FairVote Announces Inaugural Democracy Innovator Awards

Released December 9, 2008

For Immediate Release: December 9, 2008       
Contact: Rob Richie (301) 270-4616,

FairVote, a national nonpartisan, nonprofit election reform and voting rights organization, yesterday announced the inaugural winners of its Democracy Innovator awards at the conclusion of a conference about innovative election reforms. FairVote will issue its Democracy Innovator annually in recognition of outstanding local, state and national leaders for their effective advocacy of innovative policies to improve our elections,

This year’s 2008 winners are:

·    National Reform: Senator Bill Nelson (FL) won for developing and introducing an omnibus package of needed electoral reforms that include direct election of the president and innovative ways to improve voter registration, secure elections and meaningful primaries. Sen. Nelson’s legislative counsel Matt Nosanchuk accepted the award on behalf on Sen Nelson

·    State Reform: Maryland state senator Jamin Raskin and Maryland state representative Sheila Hixson won for their leadership in Maryland in 2007 becoming the first state to adopt the National Popular Vote plan for presidential elections and for advancing several innovative proposals encouraging voter participation. Sen. Raskin accepted the award for himself and on behalf of Delegate Hixson.

·    Local Reform: Shelby County (TN) commissioner and University of Memphis law professor Steven Mulroy won for his effective advocacy of instant runoff voting, which was supported this year by 71% of voters for future city elections in the City of Memphis, and for his ground-breaking law review articles about proportional voting systems and the Voting Rights Act. Commissioner Mulroy accepted the award.

“Each of these leaders has been a true inspiration to Americans across the country,” said Rob Richie, executive director of FairVote. “They embody the spirit of innovation and bold leadership that defines our country.”

FairVote is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that promotes such electoral reforms as universal voter registration; advance voter registration and civic learning for 16-year-olds; instant runoff voting for one-winner offices; the National Popular Vote plan for presidential elections; and proportional voting and redistricting reform for legislative elections. Musician and author Krist Novoselic heads FairVote’s board, where he is joined by the New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg, former presidential candidate John B. Anderson, Advancement Project counsel Edward Hailes, Jr. and other reform leaders. For more information, contact Rob Richie at (301) 270-4616.