Ten years ago, a small group of activists and academics with a vision for abetter democracy made history by founding the Center for Voting and Democracy.Coming off defeat in an attempt to restore a proportional representationelection system in Cincinnati, this group would not concede the effort andproceeded to organize a long-term movement to bring to the United States thequality of politics already experienced by most of the world's majordemocracies.
In the decade that followed, a whirlwind of research, writing, education, andadvocacy took place in Washington DC and around the country. The localconnection first came through Peter Nickitas, who attended the founding meetingin Cincinnati and was a member of the original board of directors. Later thatsame summer, Nickitas met Tony Solgard, when both were asked to makepresentations on proportional representation to a Green Party gathering inMinneapolis. Nickitas introduced the Center to Solgard, who, along withNickitas, attended the Center's subsequent conferences in Washington DC andBoston. Carol Rudie served on the board of the Center for Public Justice, whichserved as fiscal agent for the Center for Voting and Democracy until it got onits feet. Rudie was also an early member of the Center from Minnesota.
FairVote Minnesota and the movement for better voting systems in this statehave benefited from the work of the Center. Most notably, the two organizationscosponsored the 1998 conference, "Empowering the Voter," which gainedconsiderable attention coming on the heels of Jesse Ventura's election asgovernor of Minnesota. Center staffers have made several trips to Minnesota foreducation and organizing.
Visit the Center's website and read their ten-year history at http://www.fairvote.org/e_news/annivnwsltr.htm.