Fairvote Logo Letter from John Anderson

and Rob Richie

June 2002

Dear Friend of Fair Elections,

These are exciting times for voting system reformers. To take us to the next level of achievementsuccess, we need your continued support.

The Center's 10th year has perhaps been our most successful. This year promises to be even better. Our efforts contributed to several important recent successes:

  • San Francisco became the first American city to adopt instant runoff voting for all major city offices, while more than 50 Vermont town meetings voted to endorse adoption of “IRV” for statewide elections. Our staffers headed both winning efforts.

  • After hearing our testimony, the Federal Election Commission modified its new voting equipment standards to require voting equipment vendors to document whether and how their equipment can support the use of instant runoff voting and cumulative voting.

  • Amarillo (TX) held a second successful cumulative voting election, making the school board one that much more fairly represents the community. It provides an important new model for compliance with the Voting Rights Act through “full representation” methods.

  • Major media coverage of voting system reform continued, with articles on IRV in the wake of our March wins in Time Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post and many more top publications.

    Our staff has grown to nine people who comprise our most effective team ever. We also have seven enthusiastic interns in our national office working to produce new reports on lack of choice in congressional elections, the undemocratic nature of redistricting, problems with runoff elections and distortions in fair representation and to reach out to students, election officials and legislators in targeted jurisdictions.

    But with increased activity comes a need for increased funds. That’s why we’re turning to our members, the people who recognize the importance of voting system reform to fulfill the promise of democracy. As described in our special edition of Voting and Democracy Review, it’s our 10-year anniversary, and we’re asking supporters to help us celebrate by making a major gift at this time.

    We are extremely grateful for your support and hope that you will invest in what we believe is the “next big reform” with a gift of $100 or more. You can give on-line or by mail. In addition to making a contribution, we hope that you will help us develop our program plan for 2003-2004 by suggesting ideas for how we can best advance our mission – to make every vote count and ensure that all voters are represented.

    Here are a few highlights among upcoming projects:

  • A Major Test for IRV in Alaska: In August, Alaskans will vote on adoption of instant runoff voting for nearly all state and federal offices, including presidential elections in 2004. Political leaders from across the spectrum support the measure, but our assistance to state reformers is nevertheless critically important for what promises to be a very close campaign.

  • Outreach in Voting Rights Cases: We have filed amicus briefs in cases involving minority voting rights and redistricting to suggest proportional representation and started building long-term relationships with community leaders who seek fair representation. Please let us know if there is a case in your area where an alternative voting method could draw support.

  • Expansion of PR and IRV on Campus: In the past year, schools such as the University of Illinois and University of Maryland have adopted proportional representation or instant runoff voting for student elections. We seek a major expansion of fair methods for a broad range of private elections. Please contact us if your organization or school is a potential candidate.

  • Making Fair Election Systems Work: We want instant runoff voting and proportional systems to live up to their full potential in San Francisco, Amarillo and around the country. We also will continue to ensure that new voting machines can support fair election methods. Please alert us if your county or state is moving to adopt new voting equipment.

  • Promotion of Reform in Major Media: We receive excellent media attention, but are issuing more frequent and better-targeted news releases. In the short-term, expect to see more media coverage of how better voting systems relate to redistricting, voter turnout and fair representation. Please alert us to columnists and radio hosts who should hear from us.

  • Exposing the Impact of Redistricting and Winner-Take-All Elections on Voter Choice: We are confronting the problem of incumbent protection in redistricting. We will develop strategies in coordination with leading reform groups and soon will release a new set of U.S. House predictions in our influential Monopoly Politics report, then generate revealing statistics and new predictions for 2004 immediately after the November elections.

    Thanks so much for your support. We need it now more than ever!

Sincerely yours,

Rob Richie Signature

Rob Richie, Executive Director     

John Anderson Signature


John B. Anderson, Chair

P.S. In appreciation of gifts of $100 or more, we will send you a complimentary copy of Steven Hill’s highly praised book Fixing Elections: The Failure of America’s Winner Take All Politics. Steven articulates our analysis of the increasingly glaring shortcomings of our antiquated election methods.

Copyright © 2002 The Center for Voting and Democracy
6930 Carroll Ave. Suite 610 Takoma Park, MD 20912
(301) 270-4616  [email protected]