Voices & Choices

A year later, Congress still needs to pass the Fair Representation Act

A year later, Congress still needs to pass the Fair Representation Act

It’s kinda hard to believe that that it’s been a year already since Congressman Don Beyer sponsored the Fair Representation Act (H.R. 3057) in the U.S. House of Representatives. FairVote released a video when the bill was introduced.

Aimed at providing better representation for constituents, the FRA has three main components: ranked choice voting, multi-member districts and redrawing congressional districts with nonpartisan citizen commissions.

We know reforming how members of Congress are elected is popular with the public. The University of Maryland’s Program for Program for Public Consultation released a study earlier this year that found redrawing congressional district lines with nonpartisan citizen commissions is supported by 66 percent of voters, including 53 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of independents. A majority also favors ranked choice voting (55 percent), including 46 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents. And, a majority – 55 percent – approve of multi-member districts (44 percent GOP, 66 percent Dems and 54 percent of independents).

At a briefing event at the Capitol for staffers, reform activists and the press, Beyer was joined by co-sponsors Rep. Jamie Raskin and Rep. Jim Cooper to talk about the findings and the importance of fair representation. FairVote President Rob Richie and FairVote New Mexico Director Maria Perez also offered remarks to the packed room. Cooper and Richie were quoted in a USA Today story titled, “New voting method that involves ranking candidates gains favor across the nation.”

A threat to fair elections in this country, gerrymandering, would be rendered useless, if Congress passed the FRA.

This year, we have seen huge momentum with one of the FRA’s components, ranked choice voting. Since last June, RCV has shown itself to work in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Santa Fe, San Francisco and recently statewide in Maine. Exit polls show that voters use their ballots correctly and have confidence in the process.

Additionally, there’s a growing wave of support from editorial boards and columnists across the country:

The state of Utah recently passed a bill that would allow municipalities to implement ranked choice voting to elect local officials, with bi-partisan support in the legislature. New Mexico’s second-largest city, Las Cruces, adopted ranked choice voting for its elections in 2019, and the Sun News, the city’s daily paper endorsed the move.

With this one bill, Congress can do a lot to fix our broken politics. It needs to pass the Fair Representation Act.

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