You're invited to an exiting event to move America toward...

The Way Democracy Will Be


J oin FairVote's executive director Rob Richie in support of an innovative, solution-oriented democracy agenda at a house party hosted by Steve Chessin, advisory committee member of FairVote and president of Californians for Electoral Reform.

Richie has been director of FairVote (formerly the Center for Voting and Democracy) since its founding in 1992; his writings have appeared in eight books, and he has spoken to elected officials, civic groups and universities around the nation.

When: Saturday, March 11, 2006, 2-4 pm
Where: Home of Steve Chessin,
1426 Lloyd Way in Mountain View
RSVP: Christina Bernard:
Christina@fairvote.org / 301.270.4616


FairVote’s Timely Reform Agenda
for California and the Nation



A state-based action plan to establish a national popular vote for president – FairVote helped launch this campaign on February 23rd, with speakers including former Indiana Senator Birch Bayh and FairVote’s chairman, former presidential candidate John Anderson, and released its own new report Presidential Election Inequality, of which the New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg wrote: “In the land of the free, political space is shrinking – literally… The innovative, reality-based research in this collection is a giant first step toward recovery.” Legislation has been introduced to enter California into an agreement to join with states that represent a majority of American to collectively award their electoral votes to the national popular vote winner. See www.fairvote.org/per for more on FairVote’s plan and the campaign.

Inclusive presidential primaries through the American Plan – FairVote was the first national organization to back (and helpfully rename) Californian Tom Gangale’s proposal for a graduated presidential primary plan that would mean far more states would have a meaningful vote in choosing major party nominees. With FairVote’s support, backers of the American Plan recently won the endorsement of the California Democratic Party. Hear about plans to take this success nationally.

Instant runoff voting to achieve majority, spoiler-free elections: FairVote was the key player in introducing, supporting, adopting and implementing instant runoff voting (IRV) in San Francisco elections. We pursue that goal nationally, including helping with the first IRV elections in Burlington (VT) on March 7th, when former Vermont governor Howard Dean plans to showcase his first opportunity to vote with IRV. FairVote this spring is establishing the IRV Victory Fund in service of its goal of connecting opportunities for local victories to national change – with several California cities as reform opportunities.

Proportional voting in non-gerrymandered districts to provide all Americans with meaningful choices and fair access to representation: FairVote is the nation’s preeminent backer of the international norm in legislative elections: proportional voting where like-minded voters can join together to elect candidates of their choice. It will shortly file an amicus brief in California in support of proportional voting, having recruited other key civic groups, and is backing a likely city campaign this year for choice voting in Davis (CA) that grew out of students using choice voting in their own elections. Nationally, it was the first group to back Rep. John Tanner’s redistricting reform bill for Congress, which is where FairVote believes redistricting reform should be pursued for congressional elections.

A constitutional right to vote, grounded in statutory advances and innovative local policies: FairVote board member Jesse Jackson Jr. has introduced legislation to establish a constitutional right to vote, a proposal now backed by nearly 60 of Jackson’s colleagues. FairVote has nurtured this idea and developed a statutory agenda in its spirit that includes: 100% voter registration, not 71%; automatic registration of all newly eligible voters among young people and new citizens, accompanied by a class on voting mechanics in one’s community; and public ownership of voting equipment rather than leasing out democracy to for-profit companies. FairVote is pursuing local strategies where cities can take immediate action to advance these proposals, including in San Francisco.

A nd that's a window into the way democracy will be, if FairVote keeps receiving the outstanding financial and volunteer support that sustains us. We have an ambitious but winnable agenda – not covering every needed electoral reform, to be sure, but all essential to bringing our democracy into the modern era and to provide an equally powerful vote to all Americans.

FairVote is pleased to work closely in its California reform efforts with Californians for Electoral Reform. (CfER) is a statewide non-partisan membership organization that promotes the implementation of election methods such as instant runoff voting and forms of proportional voting. Founded in May of 1993 as Northern California Citizens for Proportional Representation with twenty-three members, CFER now has several hundred members and several local chapters.

This house party will provide a chance to talk with Rob, Steve and with fellow pro-democracy advocates and supporters about strategies to win reform, the 2006 elections and what comes next.

The event is a fundraiser for FairVote. There is a suggested minimum donation is $25. FairVote’s board members have pledged to match every single gift, dollar for dollar. All contributions are tax-deductible – see www.fairvote.org for more information about FairVote, its reform agenda and its history of success.

RSVP: Christina Bernard,
Christina@fairvote.org / 301.270.4616