FairVote RI

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   Providence, RI 02906

   Phone: 401.429.6059

   Fax: 360.933.2456

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   Visit RhodeIslandSuffrage.org.



National popular vote up in RI House today!
Contact your representatives in support
(CC) yattaUPDATE: The House voted the national popular vote down. This is a disappointment for us here at FairVote and for all our volunteers, but we thank you for your support. With your help the national popular vote will be up for discussion in Rhode Island again next year--and better than ever.


Later today the RI House is expected to vote on the national popular vote bill (H 5569, sponsored by Rep. Lally). Using their exclusive control of presidential electors under the Constitution, five states have already enacted identical legislation, and once states with a majority in the Electoral College have signed on, we'll get a national popular vote for president. The bill won't go into effect until this happens.

A national popular vote would make for significant improvements in Rhode Island's role during presidential elections. Under the winner-take-all system we have today, Rhode Island and most other states stop mattering the day their primary is over. Most Americans--more than 60%--don't live in the privileged handful of "swing states" that have an arbitrary, outsized influence on the election process.

Those of us who live in "safe" states like Rhode Island are treated like second-class citizens; we're fit to contribute to presidential campaigns but not to receive meaningful attention from them. Rhode Islanders gave millions to presidential candidates this year--but neither of the big two visited the Ocean State after their party conventions.

Minorities are particularly hard hit; millions of African-Americans live in safely "red" Southern states where their votes are mostly symbolic. Their lack of influence today is a much less pernicious reminder of one of the original purposes of the Electoral College, which was designed to give slave states electoral "credit" for the people they kept in bondage.

As James Madison wrote, the South "could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to the fewest objections." Today, we object.

If you believe--along with FairVote, the national Common Cause, the NAACP, and 74% of Rhode Islanders--that we ought to have a national popular vote for president, drop a line to your Representative. (Click here to find their name here).

Sierra Club Rhode Island Backs National Popular Vote
Letter reaffirms national Sierra Club's position
Sierra ClubIn a letter mailed and faxed on June 2, 2009, the Rhode Island Chapter of the Sierra Club reaffirmed its support of the national popular vote compact that has been introduced to the General Assembly.

This year, the Sierra Club of Rhode Island, along with the national Sierra Club, will stand with you in support of an ational popular vote for president, along with 74% of Rhode Islanders. Please keep America moving towards its democratic ideal: one person, one vote.

Click here for the PDF version of the letter.

Rhode Island Senate Approves National Popular Vote Bill
Identical legislation passed last year before Governor's veto
On May 19, the Rhode Island Senate passed S 161, a bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Daniel Connors that would move the United States one step closer to a national popular vote for president. The bill passed with overwhelming support, by a 26-9 margin.

FairVote Rhode Island Director Matt Sledge hailed the passage of S 161 as a key step for the national popular vote bill's progress this year. "The overwhelming support for this bill reflects the overwhelming desire of our state's citizens to see a presidential election where every vote is equal."

A June 2008 poll found that 74% of Rhode Islanders support nationwide direct elections for President. 74% of the Senators voting today approved S 161. The national popular vote compact passed both chambers of the Rhode Island General Assembly last year before it was vetoed by Governor Carcieri.

"Rhode Island is just one of several small-population states, including Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont, where the national popular vote has passed in at least one chamber," Sledge said. "Senators here weren't fooled by the argument that our minor two-senator 'bonus' outweighs the dramatic downside of being a safe state. 12 of the 13 smallest-population states are ignored by the presidential campaigns every four years."

Let your legislators know that you support a National Popular Vote for president, and tell them you support this key democracy reform. Click here to join the email campaign for the National Popular Vote.

Support FairVote's efforts to advance this and other democracy reforms. Click here to become a member.

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April 24th 2009
Panel backs elimination of the electoral college
The Providence Journal

A national drive to change the way the president and vice president of the United States are elected has won the backing of a state Senate committee Thursday night.

April 19th 2009
Why not voters' education for teens?
The Knoxville News Sentinel

Jack McElroy makes the case for 16-year-old advance registration and civics ed classes for Tennessee youth.

April 9th 2009
States Move to Create Culture of Voter Engagement through Preregistration
TPM Caf´┐Ż

Project Vote's Erin Ferns highlights FairVote's effort to pass 16 and 17-year-old pre-registration bills in Rhode Island and California.

April 8th 2009
Don't veto the vote
The Brown Daily Herald

The Brown Daily Herald endorses pre-registration.

April 2nd 2009
Legislature votes to let teens register early
The Brown Daily Herald

The Rhode Island General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of 16- and 17-year-old pre-registration.

March 31st 2009
Statewide election to fill state's U.S. Senate seat
The Brown Daily Herald

In the wake of scandals involving Illinois and New York Senate seats, the Rhode Island Senate and House of Representatives have voted to change state law so that a vacated U.S. Senate seat would be filled through a special statewide election.

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