On March 31st, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a measure to create a commission to study the use of instant runoff voting for special elections. The measure was introduced by new Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. It came on the heels of a March 24th special primary election to fill Ridley-Thomas' former State Senate seat in which only 6% of registered voters bothered to show up at the polls for an election that cost taxpayers $2.2 million. It was the fifth election local voters have been asked to vote in within the past year, which Ridley-Thomas said contributes to "voter fatigue." The commission will report back to the Board on May 26th on the feasability of using IRV for county elections.
State Assemblymember Ted Lieu is expected to introduce a similar measure to enact IRV for state special elections soon. In California, IRV has already been adopted by San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley.
Los Angeles County Approves IRV Commission
Unanimous Decision to Study IRV for Special Elections
States Take on Voter Registration Reform
Advance, Universal Registration Among 2009 Legislation
From Maryland to Hawaii, legislatures across the country are taking up legislation to improve our patchwork system of voter registration. Six states (AZ, CA, MI, RI, WA, MD) have introduced legislation that would set a uniform advance voter registration age of 16-years-old. This policy would allow high schools to conduct effective registration drives and educate students about the mechanics of participation. Hawaii has introduced a universal voter registration bill that would ensure anyone who does not want to register affirmatively opts-out and California is considering legislation that would automatically register citizens when applying for a driver's license or filing their state income taxes. New Jersey lawmakers have introduced a bill that changes "motor voter" to an opt-out system, as opposed to the current "opt-in" regime. Connecticut, New Jersey and New York have legislation before them that would expand voter registration opportunities for high school and college students.
[FairVote's 100% Registration Project]
[Rhode Island's Advance Voter Registration Bill]
[Hawaii's Universal Voter Registration Bill]
[California's Automatic Voter Registration Bill]
[New Jersey's Opt-Out Voter Registration Bill]
[New Jersey's High School Voter Registration Bill]
Advances for Ranked Choice Voting Coast to Coast
Win for IRV in NC and progress in NY, OH, CA, TN and more
In North Carolina, the state legislature on July 18 sent to the governor legislation to extend the current pilot program for IRV in localities in the wake of highly successful IRV elections in 2007 and an endorsement from the League of Women Voters of NC. In Memphis (TN), a charter commission has placed IRV on the November ballot, one among several upcoming IRV measures around the nation. In Long Beach (CA), the Long Beach Press Telegram endorsed the city election director's proposal for IRV. This fall's five leading candidates for president all have been active supporters of IRV, while the student-run Roosevelt Institution's new25 Ideas for Electoral Reform features two proposals for instant runoff voting.
The Cincinnati NAACP is promoting a 2008 ballot measure to enact the choice voting method of proportional voting for city council elections, while lawyers for the Brennan Center for Justice this month will present FairVote’s amicus briefs arguing for choice voting in a federal voting rights case in Port Chester (NY).
[NC Votes 1-2-3, a strong coalition of organizations and individuals supporting IRV in North Carolina]
[Long Beach Press Telegram editorial endorsing IRV for Long Beach, CA]
[Brennan Center for Justice]
[FairVote's amicus brief from the Port Chester (NY) voting rights case]
[See FairVote Executive Director Rob Richie's blog for more on this progress]