AGM 2015 – Address by Casey Peters

Casey Peters addressed the 2015 Annual General Meeting of Electoral Reform Australia on the progress of community activism for proportional representation in the USA. His own involvement dated from membership of a study group of the Peace and Freedom Party called People for Proportional Representation (PFPR) which advocates for effective voting.

He spoke about The Initiative by which any California voter can put an initiative or referendum on the ballot by following a defined process. He also spoke of the history of PR in the USA from the 1920s when there was a move by the National Municipal League to promote PR for use in city elections. By the 1950s, it was out of fashion and was abandoned by many cities in order to remove particular groups (e.g. Communists) from their councils.

More recently, other groups such as the Electoral Reform Initiative Committee (ERIC) have been PR advocates. In the early 1990s there was Citizens for Proportional Representation (CPR) which became Fair Vote ( In 1990, Casey was Vice President of Californians for Electoral Reform which is similar to the PRSA in being non-partisan and non-abrasive and having a ranked choice ballot and PR as its goals.

The need for electoral reform in the US is demonstrated by many elections, including the 2012 congressional elections in which the Democrats won the popular vote but the Republicans won the seats. There is little or no sustained interest in the US in a third political party. Electoral laws and regulations vary widely from state to state and even from county to county.

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