Content Categorized with "All Reports"

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  • The Role of Cities in National Popular Vote Elections

    In debating options for reforming presidential elections in the United States, the most promising alternative to the status quo is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPV). But even though we use popular vote elections to select every member of Congress and all 50 governors, some NPV skeptics warn that its adoption would have a partisan impact on presidential elections. They fear that Democrats could increase their national vote totals by focusing resources on major metropolitan areas, while Republicans could achieve similar gains only by spreading their resources across more geographically dispersed, non-urban areas. This report challenges this argument in three ways. 

  • The Effect of Fair Representation Voting on 2013 Cambridge, Massachusetts Municipal Elections

    Cambridge, Massachusetts is the only municipality in the United States to elect its city council through the at-large form of ranked choice voting, a form of fair representation voting. This report examines the effects of this system on the city’s 2013 city council and school committee elections, with a particular focus on comparing the outcome of the city council contest with the results of a simulated election using an alternative system: winner-take-all block voting.

  • Top Two in Washington State

    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.

     

     

     

  • Federal Primary Runoff Elections and Voter Turnout Declines, 1994 - 2012

    Many states currently use runoff election systems during primaries for statewide federal posts. However, the two-election runoff system leads to high turnout declines and a less representative second election, particularly if there is along time delay between the two elections.

  • A Constitutional Right to Vote

    It is widely believed that “the right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected.” Many are surprised to learn, then, that the right to vote is not explicitly protected in the U.S. Constitution. Amending the Constitution to include an explicit right to vote would make it clear that this right is in fact fundamental. It would ensure that voter challenges to election rules would force governments to justify practices that curtail access to the ballot.

  • Fixing Top Two in California

    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.

  • Following the Money: Campaign Donations and Spending in the 2012 Presidential Race

    As we’ve shown at FairVote in study after study, the great majority of people and states are ignored during the election for our country’s highest office. But in the 2012 election, every state was invested at least in one way – they all had residents who donated to and financed the two major party candidates’ campaigns. However, when it came down to the stretch run, the candidates did not reciprocate this national effort.  Instead, candidates concentrated their efforts in a small number of states and left the others as net exporters campaign contributions relative to campaign spending. This report takes a state-by-state look at the data.

  • Legal Analysis of Alternative Single Winner Election Methods

    There are many alternatives to the plurality voting system currently employed in most elections in the United States.  Some of those alternative voting methods have the potential to elect a candidate with the most widespread support, as opposed to plurality voting which may elect a candidate whom the majority of the electorate voted against.  Given their potential for a positive impact on voter choice, it is important to analyze the legal and practical viability of those alternatives.

     

  • No More Gerrymanders: Congressional Representation in the Seven At-Large States

    Though spared the controversies of congressional redistricting, winner-take-all rules still plague the seven at-large states (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming). Nowhere are the shortcomings of our voting system more acute than in at-large winner-take-all races, where one individual is - rather astonishingly - responsible for representing the political and demographic diversity of an entire state. Read our latest critique of winner-take-all elections and our analysis of congressional elections in these at-large states.

  • Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act: A History and Analysis of Relevant Supreme Court Cases

     

    This report traces the history of the Voting Rights Act, from its origins in 1965 through its opposition and its continued renewal. Specifically, the report details how Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act requires those states covered under Section 5 to preclear all proposed voting changes, including redistricting efforts, with the Department of Justice before their enactment. The advent of the Voting Rights Act, specifically Section 5, has been instrumental in preventing states from making changes which could potentially discriminate against racial and ethnic minorities. Throughout the history of Section 5 cases before the Supreme Court, the Court has yet to rule Section 5 is invalid.