133rd anniversary; HB 138 passed; 7/9 mtg

Dan Johnson-Weinberger midwestdemocracy at yahoo.com
Thu, 03 Jul 2003 16:43:12 +0000

The Midwest Democracy Center is a non-profit, membership advocacy 
group that works to make our governments more democratic and 
representative. We partner with the D.C.-based Center for Voting and 
Democracy (www.fairvote.org).

Our main goal is to revive cumulative voting for the Illinois House 
of Representatives (used from 1870 Â? 1980) so that political 
minorities will have some voice. Electing three people from one big 
district instead of three people each from their own smaller district 
ensures that all voters have someone who speaks for them. That's real 
representation.

Our other goal is to use instant runoff voting for single-winner 
elections (like governor and mayor) to ensure the majority of voters 
gets to pick the winner in one election. 

Our website is www.midwestdemocracy.org and our telephone number is 
312.587.7060. We encourage your participation and membership! (Join 
online) by clicking here:
https://www.paypal.com/xclick/business=xx817%40prairienet.org

133rd ANNIVERSARY OF TWO-PARTY DISTRICTS FOR IL HOUSE
WITH CUMULATIVE VOTING RIGHTS

Yes, today, July 3rd, 133 years ago, Illinois voters had the 
opportunity to amend their state constitution by forging a new type 
of government where *all* people would be represented in the 
legislature, not just some. Illinois voters had the chance to create 
a two-party system for every citizen in every part of the state, and 
not settle for a one-party system that *pretends* to represent all 
voters.

And thankfully, in 1870, Illinois voters set a new path for American 
democracy by approving a constitutional amendment to use three-
member districts with cumulative voting rights for the state House 
of Representatives.

With passage of legislation to let county boards grant cumulative 
voting rights in county elections, and the City of Peoria giving 
cumulative voting rights in city elections, the echoes of our 
Illinois forefathers creating a better government just months of 
President Lincoln's death, reverberate today. 

Let us demand a government of the people -- not just some of the 
people, but all of the people.

LEGISLATION PASSES (NEEDS GOV'S SIGNATURE) TO ALLOW
COUNTY BOARDS TO GIVE CUMULATIVE VOTING RIGHTS

Governor Blagojevich has until August 9th to sign the bill into law 
(or veto it). 

Current law permits county boards wide latitude in setting up their
electoral system by county ordinance. They may use single-member 
districts or multi-member districts. They may use a combination of the two. 
They may not, however, grant cumulative voting rights in multi-member 
districts.

HB 138 would give county boards the authority to grant cumulative 
voting rights in multi-member districts or at-large elections. It would also
authorize advisory citizen initiatives on the question of the 
structure of the county board if citizens collect the signatures of 8% of the
gubernatorial turnout.

* How does cumulative voting work?

It doesn't work at all when only one person is elected. Cumulative 
voting only applies if there are at least two elected from a multi-member 
district. Voters with cumulative voting rights may give all their votes to one candidate - or split them up equally among several candidates. Voters without cumulative voting rights may not do so.

If there are three people to be elected from a district, and a voter 
really likes one candidate, the voter must 'throw away' two of her votes if 
she only wants to support one candidate. With cumulative voting rights, 
the voter can cast his full allocation of votes - all three votes -- for 
the one candidate he supports and give that candidate a better chance of 
winning.

This will help the political minority get some level of 
representation and not just get locked out of any voice on the county board.

NATIONAL PRESS FROM OUR D.C. PARTNER WWW.FAIRVOTE.ORG

Check out the website for a wealth of information and a huge November conference in Washington to Claim Our Democracy:
www.fairvote.org

DUPAGE MEETING MONDAY 7/9 FOR A TWO-PARTY COUNTY BOARD

Thanks to the Citizen Advocacy Center, we'll be having
a meeting in Elmhurst for DuPage County residents to
talk about the opportunities to bring in a two-party
system to the DuPage County Board with the passage of
HB 138.

We'll meet at 6:30 pm, Monday night, July 7th at the
Citizen Advocacy Center, located at 238 N. York Road
in Elmhurst. See www.citizenadvocacycenter.org for
more information.

Please bring other DuPagers who might have a bone to
pick with the county board, and think that a one-party
county board doesn't represent all the people of the
county. 

Currently, the 18-member board is elected from six
districts, each district electing three board members.
There are 18 Republicans and zero Democrats on the
board. Everyone gets three votes, but they may not
cast all three votes for one candidate. With the new
legislation, the county board may grant cumulative
voting rights so that voters can give all three of
their votes to one candidate. That electoral power of
cumulative voting rights means that one-third of the
voters casting all their votes for one candidate can
elect one of the three board members. And *that*
creates a two-party system, instead of a one-party
system.

NEW WEBSITE -- THANKS CHRIS!

Check out www.midwestdemocracy.org to see our brand-spanking new website design (we still need to fill in some of the text). Thanks Chris Nichols for designing it!