Newly formed group to work with community organizers and advocates on electoral reform education and advocacy.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 2, 2016
FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Communications Director Michelle C. Whittaker (301) 270-4616 or [email protected]
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- FairVote California (FVCA) has released new voter and candidate information for upcoming ranked choice voting elections. Nearly 900 handouts have been distributed throughout the Bay Area at community events and centers, candidate campaigns, civic engagement groups, health clinics, and churches. The online and printable handouts provide helpful information on how a ranked ballot works and campaign strategies for candidates. The voter handouts are an educational tool available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
FairVote California is a project of FairVote, a national nonpartisan electoral reform organization based in Takoma Park, Maryland. Jennifer S. Pae and Pedro Hernandez join FairVote California as the project’s director and deputy director, respectively. They bring a wealth of community organizing and advocacy experience to support electoral reforms that will give voters a stronger voice, greater choice, and fairer representation in California elections.
“Since 1992, FairVote has been advancing solutions such as universal registration, fair representation, the National Popular Vote plan, and ranked choice voting,” said Rob Richie, FairVote executive director. “We are thrilled to have Jennifer and Pedro lead this work in California.”
The launch of FairVote California (FVCA) coincides with momentum to support and expand the use of ranked choice voting (also known as instant-runoff voting) for American elections. “For more than a decade, the Bay Area has been leading the way with ranked choice voting,” said Pedro Hernandez, deputy director of FVCA. “I am proud to be a part of the movement to help educate candidates and voters in four Bay Area cities -- Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Leandro -- in effective implementation of ranked choice voting to elect their local leaders this November 8.”
Pae and Hernandez are already working closely with electoral reform advocates, civil rights groups, and allies seeking to enhance voting rights and participation in California’s elections. “This election provides a unique opportunity to better understand the current challenges in our election system,” said Jennifer Pae, director of FVCA. “We can make California’s voting laws more fair and representative, particularly for California’s diverse and growing demographics.” The FairVote California team will also meet with community leaders, election officials, journalists, and scholars around the state to collectively develop a broader strategy for engagement of California’s growing electorate.
For more information, visit http://www.fairvoteca.org/.
Short bios for Jennifer S. Pae and Pedro Hernandez are below.
Jennifer S. Pae
For over a decade, Jennifer has been working to engage young people, women, and people of color in the political process. Jennifer’s commitment to empowering her community through civic engagement was shaped by her single immigrant mother. She is a first generation college graduate from the University of California, San Diego where she was elected to serve as the first Asian-American women student body president. Jennifer has led issue and electoral campaigns on the national and state level as the president of the United States Student Association, Project Director for PowerPAC, founding staff member for 18MillionRising.org, and Project Manager for Voter Service at the League of Women Voters of California. She continues to travel around the country with Camp Wellstone, New American Leaders Project, and APIAVote, training hundreds of activists to run effective and strategic campaigns.
Most recently, Pedro has worked with the Law Office of Robert Rubin where he specialized in claims under the California Voting Rights Act. He has also served as the Education Equity Fellow at Public Advocates, clerked with the Equal Justice Society, and externed for the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Civil Rights. Pedro is the son of immigrant parents who worked in agriculture. His experiences growing up in Watsonville, California catalyzed his passion for community empowerment at a young age, serving as student trustee for the local school board. He received his B.A. in Political Science, with a minor in American Studies from the University of California, Davis in 2006, and a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2014. He previously served as Editor-in-Chief of the Hastings Race & Poverty Law Journal.