FairVote California
270 Alvarado Rd.
Berkeley, CA 94705

Board Members
Pete Martineau

David Wilner

Rob Dickinson

Click here for bios.

California Reform Initiative

Best Methods for Representing California

Big Win for Voter Pre-registration in CA
Advances in MA and RI
On October 11, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a voter pre-registration measure spearheaded this year by the New America Foundation and backed by FairVote, Common Cause, Californians for Electoral Reform and many others. It establishes that all Californians turning 17 can register to vote. Voter pre-registration measures allowing 16-year-olds to pre-register have also become law in recent years in North Carolina and Florida. A member of the Massachusetts statehouse leadership announced last week that a similar measure is her top priority in coming weeks, and the Washington, D.C. City Council last week unanimously backed pre-registration legislation.

FairVote's work pushing pre-registration since 2005 is also making a big difference in Rhode Island, where a major canvassing effort (the “Make it Happen” campaign) is underway in support of pre-registration. A Pew Charitable Trusts research team currently is examining the impact of pre-registration on FairVote's goal of universal registration of all soon-to-be-eligible voters, ideally twinned with civic programs explaining voting mechanics and the history of suffrage.

Front page, New York Times: IRV over Low-Turnout Runoffs
Instant runoff voting is increasingly recognized as a practical and cost-efficient way to replace low-turnout runoff elections. In New York City, the low turnout in Democratic primary runoffs and the potential of IRV made front page news in the New York Times, and FairVote’s Rob Richie advocates IRV in another Times piece. IRV also has gained more support in commentary for elections in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, as well as in the Detroit Free Press.

Voter Choice Massachusetts has a website promoting a petition drive to get IRV on the Bay State’s ballot next year, and the Trenton Times has commentary touting IRV for its multi-candidate race for governor.  In Minnesota, Minaneapolis readies to use IRV for local elections for the first time, and twin city St. Paul decides on IRV on its own November ballot. Internationally, British prime minister Gordon Brown is pledging a national referendum on IRV.


North Carolina Adopts Youth Preregistration
New law includes high school civics standards
North Carolina governor Bev Perdue signed H.B. 908, an election reform bill that includes the FairVote-endorsed policy of youth preregistration and improved opportunities for voter registration in high schools. Following Hawaii and Florida, North Carolina becomes the third state to set a uniform voter registration age of 16-years-old. The bill passed the House and the Senate by votes of 107-6 and 32-3, respectively.

The new law takes effect January 1, 2010 and allows 16 and 17-year-olds to "preregister" to vote, including a provision requiring schools to provide voter registration opportunities to students in public schools every year. The bill also encourages schools to expand voter registration in schools by working with local boards of election. Youth preregistration bills have been introduced in several other states this year, including Arizona (HB 2384), California (AB 30), Kansas (HB 2256), Maryland (SB 671), Michigan (SB 61), Rhode Island (SB 5005), Washington (HB 1193) and the District of Columbia (Bill 18-345). 

[Bill Information: HB 908]
[FairVote North Carolina Registration and Education Project]
[Youth Preregistration Fact Sheet]
[FairVote Ally Democracy NC]

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October 4th 2009
Voter Turnaround
Daily News (Los Angeles)

Two letters to the editor cite IRV as the best way to bring higher turnout to Los Angeles elections.

October 3rd 2009
Instant Runoff Voting could streamline Long Beach balloting process

Long Beach, California looks to IRV as a potential solution to their multi-candidate races with small-plurality winners.

September 30th 2009
Can a 17-year-old register to vote? It depends
Ventura County Star

"Most Californians register to vote not because a political cause has touched their heart, but rather because they checked a box on a form at the Department of Motor Vehicles when they received or renewed their driver´┐Żs license."

September 2nd 2009
And the Winner Is...
The Political Reform Blog

New America's Blair Bobier makes the case that if the Motion Picture Academy can see the wisdom of IRV, so should the state of California as it considers changing to the "top two" primary system.

July 22nd 2009
Instant Runoff Voting Could Lead to Big Savings for Cities, Counties

AB 1121, a bill allowing for IRV to be used in California's local elections, can save jurisdictions money in challenging economic times.

July 16th 2009
San Leandro considers instant-runoff voting for municipal elections
The Oakland Tribune

The city of San Leandro, a suburb of Oakland, is considering adopting the use of IRV for city elections.

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