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The number of swing states (generously defined as ones projected to be won by 9% or less in a year in which the major parties candidates split the national popular vote) has dropped sharply since 1988, especially among our nation's largest and smallest states. In 2008, only one of the 13 smallest states and only 4 of the 27 smallest states were swing states. This trend shows no indication of changing, with all trends pointing to wider division.
Dubious Democracy 1982-2010 provides a comprehensive assessment of the level of competition and accuracy of representation in U.S. House elections in all 50 states from 1982 to 2010. It ranks each state on a "democracy index" that is a relative measurement based on average margin of victory, percentage of seats to votes, how many voters elect candidates and number of House races won by overwhelming landslides.
FairVote's April 2011 report by Rob Richie and Emily Hellman examines statewide election recount outcomes and practices in the United States, using data from the decade of elections taking place in the years 2000 to 2009 to determine how often they occur, how often they change outcomes, how much vote totals change and how these figures vary with the size of the electorate.
The Board of Supervisors race in District 10 was an unprecedented race in San Francisco’s seven-year history of using ranked choice voting (the first RCV elections took place in 2004). It featured 21 candidates, no incumbent and no obvious front runners. That resulted in an election in which the winning candidate, Malia Cohen, barely edged out the competition in an exceptionally close race.Given the parameters of this race, RCV functioned smoothly to produce a winner that was preferred by the most voters. It fostered a degree of coalition-building as candidates and voters used the ranked ballots effectively, and unlike other races this race was substantially free of negative, mudslinging attacks as the multi-candidate field focused on seeking the second and third rankings from the supporters of other candidates.
- Posted: July 22, 2010
- Author(s): Rebecca Guterman
FairVote Summer intern Rebecca Guterman interviewed Tim Hwang, Student Member of the Board of Education in Montgomery County, MD, to hightlight a practice that helps both the student representative and the rest of the student population gain experience in voting and representative government.
- Posted: June 24, 2010
- Author(s): Patrick Withers, Billy Organek
- Categories: Research & Analysis, Reforms, All Reports
FairVote's most recent 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 rather than in the best interest of the political duopoly.
- Posted: April 9, 2010
- Author(s): Daniel Weaver, Neal Suidan
- Categories: Research & Analysis, Home, Instant Runoff Voting, National Popular Vote, All Reports
From 1948 to 2009, 90.4 percent of all gubernatorial general elections nationwide were won with greater than 50 percent of the popular vote. None were won with less than 35 percent of all votes cast. Fifteen states elected all of their governors with a majority of votes cast. Among the other states, Maine had the most plurality-elected governors, with 7 of their 19 races in this span.
- Posted: January 1, 2010
- Categories: All Reports
Ranked voting methods, in which voters are allowed to rank candidates in the order of choice, such as instant runoff voting (IRV) and choice voting, can strengthen election integrity through the use of redundant electronic and paper records of every vote that can be compared through manual audit procedures. This provides the ability to perform audits all the way down to the ballot-level, rather than only precinct-level audits. Although this approach can be applied in non-ranked voting elections, it already is being used in some elections using ranked voting, thereby showcasing an approach that we believe should be the norm for all of our elections.
- Posted: November 24, 2009
- Author(s): Rob Richie, Pauline Lejeune
- Categories: Research & Analysis, Asia and Oceania, International Elections, FairVote, All Reports
The Japanese parliamentary elections in August 30, 2009 marked a turning point in Japan’s political history. Since 1955, Japan has been dominated by one party, with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as the governing party for all but 11 months. But in these elections the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) defeated the LDP, winning 308 seats to 109 for the LDP in the 480-seat House of Representatives.