The American people want a Congress that functions effectively and is truly of, by, and for the people. Our current political system is broken when career politicians and political machines can manipulate districts for their own benefit, giving voters few choices and limiting new voices in government. When 9 in 10 incumbents can win re-election without needing to earn their seats, that’s not democracy.
It's time to level the playing field and advance representative democracy with the Ranked Choice Voting Act. Our proposed Act ensures that majority rule prevails, more voters elect favorite candidates, all voices are heard, and elected leaders are more accountable to the people.
What Are the Benefits of the Ranked Choice Voting Act?
We are building support for legislation on Capitol Hill. Our proposal reforms our political system by introducing a national solution to address issues in all 50 states related to redistricting, representation, and voting rights. We need a solution that:
Empowers voters and ensures every voter has a meaningful impact on elections by giving voters the best chance of having their vote help elect someone who will represent their voice.
Ends the cycle of gerrymandering by repealing and replacing the 1967 mandate for single-winner districts with multi-winner districts elected using ranked choice voting.
Ends the disconnect between voting and election outcomes, because candidates favored by a majority of voters will win a majority of seats.
Breaks up one-party monopolies in every state – districts would elect three, four or five members and no district would be controlled entirely by one political party.
Encourages more diverse representatives, including independents, third parties, urban Republicans, rural Democrats, Rockefeller Republicans, Reagan Democrats, and so on, who can serve as bridge-builders in Congress.
Fosters greater opportunities for the election of women and fairer representation for people of color.
Creates districts that are compact, contiguous, and continuous with political boundaries, and which comply with the Constitution, Voting Rights Act, and other federal laws.
Replaces polarization with collaborative, all-partisan policymaking because nearly every representative would share a district with other representatives with different views.
What Does the Ranked Choice Voting Act Do?
The legislation includes three essential reforms that, when enacted together, create a fairer and more representative way of electing Members of the House of Representatives. Those parts are the use of ranked choice voting in a smaller number of multi-winner districts, each of which sends at least three Members to Congress, and which are drawn by state-run independent redistricting commissions made up of ordinary citizens and operating in a transparent fashion.
Ranked choice voting is an election method used in communities across the United States for elections with more than two candidates. Grounded in equality, ranked choice voting gives every voter a powerful voice in an election. Instead of just picking one candidate, the voter gets to rank candidates in order of choice – first choice, second choice and so on. It maximizes the number of votes that help elect representatives.
When electing more than one Member in a multi-winner district, a majority of voters can always elect a majority of seats, but smaller groups can elect someone too. That means many more voters will help elect their first choice, and almost everyone will be able to elect a candidate they like, who will go into Congress with their interests and values in mind.
To maximize the power of voters, each multi-winner district will send at least three Members to Congress. To keep elections simple and local, no district will elect more than five Members. States that only send five or fewer Members will not have to draw any districts at all.
States that draw multi-winner districts will do so by establishing a citizen-run, independent redistricting commission. The commissions will be insulated from the political process, and will include the public directly at every step of their deliberation. Anyone will be able to draw district maps and submit them for consideration, and everyone can see what maps are being considered and participate in public hearings.
It’s time to break up single-party monopolies on representation in our cities, suburbs, and rural communities. It's time for voters to have a strong voice in the political process. It’s time for fair representation.
Text of the Ranked Choice Voting Act
Download and read the text of FairVote's proposed Ranked Choice Voting Act.
Ranked Choice Voting
Ranked choice voting allows voters to rank candidates in order of choice. The most successful candidates are those able to combine strong first choice support with the ability to earn second and third choice support. It is used on the municipal, state and national level in the U.S. and in governments around the world.
Video on Ranked Choice Voting Plan for Congress
Watch FairVote board chair Krist Novoselic’s narration of a video on fair representation for Congress
Fair Representation Voting: Overview
Fair representation voting describes American, candidate-based forms of voting in multi-winner districts that respect the principles of majority rule and proportional representation.
Monopoly Politics and the Fair Voting Solution
Monopoly Politics exposes the undemocratic and destructive nature of winner-take-all elections to elect "the people's house." Use the interactive map to learn more about our fair voting solution: a plan to combine existing congressional districts into a smaller number of multi-winner "super districts," each electing between three and five Members by ranked choice voting. Read comprehensive analyses about the impact of reform, and descriptions of House elections as they are and as they could be in all 50 states.
Ranked Choice Voting and the Voting Rights Act
Read Drew Spencer and Rob Richie’s analysis of the impact of ranked choice voting in multi-winner districts on the Voting Rights Act.
Ranked Choice Voting and Money in Politics
Analysis on “The Supply Side: Alternative Reform Approaches to Campaign Finance”
Ranked Choice Voting and Increasing Civility in Politics
Resources and data from comprehensive scholarly analysis of impact of ranked choice voting on the tenor and substance of campaigns in the United States
Additional Learning Resources
Ranked Choice Voting in Multi-Seat Districts Tops “Democracy Slam”
Blog with links to papers and video of national event with NBC’s Chuck Todd and various academic and political luminaries that gives ranked choice voting in multi-winner districts the highest positive impact rating of 17 proposed reforms.
Reihan Salam in Slate in “The biggest problem in American politics”
Conservative writer explains the case for reforming gerrymandering with ranked choice voting in multi-winner districts.
Katerina vanden Heuvel in Washington Post on “We need a fairer system for choosing House Members”
Progressive writer explains the case for reforming gerrymandering with ranked choice voting in multi-winner districts.
Washington Post editorial: “Rebuilding the political center may require a change to the system”
Editorial calls for Congress to consider multi-winner districts as a national reform
- University of Richmond Law Review: The right choice for elections: How choice voting will end gerrymandering and expand minority voting rights, from city councils to Congress
Representation 2020 works to raise awareness of the under-representation of women in elected office, to strengthen coalitions that are supportive of measures to increase women's representation, and to highlight the often-overlooked structural barriers to achieving gender parity in American elections. Women win more seats with multi-winner districts and with ranked choice voting.
RCV Maine ballot measure
Campaign for ballot measure expected to be on November 2016 ballot to establish ranked choice voting for all state and congressional elections.
For more information about how you can support the Ranked Choice Voting Act, sign-up today!