State of the Initiative #5

State of the Initiative Address #5

Hello everyone and I genuinely hope your holidays were joyful and bright.  Mine were amazing and spent with family and friends.  Despite the holidays, a great deal of work was actually done by your “doer” group and I am excited to bring you all up to speed.

First, we continue to make contacts with like minded folks all over Colorado and Denver.  The League of Women Voters Boulder has linked us to their website,   http://lwvbc.org/vmcomm.html  and we have started talking about events our group can do along side theirs in January and February.  We will OF COURSE be posting about these meetings as they come to fruition.  The Libertarian Party of Colorado has invited us to join them at one such event in March:

https://www.facebook.com/lpcolorado/?fref=ts  (Apologies, I am not technically savvy enough to know how to hyperlink anything)

http://www.lpcolorado.org/2017convention

There is a good chance we will actually be invited on stage to debate with individuals who prefer other voting methods such as Approval Voting during this convention so I highly advise you consider attending if possible.

Another very exciting occurrence for us, we were given the privilege to meet with Representative Jonathan Singer (House District 11) this past week.  He blessed us with a couple hours of time and it was time well spent.   I can honestly say that he is as kind, open, intelligent, and helpful as his reputation bears out.   It was joyful to speak with him.  He and I reached a lot of common ground in just 2 hours of discussion.  We spoke at length about AV and IRV, as well as the work he has done for the past 3 years promoting AV system bill much like the one that passed in 2008 under Kefalas.  We have also sent an e-mail to Sen. Kefalas asking for a similar meeting and hope to hear back soon.  As always you will of course be kept informed.

Lastly your doers will be meeting again on the 7th.  The League of Women Voters may be sending a representative to that meeting depending on their schedules.  Our last meeting was AMAZING and very productive and I am hopeful this one will be as well.

As always, if you want to be more informed . . .or more involved, either way, just comment or send me a PM and you will be given the time/location of the meeting so you can join the doers, or just come and watch us talk.  I bet you’d be impressed at the group we have been growing.  There are amazing men and women there who have brought their strong, honest, informed thoughts and facts with them and together we are working very well to bring about as much change as we can.

And finally, my standard conclusion, we need as many people to join us as possible.  Pick just one person somewhere in your world, and speak to them about this group and what we are trying to do.  Numbers are our key.  Without them .  .. well let’s face it, I don’t have millions to buy the influence we’d need to make these changes.  Other’s do.  So we need people instead.  Just find one person, talk to them, and see if they would be interested in joining up as a face in the crowd.

Thank you all!  I hope 2017 treats you all well and let us continue to move forward!

Chris

RCVforColorado on facebook

www.rcvfor.co

First MONTHLY State of the Initiative Address (Week 4)

Hello to you all and THANK you for being part of this group.  Welcome to all the new members!  We continue to grow simply by word of mouth and it is wonderful to see happening.  Each time you share a post, or mention this group, or speak with a friend, you present a chance for us to grow stronger.  So thank you all for your continued engagement and keeping the conversation going.  On a personal note, we are deep into the holidays at my house.  I think my cookie calorie intake meter was mysteriously lost recently but I’m sure I’ll find it again somewhere around February.  So of course things tend to slow down in other areas of life, so this post may seem a little shorter but rest assured big things are happening.

So over the past week or so, we took two fairly big steps forward.  First off we have connected with two other parties who are in favor of doing away with the First Past the Post system(FPTP), The Libertarian Party of Colorado and the League of Women Voters Boulder.  We are SO THRILLED to be finding so many other like minded folks out there who recognize that the FPTP system simply isn’t working for this country or this state and we are looking forward to the possibility of setting up booths at events, talks, and joining them to spread awareness that there are alternatives to what we currently have.

Second, your group “doers” all sat down together on Sunday and had, what I believe was an OUTSTANDING conversation.  Each person participated actively, brought good thoughts with them, challenged incorrect ideas, and collectively we engaged in a plethora of productive ideas.  We have about a full half page of goals and “to do” items which we are collectively working with and we will be meeting again shortly.  We will also spent about 90 minutes discussing and very specifically analyzing what it is we want to bring.  We are in the process of honing our more vague ideas into precision concepts and will be shortly putting them into words and language from which we can begin to write our initiative.  We expect to have this process complete by early January and turn our attention full time to writing and outreach.

