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Candidates Weren't The Only Victors on Tuesday: Nationally, Election Reform Wins Big

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Message Ryan O'Donnell
For Immediate Release / November 8th 2006
Contact: Ryan O'Donnell, Communications Director
(301) 270-4616 - ryan@fairvote.org

Vote for Change Extends to Reforming Antiquated Voting Rules: Instant runoff voting sweep four major ballot measures

Instant runoff voting (IRV) and proportional voting advocates celebrated on November 7th with big wins in Oakland (CA), Pierce County (WA), Davis (CA), and Minneapolis (MN), and held hope that the victories will add to the growing national movement for spoiler-free elections, fair representation, and greater government accountability. These wins all shared terrific grassroots campaign organizations and backing from the main local newspapers and the League of Women Voters.

Amendment Three won 53% to 47% in Pierce County. Voters replaced an unpopular primary process with instant runoff voting, and will fold the primary election into the general. Voters in 2008 will be able to rank the candidates they like, allowing them to vote for any candidate from any party.

Voters gave Measure O a titanic victory in Oakland, CA. The measure won handily, passing 68% to 32%. The campaign weathered some dirty tricks, such as a fake mailer indicating the Democratic Party opposed the measure. In fact, it was widely supported by the Democratic Party, NAACP of California, the Oakland Tribune and many others. Oakland in 2008 is now scheduled to fold its primary into the general election and allow voters to rank their choices, saving hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, encouraging voter turnout, and ensuring majority winners without the spoiler effect.

Voters approved by a sweeping 65%-35% vote a Minneapolis measure to use instant runoff voting for all major offices in 2009 and the proportional voting version of down ballot races. Voters in Davis California voted 55%-45% to advise the city council to adopt choice voting, which was pioneered in the community at UC-Davis, one of dozens of leading colleges now using IRV and choice voting for their elections.

These wins marked the first ballot measure victories for choice voting, the proportional voting version of IRV, in a half-century

Since instant runoff voting's ground-breaking win in March 2002 in San Francisco, it has been on the ballot in eight cities and counties across the country, winning every time.

FairVote executive director Rob Richie commented, "We've reached a real tipping point. Yesterday's results show that voters from all over the country, from very different kinds of communities, support the idea of having both more choices and real majority voting elections. We also saw several key races, including the hotly contested Montana and Virginia Senate races, where third party candidates won far more votes than the vote difference between the major parties. It's time for a change, and now we have a clear roadmap."

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Ryan O'Donnell is Communications Director for FairVote - The Center for Voting and Democracy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan election reform group in Washington DC.
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