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Demonstration at Capitol

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  • James McRitchie
    I hope to see you at the Capitol rally Monday, 12/18 starting around noon to support election reforms. As you attend the rally, keep in mind how much more
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 18, 2000
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      I hope to see you at the Capitol rally Monday, 12/18 starting
      around noon to support election reforms. As you attend the rally,
      keep in mind how much more likely reforms would be if the
      CalPERS Board used its $1880 billion worth of influence as a
      "universal owner" of corporations to further campaign voting and
      finance reform.

      Election Reforms and CalPERS

      There were many problems with the last election. It is unlikely
      that we can get rid of the Electoral College system. However, we
      probably can reform rules, which:

      * Allow a candidate that is not preferred by the majority to win.
      * Forces many to vote for the lesser of two evils because they
      don't think a third party candidate can win.

      Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) ensures the winner is preferred by the
      majority of voters and it kills the wasted vote syndrome. See
      http://www.fairvote.org on the Internet.

      Under IRV, voters rank candidates (1, 2, 3…). If no candidate
      receives a majority, the candidate with the fewest first-choice
      votes is eliminated and their votes are transferred to the
      voter's
      second choices. This process continues, until a candidate gets
      a majority.

      Campaign finance reform is also important and public
      employees can bring pressure on their $180 billion California
      Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) to file
      corporate resolutions supporting campaign finance reform and
      limiting corporate contributions.

      Recently, some of us tried to get CalPERS to adopt IRV in its
      own elections. After a controversial election, with almost as
      many flaws as the Florida vote count, the Board admitted
      reforms were needed. However, instead of making them fairer,
      they proposed the opposite. In fact, a Sacramento Bee editorial
      said their proposed reforms "risk creation of a permanent board:
      unaccountable, untouchable and isolated from the people who
      elect it."

      After more than a year and a half of letter writing and testifying,
      we won:
      * Staff will no longer be able to use their official position to
      influence the election outcome.
      * Candidates will have more space on the ballot to explain their
      positions on the issues.
      * Staff whose salaries are dependent on Board incumbents will
      no longer decide election disputes.
      * Run-offs will be required whenever no candidate receives a
      majority of the vote. (members would be "too confused" by IRV,
      so the Board will spend an extra $1 million on run-offs…money
      that could have been used to provide service to members and
      retirees)

      The first incumbent to run under the new rules will be Charles
      Valdes, Board member since 1984. For many years he was
      effective but recently over twenty members of the Legislature
      called for his resignation. We need cooperation between the
      Board, Legislature, and Governor. We need a change.

      If you are interested continuing reforms at CalPERS and using
      their influence to help reform the national election process,
      please e-mail me at jm@... or call me 327-1194
      (work) or 452-5338 (home).
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