Independent Voter Project
Democracy functions best when the most people participate.
The Independent Voter Project (IVP) is a non-profit, non-partisan, non-political (501(c)4) organization dedicated to better informing voters about important public policy issues and to encouraging non-partisan voters to participate in the electoral process.
CAIVP was founded in 2006 by Co-Chairman Steve Peace following the culmination of his career in state government as a member of the Assembly, the Senate, and as the State’s Finance Director. Mr. Peace saw the increased polarization of public policy debate and decisions and imagined a process by which those voters and citizens who had become increasingly disenfranchised and disillusioned by the public decision-making process could again become active participants. The result was the California Independent Voter Project.
Since 2006, IVP has focused on ensuring that non-partisan – decline-to-state (DTS) – voters know their rights under California’s complex primary laws which allowed them to vote in most partisan primaries only upon requesting a “Party” (e.g. Democrat or Republican) ballot.
By educating voters about the steps needed to participate in primary elections, IVP has successfully increased DTS turnout in California’s elections. IVP conducted extensive research and experimental voter education programs targeted at independent voters in 2006, 2008, and 2010. From the 2006 to 2010 midterm elections, IVP increased independent voter turnout by 419,917 voters.
To create a political environment where non-partisan voters can participate actively and effectively in local, regional, state and federal public policy decisions, regardless of party affiliation.
To provide voters with politically neutral, accurate, and reliable information about important public policy issues and to encourage non-partisan voters to vote and to participate in the democratic process.
Jeff Marston is president and government relations director for Marston&Marston, Inc. and brings over thirty years of community relations expertise and a proven track record of working with people of very diverse opinions throughout a given decision making process. Prior to joining his wife, Myrna at M+M, Marston was senior vice president of another San Diego-based public relations firm where he spent nearly four years serving as the lobbyist for the City of San Diego in Sacramento. Before his employment there, Marston was a member of the California State Assembly representing San Diego’s 78th District. While in the State Assembly, Marston served on the Committees on Education, Housing and Community Development and Revenue and Taxation.
Noel Egnatios is a San Diego, California-based attorney focusing on intellectual property matters and business litigation. She worked at Cooley LLP in San Diego for five years, and worked and traveled abroad in the Middle East region during 2011-2012. She is currently serving as legal counsel for several online jewelry retailers and is a board member of the Independent Voter Project. She was awarded the Wiley W. Manuel Award for pro bono legal services by the California State Bar in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Steve is a San Diego, California based political and community leader, and co-creator of the ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES film series. From 1982 through 2003, Peace served in the California State Capitol, as a Member of the State Assembly, a State Senator and as the Director of the California Department of Finance. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of a number of non-profit organizations including the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Open Oceans Global, and the Independent Voter Project. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Authentify, Inc., a privately held company specializing in secure Internet-based financial transactions.
Floyd is currently the President and CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) in Washington, D.C. He retired as National Executive Director/CEO of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in June of 2012. He is a past mayor of the City of Pleasanton, California, and a past California State Assemblyman. He has done extensive work in venture capital work and with international business, primarily with Japanese companies. He taught Economics at Chabot College in Hayward, California, for ten years.
Ms. Mitrovich is President and co-founder of Solution Strategies. A former City Councilwoman and Deputy Mayor, Ms. Mitrovich has an in-depth understanding of public policy at the community, regional, and state levels, as well as the impact national policies have on these entities, including Sovereign Tribal Nations. Ms. Mitrovich has extensive business experience and a unique capability to balance the interests of diverse and often conflicting stakeholders. She is widely recognized as a specialist in policy negotiations, strategy development, and dispute resolution.
Dan is a lifelong political advocate and businessman, hailing from the East Coast and currently residing in Austin, Texas. Dan served as a staff member and consultant in the state legislature from 1974-1981 and 1991-2003, acting as Chief of Staff for FIVE’s own Steve Peace for several of those years. He also founded what is now C & L Stairs and Millwork, a millwork company located in Sacramento, California. He currently serves as Director of State Government Relations for the pharmaceutical company, Lilly USA. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Independent Voter Project.
IVP is most well-known for authoring California’s Proposition 14, the “Open Primary Initiative,” which was passed decisively by the voters in the June 2010 primary election. Proposition 14 created a single ballot primary system whereby all voters can vote for any candidate, regardless of party affiliation.
Proposition 14 gave 3.8 million decline to state voters the right to vote for the candidate of their choice, no matter what the party affiliation of the voter or the candidate. IVP strenuously defends this victory to ensure these voters are empowered now and in the future.
During the election, party leaders tried to sue the Secretary of State to place a misleading and unfavorable description of Proposition 14 on the ballot. The Independent Voter Project intervened on behalf of California’s voters and stopped this underhanded tactic.
