Voices & Choices

Academics and thought leaders praise the Fair Representation Act

Academics and thought leaders praise the Fair Representation Act

Rep. Don Beyer just reintroduced the Fair Representation Act (FRA) in Congress, which would implement ranked choice voting and multi-member districts for congressional elections. Since its inception, the bill has been hailed by academic leaders in the United States and around the world as a way to fix our broken elections, eliminate gerrymandering, and tackle America’s growing crisis of polarization. Here are some examples of what they have said.

Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, calls the FRA “the gold standard, and the key to moving forward.”

Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, believes it can help reduce polarization and bring Americans across the political spectrum back together:

“If we wish to restore peace among us, we have to go back to Madison’s basic question. How do we build institutions that can ward off the threat of faction? We actually need to rethink our system of representation, perhaps adopting measures such as multi-member districts and ranked-choice voting to broaden representation."

Francis Fukuyama, author and senior fellow at Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and winner of the prestigious Skytte Prize, said:

“I strongly support broad adoption of ranked choice voting in US elections as the leading institutional reform that could potentially reduce polarization in the country."      

Charlotte Hill, PhD candidate at University of California, Berkeley, says it can bring back problem solving in Congress:

“Proportional representation is the only political reform that promises to break up our broken two-party system, sideline rising authoritarian forces, and bring true collaboration and problem-solving for the public good to Washington. And the Fair Representation Act is the best shot we have at passing this critical reform.”

Rein Taagepera, Research Professor at University of California, Irvine, says “this Act is the only way to give centrists a voice.”

Michael Latner, Associate Professor at the California Polytechnic State University who is with the Union of Concerned Scientists, highlights how it can help reduce gerrymandering in the United States:

"Moving to multi-member, proportional allocation of seats is the single most effective way to address the trifecta threat to our democracy: racially discriminatory vote dilution, partisan gerrymandering, and the growing strength of ethno-nationalist forces."

Steven J Mulroy, Professor at the University of Memphis School of Law, says it will make democracy more fair:

"I'm so convinced this bill is needed I wrote a book about it. This could finally end gerrymandering, zero-sum politics, needless polarization, and partisan gridlock, while boosting participation and making our democracy more fair."

Moreover, ranked choice voting and multi-member districts were highly recommended by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in its landmark Our Common Purpose report on fixing our democracy.

“If [multi-member districts] were coupled with ranked-choice voting in congressional elections, they would encourage the participation of a wider array of candidates, each of whom would have to appeal to a more heterogeneous bloc of voters. Instead of exacerbating the distortions of winner-take-all voting and drowning out minority votes, MMDs would amplify the representational benefits of ranked-choice voting and signal a victory for equal voice and representation.” - Our Common Purpose report

Here are some of the academic authorities who support the FRA:

  • Robert Axelrod, Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan & Nobel Prize winner
  • Francis Fukuyama, Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for Intl Studies, Stanford
  • Jack Nagel, Professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Ismar Volić, Professor at Wellesley College
  • Nicholas Stephanopoulos, Professor at Harvard Law School
  • Matthew S. Shugart, Professor Emeritus at University of California, Davis
  • Alan Butler Morrison, Lerner Family Associate Dean for Public Interest & Public Service Law at George Washington Law School
  • Benjamin Reilly, Professor at the University of Western Australia
  • Todd Donovan, Professor at Western Washington University 
  • David Farrell, Professor at University College Dublin
  • Sandy Maisel, Professor at Colby College
  • Douglas L. Kriner, Professor at Cornell University
  • John A Rapp, Professor Emeritus at Beloit College
  • Mark Rush, Professor at Washington and Lee University
  • Keith Gåddie, Professor at The University of Oklahoma
  • Miles S Rapoport, Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy, Ash Center, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Nikolas Bowie, Assistant Professor at Harvard Law School
  • Alex Keyssar, Professor at Harvard
  • David Lublin, Professor at American University
  • Eric Maskin, Professor at Harvard University, Nobel Prize recipient
  • Caroline Fredrickson, Distinguished Visitor from Practice at Georgetown Law
  • Shaun Bowler, Professor at University of California, Riverside
  • Caroline Tolbert, Professor at the University of Iowa
  • Sam Wang, Professor and Director of the Electoral Innovation Lab at Princeton University

At a time when Americans seem to trust each other less and less, and when political violence is becoming more common, we need to take bold steps to improve our politics and lower the national temperature. As word spreads about how the Fair Representation Act can help solve these problems, the list of its supporters will continue to grow. If you want to help pass the FRA in Congress, you can contact your legislators now.

Join Us Today to Help Create a More Perfect Union