There are inherent flaws in the plurality voting systems employed in most American elections with a single winner. Namely, plurality voting “can elect a candidate who receives the most first place votes but is strongly disfavored by a majority of the electorate” Dudum v. Arntz, 640 F.3d 1098, 1100 (9th Cir. 2011), a result that does not comport with democratic ideals. It seems patently wrong that a candidate whom the majority voted against should nonetheless represent that majority – even to the point that a majority of voters would see this candidate as their last choice.
Lawmakers in Missouri have recently passed a congressional redistricting plan that distorts the state’s political representation in favor of Republicans and institutionalizes a decade of uncompetitive, meaningless elections. While many pundits blame the state legislature for drawing a partisan gerrymander, the root of the worst problems associated with redistricting lies with winner-take-all elections. To address the structural impediments of winner-take-all, FairVote has created an alternative — what we call fair voting — for Missouri’s congressional elections.
Even after the passage of the14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, states, especially in the South, continued finding ways to bar African Americans from voting. Throughout the years the Supreme Court had struck down various voter suppression tactics such as grandfather clauses, white primaries, racial gerrymandering, and discriminatory application of voting tests.
Over the last few decades, presidential election outcomes within the majority of states have become more and more predictable, to the point that only ten states were considered competitive in the 2012 election. Due to the state-by-state winner-take-all method of allocating Electoral College votes, competitive states receive much more campaign attention than their non-competitive counterparts.
Ranked choice absentee ballots provide a legal and practical solution to the disenfranchisement of military and overseas voters in runoff elections. These ballots enable U.S. citizens covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 (UOCAVA) to cast votes when the ballot turnaround time between first and second elections is short.
Summary: American presidential elections have undergone a dramatic change in recent decades.The number of swing states (which are states defined as projected to be won by less than 10% in elections in which the major parties candidates split the national popular vote) has dropped sharply, especially since 1988 and especially among our nation's largest and smallest states.
With the completion of the 2010 Census, state legislatures are now in the process of the decennial redrawing of congressional, state, and local electoral districts. The process of creating new boundary lines is highly partisan and often comes at the expense of voters. By gerrymandering districts, legislators and their political allies use redistricting to choose their voters instead of giving voters the opportunity to choose them.
This review of redistricting reform in the states in 2009-2010 presents a mix of optimism and frustration for supporters of redistricting in the public interest. Of the many proposals addressed by the fifty state legislatures in 2009-2010, very few passed. Most of the proposals have died or are stuck in committee. Given the fact that the laws in many states prohibit redistricting more than once a decade, few states are likely to engage in redistricting with any new, less partisan procedures before 2021 at the earliest.