Districts Plus for State Legislatures

Districts Plus for State Legislatures

Districts Plus can be used to elect state legislatures, in order to retain the use of districts but also ensure fair outcomes overall and make every vote important in every election. Most representatives continue to be elected in districts, but the overall statewide vote received by a party's candidates is determined, and then extra "accountability seats" are awarded to ensure fair representation. This ensures that every party has an incentive to field a candidate in every district, and it means that a vote for a party nominee will help that party win seats, even if that particular nominee cannot win in that particular district.

Jack Nagel, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania describes state legislatures as the most suitable setting for implementation of Districts Plus.

To see how Districts Plus could work in your state, see our one page policy brief and its accompanying model state constitutional amendment, from FairVote's Policy Guide 2016.

Districts Plus for the Michigan House of Representatives

Michigan's current process for drawing district lines has resulted in highly problematic outcomes. In 2012, Democratic candidates for the Michigan House of Representatives won about 54% of the two-party vote, but they won only 46% of seats, with Republican nominees instead winning control of the state legislature. More than 75% of district elections were won by a margin greater than 10%, suggesting a lack of competition in most legislative elections. Districts Plus can help resolve these issues:


FairVote has developed a comprehensive Districts Plus plan for the Michigan House of Representatives. To learn more about how Districts Plus would work in Michigan, read that report here.

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