National Popular Vote: The Right Way to Reform Presidential Elections


by David Markey// Published January 17th, 2014 The right way to establish a popular vote for president is not through a constitutional amendment. Unfortunately, it took us until the late 1960s to realize this. You’d be stretched to find an election season messier than that of 1968. Robert Kennedy was assassinated four hours after he […]

Weekly Rundown 11/11 – 11/17

The Weekly Rundown: Things We’re Reading & Writing! 11/11 – 11/16 RCV Passed the Test! – (MN) In Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges was elected the new mayor. In St. Paul it was an easy win for the incumbent mayor. The city council races are wide-open. The greatest winner, however, was ranked choice voting! The innovative voting […]

Things We’re Reading and Writing 10/21 – 10/27

Things We’re Reading & Writing 10/21- 10/27 Come Together – Democrats and Republicans can unite when the very fundamentals of democracy are at stake. David Durenberger, a former Republican Senator and Tim Penny, a former Democratic member of the house, both agree that ranked choice voting is the best option. We have seen the salutary […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 9/30 – 10/7

Things We're Reading

New Supporters for RCV in NYC – (NY) Last week, Councilmember Letitia James became the first African American woman to win the Democratic primary for the position of Public Advocate, beating out State Senator Daniel Squadron. The high-cost ($13 million) low turnout (only approximately 188 thousand people out of a city of 8 million) election […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 9/16 – 9/22

Things We're Reading

Know Your Rights! – (NC) Despite numerous actions taken in North Carolina to make voting more challenging, a survey conducted by High Point University revealed that only 27% of citizens know the details of the election policy Governor McCrory signed into law earlier this year. In fact, 41% have heard only a little about it, […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 9/10 – 9/16

Things We're Reading

Problems at the Polls – (NY) In the wake of last Tuesday’s primary election in New York City and with eyes looking ahead to the November mayoral election, many deficiencies regarding the city’s polling stations and practices have been brought to light. In this most recent round of primary elections, it was not uncommon for […]

Reading & Writing 9/2 – 9/9

Things We're Reading

A Step Backward – (NC) Sunday, September 1st was the last day that North Carolina’s State Board of Elections accepted forms from 16 and 17 year olds preregistering them to vote. Governor McCrory signed the bill that included eliminating preregistration earlier in August. North Carolina has now become the first state to end the voter […]

FairVote Voices – Mayor Mike Brennan


In this episode of FairVote Voices, we share clips from an interview with Mayor Mike Brennan conducted in his office in Portland, Maine. Mayor Brennan was elected using ranked choice voting, and he shares his experience running and winning in a ranked choice election. You can now download and listen to the episode through the […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 8/6 – 8/12

Things We're Reading

Fundamental Right – (NC) Though HB589, a bill set to roll back access to the polls and voter-friendly practices, moved quickly to Governor McCrory’s desk, North Carolina’s Attorney General Cooper is calling for Governor McCrory to veto the bill. In an online petition, Attn. General Cooper writes, “the act of voting is a fundamental right . […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 7/30- 8/5

Things We're Reading

Headed for Disaster – (NC) Headed for Disaster – (NC) An election reform bill, HB589, moved swiftly through North Carolina’s State Legislature and was presented to the Governor. The bill will cut back early voting, end same day registration, and implement a voter ID requirement. Critics are crying out for Governor Pat McCrory to veto the bill […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 7/23-7/29

Things We're Reading

Fair Voting – With all the different voting systems out there, things can get a bit confusing at times. In Part 1 of this 5-part series on voting systems and fair representation, it offers a good comparison of what they all mean and the different types of representation. Check out this article to see the differences in […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 7/16- 7/22

Things We're Reading

VRA 2.0 – With the recent Shelby County v. Holder decision that struck down the pre-clearance formula of the Voting Rights Act, lawmakers now have the opportunity to create new and improved voting rights legislation that can go beyond the VRA’s original triumphs and further protect American voters. Check out Norm Ornstein’s ideas for how to reinforce the VRA to […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 7/10- 7/15

Things We're Reading

Halfway! – (RI) Governor Chafee signed the National Popular Vote bill into  law, marking the half way point to the 270 electoral votes needed for the compact to go into effect. Now that’s what we call progress. Congratulations to Rhode Island, and thanks to all you FairVote Action supporters and leaders for making this possible. Ranking […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 7/1-7/9

