Research Reports

51 - 60 of 117 results

  • Municipal Right to Vote Action Plan

    Because Americans treasure the right to vote, they often are surprised by a shocking fact: the Constitution does not affirm the right to vote. As a result, there are virtually no federal election administration standards, and there is mass disenfranchisement at each election. Yet the history of voting rights in America since 1787 is one of general, if irregular, progress toward universal franchise. The Municipal Right to Vote Initiative seeks substantive reform at the local level while detailing a plan to take America's voting rights to their logical conclusion: an affirmative, federally protected right to vote.

  • Outside Looking In: How Shutting Washington, D.C. Out of the Presidential Primary Process Hurts Black and Urban America

    This report makes clear the extent to which the preferences of black and urban voters are under-represented in the nomination process. It then argues that an early primary in Washington, D.C. is the only way to give these loyal Democratic constituencies an effective voice in the 2008 nomination.
  • International Snapshot: Israel 2006

    Israel held elections to its parliament, the Knesset, on March 28, 2006. Frequently held up as an example of why not to adopt proportional voting, Israel's election system, critics argue, tends to produce unstable, unworkable governing coalitions. But this tendency has less to do with proportional voting than the form Israel has chosen to use, in tandem with its wider political environment. This report focuses on the effects of Israel's low electoral threshold and closed party list system.

  • International Snapshot: Ukraine

    Ukraine held elections to its parliament in March 2006. It was that country's first use of a fully proportional electoral system. The 1998 and 2002 elections used a parallel system in which half of seats were elected in single-member plurality districts. This paper analyzes the proportionality of results in historical perspective as well as turnout and number of effective votes. Institutional challenges and potential remedies are described. Choices about electoral institutions have important consequences for political outcomes in a representative democracy.

  • The Missing Half

  • A Solution to Louisiana's Post-Katrina Electoral Problems

  • International Snapshot: Palestine 2006

    Palestine held elections to its Legislative Council on January 25, 2006. In that vote, Change and Reform (Hamas) took power away from the governing Fatah movement, winning 75 of 132 seats. Some commentators declared this a sweeping mandate for Hamas, speculating especially on what the power shift means for Israeli-Palestinian relations, but the election results are not an accurate reflection of popular opinion. Instead, the election system itself is at least as important as popular opinion in determining the makeup of the Council.

  • International Snapshot: Iraq 2005

    Iraq's December 2005 parliamentary elections were contested by 230 parties and 21 coalitions, all vying for seats in the first full-term, four-year parliament since the beginning of the 2003 war in Iraq. Authorities conducted the election using a new proportional voting system in which parties fielded candidates for parliament in each of Iraq’s 18 provinces under 18 different ballots using regional party lists. Additionally, the parliament consists of 275 seats, with 45 elected as "compensatory seats" to parties that did not win seats under the regional list elections but won enough votes nationally to cross the threshold for a seat at the national level.

  • International Snapshot: Japan 2005

    The results of Japan’s September 2005 parliamentary elections have been held up by the Japanese media as demonstrating a stunning mandate for Prime Minster Junichiro Koizumi, leader of the nation’s Liberal Democratic Party. FairVote’s analysis of the election results, however, indicates that this mandate was far from clear, with Koizumi’s party in fact winning just 38% of the popular vote. As our International Spotlight research series demonstrates, time and again, a nation’s choice of electoral system often has just as much impact on the election results, as candidate or party popularity and other factors.

  • Lost Votes in Vermont State Senate Elections

    The partisan makeup of the Vermont legislature is not in line with the partisan vote for state officers. Democrats are under-represented in both the House and Senate.

    An analysis of withheld votes in the State Senate races in 2000, 1998, and 1996 reveals that the primary cause of this disproportionality is the tendency of Democratic voters to bullet vote, giving up some of their votes, and possibly splitting their ticket, at a far higher rate than Republican voters.  We calculate that partial franchise bullet voting on average results in Vermont voters withholding over 14% of the votes they are entitled to cast in State Senate races.