Now, IVP is reaching out to those concerned with the status of our electoral system all across the country. IVP has launched initiatives in Arizona and Texas to replicate the public education and reform processes already underway in California.
IVP bases its work on finding good information and researching critical topics relative to public policy and reform.
IVP regularly hosts conferences convening a blend of elected officials and interest groups to jointly hear experts speak on various topics important to timely policy discussions. The purposes of the conferences are two-fold. First, interest group leaders and elected officials rarely have time to duly consider background information about these important policy issues. The IVP conferences provide that background from a variety of viewpoints. Secondly, there is rarely a time and place for elected officials and diverse interest groups to gather around a table and discuss the options that might lead to solutions to the policy questions of the day. The IVP conferences provide a setting, away from the Capitol, to both consider expert information and to engage in discussions about those policy matters. Both interest group representatives and elected officials find this time valuable.
In addition, IVP commissions polls and focus groups to gain an understanding of how the public responds to and is thinking a about public policy and the decision making and electoral processes. This research informs IVP’s programs and projects.
IVP conducted extensive research and experimental voter education programs targeted at independent voters in 2006, 2008, and 2010. From the 2006 to 2010 midterm elections, IVP increased independent voter turnout by 419,917 voters.
Proposition 14 was a critical victory in voter rights. IVP will continue to seek reform in the election process that will provide additional voting rights and advancement of non-partisan decision-making both in California and elsewhere. IVP’s work, including the extensive use of focus groups consisting of independent voters and swing partisan voters, has provided a unique understanding of the emerging electorate that will assist efforts to enact much needed government reforms. As interest groups grapple with controversial plans to reform the tax structure, independent voters will be the key to passing any reform initiatives. IVP believes increasing independent voter turnout, driven by IVP’s voter education programs, will have a profound effect on future reform initiatives.
To extend the California experience across the nation, IVP is reaching out to those concerned with the status of our electoral system all across the country. IVP recognizes that national programs to extend voter rights to disenfranchised publics have historically begun in one state and then spread to others before those changes become institutionalized by federal law. A key example is the federal law giving women the right to vote. In 1890, Wyoming became the first state to constitutionally allow women to vote. Thirty years later, in 1920, the 19thamendment was passed giving the right to vote to all women in the U.S.
In recognition of the need to expand the Open Primary process across the country, IVP has launched initiatives in Arizona and Texas to replicate the public education and reform processes already underway in California.
IVP is committed to the belief that democracy functions best when the most people participate. Unfortunately, today’s political climate discourages such a participatory democracy and alienates independent-minded voters, who feel out of touch with the extreme partisanship of today’s politics. The news currently being presented by traditional media outlets only furthers to alienate independent-minded voters by presenting only right-wing and/or left-wing perspectives to truly complex, multifaceted political issues.
IVP’s sister organization, FIVE, publishes the Independent Voter Network (IVN) as a new kind of news network. IVN provides unfiltered political news and policy analysis across the political spectrum. IVN has a unique, multi-site platform that allows independent contributors from all sectors of industry and all walks of life to publish their own stories, which then reach a large, national and international audience. IVN also provides a forum for users to engage in political dialogue and rational commentary, in hopes of elevating the level of our public discourse.
IVN established and operates according to four clear Etiquette Guidelines, which all editors, contributors, and participants must respect:
IVN began as caivn.org, and during the 2008 and 2010 election cycles averaged 150,000 unique visitors each day. The new IVN.us network was BETA tested at the end of 2011, and was officially launched in January 2012. During the 2012 election season, IVN.us reached over a 1.5 million visitors.
At IVN, solutions are more persuasive than talking points, and participation is not conditioned on your party affiliation.
Write a story for IVN and help contribute to the diversity of viewpoints in the public forum. IVN is recognized as a Google News search result, so you can ensure your viewpoint will be heard.
Consider donating your time to work on policy reform, voter outreach, graphic design, social media, and much more. If you want to make a difference, we have an opportunity for you.
IVP is a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(4) charitable organization that relies upon the donations of people and organizations such as you to promote independent voter education and involvement in politics.
Stay informed and get all the up-to-date information by following IVP on our News Column at:
IVP is not a membership organization, it is a 501(c)4 non-profit. Its 3 largest individual funders are John Moores (I), Charles Munger Jr.(R) and Steve Peace(D).
The largest corporate funder is Eli Lilly. The largest labor union contributor is the California Correctional Officers. These are not political funds. IVP does not support or oppose candidates or issues. IVP Board of Directors are the sole decision makers with respect to the use of funds donated to IVP and IVP itself does not participate or otherwise dictate to any contributors in developing the news content of the Independent Voter Network (www.IVN.us).