Things We're Reading

#democracyNEXT Round 2 – (DC) Is it time for a right to vote in the Constitution? Panelists will explore this question tomorrow, on July 9th at NYU-DC campus. Panelists include Advancement Project’s Judith Browne Dianis, Color of Change’s Rashad Robinson, Nation writer John Nichols and more, with a keynote address by Representative Mark Pocan (WI). […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 6/24- 6/28

Things We're Reading

#DemocracyNext kicks off (DC) – On Thursday, June 27th, FairVote & NYUDialogues kicked off a collaborative summer panel series with Democracy Next: Beyond Gerrymandering & Polarization. Speakers included Representative Keith Ellison, Norm Ornstein and Representative James Clyburn. Missed it? Watch it here. You can find more information about the panel series and register for future panels here. […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 6/17- 6/21

Things We're Reading

We’re Getting Closer! – (RI ) As Rhode Island moves closer to passing the National Popular Vote bill, our nation also moves closer to acheiving an election system in which the winner of the national popular vote will always be elected president. See this comprehensive break down of what this legislation means, and support these bills (RI’s SB 346 & HB […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 6/10 – 6/14

Things We're Reading

Rethinking how we cast our votes – In this piece, Thomas F. Schaller highlights the positives of voting rules reform. He writes how politicians have little incentive to change this broken system because, “Despite being paralyzed by polarized politics, policy gridlock and low approval ratings, the furthest thing from the minds of members of Congress is […]

Help Pass an Amendment to Establish the Right to Vote

Representative Mark Pocan (D- WI) and Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) are introducing an amendment to the Constitution, H.J.Res. 44, that will grant every citizen of legal voting age the fundamental right to vote. Surprisingly, the right to vote is not explicitly outlined in the founding document. So how can our democracy, based on the idea […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 6/3-6/7

Things We're Reading

Things We’re Reading & Writing 6/3- 6/7 Opt- Out – (OR) The Oregon Legislature has done a lot in this year’s session, but there are still some things up for discussion in the final weeks. One bill still on the table? Automatic voter registration – one step forward toward our electoral system being an OPT-OUT instead of […]

Here’s Our 2020 Democracy Vision


FairVote’s 2020 Reform Vision by FairVoteAction Too small? Click the icon on the lower right hand side to expand to full screen. Are you on board with our vision? Tell us what you think is the most pressing problem with elections right now.  

FairVote Voices – Rob Richie Part 2


In part two of this special two-part episode of FairVote Voices, FairVote Legal Fellow Drew Spencer interviews FairVote founder and executive director, Rob Richie. In Part 1, Richie described FairVote’s origin and development, as well as instant runoff voting and the National Popular Vote plan. This week, Part 2 picks up with fair voting forms […]

FairVote Voices – Rob Richie Part 1


In this special two-part episode of FairVote Voices, FairVote Legal Fellow Drew Spencer interviews FairVote founder and executive director, Rob Richie. In Part 1, Richie describes FairVote’s origin and development, as well as instant runoff voting and the National Popular Vote plan. Next week, Part 2 will pick up with fair voting forms of proportional […]

Things We’re Reading 5/6-5/10

Things We're Reading

South Carolina – A more publicized election for a local legislative race has never been seen in South Carolina than that of the most recent Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert-Busch. Skeptics of Sanford’s success focused on his wrong-doings in the past and Colbert-Busch’s clear celebrity link. But in fact, all one had to do was take […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 4/29- 5/3

Things We're Reading

O- hi – NO! – Ohio Republican lawmakers propose a bill that would punish state universities for assisting out of state students in registering to vote. Why? Well, no comment from Representative Amstutz who proposed the bill, but critics of the bill assert that it aims to disenfranchise younger voters. Too bad, but young voters could […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 4/1-4/5

Things We're Reading

Reading Keep it “Proportional Rep” : The US Foreign Service (USFS) seems to favor people who understand how proportional representation and majority voting work. A mobile app has been developed for the Foreign Service Officer Test which include questions about proportional representational style voting. For high voter turn out the USFS therefore believe in proportional […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 3/25-3/29

Things We're Reading

Reading  IRV – Its Good because its Fair, and… : Old-timer, James Madison, recognized that our democracy is one big crazy experiment: the first-past-the-post system we chose means that when three parties compete, a party could rule with only 34% of the vote. For this reason, he begged Americans to not split formally into ‘factions’ […]

FairVote Voices – Jerome Gray


FairVote legal fellow Drew Spencer interviews Jerome Gray, as a followup to his blog post from earlier this month, about his career promoting voting rights and fair voting in Alabama. Download and listen to the podcast here.

