Voices & Choices

The Fair Representation Act Symposium Spotlight: Ruth Greenwood

The Fair Representation Act Symposium Spotlight: Ruth Greenwood

At a time when Americans increasingly feel like our elections are broken, a bold new proposal has been put forward. The Fair Representation Act is intended to create meaningful voting reform by replacing our winner-take-all system with a fair and proportional system: Ranked choice voting.

Hear scholars and practitioners discuss what impact the Fair Representation Act would have on our democracy at our upcoming symposium, A Congress for Everyone: The Impact of the Fair Representation Act.

February 4th at 3:00pm, New York University, Washington DC. Click here to learn more and RSVP.

Where did your passion for Democracy begin?
Ever since my mum and dad took me along when they voted, I was excited for the day I could start voting too, but my spark for American democracy came in 2008 when I volunteered doing voter protection in Virginia. I saw voter suppression tactics up close and decided that the world’s greatest democracy needed some help to become an actual democracy.

Why do you support the Fair Rep Act?
I think government should reflect the views of the people, but so many laws, regulations, and practices currently cause distortions in that process—from money in politics, to voter suppression to gerrymandering. The Fair Representation Act would help fix two causes of unfairness in our system: it would improve minority representation (such that communities of color would be able to elect their candidates of choice to Congress, regardless of whether they are residentially segregated), and it would decrease political polarization (removing the “spoiler effect” will mean that voters can choose more moderate candidates).

If we enacted the Fair Rep Act tomorrow, how do you think it would change our politics?
The minute the Fair Representation Act is enacted, campaigns and elected officials would change their behavior. They won’t have to appease an extreme base, but can try to appeal to a broad swathe of voters. And after the first election we’d see more people of color and women elected so Congress would look a lot more like the people it represents.

What’s another pro-democracy movement you think is important right now?
Independent redistricting commissions (IRCs)! As long as we have single member districts, the incentive to manipulate the boundaries of those districts is overwhelming to self-interested politicians. We need to take the redistricting process out of the hands of legislators and give power back to the people!

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