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Update: This report has now been updated to include additional analysis from the results of the 2012 general election, more details on FairVote's proposed solution: Top Four with ranked choice voting, and analysis based on comparison to California's use of Top Two in 2012.
The Top Two primary system has drawn increasing attention as a way to reform our elections. Rather than have parties nominate candidates who then face off in a general election, it establishes two rounds of voting: the first a "preliminary" to reduce the field to two candidates and the second a final runoff between the top two finishers. Candidates pick their own party label, and that label has no impact on which candidates advance.
Louisiana for years was the only state using a form of the system for both state and federal elections. Washington State started using the system in 2008. California implemented it in 2012, and Arizona voters may adopt it in a November 2012 ballot measure. This report looks at the impact of the Top Two primary in Washington State in the two and a half election cycles in which it has been used. The report focuses on state legislative elections, but also summarizes results to date in congressional and statewide elections.
The June 18th vote in the U.S. House on abortion law reflects a trend towards increased polarization and a decline in crossover voting in the House. This analysis looks at which Members voted against their party's majority and compares the vote to a 1993 vote on abortion law.
- Posted: July 8, 2013
- Author(s): Robert Fekete
- Categories: Europe, International Elections, Home, Elections Worldwide
The Irish Convention of the Constitution has recommended that Ireland become the 18th nation in the world to allow people under 18 years old to vote - a reform that is also gaining traction on the local level in the U.S.
- Posted: June 28, 2013
- Author(s): Robert Fekete
- Categories: Europe, Home, International Elections, Elections Worldwide
Last year the Irish Parliament decided to take a serious look at reforming their constitution, commissioning a citizen's assembly to examine their electoral system. The United States could learn from the Irish example.
NEW: FairVote policy brief on right to vote amendment
May and June have been big months for FairVote's work advancing a right to vote in the Constitution. In Congress, representatives Mark Pocan and Keith Ellison introduced bill for a right to vote amendment along lines that we have recommended, featuring quotes from FairVote in their news release.
Locally, our hometown of Takoma Park (MD) became the first to pass a resolution in support of a constitutional right to vote and is making concrete commitments to expand suffrage and boost turnout. One significant change: Takoma Park will become the first city in the United States to extend voting rights to residents after they turn 16.
- Posted: June 24, 2013
- Author(s): Robert Fekete, Rob Richie
- Categories: Europe, Fair Voting/Proportional Representation, Home, International Elections, Elections Worldwide
Since 1919, Ireland has used a form of ranked choice voting for all its public elections. When the Irish think of voting, they think about ranking candidates in their order of preference. But here in the U.S., our conception of voting is usually just picking our one favorite candidate. FairVote examines the lessons we can learn from ranked choice voting in Ireland.
In 2010, California adopted the "Top Two" primary system. In this Policy Perspective, we outline some of the issues with how Top Two operated in California in 2012. We then describe how the system would operate under a simple modification: a "Top Four" system in which four candidates advance to the general election instead of two, and in which the general election is conducted by ranked choice voting.
- Posted: June 18, 2013
- Author(s): Drew Spencer
- Categories: Ranked Choice Voting, Research & Analysis, Home
FairVote has consistently been at the forefront of critical analysis of Top Two. Now, we are proud to announce a new Policy Perspective detailing a simple reform that could help to resolve nearly all of Top Two's maladies in a way that both accommodates the goals of Top Two supporters and the criticisms of its opponents.