November 10, 2006
Lynne Serpe, 213-480-0994
Election Proves New Voting Method to Improve Democracy Is Catching On
Political reform is adopted by voters in four cities, two in California
SACRAMENTO, CA -- Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), an idea advanced by the New
America Foundation to give voters more influence and more choices in
elections, continued to gain favor in California and elsewhere as four
cities strongly approved November 7 ballot measures supporting the idea.
In California, where San Francisco became the state's first Instant Runoff
Voting city in 2004, voters in the cities of Oakland and Davis approved the
idea, which would allow voters to rank their first, second, and third
choices for office. Oakland overwhelmingly supported the measure by 68% of
the returns, meaning voters will use Instant Runoff Voting for all local
offices in November 2008. The Davis measure was an advisory recommendation.
Elsewhere, voters in Minneapolis passed their ballot measure with 65%
support. And in Pierce County, Washington, voters supported the move to IRV
for their partisan county elections with 54% of the vote.
New America staff Lynne Serpe and Steven Hill played a key role as advisors
to several of these campaigns. New America was joined by other
organizations, including FairVote (www.fairvote.org), a nonprofit,
nonpartisan organization that is the national clearinghouse on electoral
systems like instant runoff voting.
The elections clearly affirm a growing trend toward Instant Runoff Voting as
a response to public frustration with unresponsive and unaccountable
government leaders. Instant Runoff Voting discourages negative campaigning
and opens the process to candidates and ideas that may not be viable in a
traditional winner-take-all election.
"Clearly there is strong interest among voters in political reforms that
open up the political system and make voters feel like their vote counts,"
said Lynne Serpe, Deputy Director of New America's Political Reform Program.
"What was interesting about the four victories for IRV was that they
happened in four very different locations. Oakland is a very diverse and
working-class city; Minneapolis is a liberal Midwestern city; Pierce County
is mostly a rural county with large numbers of independent voters; and Davis
is a smaller, university town. Yet in every place Instant Runoff Voting
provided a unique solution to problems with representative government and
Instant Runoff Voting already is used in San Francisco, which on November 7
had its third election using Instant Runoff Voting for local offices.
Burlington, Vermont elected its mayor using Instant Runoff Voting in March
For more information on the election and Instant Runoff Voting go to
About New America Foundation
New America Foundation is a nonprofit, post-partisan, public policy
institute whose purpose is to bring exceptionally promising new voices and
new ideas to the fore of our nation's public discourse. Relying on a venture
capital approach, the Foundation invests in outstanding individuals and
policy solutions that transcend the conventional political spectrum.
Headquartered in our nation's capital, New America also has offices in
California and New York.
For more information about New America or the Political Reform Program, go