House Democrats Reintroduce Fair Representation Act
Election reform legislation would end political gerrymandering, instate ranked choice voting for Congressional elections
Washington, June 11, 2021
Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and a group of House Democrats today introduced the Fair Representation Act, an election reform bill to change the way U.S. Representatives are elected. The bill would establish multi-member districts drawn by independent redistricting commissions, with Members elected through ranked choice voting. Taken together, these three measures would incentivize congressional candidates to appeal to a broader range of voters. The bill would also require ranked choice voting for the election of U.S. Senators.
“January 6 ended with the votes of over 100 Members of Congress to overturn the results of our democratic elections, the same end sought earlier that day by those who violently attacked our Capitol,” said Rep. Beyer. “Many cast those votes because uncompetitive district maps make them beholden to extreme elements of their electoral base. These bad voting incentives have caused a terrible and growing threat to our democracy, and we need bold electoral changes to help solve that problem and reform our system before it is too late. The Fair Representation Act would help put the country back on the right track, strengthen our electoral system, restore public trust, ensure every voter has their voice represented in Congress, and incentivize the election of Members who prioritize practical legislative results and solutions to the problems which beset our country.”
Beyer was joined in introducing the bill by U.S. Representatives Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Jim Cooper (D-TN), and Scott Peters ( D-CA).
”American democracy needs a new engine, which is embodied in this legislation,“ said Rep. Raskin. “I’m proud to cosponsor the Fair Representation Act to make our elections more positive and our government more representative. Let's open up American politics to new voices, new choices and representation for all.”
“As we watch more and more state legislatures push through partisan congressional maps, the need for a better system of representation has never been more clear,” said Rep. Khanna. “The Fair Representation Act will increase representation for communities left behind, open up the two-party system to much-needed choice for voters, and get folks re-engaged with their government. I thank Representative Beyer for his courage in reintroducing such a bold solution to reform American elections.”
“Voters should pick their representatives, rather than representatives picking their voters. Currently, however, extreme partisan gerrymandering is threatening this bedrock principle of American democracy,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “Our Fair Representation Act will give power back to the people and ensure fair elections for all.”
“Our democracy is in danger. Gerrymandering and widespread voter disenfranchisement are threatening the integrity of our elections and eroding the American people’s trust in the institutions of government that are designed to serve them,” said Rep. McGovern. “The Fair Representation Act would finally put an end to political gerrymandering, and I’m proud to stand with Representative Beyer to introduce this bill and ensure that every voice matters and every vote counts.”
“The strength of America’s democracy is reflected by the integrity and health of our voting systems. This bill puts an end to partisan gerrymandering and will enhance voters’ voices through ranked choice voting,” said Rep. Peters. “It is a critical step towards ensuring that our governing bodies are truly representative of our country.”
The Fair Representation Act was supported by FairVote, a nonpartisan election reform advocacy organization.
“Our representatives are unable to work together to solve our nation’s most pressing issues; our fragile democracy is at risk of falling apart altogether,” added Rob Richie, President and CEO of FairVote. “One of the reasons our political system is facing these crises is because, currently, representatives are able to pick their voters before voters are allowed to pick their representatives. The Fair Representation Act solves this problem in a uniquely comprehensive way, and there is no more urgent time for our nation to address big-picture solutions to the challenges our democracy faces.”
Full text of the Fair Representation Act may be found here, and more resources, including factsheets and FAQ’s, are available from FairVote here.