FairVote Voices – Youth Voting in New Mexico


FairVote advocacy fellow Lizz Hudler interviews two advocates in New Mexico about youth voting the push for a 17-year-old vote in primary elections. Download and listen to this episode here.

FairVote Voices – Instant Runoff Voting on Campus


Legal Fellow Drew Spencer interviews Jeremy Selvidge and Alison Krenzien of Texas A&M University about the new use of instant runoff voting on their campus. Download and listen to this podcast here.

Not Helping America Vote: The Plight of the Un-filled Election Assistance Commission


We applaud President Barack Obama for shining a spotlight on election reform by using the State of the Union address to announce the creation of a bipartisan election commission. Although many people did not have to wait hours to vote, far too many did. The right to vote is too precious to leave to the […]

FairVote Voices – Drew Spencer Interview on KOPN 89.5

This episode consists of a radio interview conducted by Mark Haim of Evening Edition on KOPN 89.5 in Columbia Missouri of Drew Spencer, legal fellow at FairVote, about instant runoff voting. To hear the full, original interview, check out KOPN’s website.

FairVote Voices – Progress for the Process

IRV Basic

In the first of a two-part series, Lizz Hudler interviews Diane Russell about seminal progressive legislation pending in Maine’s state legislature to  implement ranked choice voting for Maine’s gubernatorial and legislative races. Download the podcast episode here.

Things We’re Reading & Writing 1/28-2/1

Things We're Reading

Reading Shout-Out To the Students – Down south in Texas, the students are leading the way. The Election Commission of Texas A&M  announced on Sunday that they will be using instant runoff voting for the election of their student body representatives (student senators excluded). Rigging the Electoral College System? How ’bout No. – With last weeks abysmal […]

Things We’re Reading & Writing 1/21-1/25

Things We're Reading

Reading For the Majority (Maine) – Of the last 10 gubernatorial races, just two have been won with a majority of the vote. Maine voters are frustrated, and  legislators at the state level have signalled in all kinds of ways that they’re ready to try a new system. This  week alone these three pieces were written […]

FairVote Voices – Richard Engstrom on the Voting Rights Act

MLK March

Drew Spencer interviews Richard Engstrom in the second and final installment of a two-part series on the intersection of proportional representation and the voting rights of racial minorities. Listen and download this podcast here.

FairVote Voices – Ed Still on the Voting Rights Act


Drew Spencer interviews Ed Still in the first installment of a two-part series on the intersection of proportional representation and the voting rights of racial minorities. Download the podcast episode here.

Who Needs to Fix That? We Do.


When President Barack Obama paused in his victory speech, thanking voters for waiting in long lines to vote but noting ‘we have to fix that’, one might have assumed that reform would come from the top. Within a few weeks, Representative George Miller (D-CA7) introduced the SIMPLE Voting Act to ease ballot access and increase […]

FairVote Voices – Hunting for the Right to Vote

Electoral Dysfunction

Lizz Hudler of FairVote Action talks with a group of young voters and interviews Victoria Basetti on the significance of the U.S. Constitution containing no affirmative right to vote, and what we can do about it. Download the podcast here.

FairVote Voices – Interview with Richard Winger

Sir Richard

Drew Spencer of FairVote interviews Richard Winger, publisher and editor of Ballot Access News. Download the podcast here.

From the Mouth of the President to the Ears of the People: We Have to Fix That


As was expected, problems at the polls abounded on November 6, nationwide. While glitches were reported across the country, voter-rights watchers paid particular attention to the swing states, where obstacles to ballot access in the form of registration ambiguities, voting-day misinformation, voter suppression tactics, and long, exhausting (and cold!) lines had potential to lower turnout […]

Next Gen Reformers: Why YOU Should Be Involved in the Electoral Reform Movement


According to The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, an estimated 24% of all eligible young people ages 18-29 voted in the 2010 midterms – in contrast to 51% of eligible voters over 30. Historically, we’re a group that gets ignored a lot by political campaigns and pollsters. The chicken or egg question […]