The Fair Representation Act report outlines a bold plan to increase competition and fairness in U.S. House elections and reduce polarization of Members elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. The report simulates the projected impact of the Fair Representation Act (as introduced as HR 3057 in 2017), by analyzing a series of hypothetical district maps generated automatically by software using parameters meant to approximate the Act's district-drawing rules. Co-author Rob Richie presented a draft of this report at the Electoral Integrity Project short course at the national convention of the American Political Science Association (APSA) in San Francisco in August, 2017.
The Fair Representation Act would transform House elections through three primary reforms: 1) ranked choice voting, 2) multi-winner districts, and 2) independent redistricting commissions. We show that a U.S. House elected under the Fair Representation Act would look very different:
The Fair Representation Act Report can be downloaded here.
Our interactive spreadsheet is available here.
The simulated maps may be explored interactively at Autoredistrict.org.
Under the Fair Representation Act, Congress will still be the same size it is now, but the districts will be larger and each will elect 3, 4, or 5 winners. When more than one person wins in a district, more voices in that district can be represented. With ranked choice voting, there will be no "red" or "blue" districts. Voters in the majority will elect most of the winners, but not all of them. Voters in the minority also get a seat at the table.
Below are examples of multi-winner district maps for every state. The states that elect 5 or fewer Representatives will have no districts and elect all statewide. States larger than that are divided into multi-winner districts that elect 3, 4, or 5 winners each. The analysis of each map assumes the state will use ranked choice voting, as required by the Fair Representation Act. Details about how each district map was drawn are below the table.
Click on your state to find out how the Fair Representation Act could transform representation in your state.
|Alabama||Hawaii||Massachusetts||New Mexico||South Dakota|
|Florida||Maine||New Hampshire||Rhode Island||Wisconsin|
|Georgia||Maryland||New Jersey||South Carolina||Wyoming|
To create these maps, FairVote partnered with Kevin Baas, creator of the Auto-Redistrict program. The maps are computer-generated based on user-specified criteria. Because the maps are computer-generated, they cannot take into account communities of interest and other considerations that an independent redistricting commission would. Instead, the program attempted to draw districts that would keep counties intact. We do not claim that these are the actual districts that would be used under the Fair Representation Act. They are examples. We did not attempt to "put our thumb on the scales" to increase fairness in any of these.
Click here to see the projections.
Since 1997, FairVote has projected results in congressional elections relying principally on a simple partisanship metric with remarkable accuracy. This year, we applied that same methodology to making projections for a hypothetical Congress elected under our simulation of the Fair Representation Act.
With this online spreadsheet, you can adjust the "national two party preference" to see how each party would perform in every one of the districts under various hypothetical scenarios. The result is a map that closely tracks a proportional outcome.
Because our partisanship metric assumes a two-party system, this projection is not able to assess the impact of third party and independent candidates, nor can it give a meaningful sense of intraparty (same party) competition. Nonetheless, it does demonstrate how the new system can render proportional results within the two major parties to a far greater degree than the current system, as well as how it promotes greater two-party competition, and shared representation of majority and minority viewpoints in nearly every multi-winner district.