Reform Roundup: January 27th, 2017

Posted by Paul Murphy on January 27, 2017

Catch up on the week’s electoral reform news with our round up of folks across the country writing and talking about FairVote’s reform vision. We also invite you to read these highlights of great press for ranked choice voting in 2016.

  • Lee Drutman, senior fellow in the program on political reform at the nonpartisan think tank New America, voices support for reforming our winner-take-all system of electing U.S. House members in a new report: “ If states were to restore multi-member districts—ideally, districts would each have at least five representatives—more third parties would emerge. Voters would get more choices, and it would be harder for extremists to take over a major party. It would also be easier for factions to emerge within the two parties, producing more multi-dimensional bargaining in the legislature and better representation in the electorate, as voters would get more choices. A more intermediate step in this direction would be to follow Maine’s lead on ranked-choice voting… Combining multi-member districts and ranked-choice voting would be an excellent choice. A very good plan along these lines is FairVote’s Fair Representation Act.”

  • Former state senator Dick Woodbury of Maine discusses how ranked-choice voting can expand candidate choices for voters, especially for 2018: “Maine is getting national attention for putting into law a reform that definitively improves democracy in multi-candidate races. In crowded party primaries, as we will likely see in the 2018 governor’s race, there will be a sequential narrowing down of candidates to a nominee with the broadest appeal to each party’s voters. That is the ingenious system that Maine voters put into law when they passed ranked-choice voting.”

  • FairVote’s Ethan Fitzgerald highlights ranked choice voting legislation being proposed and introduced in state legislatures. “As the new year gets underway, state legislatures around the country are convening to tackle the issues of the day. In at least nine states, electoral reform is on the agenda. Building on the momentum of historic wins for ranked choice voting in Maine and Benton County, Oregon, lawmakers from Massachusetts to Hawaii have introduced bills that would expand its use in their states.”

  • Opinion writer Thomas Hillemeier from St. John’s University discusses the flaws behind winner-take-all systems used to elect Congress: “If representative democracy’s goal is to accurately and proportionally represent the views of the entire nation, then thanks to single-member representation, it has failed spectacularly.”

  • Michael Gold of Santa Fe expresses his support for ranked choice voting (also known as instant runoff voting) in a letter to the editor published in the Santa Fe New Mexican: "Instant runoff voting allows voters to rank their selections in order of preference from among a field of many candidates. Instant runoff voting, unlike runoff elections, provides same-day election results without an expenditure for a second election. For nine years, Santa Fe city clerks have made excuses for not implementing instant runoff voting. It is time that the city honors the will of the people."
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