A Fair Vote Could End the Monopoly of our Duopoly

Reforming our current election system is no easy task, especially with the duopoly stranglehold democrats and republicans have on the system.

However one non-profit organization believes they have a solution to encourage more participation not only among the populace, but from increasing the likelihood for third party candidates to have a voice.

In 1992, Fair Vote was founded as the Center for Proportional Representation (CPR), in Cinncinati, Ohio.

Then in 1993, led by Executive Rob Richie and then President Mattew Cossolotto, CPR became the Center for Voting Rights and Democracy, which reflected their commitment to a larger platform of research and advocacy in American elections.

In 2004, the title of Fair Vote was embraced and their mission is to make elections fair by, ranked choice voting, a national popular vote for president and universal voter registration.

Before I go more in depth, regarding the Fair Votes plan (which will I focus more on the ranked choice or instant run-off), let’s look at voter turnout throughout our country.

According to The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, here are some statistics regarding voter turnout for parliamentary and presidential elections in the United States:

“Parliamentary

Year Voter Turn­out Total vote Regi­­stration VAP Turn­out Voting age popu­­lation Popu­lation Invalid votes Compulsory voting
2014 42.‌50% 81,033,355 190,669,639 32.‌98% 245,712,915 318,892,103  No
2012 64.‌44% 124,793,121 193,653,908 51.‌80% 240,926,957 312,780,968  No
2010 48.‌59% 90,810,679 186,874,157 38.‌51% 235,809,266 308,282,053  No
2008 64.‌36% 122,586,293 190,461,401 52.‌59% 233,087,000 303,824,640  No
2006 47.‌52% 82,121,411 172,805,006 37.‌32% 220,043,054 298,444,215 0.‌40%  No
2004 68.‌75% 121,862,329 177,265,030 55.‌31% 220,336,019 293,027,571  No
2002 45.‌31% 73,844,526 162,993,315 35.‌09% 210,464,504 278,058,881  No
2000 63.‌76% 99,738,383 156,421,311 47.‌35% 210,623,408 284,970,789  No
1998 51.‌55% 73,117,022 141,850,558 34.‌74% 210,446,120 280,298,524  No
1996 65.‌97% 96,456,345 146,211,960 49.‌08% 196,511,000 265,679,000  No
1994 57.‌64% 75,105,860 130,292,822 38.‌78% 193,650,000 262,090,745  No
1992 78.‌02% 104,405,155 133,821,178 55.‌09% 189,529,000 255,407,000  No
1990 56.‌03% 67,859,189 121,105,630 36.‌52% 185,812,000 248,709,873  No
1988 72.‌48% 91,594,693 126,379,628 50.‌11% 182,778,000 245,057,000  No
1986 54.‌89% 64,991,128 118,399,984 36.‌40% 178,566,000 239,529,693  No
1984 74.‌63% 92,652,680 124,150,614 53.‌11% 174,466,000 236,681,000  No
1982 61.‌10% 67,615,576 110,671,225 39.‌79% 169,938,000 233,697,676  No
1980 76.‌53% 86,515,221 113,043,734 52.‌56% 164,597,000 227,738,000  No
1978 57.‌04% 58,917,938 103,291,265 37.‌20% 158,373,000 221,537,514  No
1976 77.‌64% 81,555,789 105,037,989 53.‌55% 152,309,190 218,035,000  No
1974 58.‌15% 55,943,834 96,199,020 38.‌23% 146,336,000 214,305,134  No
1972 79.‌85% 77,718,554 97,328,541 55.‌21% 140,776,000 208,840,000  No
1970 70.‌32% 58,014,338 82,496,747 46.‌60% 124,498,000 203,211,926  No
1968 89.‌66% 73,211,875 81,658,180 60.‌84% 120,328,186 200,710,000  No
1966 56,188,046 48.‌38% 116,132,000 197,730,744  No
1964 70,644,592 61.‌92% 114,090,000 192,119,000  No
1962 53,141,227 47.‌27% 112,423,000 186,512,143  No
1960 68,838,204 63.‌06% 109,159,000 180,684,000  No
1958 45,966,070 44.‌53% 103,221,000 175,038,232  No
1956 58,434,811 54.‌92% 106,408,890 168,903,000  No
1954 42,509,905 43.‌15% 98,527,000 162,725,667  No
1952 57,582,333 59.‌69% 96,466,000 157,022,000  No
1950 40,253,267 42.‌64% 94,403,000 151,325,798  No
1948 45,839,622 48.‌10% 95,310,150 146,631,000  No
1946 34,279,158 38.‌78% 88,388,000 142,049,065  No

