On Thursday, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences released a landmark report detailing six broad strategies and 31 specific recommendations—including ranked choice voting (RCV) and multi-member districts—intended to reinvigorate American democracy by 2026.
Danielle Allen, Harvard professor and co-chair of the report, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post arguing that the report’s recommendations are not dry, out-of-touch dictums issued from political scientists’ ivory towers. Instead, she asserts that implementing the report’s reforms are crucial to seeing lasting change on the issues—police brutality, systemic racism, health disparities—that have so galvanized the American public in recent weeks.
“For this time to be different, we need not only the specific reforms to policing but also a bold and comprehensive project to constitute a healthy social contract,” Allen writes. “We need a project not so much of renewal but of reinvention so that we might at last build a full, inclusive social compact that empowers all and delivers effective and responsive governance to an empowered citizenry. We need a new social contract worthy of our recommitment to U.S. constitutional democracy and one another.”
According to the report, this new social contract would include RCV expanded to almost every American election and the implementation of multi-member districts elected via RCV—both reforms that FairVote champions. These reforms would ensure that elected officials are held responsible for the needs of their constituents—guaranteeing adequate representation and improving Americans’ relationship with their government and, more importantly, with each other.