A Representative Congress: Enhancing African American Voting Rights in the South with Choice Voting

Posted on November 27, 2012

In southern states, racially polarized elections remain an active part of political life. Since 1965, the Voting Rights Act has guaranteed that African Americans in the South cannot be shut out of elections either through direct barriers to voting or through discriminatory districts that prevent the achievement of representation. However, relying on winner-take-all elections has inherent limitations. In the belt of southern states including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas, the use of districting to achieve a fairer level of representation for African Americans has hit a ceiling. To push through that ceiling and achieve truly fair representation, FairVote recommends abandoning the single-member district in favor of super districts elected by choice voting.

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Texas Congressional Redistricting: Beyond Last Week's Section 5 Ruling

Posted on September 06, 2012

Texas has had problems with redistricting - yet again. Last week's federal court ruling that Texas's 2011 plans for congressional districts and state legislative districts had both the purpose and effect of further reducing the representation of Texas's already underrepresented racial minority populations is just the state's latest salvo in the redistricting wars. We show that there's another way: fair voting plans.

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Primaries Spotlight Sharp Decline in U.S. House Moderates

Posted on May 08, 2012

On April 24, two moderate Blue Dog Democrats, Tim Holden and Jason Altmire, lost in Pennsylvania's primary election. They are the latest examples of an accelerating  "no-more-moderates" trend within both major parties. But fair representation of the left, right and center is essential to the health of a democracy. Grounded in its unique the-rules-matter perspective, FairVote explores how winner-take-all voting rules today disadvantage candidates willing to seek bipartisan solutions to problems.

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Congressional Redistricting Matters, and It's Hurting This Country: a Response to Michael Barone

Posted on March 22, 2012

Recently, pundit Michael Barone argued in The National Review that redistricting in 2011 has turned out to “matter less than we thought.” But Barone is mistaken, overly concerned about redistricting’s impact on each major party rather its effect on voters already trapped within a troubling winner-take-all framework. Furthermore, Barone is wrong to say that partisan redistricting in 2011 has produced “clean” lines. It has not. With our unique take on redistricting and focus on voters, not political parties, FairVote sets the record straight in its rebuttle to Barone. 

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Happy 200th Birthday to the "Gerry-mander"

Posted on February 17, 2012

Saturday February 11, 2012 marked the 200th birthday of the "Gerry-mander." With 2012 redistricting plans taking shape, gerrymandering continues to be prevalent. FairVote advocates for an alternative reform to fundamentally change the way we draw district boundaries.

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Texas Redistricting in the Hands of the Supreme Court Yet Again

Posted on January 09, 2012

Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for three cases pertaining to Texas redistricting. In recent decades, Texas has been unable to pass a congressional redistricting plan with paying a visit to the high court. With a redistricting process that forces partisan interests to battle racial minority communities for power over a district's single seat, there is little surprise regarding these recurring controversies.

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No More Gerrymanders: Congressional Representation in the Seven At-Large States

Posted on December 30, 2011

Though spared the controversies of congressional redistricting, winner-take-all rules still plague the seven at-large states (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming). Nowhere are the shortcomings of our voting system more acute than in at-large winner-take-all races, where one individual is - rather astonishingly - responsible for representing the political and demographic diversity of an entire state. Read our latest critique of winner-take-all elections and our analysis of congressional elections in these at-large states.

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No More Gerrymanders: California's Commission Plan versus the Fair Voting Alternative

Posted on November 03, 2011

For the first time in California's history, a Citizens Redistricting Commission has drawn the lines for congressional districts. Despite having taken control away from partisan state legislators, the commission's map has been controversial, both among racial minority groups and Republicans who are concerned about fair repesentation. Most disticts also will not be competitive.The root of the worst problems associated with redistricting lies with winner-take-all elections, in which 50% + 1 of the vote can elect 100% of the representation. Fair voting systems, relying on a form of proportional representation, are a far better way to achieve public interest objectives and allow all voters to participate in meaningful elections. As part of an ongoing series, FairVote has produced a "super-district" plan designed for elections with a fair voting system. Our California plan upholds U.S. Supreme Court rulings on apportionment while providing fair representation and voter choice for California voters.

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