Presidential

Year Voter Turn­out Total vote Regi­stration VAP Turn­out Voting age popu­lation Popu­lation Invalid votes Compulsory voting
2012 66.‌66% 129,085,403 193,653,908 53.‌58% 240,926,957 312,780,968  No
2008 70.‌33% 133,944,538 190,461,401 57.‌47% 233,087,000 303,824,640  No
2004 88.‌50% 125,736,000 142,070,000 57.‌07% 220,336,019 293,027,571 2.‌70%  No
2000 85.‌55% 110,826,000 129,549,000 52.‌62% 210,623,408 284,970,789 0.‌13%  No
1996 82.‌26% 105,017,000 127,661,000 53.‌44% 196,511,000 265,679,000  No
1992 89.‌96% 113,866,000 126,578,000 60.‌08% 189,529,000 255,407,000  No
1988 86.‌20% 102,224,000 118,589,000 55.‌93% 182,778,000 245,057,000  No
1984 87.‌75% 101,878,000 116,106,000 58.‌39% 174,466,000 236,681,000  No
1980 88.‌60% 93,066,000 105,035,000 56.‌54% 164,597,000 227,738,000  No
1976 88.‌68% 86,698,000 97,761,000 56.‌92% 152,309,190 218,035,000  No
1972 87.‌09% 85,766,000 98,480,000 60.‌92% 140,776,000 208,840,000  No
1968 89.‌66% 73,211,875 81,658,180 60.‌84% 120,328,186 200,710,000  No
1964 95.‌83% 70,644,592 73,715,818 61.‌92% 114,090,000 192,119,000  No
1960 68,838,219 63.‌06% 109,159,000 180,684,000  No
1956 62,026,908 58.‌29% 106,408,890 168,903,000  No
1952 61,551,118 60.‌31% 102,064,300 157,022,000  No
1948 48,692,442 51.‌09% 95,310,150 146,631,000  No
Page last updated October 5, 2011”

While the aforementioned statistics show some discouraging numbers, Fair Vote, has an ambitious plan to reign in the duopoly in our current political system and provide a system for the people by the people.

Here is a video by former bassist and co-founder of Nirvana Krist Novoselic, http://www.fairvote.org/proportional_representation#what_is_fair_voting.

Essentially, Fair Vote instant run off provides a way to promote majority support, discourage negative campaigning, provide more choice to voters, minimize strategic voting, mitigate the impact of money in politics, save money when replacing primaries or runoffs and promote reflective representation.

How will these goals be achieved one may ask?

 

The Ranked Choice Voting Act: Explanatory Memo

January 2016

 

The Ranked Choice Voting Act will require elections for Members of Congress beginning in 2022 to be conducted by ranked choice voting in multi-member districts drawn by independent redistricting commissions. The bill consists of four titles:

 

Title I—Ranked Choice Voting

Title II—Multi-Member Districts

Title III—Requirements for Congressional Redistricting

Title IV—General Provisions

 

Following the 2020 census, every state electing six or more Members will establish an independent redistricting commission. Those commissions will draw multi-winner congressional districts, each of which will elect at least three and no more than five Members, with a priority of districts with five seats; for example, a state that elects 11 Members will likely draw three districts: one that elects five Members and two that elect three Members each. The States electing five or fewer Members (25 after the 2010 census) will elect all at-large and not draw any districts.

Then, starting in 2022, all elections for Representatives, including primary elections, will be by ranked choice voting, a candidate-based, proportional voting system with a history of use in partisan and nonpartisan U.S. elections.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title I—Ranked Choice Voting

In Title I, the bill amends the Help America Vote Act to require that elections for Representative in Congress (which includes primary elections) will be by ranked choice voting.

