Districts Plus allows a state to elect its state legislature in districts while also ensuring a fair and proportional outcome statewide. It makes every vote in every district meaningful in every election, and it ensures that the political party whose candidates receive the most votes statewide wins the most seats statewide.
Districts Plus is a candidate-based form of voting known internationally as mixed-member proportional representation, because it combines local representation in districts with extra accountability seats to ensure fair outcomes statewide.
Districts Plus can be used to elect state legislatures, in order to retain the use of districts but also ensure fair outcomes overall and make every vote important in every election. Most representatives continue to be elected in districts, but the overall statewide vote received by a party's candidates is determined, and then extra "accountability seats" are awarded to ensure fair representation. This ensures that every party has an incentive to field a candidate in every district, and it means that a vote for a party nominee will help that party win seats, even if that particular nominee cannot win in that particular district.
Jack Nagel, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania describes state legislatures as the most suitable setting for implementation of Districts Plus.
Michigan's current process for drawing district lines has resulted in highly problematic outcomes. In 2012, Democratic candidates for the Michigan House of Representatives won about 54% of the two-party vote, but they won only 46% of seats, with Republican nominees instead winning control of the state legislature. More than 75% of district elections were won by a margin greater than 10%, suggesting a lack of competition in most legislative elections. Districts Plus can help resolve these issues:
FairVote has developed a comprehensive Districts Plus plan for the Michigan House of Representatives. To learn more about how Districts Plus would work in Michigan, read that report here.
Districts Plus is a candidate-based form of voting known internationally as mixed-member proportional representation, or "MMP." MMP is used successfully in national elections in several countries, including Germany and New Zealand. To see how MMP works, watch this video from popular YouTube educator, CGP Grey:
See FairVote's blogs on Germany's 2009 Elections, Scotland's use of MMP, and proportional representation methods in Malta for more on what Districts Plus could and does do in international elections to improve representation, or watch this video about MMP in New Zealand.