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

  • Comparative Structural Reform

    August 31, 2015

    Comparative Structural Reform presents an extensive assessment of the potential impact of 37 structural reforms to election laws and legislative structures in collaboration with 14 prominent political scholars. Scholars participating in the project are authorities on electoral reform and legislative functionality, with extensive collective expertise and mastery of both quantitative and qualitative approaches to the study of American legislatures, elections and electoral rules. Each of the participating scholars was asked to assess each reform’s impact on 16 different criteria fitting within four topline categories: legislative functionality, electoral accountability, voter engagement, and openness of process. Scholars were compensated for their participation. All scholars responded to all eleven surveys and provided a wealth of insightful comments, new sources, and useful information in addition to their well-considered ratings of each reform.

  • Recommended Reforms to California's Top Two

    April 23, 2015
  • 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.