Posted by Ashley Houghton on June 11, 2020 at 1:27 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Ashley Houghton
Back-up Contact: Emily Risch
American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission Recommends Ranked Choice Voting, Multi-Member Districts In New Report
Commission Lists Ranked Choice Voting and Multi-Member Districts as Key Reforms to Pass By 2026
Takoma Park, MD; June 11, 2020 – FairVote, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for electoral reform in the United States, celebrated news today that The American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship listed ranked choice voting and multi-member districts as its second and third recommendations in its report, Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century.
The report was drafted in the wake of unprecedented systemic voter disenfranchisement and apathy. The commission finds that “trust in institutions has collapsed while an online culture of gleeful, nihilistic cynicism thrives,” and proposes implementing its recommended reforms by 2026, the 250th anniversary of the United States.
The Commission noted these two solutions as key factors in ensuring voters are more empowered and engaged in our democracy:
- Ranked choice voting, also known as an instant runoff election, is the simple act of ranking candidates in order of preference. After votes are tallied, the least popular candidate is removed, and that candidate’s supporters’ votes are allocated to their second choices. The process continues until a single candidate receives a majority of support.
- Replacing single-member districts with multi-member districts, combined with ranked choice voting. Multi-member districts allow voters to select more than one Member of Congress to represent their district; if combined with ranked choice voting, this reform would encourage a wider array of candidates to participate, each of whom would have to appeal to a more racially, economically, and ideologically diverse bloc of voters.
“Our current voting system increasingly rewards candidates who only appeal to their base supporters. Taken to the extreme, this includes rewarding candidates for convincing the other side not to show up. No wonder voters feel disenfranchised,” responded Khalid Pitts, FairVote’s Executive Vice President of Advocacy and Programming. “As proponents of these two reforms, we’re encouraged by the commission’s vision for the future: one where anyone who feels compelled can run for office and be judged on their merits, and one where voters can make choices in the voting booth based on their own convictions, knowing their voices will be heard.”
FairVote has advocated for ranked choice voting and multi-member districts throughout its 28-year history and has worked alongside allies to secure ranked choice voting for 10 million American voters. Maine will use ranked choice voting in its general election this fall, including a state-wide vote for the presidential general election for the first time.
FairVote is a nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms that give voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a representative democracy that works for all Americans.