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Press Release

Green Party at UC Davis Launches Diversity and Democracy Campaign
November 19, 2002
Contact: Sonny Mohammadzadeh 530-750-3420 [email protected]

The Green Party at UC Davis began an initiative campaign last week to increase student representation and voter turnout in the Associated Students of UC Davis (ASUCD) student government elections. The initiative would amend the ASUCD Constitution to implement instant runoff voting (IRV) and proportional representation (PR), two election systems favored by many democracy advocates.

Under the Choice Voting Amendment, voters will rank the candidates they support in order of preference, instead of just bulleting them. The extra information allows for a more efficient, more representative election. Such systems are already used at schools like UC Berkeley, Stanford, Caltech, Harvard, MIT, and many more.

Instant runoff voting improves upon two-round runoff elections. Currently, ASUCD often needs to stage a whole second election to decide the President by a majority. IRV, however, achieves a majority in just one election, because voters indicate their runoff choices all at once. For instance, if a voter's top choice comes in last place in the first round of counting, their vote will be counted towards their second choice in the next round.

Since IRV allows election efforts to be concentrated on a single election, IRV will increase voter turnout while saving money. Last year, the voters of San Francisco voted to adopt IRV for their city elections.

Proportional representation ensures that the voters will be more accurately represented on a governing body like the senate. In some recent ASUCD elections, a single slate of candidates has swept all or nearly all of the senate seats, despite being favored by just 30-50% of the voters. Choice voting, on the other hand, guarantees that 85-100% of the voters will elect someone they prefer.

"With proportional representation, the elected senate will represent a proportional cross-section of all the voters," said Sonny Mohammadzadeh, campaign coordinator. "This means the senate will be more likely to reflect the diversity and views of the entire student body."

More than twenty volunteers are helping to collect the signatures needed to put the amendment on the ballot. Students will likely vote on the amendment next February.

IRV and PR are both part of the Green Party's platform. Detailed information on the Choice Voting amendment can be found at the Green Party at UC Davis's web site,

The current effort at UC Davis is part of a larger movement in California to reinvigorate American democracy by making elections more positive and more representative. Many are hopeful that these changes will eventually take shape at the state level.

"This will be a great opportunity for students to take a giant step forward in participating in their democracy," said Yuliya Zingertal, campaign treasurer. "We hope to educate people and set an example that others will follow."

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