Who We Are

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About Us

FairVote makes democracy fair, functional, and representative by developing the analysis and educational tools necessary for our reform partners to win and sustain improvements to American elections. We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization with a history of working with people from across the spectrum.

Our Work

Marie Wilson

"I love FairVote in that we're dealing with structural issues." - Marie C. Wilson

As Americans, we elect representatives at all levels of government, from local school boards and state assemblies to Congress and the presidency.. With government depending on the consent of the governed,, we have the right to  expect our voices to be heard, our views to be respected, and our votes to truly count.

But American democracy today is not working. Our national government is trapped in gridlock, leading to historic levels of dissatiisfaction and, in 2014,  our lowest level of turnout since 1942 - and turnout in primaries and local elections is far lower Our diversity of political views are  shoehorned into one of two fiercely partisan camps, too often silencing needed debate and making it hard for elected officials to work across party lines.  New voices are shunned as spoilers, and with a partisan vicegrip locking down most elections for one party, too many of us  lack meaningful choice among two candidates, let alone three. American governments rarely reflect the American electorate -- from  women and racial minorities to urban conservatives and rural liberals.

Anita Earls

"The work that FairVote does on proportional voting is so valuable, because it's one of the most important ways we can improve how democracy works." - Anita Earls

It’s easy to see that something is broken in American politics. It’s harder to figure out why—or how to move forward.

At FairVote, we think in structures. We look beyond the short-term actions of parties and power-seekers and into the systems that shape their behavior—the rules that govern our government. And when it comes to how our elected leaders behave, theway we elect them is the most important system of all. To fix American politics, we need to fix how we choose our politicians.

We believe there are simple and common sense ways to strengthen our American democracy to ensure all voices are heard, all views are respected, and every vote really counts. That's why we work to study these problems,develop practical solutions, and work with national, state and local partners to advance reforms that result in fairer elections.

Please watch this short video on big picture reforms we believe are in reach in the coming decade.

 


These reform ideas have come out of our focusing our research, outreach, advocacy and reform work on structural solutions to three core principles of a fair vote:

  • Fair Representation - Respecting the principle of representation for all;
  • Fair Elections - Elections with real choices in which every vote counts;
  • Fair Access - The right to go to the polls and have a voice that will be heard.

We believe that a healthy and long-lasting democracy relies on every citizen having a right to a vote that can really contribute to meaningful representation. Working together to address barriers to truly democratic elections, we can bring power back to our vote and make our democracy work better for everyone.

Our continued success relies on your support - consider making a donation today.

Our Successes

Fair Representation

Fair Representation Voting: American, candidate-based forms of proportional representation.

  • In the United States, more than three and a half million people use fair representation voting to elect their local officials in nearly one hundred local governments. Through legal and voter education work, FairVote has played an important role in its progress in dozens of jurisdictions, including new wins in 2014.
  • For nearly two decades, we’ve published Monopoly Politics and Dubious Democracy reports biennially, changing the national conversation about noncompetitive elections to focus on structural reform. On November 6, 2014, we called the winners in nearly nine ten House elections to take place to years later in 2016 -- even as we .build support for an Act of Congress  to put every single voter in a meaningful election.
  • Our Representation 2020 project distributed more than 2,000 State of Women's Representation 2014 reports that feature the positive impact that fair representation voting can have on women's representation.

Fair Elections

Ranked Choice Voting: More choices and stronger winners in a single election.

  • Over two million people use ranked choice voting (RCV, or “instant runoff voting”)  to elect their local officials, up from less than 100,000  in 2003. With FairVote's help, RCV as passed as a ballot measure in at least one city in eight of the past 12 years, including Memphis (TN), Oakland (CA) and Minneapolis (MN). RCV is heading to statewide consideration in 2106.
  • Acting on a FairVote poposal , five states used RCV for overseas voters in congressional primary elections in 2014.
  • More than 55 colleges and universities with a combined enrollment of over 700,000 students use ranked choice voting for student elections, a huge increase from 2000 due to outreach and support from FariVote.

National Popular Vote: Every vote equal in the election of the United States president.

  • FairVote staff coauthored Every Vote Equal,  the book detailing the National Popular Vote plan to reform the Electoral College and have been the research arm of the movement since its origin in 2005.
  • The National Popular Vote plan has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions possessing 165 electoral votes - 61% of the 270 necessary for the legislation to take effect. The legislation has passed 32 legislative chambers in 22 jurisdictions. More than 2,110 state legislators have voted for or sponsored NPV legislation. FairVote has provided intellectural and research support to advocates throughout this progress.

Fair Access

A Constitutional Right to Vote: Universal voter registration and a local movement to inspire participation and secure access to the polls for all qualified voters.

  • FairVote helped draft two amendments for an explicit right to vote in the United States Constitution, including one introduced in Congress in 2001-2013 and one in 2013-2014; such legislation has earned the sponsorship of more than 70 Members of Congress.
  • Over two million people are impacted by Promote Our Vote Resolutions in support of a constitutional right to vote and local reforms to boost participation.
  • Since 2004, when we first advanced voter pre-registration for 16-year-olds, seven states and the District of Columbia have enacted it; two more states have adopted 17-year-old pre-registration.
  • National organizations responded to our leadership in calling for systematic changes to achieving the goal of 100% voter registration with an "opt-out" instead of an "opt-in" approach. Such legislation passed in Louisiana.

Media Coverage and Outreach

  • FairVote's commentary has run in every one of the largest and most respected daily newspaper, including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.
  • FairVote staff and leadership have appeared on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, NPR, NBC and C-SPAN.
  • Our mail and email newsletters regularly reach more than 30,000 readers. FairVote.org is among leading sites in search engine requests for terms like "primaries," "redistricting" and "voter turnout."

 

Financial Information

Every year, FairVote has its financial books audited by an independent firm. In addition, we file a "Form 990" with the Internal Revenue Service, as required of all 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Our audit and Form 990 extensively describe our financial revenues and expenses. Here are links to our recent audits and the main pages of our Form 990. 

FairVote is funded by a combination of individual donor contributions and foundation grants. Our recent charitable funders include:

  • Arca Foundation 
  • CREDO
  • Ford Foundation 
  • Herb Block Foundation
  • Hewlett Foundation 
  • Joyce Foundation 
  • MacArthur Foundation
  • Mary Wohlford Foundation  
  • McKay Foundation 
  • Ms. Foundation
  • National Popular Vote
  • Open Society Institute 
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • Solidago Foundation 
  • Terrell Family Fund 
  • Tides Foundation