Research Reports


The Role of Cities in National Popular Vote Elections

Posted on February 12, 2014

This report challenges the argument that a national popular vote for president would advantage Democratic or urban voters in three ways. First, we demonstrate that urban areas, when properly defined as metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), lean only modestly toward the Democratic Party. 

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

Posted on February 12, 2014

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.

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Redistricting Reform in the South

Posted on February 12, 2014

Nowhere in the United States are the pernicious effects of gerrymandering and winner-take-all, single-member districts more clearly visible than in the South. In the line of states running from Louisiana to Virginia, congressional races are nearly universally uncompetitive, Democrats are systematically disadvantaged, and African Americans are underrepresented in spite of the Voting Rights Act. Through the use of sample maps, this report examines the impact that different redistricting criteria would have on partisan and racial representation in the South.

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Monopoly Politics 2014 and the Fair Voting Solution

Posted on November 06, 2013

FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2014 and the Fair Voting Solution report includes projections for every district in the country in the 2014 midterm House elections, in-depth analysis of the problems with American congressional elections as they are, and our 50-state plan for electing Congress under a fair representation voting system that could be enacted by Congress. 

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A Constitutional Right to Vote

Posted on June 24, 2013

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.

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Fixing Top Two in California

Posted on June 18, 2013

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.

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Top Two in Washington State

Posted on October 25, 2012

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.   

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