Voices & Choices

The Fair Representation Act: another avenue to end gerrymandering

The Fair Representation Act: another avenue to end gerrymandering

The fate of partisan gerrymandering is in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to return a joint verdict on two extreme gerrymandering cases—one in North Carolina and another in Maryland—in late June.

The court, headed by Chief Justice John Roberts, may be wary of wading into the “political thicket” by taking a firm stance on the issue, instead remaining content to kick the decision back to lower courts. But even if the Supreme Court does not return a definitive verdict, there is another avenue to try to ameliorate the corrosive effects of gerrymandering: congressional action.

As David Daley, FairVote senior fellow and redistricting expert, noted in a recent Salon op-ed,

“Congress could simply pass the Fair Representation Act…[which] would replace our winner-takes-all system with a fairer system that would allow every vote to matter and everyone to win their fair share of seats.”

The Fair Representation Act (FRA), expected to be reintroduced in Congress in the coming months, would combine ranked choice voting (RCV) with multi-member House districts to ensure all citizens are heard in the electoral process.

According to Daley, the current system of “single-member, winner-take-all districts [that] lock even large minorities of like-minded voters completely out of power…is as serious a threat to our democracy as rigged maps.” By mandating multiple representatives per district, the FRA would allow for members of underrepresented political constituencies—like Republicans in New York City or Democrats in Kentucky—to have appropriate representation in the House of Representatives.

Furthermore, this reform would make manipulating district lines (also known as gerrymandering) virtually impossible with the combination of larger congressional districts electing multiple members, RCV and an independent redistricting commission. Instead, citizens would be better represented and empowered to participate in the political process.

Better representation for citizens and more participation in our government?

Sounds like a win-win for everybody.

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