Commonwealth Club: California democracy

July 24, 2006 12:00:00 AM PDT
SPEAKER: Steven Hill, Director of the Political Reform Program for the New America Foundation and author of "10 Steps to Repair American Democracy."

VIDEO: Watch this Commonwealth Club event in its entirety in the media player above.

Ten Steps to Repair Democracy in California

What reforms have the best chance of dramatically improving government responsiveness? Which ones might enable elected officials to plan beyond the next election cycle? In a state as expansive and diverse as California, is it time to consider increasing the size of the legislature and rethink our two-party, winner-take-all system? Steven Hill, the man largely responsible for the passage of San Francisco's instant runoff voting, or ranked choice voting, addresses these questions and outline his plan to repair and reinvigorate democracy in America with direct relevance to California. He explains what he sees as the ills of our current political system and recommend a variety of initiatives, including a call for nonpartisan election officials, adoption of proportional representation, universal voter registration, and free air time for candidates.

The former senior political analyst and cofounder of the Center for Voting and Democracy/FairVote recently put his own reform agenda into practice, helping to organize San Francisco's successful ballot measure for public financing of local elections. Hill is the author of Fixing Elections: The Failure of America's Winner Take All Politics and co-author of Whose Vote Counts. His articles and commentaries have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal, among others. He has been a frequent guest on C-SPAN, Fox News, National Public Radio, and other radio and TV programs, both nationally and internationally.

This program was recorded live on July 24, 2006.


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