Thursday, March 03, 2005

Eureka Confirms Town Hall Forum on April 28

On April 28, Eureka City Councilmembers Chris Kerrigan and Mike Jones will co-sponsor a town hall forum on Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). The event begins at 6pm in the Wharfinger Building in Eureka. Participants can expect to learn about RCV by voting in elections that will be tabulated during the meeting.

One of the interesting things I've learned in the past two weeks is that Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), which I've advocated for several years, is really just one way of tabulating votes in the broader category of RCV elections. The two terms are not interchangeable. All IRV is RCV, but not all RCV is IRV.

I've done a bunch of reading lately, including the San Francisco Department of Elections report on their first RCV election; and I read about Condorcet, the pairwise method of RCV that pits each candidate against each other candidate within a race. Since we don't want to be discussing algorithms at the forum, we're going to keep the complicated details for another day. The single high-level goal is for people to leave clamoring for RCV.

On Thursday afternoon, Scott Menzies and I presented Councilmembers Kerrigan and Jones with a proposed format for the gathering. To my delighted surprise, there were no objections, and several positive remarks. I'm ordinarily inclined to write more detail but it feels premature, and oddly, like it could influence the efficacy of town hall forum.

In the wake of the dissolution of the Election Response Committee, I am hereby introducing the Voter Confidence Committee as a new unifying front for election reform. I'm not sure yet if this name will be associated with the forum but it will be visible at the March 19 peace rally in Eureka. Check out my workshop on election reform. Also, we could use two or three volunteers to help Scott with the table, please.

In a bit of stale news, last week Arcata Vice Mayor Dave Meserve informed me that the No Confidence Resolution would not come before the Council until April. This is because Arcata is now also preparing for a town hall forum on March 14. That gathering will be to discuss the conscientious objector resolution (scroll down) proposing protections for people who wish to avoid participating in illegal wars.

The energy of this community is a wondrous thing and it is awakening with a surge of empowerment. The supposedly intangible vibration has been impossible for me to ignore. Have you sensed it too? It's the realization that change is the most inevitable thing of all. So if you're going to have an influence on the future, what would that look like? Try to think without limits about what would be better?



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