The Fair Representation Act is a model congressional bill that would repeal and replace the 1967 single-winner district mandate with a new national standard for all fifty states. It includes two essential changes that, when enacted together, create a fairer and more representative way of electing Members of the House of Representatives. Those changes are the use of ranked choice voting in a smaller number of multi-winner districts, each of which sends at least three Members to Congress. Additionally, under the Fair Representation Act, states that draw districts must do so using state-run independent redistricting commissions made up of ordinary citizens and operating in a transparent fashion.
Ranked choice voting is an election method used in communities across the United States for elections with more than two candidates. Grounded in equality, ranked choice voting gives every voter a powerful voice in an election. Instead of just picking one candidate, the voter gets to rank candidates in order of choice – first choice, second choice and so on. It maximizes the number of votes that help elect representatives.
When electing more than one Member in a multi-winner district, a majority of voters can always elect a majority of seats, but smaller groups can elect someone too. That means many more voters will help elect their first choice, and almost everyone will be able to elect a candidate they like, who will go into Congress with their interests and values in mind.
To maximize the power of voters, each multi-winner district will send at least three Members to Congress. To keep elections simple and local, no district will elect more than five Members. States that only send five or fewer Members will not have to draw any districts at all.
States that draw multi-winner districts will do so by establishing a citizen-run, independent redistricting commission. The commissions will be insulated from the political process, and will include the public directly at every step of their deliberation. Anyone will be able to draw district maps and submit them for consideration, and everyone can see what maps are being considered and participate in public hearings.
It’s time to break up single-party monopolies on representation in our cities, suburbs, and rural communities. It's time for voters to have a strong voice in the political process. It’s time for fair representation.
For a detailed description of each of the Act's three components, see our explanatory memo.