As of my writing this piece, we have 111 members on the facebook group, and a handful more who are signed up through the website.  I am not sure of the cross over but our membership is up about 20% in just the last week overall.  I can not TELL you what that means to me personally.  Thank you.  Thank you.

Keep up the conversation everyone.  Pick just one friend this week, and if you find an opportunity bring up our group and our ideas.  Still so many people do now know about the existence of other voting methods besides FPTP.  We need to change this.  Our success as a group depends on people being informed and engaged.  Knowledge is power.  So this week, go share and spread your knowledge.

Feel free to share our links with them.

On the Web:  www.rcvfor.co

On Facebook :https://www.facebook.com/groups/STVforColorado/

Third Weekly State of the Initiative Address

Hello Group! It is once again Saturday and we’ve just completed our third week in existence. Next week will be almost a full month! One month old and we’re already doing far more than holding our head up!

So . . .here is the Third Weekly State of the Initiative Address.

First off, with the approaching holidays, people taking vacations, and other of life’s important events become more commonplace, the work here, very naturally and in my opinion, WELCOMELY has slowed slightly. I just got off the phone with another ally who has experience setting up non-profits and he reminded me that setting a pace is important as burnout is a very real blockaid for any long term project. So in the spirit of the times . . . HAPPY HOLIDAYS and I hope you and yours are doing well. Relax! Enjoy the times you have with those most important to you. Remember that time is really all we have in this life. It is the sole asset given to each and every human. Time. Spend it wisely.

Now that aside, this week the group of “doers” has coalesced nicely. We are set up now using a website called “Slack” which is helping to organize this movement. A tremendous amount of research and discussion was done. Special Thanks this week to Joshua Leasure, and Jeff Gran who have done a HUGE amount of study, finding new ideas, researching past applications of RCV, and basically mapping out the intellectual territory in which we all now find ourselves. There have been many new ideas presented and discussed about how exactly we want to write up this initiative to set it upon the best course for success.

Also two articles were written and submitted to local newspaper editors for publication. Time will tell if they are accepted and printed but we will continue to walk down that path and spread knowledge of RCV and this group’s attempt to free up our voting methods from the old FFTP standby we’ve been stuck with for 240 years.

The group of Doers has our first meeting coming up in 8 days so if you want to be part of that please let me know. You can just comment below and I will send you a Private FB message. Remember to check your “other folder” as I am not “friends” with many of you and facebook will filter my message as spam.

Hopefully the week to come will bring more research, more articles, and perhaps get us set up as a 501 (c)(4). As always, AWARENESS is our biggest foe. There are a lot of people out and about who would be supporters if only they could hear about us. Outreach is the name of our game. So, if you believe that RCV is a better system and you think we should have it here in Colorado . . .it really is up to you to be the feet of this group. We can’t move anywhere, out or up, without our feet going places. So go places. Pick just one person you know and bring up RCV. “That RCV group had an interesting article the other day . . . ” Let THEM ask you, “RCV? What does that mean?” Then just show them the group on your phone or computer. It could easily be a 3 minute talk, but it might make them aware of our existence. Remember we have a very high hurdle to overcome. 135,000 signatures spread out all over Colorado. We need people to be aware of us, and we need you to speak to them to make them aware. So just one person this week. Anyone you like.

Be well all! And HAPPY HOLIDAYS again! Spend your time well.

Newsweek Article: How Election 2016 Would Be Different . . .

Raeburn, Paul. “How Election 2016 Would Be Different With Ranked-Choice Voting.” Newsweek. Newsweek LLC, October 28, 2016. http://www.newsweek.com/2016/10/28/election-2016-voting-science-510662.html

From time to time during this turbulent election season, it has seemed that the Republican standard-bearer might tell his staff they’re fired and return to New York real estate. It’s a world Donald Trump understands—a world where losing a billion dollars can be a good thing. Suppose he’d done that. Or suppose he had become sick or disabled. (There were risks on the other side too; pneumonia could have taken out Hillary Clinton.)

If a candidate disappears midway through an election, what is the fairest way to replace him or her? You might argue that the voters’ second choice should take over. But we have no way of knowing who the second choice in a given election would be—an inevitable consequence of our single-vote system.

