Voices & Choices

Q&A with Congressman Don Beyer on eliminating gerrymandering

Q&A with Congressman Don Beyer on eliminating gerrymandering

Citizens spanning the political spectrum agree gerrymandering is a dark stain on our democracy, but not everyone agrees on how to eliminate it. 

In a recent Salon piece, FairVote Senior Fellow David Daley sat down with Rep. Don Beyer (VA-8) to discuss his solution to end gerrymandering: the Fair Representation Act (FRA), 

In the interview, Rep. Beyer touched on the attitudes of groups of voters, like Republicans in blue states or Democrats in red states, who lack representation because of the realities of single-member, winner-take-all districts:

“Everybody, on both sides, by the way, complains about gerrymandering and argues that we need to do something about it. If you're a Republican in Massachusetts or Maryland, if you're a Democrat in Ohio or North Carolina, it hurts everybody… There is a mood for change and reform.”

To capitalize on this mood for reform, Rep Beyer recently introduced the FRA, which would eradicate congressional gerrymandering at its roots by phasing out single-member, winner-take districts. These single-member districts entrench incumbents, discourage healthy democratic competition, and ultimately render moot the voices of thousands of constituents.

The FRA—which would eliminate safe red and blue single-member districts and instead replace them with larger, multi-member districts with members elected via ranked choice voting—would revolutionize government, ensuring accurate representation for all and providing every single constituency a voice in government.

He also urged voters to form a grassroots movement and pressure their representatives to force reforms like the FRA to the forefront of the national discussion:

“We all have to be in this together… I think it's really essential. If the voters don't care, then the elected officials aren't going to care. The civic engagement has to be noisy and engaged.”







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