Large Coalition Pushes La Voter Bill Of Rights


Media Contact:

October 25, 2010

Katie Fleming (916) 443-1792

Large Coalition Pushes LA Voter Bill of Rights

Los Angeles, CA – Barriers to voting should no longer be tolerated. California Common Cause has teamed up with a powerhouse group of partners taking bold steps toward making Los Angeles a place where voting is a right, not a privilege.

Right now, the Los Angeles City Council is reviewing a package of reforms on the ballot for the 2011 election. These reforms include Election Day registration, ranked choice voting, voter owned elections, neighborhood vote centers and vote-by-mail. The measure is scheduled for a budget vote Monday and a vote on Tuesday.

“Los Angeles is the second largest city in the United States. When it comes to voting rights, we have a responsibility to be a leader. When only a sliver of Angelinos are voting in city elections, we have a serious problem. The LA voters’ bill of rights would increase voter participation,” said Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause.

In states where Election Day registration has been implemented, there have been between 3 and 6% increases in voter turnout. To address voter fatigue, ranked choice voting would end runoff elections and alleviate significant costs for election officials.

Voter owned elections mean that voters take back ownership of the electoral process. Los Angeles has a partial matching public financing system where candidates still seek private campaign donations, but many candidates have opted out of this system. Removing the cap on the matching fund’s trust fund would allow the city to move to a more robust public campaign finance system where candidates could opt not to take special interest money.

Providing voters with a ballot in the mail and the option to vote at a neighborhood vote center makes it easier for voters to cast a ballot. The combination of neighborhood vote centers and voting by mail will not only increase voter turnout, but lower the costs of conducting elections. According to the City Clerk, there could be up to a 40% savings by mailing a ballot to every registered voter and also providing fully staffed neighborhood vote centers, located in convenient locations.

The coalition of supporters includes League of Women Voters – Los Angeles, the California Clean Money Campaign, the Greenlining Institute, the California Participation Project, Councilmember Jose Huizar’s Office, National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, Southwest Voters, Youth Speak! Collective and the ACLU of Southern California.

California Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring an open, honest, and accountable government, also working to strengthen public participation and ensuring that political processes serve the public interest, rather than the special interests.