Research Reports

Best Practices for Collaborative Policymaking

Posted on December 03, 2015
Best Practices for Collaborative Policymaking

Rising partisanship and polarization have made it increasingly difficult for legislators to engage in the bipartisan cooperation necessary for effective policymaking. While much of this dysfunction stems from entrenched national problems – a polarizing electorate, flawed elections, and an increasingly corrosive media environment – other causes originate from within our legislatures themselves.

In Best Practices for Collaborative Policymaking: Learning from Power-Sharing Arrangements in State Legislatures, FairVote and the Bipartisan Policy Center examine power-sharing agreements in state legislatures in order to draw lessons about bipartisan cooperation. The report identifies two factors that significantly impact the prospects for collaboration: the level of majority party control over the agenda, and the strength of personal relationships across party lines. It recommends specific reforms that can help legislators to bridge the growing ideological divide and work together for the good of their constituents.

Accompanying the report is an overview of the status of legislative rules impacting collaboration in the 50 states.

To view the 50-state database of legislative rules that can help foster collaboration, click here: Legislative Rules Database.

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Ranked Choice Voting and Racial Group Turnout

Posted on November 02, 2015
Ranked Choice Voting and Racial Group Turnout

A recent study on the impact of RCV in San Francisco presents some surprising findings on differences in turnout between racial groups that contradict previous research on the subject. In this report, we take a closer look at the study and find serious methodological flaws that cast doubt on its findings.

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Comparative Structural Reform

Posted on August 28, 2015
Comparative Structural Reform

Comparative Structural Reform presents an extensive assessment of the potential impact of 37 structural reforms to election laws and legislative structures in collaboration with 14 prominent political scholars. Scholars participating in the project are authorities on electoral reform and legislative functionality, with extensive collective expertise and mastery of both quantitative and qualitative approaches to the study of American legislatures, elections and electoral rules. Each of the participating scholars was asked to assess each reform’s impact on 16 different criteria fitting within four topline categories: legislative functionality, electoral accountability, voter engagement, and openness of process. Scholars were compensated for their participation. All scholars responded to all eleven surveys and provided a wealth of insightful comments, new sources, and useful information in addition to their well-considered ratings of each reform.

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RCV vs Other Voting Systems – By the Numbers

Posted on March 24, 2015

With over 100 elections conducted using RCV in the U.S. since 2000, there is much data RCV and its relationship to voter turnout, ballot spoilage, voter behavior and strategy and numerous other aspects of RCV elections. To explore these data, visit our "RCV Statistics" page. 

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Fuzzy Math: Wrong Way Reforms for Allocating Electoral Votes

Posted on January 28, 2015

States have a constitutional obligation to decide how they will allocate their electoral votes during presidential elections. Almost all states currently use statewide, winner-take-all rules, which gives all of the state's votes to the winner of the statewide popular vote. But some states have considered alternative methods, such as the whole number proportional system and the congressional district system. We look at the effect these systems would have on presidential elections. Neither system promotes majority rule, increases competitiveness nationwide, or ensures voter equality.

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The State of Women's Representation 2013-2014

Posted on June 13, 2014

The State of Women's Representation 2013-2014 is a report by FairVote's Representation 2020 project. It is the first in a series of annual reports leading to the year 2020, the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment. It summarizes and analyzes women’s representation in elected office, and monitors progress for each of the six areas of our 2020 Pledge. It also establishes Representation 2020's unique Parity Index, which measures the level of women's representation in each state. As we will show, while some progress is being made in getting more women elected to public office, the progress is slow and could benefit from Representation 2020's key reforms. 

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The Role of Cities in National Popular Vote Elections

Posted on June 13, 2014

In debating options for reforming presidential elections in the United States, the most promising alternative to the status quo is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPV). But even though we use popular vote elections to select every member of Congress and all 50 governors, some NPV skeptics warn that its adoption would have a partisan impact on presidential elections. They fear that Democrats could increase their national vote totals by focusing resources on major metropolitan areas, while Republicans could achieve similar gains only by spreading their resources across more geographically dispersed, non-urban areas. This report challenges this argument in three ways. 

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