FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sunday, September 1, 2019
Contact: Mark Patterson, Communications Secretary,
The state Coordinating Council of the Green Party of Florida (GPFL) has endorsed the Fair Representation Act (HR 4000), and calls on Congress and the President to swiftly implement this key pro-democracy reform. Originally introduced in the U.S. House in June 2017 and re-introduced in July 2019 by Rep. Donald S. Byer, Jr. (D-VA-8), the measure would:
- Establish the use of Ranked Choice Voting in elections for Representatives in Congress;
- Require each state with more than one Representative to establish multi-member Congressional districts”; and
- Require states to conduct Congressional redistricting through independent commissions.
Under the Act, U.S. House members would be elected by RCV in multi-winner districts starting in 2022, both in primaries and general elections.
RCV is a generic term for counting the ranked votes in successive rounds, or run-offs, until majority voter support is achieved for one candidate (single member districts) or several (proportional multi member districts). A form of RCV called Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) guarantees a majority winner in single member seats even with many candidates running. For multi member proportionally represented districts, RCV may take the form of Single Transferable Vote (STV) to achieve fair democratic results.
FairVote, a nonpartisan national organization championing electoral reform, has analyzed its impact state-by-state. Their analysis of Florida concludes that the state’s 27 Congressional districts (currently 11 Democrats and 16 Republicans) would be reduced to 7 multi-winner districts electing 3 or 5 members each. FairVote projects that RCV would potentially yield 12 Democrats, 11 Republicans and 4 from other parties.
“Elections should ensure that the people are represented proportionally,” stated GPFL Co-Chair Samson LeBeau Kpadenou, last year’s GPFL candidate for Florida House of Representatives, District 87. “Our restrictive system — in which only one person is elected to represent each district — does just the opposite, especially since our neighborhoods are strategically gerrymandered so that each one of those elected officials can represent an artificially imposed demographic. Have you looked at a voting district map lately? Natural neighborhoods are carved up and pasted together in zigs and zags just to guarantee one party or another’s desired results.”
Combining multi-winner Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) with independent redistricting commissions would equitably and effectively eliminate the conditions that foster gerrymandering in our existing single-member, winner-take-all elections.
By ranking voter preferences, it would also eliminate the spoiler or wasted vote issue. Voters could support their favorite candidate without inadvertently helping their least favored candidate. And by ranking votes by one visit to the polls, RCV would eliminate unnecessary run-off elections. Currently, 14 U.S. cities — including Cambridge, MA; Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN; Santa Fe, NM; San Francisco, CA; and Portland, ME — already use RCV in either multi-winner or single-winner elections. Most recently, Maine has adopted RCV for state and federal elections. Florida’s Santa Fe College in Gainesville and New College of Florida both use RCV in their student elections. I
In 2016, Boynton Beach agreed to study using RCV. In 2007, 77% of Sarasota voters adopted RCV in a referendum. The city now awaits the Secretary of State establishing certification criteria for RCV tabulators.
“It’s time to end the failed zero-sum, winner-take-all, single-member electoral system, and institute ranked choice voting and proportional representation in Congressional elections,” said former GPFL Co-Chair Jennifer Sullivan. “In fact, RCV would be beneficial for all local, state, and federal elections across the country.”