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Amherst Likely to Vote on Charter Commission Recommendations that include Ranked Choice Voting

Posted by Myeisha Boyd on August 07, 2017
Amherst Likely to Vote on Charter Commission Recommendations that include Ranked Choice Voting

In 2016, a Charter Commission in Amherst (MA) was approved by a majority with 60% voters in favor. The commission is proposing elections be held with ranked choice voting (RCV). The task of the Charter Commission is to study Amherst government and recommend changes within two years. After a 16 month study, the Charter Commission recommended replacing Town Meeting with a town council, among other recommendations. Charter Commission Chairman Andy Churchill said the proposal would call for 13 town councilors, three at large and two each will become five wards instead of the current 10 precincts. Churchill wrote, “We believe the result is a set of recommendations that reflect the varied interests of our residents.”

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Better Design, Better Democracy: Why Ballot Design Matters in Ranked Choice Elections

Posted by Marie Lemieux on August 04, 2017
Better Design, Better Democracy: Why Ballot Design Matters in Ranked Choice Elections

The American conscience is etched with memories of the eventful 2000 elections, where the Palm Beach Post found that Palm Beach County’s Butterfly Ballot cost Al Gore the presidential elections. This example illustrates the importance of ballot design, where the position of elements on ballots can create misunderstanding for voters, increase the number of irregular ballots (ballots which include marking mistakes or other mistakes that make counting the ballot impossible), and ultimately de-legitimize an election.

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Don’t Let Our Democracy Collapse: A Q&A with Richard Hasen

Posted by Myeisha Boyd on July 27, 2017
Don’t Let Our Democracy Collapse: A Q&A with Richard Hasen

FairVote had the opportunity to catch up with Richard Hasen regarding his recent article published in the New York Times, “Don’t Let Our Democracy Collapse,” focusing on our democracy and the electoral process in the United States. Hasen writes, “the future is scary. Public confidence in the fairness of the election process is already largely driven by who wins and who loses.”

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A Strong Argument for Multi-Member Districts & Ranked Choice Voting in Georgia

Posted by Madeline Brown on July 25, 2017
A Strong Argument for Multi-Member Districts & Ranked Choice Voting in Georgia

On June 20, in a special election for Georgia’s 6th house district Karen Handel defeated Jon Ossoff, ending a campaign that had started almost the moment the 2016 campaign had ended. The whole country seemed to be paying attention to the first big contested race in the Trump era, which was portrayed as a precursor to 2018 congressional elections. In the end, the race was negative and grueling--with one of the final ads associating Ossoff with an “unhinged left” that endorsed the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise. But it didn’t have to be.

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Closing the American Democracy Voter Engagement Gap Using Innovation

Posted by Marie Lemieux on July 21, 2017
Closing the American Democracy Voter Engagement Gap Using Innovation

As the Pence-Kobach commission begins in the heart of the nation’s capital, Americans’ trust in their democracy is at an all-time low and has been declining in the past decade. As of May 2017, only a fifth of the American population believed “they can trust the government in Washington to do what is right”. This bleary statistic both translates and is caused by a lack of engagement in the democratic process, as American citizens slowly stop engaging in institutions that do not seek to represent or include them. This is why states and non-partisan organizations throughout the country, like FairVote, are finding ways to engage voters in American democracy to restore their trust in the electoral system.

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India Elects 14th President Using Ranked Choice Voting

Posted by Myeisha Boyd on July 21, 2017
India Elects 14th President Using Ranked Choice Voting

Yesterday, July 20, Ram Nath Kovind was elected as the 14th President of India. President Kovind received 65.65% of the total vote, which secured a massive margin over his rival Meira Kumar who received 34.35%.The winner is selected through a system known as proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote (STV). Proportional representation ensures equal representation to all groups because it allows voters to mark their voting preferences rather than choosing just one candidate. Votes are never wasted because if your first choice candidate does not win, your second choice is counted and it’s an instant run off until someone wins a majority of the votes.

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