Under ranked choice voting, the ballot will allow voters to rank candidates in order of choice, and tabulation proceeds in rounds. For the election of only one Member, if a candidate receives a majority (50% + 1) of the votes cast by first-choice, then that candidate will be elected. If no candidate receives a majority, then the candidate in last place is eliminated. If a voter’s top choice is eliminated, their vote will count for their next choice. This process repeats until two candidates remain, at which point the candidate with a majority in this “instant runoff” is elected.

If two or more Members will be elected in a multi-winner district, then tabulation is modified so that as many voters as possible will help elect a preferred candidate. The winning threshold depends on the number to be elected (e.g., 25% for three, 20% for four, and 17% for five). If a candidate surpasses that threshold of votes from first-choices only, then that candidate will be elected. The quantity of excess votes they received will count for their voters’ second choices. If not all seats are elected based on first choices, the candidate in last place is eliminated. If a voter’s top choice loses, their vote will count for their next choice. This process repeats until all seats are elected. In a three-winner race, more than three in four voters will typically help elect a preferred candidate; in a five-winner race, that number rises to greater than five in six.

In June of 2021, states will receive a grant equal to $1 million plus $500,000 per Representative to pay for election administration and education costs associated with ranked choice voting. 2

 

Title II—Multi-Winner Districts

Under Title II, the single-winner district mandate (2 U.S.C. 2c) is repealed and replaced with a multi-winner district mandate. Any state electing five or fewer Members will not use districts, but will elect all at-large. Any state electing six or more Members will elect from multi-winner districts. Multi-winner districts may not elect fewer than three or more than five Members, and they must have an equal number of persons per Representative.

For primary elections, each political party will nominate a number of candidates equal to the number to be elected in the district, unless they adopt a rule changing that number. If a state uses a winnowing preliminary election (like the “Top Two primary” in California and Washington), then it must advance at least twice the number of candidates as the number of Members to be elected in the district; for instance, six advancing candidate in a district with three seats.

 

Title III—Requirements for Congressional Redistricting

Any state drawing districts under Title II must do so according to the rules established in Title III, by establishing a citizens’ independent redistricting commission based on the proposal in the Redistricting Reform Act of 2015.

In states that must draw districts, a non-partisan agency develops a pool of 60 candidates: 20 affiliated with the state’s majority party at the time of redistricting, 20 from its minority party, and 20 who are unaffiliated with either of those two parties. After a bipartisan legislative committee approves that pool, the non-partisan agency randomly selects four from each category to create the 12-member commission. Those 12 choose a chair, who must come from the unaffiliated group, and then the commission begins operating. After assembling an independent redistricting commission, a state is entitled to $150,000 per Representative to offset its costs.

Districts must be drawn according to fair criteria: contiguity; consistency with the Voting Rights Act; no district can be completely safe for one political party (based on presidential vote totals from prior elections); as few districts as possible should elect four candidates (to avoid frequent 2-2 splits); as many districts as possible should elect five candidates (to maximize proportionality); respect for existing political boundaries and communities of interest; compactness; and respect for visible geographic features.

Each independent commission must operate transparently. After holding hearings around the state, it will publish preliminary maps, and then hold at least three further hearings and accept public comments. After considering this input, a majority of the commission (including at least one from each of the three groups) must approve a final congressional district map by August 15th of the year ending in the number one.

If the state does not establish the requisite non-partisan agency or legislative committee, if the legislative committee fails to approve a pool of applicants, or if the independent commission fails to approve a final plan, then a panel of federal judges will develop and adopt a congressional redistricting plan, guided by the same criteria.

 

Title IV—General Provisions

This Title makes clear that nothing in the bill affects state or local elections, nor does it go into effect for congressional elections prior to 2022.”

Whether or not the act proposed by Fair Vote comes into fruition remains uncertain, but a changing of the current process is much needed, while still adhering to constitutional principles.

And just in case you wanted to know if success with ranked choice voting is possible in the states (currently used in 11, cities) here is a speech by Mayor of Minneapolis Betsy Hodges, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aB91G8h3ZH8.

 

Advertisements