Founded in 1992 as "Citizens for Proportional Representation", they changed their name in 1993 to "Center for Voting and Democracy (CVD)" to reflect a broadening of focus from proportional representation to include work on single-winner reform, such as Australian-style "preferential voting". In 2004, CVD changed the organization's name to FairVote to reflect support for platforms as instant-runoff voting, for single-winner elections, a national popular vote for president, a right to vote amendment to the United States Constitution, and universal voter registration. FairVote releases regular publications on the state of the U.S. electoral system, including Dubious Democracy and Monopoly Politics.
Rob Richie has been the President and CEO of FairVote since its formation in 1992. Former congressman and U.S. presidential candidate John Anderson was the chair for the board of directors for many years. The current chair of FairVote's board of directors is former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic.
Renaming "preferential voting"
Prior to FairVote's work, the single-winner version of single transferable vote was primarily used outside of the United States (e.g. in Australia), and was known in Australia as "preferential voting".
In 1993, FairVote's first annual report referred to the system as "preference voting", which included the following caveat:
A Note on Terminology: Reflecting the range of contributors, this report has some inconsistencies in terminology to describe different voting systems. In addition, what many call the "single transferable vote" here is termed "preference voting" in order to focus on the voting process rather than the ballot count.
In 1997, FairVote began referring to preferential voting as "Instant Runoff voting". Though the term "ranked-choice voting" existed as early as 1999, they didn't appear to start using the term in earnest until 2006, and didn't deprecate the term "instant runoff voting" until 2013.
- "Who We Are". FairVote. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "PR Web Sites". Mount Holyoke College. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "Reforms". FairVote. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "Dubious Democracy". FairVote. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "Monopoly Politics 2014". FairVote. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "Fuller, Fairer Elections? How?". Christian Science Monitor. 1997-07-21. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 2019-12-14.
- From the 1998 newsletter: "Note that the transferable ballot can be used as a proportional representation system in multi-seat districts (what we call "choice voting") and in one-winner elections (what we call "instant runoff voting")."
- http://archive.fairvote.org/library/statutes/irv_stat_lang.htm San Francisco Charter Amendment, introduced October 1999 "SEC. 13.102. RANKED-CHOICE BALLOTS"
- Instant Runoff Voting Charter Amendment for San Francisco passed on March 5, 2002, "to provide for the election of the Mayor, Sheriff, District Attorney, City Attorney, Treasurer, Assessor-Recorder, Public Defender, and members of the Board of Supervisors using a ranked-choice, or “instant run-off,” ballot, to require that City voting systems be compatible with a ranked-choice ballot system, and setting a date and conditions for implementation."
- "FairVote and the LWV-Arizona Support Ranked Choice Voting" Dr. Barbara Klein and Rob Richie
- The July 2013 homepage of fairvote.org was the first to refer to "ranked choice voting" as a preferred term to "instant-runoff"
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