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FairVote Reformer April 2012

Released April 5, 2012

It’s income tax season in the United States, and always a good time to think about the basic values of our nation: taxation demands representation, and government is grounded in the consent of the governed. We believe our electoral rules exclude too many Americans from fair representation in government and a fair voice in our elections. As you review your tax-deductible donations from 2011, please keep us in mind in 2012 as we seek to realize the promise of democracy for all Americans – you can explore FairVote donation options here!

Lessons from the presidential process

Although there has been controversy around the Republican presidential nomination process this year, FairVote stands strongly with its position that Republicans be applauded for rules changes that have led to more states having meaningful contests. Fewer “frontloaded” contests and more use of proportional representation in the delegate allocation led to more states getting a real election – like in Wisconsin this week, where turnout soared over what it was in the 2008 primary. Here are examples of our commentary and analysis:

Rob Richie on Reform in U.S. News and the New York Times: state contests followed by a national primary with instant runoff voting.

Media Gets It Wrong on Winner-Take-All and Proportional Representation in GOP Contest: FairVote in the Huffington Post, our updated report contrasting delegate allocation under different scenarios and the latest state-by-state graphics.

State-by-State Contrasts for 2008 and 2012 for Mitt Romney and Ron Paul: See the “winners” of Paul vs. Paul and Romney vs. Romney and a Seattle Times editorial based on FairVote Analysis.

Congressional Elections: Dubious Democracy

Our Dubious Democracy report has insights into congressional elections from 2010 that can tell us what to expect in 2012:

Some highlighted national facts concerning the 2010 elections:

  • Sky-high incumbency rate despite wave election: Over 86% of incumbents running kept their seats, which is less than the 98% seat retention rate from 1998-2004 but still very high given public dissatisfaction with Congress.
  • Landslide wins continue. The average margin of victory in 2010 was a whopping 33%, and 64.4% of U.S. House races were won by landslide margins of at least 20%. Only 81 races (18.6%) were won by competitive margins of less than 10 percentage points.
  • Apathy and lack of representation. Just one out of every four eligible voters cast a ballot for a winning candidate. In other words, nearly three in four eligible voters did not vote in 2010 for anyone serving in the U.S. House of Representatives.

See a sample state news release from Illinois.

The Fair Voting Alternative: Proportional Representation for the U.S. House

See our latest map that shows the fair voting alternative: larger, multi-member districts that better represent all of the population of a state. The latest installment: Missouri. Read the blog for an overview. View the full report here.

Stay tuned for more fair voting plans and a national summary of U.S. House elections as they are and how they could – and will – be.

Take Action on Election Reform now!

Tell your congressperson to support a Constitutional Right to Vote and HJR 28.  We can double sponsors to reach 100 with your help!

The National Popular Vote plan is moving in several states. You can write your state legislators in support here. To find out more about what you can do to advocate for a national popular vote in your state, go to www.nationalpopularvote.com

Voter pre-registration makes it more likely we can achieve 100% registration of eligible voters as they reach voting age. FairVote has inspired victories in several states. Make sure your state is next!

Highlights from the FairVote Blog

Congressional Redistricting Matters, and It’s Hurting This Country: A Response to Michael Barone

Puerto Rico and Other Territories Vote in Primaries, But Not in General Election

Remember Young People in Maryland’s April Primary

Third Parties and the Spoiler Effect in the 2012 Election

Invite a FairVote speaker

FairVote staff and Board members have made presentations this year to numerous audiences at universities, national conferences and organizational meetings. Find out how to bring a FairVote speaker to your campus or organization.

Welcome new FairVote interns and a farewell to Dorothy Scheeline

Anna Dziduszko-Rosciszewska has worked with us for a month. From Krakow, Poland, she is conducting research on voting systems and American elections for her doctorate. Kathy Pahel from UC-Davis has joined the communications team for the next two months.

A special thanks to Democracy Fellow Dorothy Scheeline, whose fellowship ends this week. She has been the lead on our communications team, with particularly excellent work on our Twitter and Facebook, our forthcoming FairVote Action website and our Ranked Choice Voting project in Portland, Maine. It is thanks to her that you are receiving this newsletter!