L.A. Area Chamber

      TUESDAY | May 20, 2008





Coming up
at the Chamber

View all upcoming events on our Web calendar.

WED | May 21
Mobility 21 Coalition Meeting
Focus on the San Fernando Valley with L.A. City Council President Pro Tempore Wendy Greuel
more info

THU | May 22
Energy, Water & Environment Committee Meeting
more info

THU | May 22
Education & Workforce Development Committee Meeting
Featuring California Secretary of Education David Long
more info

THU | May 22
The Connection Point
What's Your USP?
more info

TUE | May 27
Referral Network
Grow Your Business
more info

WED | May 28
Land Use, Construction & Housing Committee Meeting
Featuring Jane Ellison Usher, president of the L.A. City Planning Commission
more info

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit

350 S. Bixel St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.580.7500 tel
213.580.7511 fax


Five million dollars and six percent. Five million dollars was the administrative cost of the May 2007 citywide runoff election. Six percent was the percentage of registered Angelenos who voted in the May 2007 citywide runoff election. Turnout in some precincts was only one or two percent. These numbers are depressing and wasteful and signal a need to change how we conduct our local non-partisan elections.

The city of Los Angeles currently uses a two-round system to elect its mayor, city attorney, city council and controller. One election is held in early March, and if no candidate wins a majority of the votes, a second election between the top two finishers is held in May.

Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) would save time and money while opening up the political process to more voters – and candidates. IRV combines the primary and runoff elections into one election. Voters cast their ballots by ranking candidates in their order of preference i.e. first, second and third. 
Just like today, the vote counting begins with a tabulation of first place votes. If one candidate secures more than 50 percent of first place votes, he or she wins. If no candidate meets that threshold on the first tabulation, the candidate receiving the lowest number of first place votes is eliminated. Voters who supported the eliminated candidate will have their vote automatically shifted to their second choice in an instant runoff. The process continues until one candidate has more than 50 percent of the vote.

This process will eliminate a runoff election and save L.A. city taxpayers millions of dollars. This is especially important as the city faces a $400 million budget deficit. IRV will also save money for the candidates and their supporters who will only have to finance one election rather than two.

The benefits of IRV are pretty clear.  After San Francisco adopted the system four years ago, voter turnout doubled citywide. Candidates also cut down on negative campaigning and political mudslinging because appealing for a second or third place vote became an important election strategy.

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors voted unanimously on May 8 to endorse IRV. A growing list of other community organizations and elected officials are also in support.

The Los Angeles City Council must place an IRV initiative on the November 2008 ballot in order for voters to use IRV for the 2009 citywide elections.  Join us in encouraging the mayor and City Council to act quickly to make this happen. Instant Runoff Voting will save money and increase voter turnout - a winning combination for all of us. 

And that’s The Business Perspective. 

Gary L. Toebben
President & CEO
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

The Business Perspective is a weekly opinion piece by Gary Toebben, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.


by Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

L.A. Business

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Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, 350 S. Bixel St., Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.580.7500 | fax: 213.580.7511 | info@lachamber.com | www.lachamber.com

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