Voices & Choices

This Week in Electoral Reform

This Week in Electoral Reform

Here is this week’s roundup of folks who have written about FairVote’s reform vision:

  • Kristin Eberhardt of Sightline advocates for replacing Oregon and Washington's winner-take-all system to give voice to more voters: "Winner-take-all voting makes it all but impossible for parties outside the Democrats and Republicans to thrive, because no one wants to waste her vote on a third-party spoiler. But by adopting one of the above voting systems (or some other variation), Oregon and Washington could better serve the diverse interests of their voters. By giving voice to more voters, these Northwest states could set an example to inspire other states, perhaps helping spur a national transition to voting systems that more accurately reflects the political diversity of the American electorate."

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer penned an editorial highlighting the use of ranked choice voting as a way to reform primary elections: “The group Fair Vote argues persuasively that the egalitarian goals of top-two would be realized more consistently by a top-four primary followed by a ranked-choice general election. The latter, employed by several U.S. cities and other countries, has voters rank candidates by preference - first choice, second choice, etc. This enables an instant runoff: The voters' first choices are tallied, the last-place candidate is eliminated, and the loser's voters are allocated to the remaining candidates based on their second preferences. The process repeats until a candidate wins an outright majority.”

  • Nobel laureates Eric Maskin and Amartya Sen wrote about the value of upholding majority rule in primary elections in a New York Times Oped: "Under the plurality system used in American primaries and general elections, a real majority winner can be — and has been — defeated. Replacing plurality rule with majority rule would improve American primaries. More broadly, an understanding of the critical difference between a plurality and a majority could improve politics around the world."

  • John Palmer advocates for structural changes to open up our politics to third party voters in the Independent Voter Network: “The two-party stranglehold will not go away without hard work; it will need to be dismantled strand by strangling strand. State by state, we must make structural changes–require majority results through runoffs and instant runoffs (ranked choice voting), open primaries, and nonpartisan primaries. What about multi-member districts with proportional representation (used by many of those 18 democracies with multiple parties)? The list goes on.”
  • Lori Sturdevant writes how ranked choice voting would have impacted the fractured nature of the GOP primary race in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "With ranked-choice voting, 'we’d see a big correction in the polarizing trend in American politics,' [Larry] Diamond said. Independent candidates would be more likely to run and occasionally win, and independent voters would be more satisfied with the choices available to them on the ballot, he argued."

  • Michael Golden writes about the merits FairVote’s fair representation plan for Congress in Roll Call: "The base-driven, predictable results travel to Washington, D.C., sustain a stale partisan divide on Capitol Hill, shrink an already threadbare political center and distort a bedrock principle of American democracy: fair representation. There are better ways to run elections – namely “proportional representation” – and many other advanced democracies wisely use them. And right now, the Fair Representation Act sits in Congress awaiting action. The FRA promotes the use of multi-winner U.S. House districts through ranked-choice voting to ensure that all Americans have some measure of representation. The Act would also make members of Congress more accountable to the voters. Sort of like it’s supposed to be."

  • Scott Sterling advocates for ranked choice voting (also known as instant runoff voting) in Alaska in the Anchorage Press: "If we end primary elections and replace them with a system of instant runoff voting, where multiple candidates run the same race against each other, then the broader electorate will have broader choices… In Alaska—in most legislative races—the effect would be to allow independents and moderates to select an independent candidate and have that vote count. As it stands now, those voters have to hold their nose and vote for a party-affiliated candidate, selected by a plurality of the minority who voted in the primary."

    Image Source: Sightline


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