Reports


Comparative Structural Reform

Posted on August 28, 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.

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RCV vs Other Voting Systems – By the Numbers

Posted on March 24, 2015

With over 100 elections conducted using RCV in the U.S. since 2000, there is much data RCV and its relationship to voter turnout, ballot spoilage, voter behavior and strategy and numerous other aspects of RCV elections. To explore these data, visit our "RCV Statistics" page. 

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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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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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Lost Votes in Vermont State Senate Elections

Posted on September 10, 2012

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. 

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Legal Analysis of Alternative Single Winner Election Methods

Posted on July 25, 2012

There are many alternatives to the plurality voting system currently employed in most elections in the United States.  Some of those alternative voting methods have the potential to elect a candidate with the most widespread support, as opposed to plurality voting which may elect a candidate whom the majority of the electorate voted against.  Given their potential for a positive impact on voter choice, it is important to analyze the legal and practical viability of those alternatives. 

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