Special Update: 2010 Opens with Reform Victories

Released January 7, 2010

A quick news brief on big victories in Rhode Island, advancement of IRV in California, and other encouraging signs from across the spectrum.




Dear Friends of FairVote,

Happy New Year! My thanks to those of you who supported our "2010 Campaign."  There's still time to put your name on our new website's foundation page -- you can make a donation here.

I wanted to report on terrific wins for our reform proposals this week:

* On Tuesday, Rhode Island's state legislature overwhelmingly overrode vetoes of two FairVote-initiated reform measures: voter pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds and elections for all U.S. Senators. FairVote has been the catalyst for the new national drive to universal voter registration, and voter preregistration, when combined with widespread civic education, promises to move us toward 100% registration of young would-be voters. Now four states and Washington, D.C. have adopted this reform in just the past 20 months. FairVote also has been at the forefront of the call to ensure that no Senator serves without election by the people they represent. See our press release on these two victories, and a big congrats to FairVote Rhode Island and state reform leaders.

* Also on Tuesday, the city council of Oakland (CA) voted decisively to implement instant runoff voting for their November 2010 mayoral and council elections, sparked by the New America Foundation and an impressive community movement. Oakland's move may well lead other Alameda County cities to enact IRV this year.

* Minnesota's Saint Cloud State University released a survey on Minneapolis' first IRV elections for mayor, city council and other offices last November. 65% of voters want to keep IRV, a whopping 95% found it easy to use, and there was only one voter error in ranking first choices in the entire election. See FairVote Minnesota's press release, as well as a North Carolina State University survey with similarly positive results from the recent IRV election in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

* The Democratic National Committee's "Change Commission" on the presidential nomination process has recommended starting nomination contests later in the year and requiring so-called "superdelegates" to vote in proportion to the popular vote outcome in their respective states. See a blog post by FairVote's Paul Fidalgo on how these are good steps for voters, though more of FairVote's recommendations can make things even better.

* The MetroWest Daily News (MA) this week came out strongly in favor of the National Popular Vote plan that ensures that every vote for president has equal weight, while Dave Zweifel in Wisconsin's Capital Times writes, "The National Popular Vote movement could bring that change to ensure that the people - not a convoluted archaic system - determine who is president."

* Our new video predicts that the 2010's will be the biggest reform decade in a half-century -- and the new decade's first week means we're off to a good start. FairVote is proud of its central role in the national movement for all of these important reforms, and, as always, appreciates your support.

All the best,

Rob Richie

P.S. Stay tuned news coverage this month on the role of proportional representation in Oscar nominations, instant runoff voting in picking 2009's Best Picture and more reform progress in a local, state or even national legislature near you.