Research & Analysis

For years, FairVote has written widely and substantively about important democracy issues and has performed groundbreaking research on elections at home and abroad.

We pursue innovative research to demonstrate the flaws in America's election laws, understanding  that reform solutions should only come after successfully defining the problems we want to solve. Examples include a report on a range of ways the parties could improve their presidential nomination processes; a bi-annual report on how runoff and primary elections affect voter turnout; congressional election analyses that provide state-by-state details on lack of competition and fair representation over the past 14 House elections; and an exhaustive review of preparation (and lack thereof) on ballot design and prevention of long voting lines in hundreds of counties during the 2008 elections.

Research Reports analyze American and international election systems, studying their effects on voter participation, fairness in representation, and competitive choice.

Policy Perspectives provide elected officials, reform advocates, and the media with analyses of elections and electoral reform issues at every level of government.

Democracy Innovations introduce new ideas and strategies to advance our vision of a democracy that respects every vote and every voice.

Policy Perspectives

  • Fuzzy Math: Wrong Way Reforms for Allocating Electoral Votes

    January 28, 2015

    States have a constitutional obligation to decide how they will allocate their electoral votes during presidential elections. Almost all states currently use statewide, winner-take-all rules, which gives all of the state's votes to the winner of the statewide popular vote. But some states have considered alternative methods, such as the whole number proportional system and the congressional district system. We look at the effect these systems would have on presidential elections. Neither system promotes majority rule, increases competitiveness nationwide, or ensures voter equality.

  • Federal Primary Runoff Elections and Voter Turnout Declines, 1994 - 2014

    November 17, 2014

    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.

  • The Role of Cities in National Popular Vote Elections

    June 13, 2014

    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.