Game theorists—researchers whose specialty is the study of strategic thinking—say there would be no fair way to replace Trump under our electoral system. But that’s only one of the things that’s wrong with how Americans vote in political elections. In some other systems, elections could have pared down the Republican primary field of 17 candidates to a more manageable number much sooner, giving voters a simpler and clearer set of choices.

Among game theorists, “everybody has their favorite version of voting,” says Kevin Zollman, a game theorist and associate professor of philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University. “But it’s fair to say that almost everybody agrees that the current way we do it is the worst.”

We’re not talking about hanging chads here, or stuffed ballot boxes. Those are the mechanics. We’re also not talking about the baseless Republican allegations of voter fraud that have prompted legislation making it difficult for some poor and minority voters to exercise their franchise. The problem with voting in the U.S. goes far deeper than that. “The big problem with the way we do elections now is we don’t ask people for their second choice,” Zollman says.

That failure to inquire about second choices could partly explain why Trump secured the nomination, even though he was not most people’s first choice. Here’s how: According to the website RealClearPolitics, Trump received more than 13 million votes in the Republican primary. But PolitiFact reports that his top three challengers—Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Marco Rubio—received more than 15 million votes combined. The trio of challengers split a total vote that topped Trump. And many of those 15 million voters might have preferred one of the other top-tier candidates to Trump as their second choice. But there is no way of knowing, because they were able to choose only one candidate.

In a New York Times op-ed in early October, former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean proposed the adoption of what game theorists call instant-runoff elections. Voters rank the candidates from first to last. If one candidate wins a majority of first-place votes, the election is over. The result is the same as what happens now.

If no candidate gets a majority, the candidate with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated. Those who made that choice no longer have a first-place choice, so their second choice is now bumped up to first. That changes all the tallies. It could give one of the remaining candidates a majority. If it does, the election is over. If not, the process repeats until one candidate attains a majority.

That system would have allowed a primary-state voter to choose Trump first—perhaps as a protest vote—and Cruz second, say. If enough voters did that, Cruz could have received a majority and knocked off Trump. Dean argues that this is “a solution to the problem of how to uphold majority rule and give more voice to voters by presenting them with more than two options.”

The nonprofit, nonpartisan group FairVote—chaired by former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic—says on its website that ranked-choice voting “has improved elections in cities and states across the United States” and “has majority support in every U.S. city that uses it.” Those cities include Berkeley, California; Cambridge, Massachusetts; San Francisco; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Portland, Maine. In November, Maine voters will decide whether to adopt Question Five, which would establish ranked-choice voting for the state’s 2018 primary and elections for governor, House, the Senate and the state Legislature.

Game theorists argue that a ranked system could have advantages in the presidential election too. Voters who favored Democratic primary challenger Bernie Sanders but who feared Trump could have ranked Sanders first and Clinton second, reducing the likelihood that a vote for Sanders would tip the election to Trump. Democrats who believe that Ralph Nader’s insurgent candidacy in 2000 tipped the election away from Al Gore to George W. Bush might find this interesting. Nader voters had no opportunity to rank Gore second, as many of them might have done.

And what if, through some yet unimagined plot twist, Trump did make an early exit from the presidential race? With ranked voting, the second choice would be immediately clear. Many voters might consider that alternative a fairer outcome than what would likely happen now: Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus would gather with political operatives in a smoke-free room to take the choice out of the voters’ hands. A likely pick would be Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana. The merits of that choice aside, Pence was not anybody’s first choice or even 17th choice in the Republican primaries, in part because he wasn’t a candidate. Voters might accept the expediency of such a choice, but few would consider it fair.

As elegant as other voting systems might be, none solves all the problems. Indeed, game theorists have proved it. In the 1950s, Nobel Prize–winning economist Kenneth Arrow devised what is called Arrow’s impossibility theorem, which shows—with irrefutable mathematics, for those who understand it—that no election can be entirely fair. It’s not possible. But as Zollman points out, we could do much better. Ask the mirror on the wall: The U.S. is far from being the fairest of them all.

