States, starting with community and campus actions and moving to affirming the right to vote in the Constitution. Stay tuned for FairVote Action, which will encompass ways to get involved in a full range of electoral reforms and connect with other reformers.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! Please visit FairVote's pages on Twitter, and Facebook and our blog. They provide a great way to get in touch and engage with FairVote staff, fellows and interns -- and to see creative artwork, including our can't-miss graphic on the major party presidential candidates focusing only on swing states.

Stay tuned: We have several terrific new resources coming our shortly: our website for FairVote Action, a wide-ranging policy guide, detailed presidential and congressional election analyses, a new website resources on representation of women and more. Please visit FairVote.org to see the latest.

Last but not least, keep in mind that America's representative democracy rests on the participation of its people. We passionately believe in reforms that will better respect every vote and every voice -- yet at the same time hope that all eligible voters can show that we value our vote by exercising it in the days ahead.

Best wishes,

Rob Richie
Executive Director, FairVote

P.S. The World Series is underway. Read Devin McCarthy's take on why presidential elections should not be like the World Series.

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