CVD Fall Conferences (FWD)

Sun Jul 12 17:42:49 PDT 1998

Subj:   Key List Update, 7/12 - Fall Conferences
Date:  Sun, Jul 12, 1998 6:25 AM EDT
From:  FairVote at
X-From: FairVote at (Rob Richie)


To:      CVD Key List Update

From: Rob Richie, Center for Voting and Democracy       

Re:      Fall Conferences! Attend and Participate

There is important news to report at more length,

but it will need to wait for those of you who do

not receive the Center's postal newsletter -- many

of you should receive the newsletter this week.

I wanted to devote this update to the fact that our

two fall conferences are coming together extremely

well. Below is a text version of flyers on our "Empowering

the Voter" Conferences in San Francisco (Sept. 12-13)

and Minneapolis (Nov. 13-15).

Note the array of speakers commited to appearing in

San Francisco -- others are likely to join this list

shortly, and you soon should be able to keep up-to-date

on our confererences and other developments on our

web site (

If you could imagine helping us by serving on a panel --

particularly in Minneapolis -- please let me and/or the 

lead conference organizer for each conference (see 

below) know as soon as possible. I'm sure we can find 

a place for you.

And for those of you interested in attending, please

consider filling out the form at the end of this update

and mailing it to us -- or filling out the form you may

soon receive with your newsletter (if you do not receive

the newsletter within a week, assume that you will

not be receiving a conference reply form).

Before getting to the update, here are two quick items relating

to the last "core list" update sent on July 2nd. The update

focused on "transferable ballots", with good information

on the successful use of choice voting (single transferable

vote) in Northern Ireland's recent elections and the rise

of interest in "instant runoff voting" in the United States. 

Please note the following:

* Both choice voting and instant runoff involve transferable

ballots, but "IRV" is for one-winner elections -- meaning that

it is not a proportional voting system. Choice voting indeed

is a proportional system -- with its proportionality increasing

in relation to the number of seats being electted in a particular

constituency. In Northern Ireland's 6-seat constituencies, it took

about 14% of votes to win a seat. In Cambridge's 9-seat city

council, it takes about 10% of votes to win a seat.

* I stressed the point that these transferable ballot systems 

are not "all or nothing" systems. One reader commented that 

this term seemed little different from "winner-take-all." For me, 

the difference is from the perspective of the voter. With a 

transferable ballot system, a voter can express a potentially 

meaningful preference on  very single candidate without 

hurting the electoral chances of a higher-choice candidate. 

A candidate certainly is either going to win or not, and thus 

indeed is in an "all or nothing" situation in either kind of 

system. But the experience of a transferable ballot system 

for an individual voter is different than it is in non-transferable 

ballot systems; for them, it is NOT "all-or-nothing."

Onto the conference information!


                   The Center for Voting and Democracy

                                    invites you to attend

                                    Empowering the Voter

              Proportional Representation, Reapportionment & Reform

WHERE:           San Francisco, California

WHEN:            September 12-13, 1998

COST:            $30 for full weekend / $20 for day (w/lunch)

                       [After 9/1/98: $40 and $25 respectively / 

                      Scholarships for low-income]

"We aim to go beyond discussing problems and solutions. We

will develop a plan of action to do something about our unfair

voting system and to bring about truly representative

democracy."          - John Anderson, CVD President

The Center for Voting and Democracy's national conference

will bring together electoral reformers, voting rights scholars,

minor party activists, students, academics and concerned

citizens. The conference seeks to assist attenders: learn about

proportional representation and other voting systems; examine

shortcomings of current electoral practices (particularly

redistricting); and strategize on local and regional campaigns

for reform.

                                Plenary Sessions

* Keynote Address: Empowering the Voter

* Race, Reapportionment and Representation

* 2020 Vision: Real Democracy and How to Get There

                    Saturday: Educational Workshops / Panels

* ABC's of voting system reform

* PR and campaign finance: Complementary reforms?

* Representation of women

* PR around the world

* How do you count those transferable ballots, anyway?

* Steps toward PR: IRV and three-seat districts

* Hitler, coalitions and complexity: PR and policy 

* Voting rights and representation of minorities

* The courts and reform

* Voter participation: Obstacles and milestones

* Media talk about democracy reform

* Why California cities are looking at PR

* Funding, foundations and political reform

                      Sunday: Activist Workshops and Panels

* Speakers training

* Organizing state and local chapters

* How to do Monopoly Politics research for your state

* Campaigns for voting system reform

* Educational partnerships with established organizations

* How minor parties can advance reform

* Electing officers to your organization with PR

                     Partial List of Speakers and Panelists

John Anderson, CVD President

Janet Anderson, Washington State Citizens for PR

Joaquin Avila, Civil Rights Attorney

John Bonifaz, National Voting Rights Institute

Jerry Brown*, Mayor-Elect of Oakland

Bruce Cain, U. California - Berkeley 

Peter Camejo, Progressive Asset Management

Steve Cheifetz, Stewart Mott Charitable Trust

Steve Cobble, Arca Foundation executive director

Matthew Cossolotto, CVD Vice-President

Gwenn Craig, SF Electoral Reform Task Force

Derek Cressman, USPIRG Democracy Coordinator

Rich Deleon, San Francisco State University

Sol Erdman, Democracy 2000 president

Mike Feinstein, Santa Monica City Council

Tabitha Hall, New Mexicans for Instant Runoff Voting

Dan Hamburg, VOTE Action executive director

Steven Hill, CVD west coast director

Denise Hulett, MALDEF-San Francisco

Dan Johnson-Weinberger, Illinois Citizens for PR

Sheila Jordan, former Oakland city councilor

David Kallick, Preamble Center

Kay Lawson, SFSU Political Science Department

Craig MacDonald, Texans for Public Justice

Carol Miller, New Mexico Green Party

Michael Moore*, Filmmaker

Molly Munger, The Advancement Project

Nancy Northup, Brennan Center for Justice

Doug Phelps, Chair of US PIRG 

Zach Polett, ACORN political director

William Redpath, Libertarian Party ballot access chair

Rob Richie, CV&D executive director

Susan Richardson, Austin American-Statesman editorial Connie

Rice, The Advancement Project (Los Angeles)

Wilma Rule, U. Nevada - Reno 

Mark Rush, Washington and Lee University

Mark Schmitt, Open Society Institute fellow

Keith Simmonds, Florida A. & M. 