#2 Weekly State of the Initiative Address

Hello again everyone! It is time for our second weekly State of the Initiative Address. . . and to catch everyone up on what all happened this week.
It has been another busy week. First and foremost, thank you all for what you do. We’ve set up a group of “doers” who are people willing to dedicate just a little bit of time to some project or another having to do with RCV. Some are handing out pamphlets, some are working on the website, some are working on the finances, setting up the non-profit status, editing papers, writing papers, networking with other organizations, designing handouts, and loads of other things I’m sure I’ve forgotten. Some are dedicating hours upon hours, others a few minutes at a time, and it is all adding up fast as you will see in a moment.
First a couple of housekeeping things.
1) The Website is up and running. It has a mailing list attached to it where we will be sending out this weekly update, as well as any other important info. It will also be used in conjunction with this site to notify people when the “GO” moment has arrived and we need the masses to meet us and sign. So if your facebook feed is being exploded by this site, and you’d rather it not, then by all means sign up on the website instead. I do not wish in any way for this page to be a nuisance for anyone.
2) Our numbers went up again from last week to now. We are at 80 members on this page. 🙂 YAY! Just remember, if you are willing to talk to just one person SOMEWHERE in Colorado and have them join us in the next week, either here or the website, we can double our numbers. We also have a few subscribers on the webpage. If everyone makes just ONE person aware of RCV by next week, I’m sure we will cross the 100 mark for people who have joined.
Remember, awareness is the biggest issue we face with this endeavor. So many people have never heard of RCV, and once it is explained to them, a large number of them agree it is a much better system than our current First Past the Post. The masses just need to be informed. So tell someone new this week about this group and hopefully they will join.
So what all happened this week?
Well for starters . . . we are OFFICIAL. As of last night Aicila and I registered our group with the Secretary of State. The Committee Registration form was completed, and we are officially a Small Scale Issue Committee. More information on that as it becomes available but in short this is the first step towards our initiative, our non-profit status, and future financing options.
Next, we are in contact with Fairvote.org, a nationwide organization which was instrumental in helping Maine with their initiative. I received a reply email from two of their members, and they are on board for meeting us next week and seeing how they can help.
With that we are also in contact with several individual members who are associated with the fairvote movement, and they are already actively helping us with documents, and papers, as well as networking. One of our Doers, Melissa is actively working on a paper which we hope will gain the attention of The Denver Post, The Daily Camera, and other such publications. In 2011, Ft. Collins ran a campaign to bring a similar system to their city and at that time the Denver Post ran a few articles in favor of the change. We are hoping to duplicate this action this year. For example:
http://www.denverpost.com/2010/08/05/tom-tancredo-and-ranked-choice-voting/
Next, we are up to three Colorado Congress people with whom we either have reached out, or we have heard back from, and all of whom are sympathetic to our thinking. One of them is already putting forth a bill in Colorado Congress to help make it easier for municipalities to use RCV if they desire. Hopefully they will want to help us in our endeavors as well. One meeting is set for late January, and two others we are in the initial stages.
Next we have set up a meeting with the “doers” which is schedule for the 18th from noon until 230 where we will get to meet, and talk about what is happening with the group, what needs to be done, and where we are going from here. If you would like to join us, just let me know and I will send you the location.
And lastly, we have reached out to someone (an attorney) who has experience working with non-profits and they have said they would be excited to chat with us and see how they can help us progress.
So all in all, it was another big week with lots being accomplished. Thank you ALL for being part of this. It is a massive undertaking, and yet it is really starting to look doable.
Again the biggest thing we need from EVERYONE right now, is spreading awareness. By my estimate well more than 9 out of 10 people I talk to have never heard of RCV. If they have never heard of it, they surely can’t support it. And our plan relies on large numbers of people coming to us when it is time to collect those 135,000 signatures. So please if you could just talk to one person this week, and make them aware . . .share our website . . . and share the facebook group, that will hopefully start a cascade effect. One becomes two. Two becomes four. Four becomes four thousand . . .
Be well all!

We are not alone!

Hello ALL!

So as our numbers slowly grow, we have become aware of an article written by the Washington post which discusses voter unhappiness across the Nation.  Multiple states are pushing ballot initiatives trying to fix our very broken system.  It is a good feeling to know we are not alone.  It is going to be a monumental task but in the end, it will be worth the effort.

Here is a link to the Washington Post article for those who are interested.