FairVote Reforms are on the Move

Posted by Rob Richie on February 26, 2016

There is quite a bit of news to share with you: the presidential nomination process is reaching its most critical point, FairVote's reforms are advancing in several states, and our recent collaboration on a national poll features ranked choice voting.

Our progress comes at a time political disruption – outsiders are surging in primaries, inside-the-Beltway polarization is worse than ever, and the need for change promises to give reformers a once-in-a-century opportunity for reform in the coming years.

Why Trump Wins without Ranked Choice Voting
Recent FairVote analysis of the presidential race has been picked up by Vox , IVN, and the Washington Post. Here is my new piece explaining how Donald Trump’s increasingly likely victory in the Republican nomination race is closely connected to use of plurality voting instead of ranked choice voting.

FairVote – College of William and Mary National Survey of Republicans
Last week, FairVote and the College of William and Mary released a YouGov poll of 1,000 likely voters who are Republican and independents. We found great readiness for reforms, from ranked choice voting to impartial redistricting, easier ballot access, term limits to full and accurate voter rolls. More than nine in ten participants ranked all 11 Republican candidates, and you can see how Trump loses with ranked choice voting, and you can study the impact of removing different candidates from the race. Read news coverage in VoxScripps Howard, and 538.com (the post at 10:14 pm).

Ranked Choice Voting and other FairVote Reforms are on the Move
As 2016 state legislative sessions heat up, ranked choice voting has seen progress in several states--check out our overview of the 14 states with RCV bills that have been introduced, with a useful map showcasing where reform bills are moving. Bills in Hawaii and Maryland look particularly promising this year.

Maine also continues to make progress with a grassroots organizing effort to educate voters across the state about ranked choice voting. The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting has gotten several endorsements from regional newspapers as well as the Maine Municipal Association. For more news and opportunities to get involved, visit their website.

We were particularly pleased to see Maryland state senator Jamie Raskin's new legislation to have Maryland enter into an interstate compact with states like Virginia to provide a comprehensive solution to the problem of gerrymandering with ranked choice voting – see my explanation of this bill’s historic nature.

Non-RCV legislation backed by FairVote is also on the move – important progress for ideas like automatic voter registration, the National Popular Vote plan, 17-year-old primary voting and more. Here’s a comprehensive review of legislation.

Our reforms are advancing with intellectual support as well. Lee Drutman at the New America Foundation features multi-winner RCV in his excellent new report on Political Dynamism and explains why RCV should be part of any lasting attempt to reform redistricting.

Try Ranked Choice Voting with Your Own RCV Poll
FairVote has partnered with Civinomics to make it easy to set up your own ranked choice voting contests and share it with friends. Find out more at RCVApp.com

FairVote Is Hiring
This month, FairVote bid a fond farewell to Nathan Nicholson, who served as our Director of Development. We are hiring for the position. Keep an eye on our job openings for our 2016-2017 democracy fellows and summer interns, along with likely announcements soon for  new positions in our outreach and communications programs.

New on the Blog
FairVote regularly adds content to our Facebook page, Twitter feed, and blog. Here are some blog highlights:

  • How Fair Voting Can Transform Illinois Elections
    Our communications director Michelle Whittaker  explains how if we want politics to reflect our better selves, Illinois leaders need to stop playing politics with district lines and give voters the freedom to choose candidates that best represent their voice no matter where they live - -as President Obama recognized with 2001 legislation advancing fair representation voting.

  • The 2016 Irish elections
    Ireland held national elections today, with millions of voters using multi-winner ranked choice voting. Our research director Sarah John gives a brief run-down of the upcoming election.

  • Tri-State Agreement To Curb Gerrymandering
    Three states have introduced laws that demonstrate the need for reform, and the potency of state legislation to help move this conversation forward. Read FairVote fellow Elliot Louthen's piece on democratic state legislators in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia each introducing companion bills to reform redistricting for their congressional elections. While not as impactful as the Maryland compact on fair representation voting (see above), it is another innovative reform tactic.

  • Primary Focus Blog Series
    FairVote fellows Demarquin Johnson and Molly Rockett have been closely covering the presidential primary process with a "Primary Focus" blog series. They touch on the latest news on the campaign trail while taking a closer look at how various electoral structures have impacted the races in both major parties. 

The Oscars Are This Sunday – Ranked Choice Voting is Already a Winner

Finally, be sure to tune-in to the Oscars this Sunday, where the Academy will unveil the winner for Best Picture, which is selected using ranked choice voting. See our Oscar Votes 123 blog, and  it’s not too late to cast your vote in our ranked choice voting elections for Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Picture. 

Thanks for reading, and stay turned for new ways to get involved to advance our reform vision.

Rob Richie,
Executive Director, FairVote

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