Kathy Spillar, Feminist Majority Foundation 

Bonnie Tang, Asian Pacific American Legal Services

Roy Ulrich, Common Cause of California

Julian West, Reform Party of Canada

 (* acceptance pending)

For more information, contact Steven Hill, CVD west 

coast director(415-665-5044, shill at or 


                                           * * *

The Center for Voting and Democracy and FairVote Minnesota


                          Empowering the Voter, Part II

        A Conference about Fairer Elections in the Midwest

WHERE:          Minneapolis Minnesota (Humphrey Institute)

WHEN:            November 13-15, 1998

         "The Midwest offers exciting short-term opportunities

for voting system reform. This conference comes at a very

opportune time."          - Rob Richie, CVD Director 

                      Problems and Reforms: Plenty of Both

         Citizens are tuning out politics. Campaigns avoid

important issues. Media cover elections like horse races. Real

choices are limited and most outcomes are a foregone

conclusion, often skewed in favor of one party, race or gender.

Elected "representatives" are too often unresponsive and

unaccountable. As a result, citizens see little point in paying

attention to public issues and, more often than not, become


         Many reform efforts have been attempted, yet voter

turnout continues its plunge. These reforms include attempts to

instill civic virtues in citizens, improve accountability by

reforming the campaign finance system, limit the advantages of

incumbency and allow greater competitiveness by limiting the

number of terms an elected official may serve, provide for

minority representation through majority-minority districting

arrangements, and other access-enhancing reforms. 

         Not enough has been done to search for common

ground among these reform efforts -- both nationally and in the

states of the midwest. There also is a need to address the

engine of our democracy -- the voting system -- to see if

winner-take-all elections should be replaced with proportional

representation. Our challenge for the new century is to build a

pro-democracy movement that will improve ordinary people's


                           Building a Reform Movement

         The general public, election reformers and academics

from around the upper midwest and the nation will gather to

address the question, "How can we create a more democratic

election system?" The desired outcome is greater connection

among various reform efforts and steps toward creating a

broad-based reform agenda and movement. Participants will

come away with greater understanding of the issues and how

they can become part of the reform movement.

         We will have the participation of leading reformers,

thinkers and political leaders. Some are working aggressively to

change the system from the outside; others from the inside.

Highlights include a hearing conducted by 1980 presidential

candidate John Anderson on redistricting as part of a national

series of similar redistricting hearings.

                                 Session Topics

* Improving quality of campaigns and voter participation

* Better representation for women and minorities 

* Minor party access to the political process

* Increasing accountability through campaign reform

* Lessons from campaigns in Cincinnati and San Francisco

* Canada: Case study of need for election reform

* The movement to restore cumulative noting in Illinois

* Legal action for reform in voting rights and redistricting 

* Building a pro-democracy reform agenda and movement

* A strategic outlook for election reform through 2020

* Introducing election alternatives in NGO's

* Nuts & bolts of conducting a winning reform campaign

* Analyzing election results in your city & state/province

* Implementing PR: Hardware, software and systems 

* Writing & speaking about election system reform

* Media relations: How to do Better PR for PR

                      Speakers and Panelists (partial list)

Douglas Amy:  author of Real Choices, New Voices

John Anderson:  CVD President and former Congressman

Kathleen Barber*:  author of Proportional Rep. in Ohio

John Gilligan*:  former governor of Ohio

Hendrik Hertzberg*:  New Yorker magazine editor

David Kallick:  Preamble Center

Arthur Kinoy: Center for Constitutional Rights

Abner Mikva*:  former federal judge and Congressman

Steven Mulory: Department of Justice

Tim Penny*:  former Member of Congress

Eleanor Smeal*:  Feminist Majority Foundation

Sam Smith:  author of The Great American Repair Manual

Edward Still:  Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

Russ Verney*:  Chair of the Reform Party

Pat Williams*:  former Member of Congress

  (* acceptance pending)


To register for conference, please use the enclosed reply card

and envelope. Registration fees are $40 ($25 students, low-

income and seniors) before November 1.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

For more information, contact:

Tony Solgard, FairVote Minnesota 

Address: PO Box 19440, Minneapolis MN 55419

Phone: 612-724-5540                E-mail: <solga002 at> 

                  REPLY FORM - Empowering the Voter Conferences







Phone:                                                        E-mail:      




         ___  San Francisco Conference

                 ___ Weekend ($30)  ___ Sat. ($20)  

                 ___ Sun. ($20)   [lunch included]

         ___  Minneapolis Conference                 

                 ___ Weekend ($40)  ___ Sat. ($25)  

                 ___ Sun. ($25)   [lunch included]

HOUSING:  ____  I would like information about hotels and

other housing options

Make checks out to Center for Voting & Democracy (CVD)  and

mail to:


PO Box 60037

Washington, DC 20039

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