Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Contact: Elijah Manley, Communications Secretary,
(561) 672-4081, (954) 854-1555
Green Party of Florida endorses Fair Representation Act
The Fair Representation Act (HR 3057), introduced in the U.S. House in June 2017 by Rep. Donald S. Byer, Jr. (D-VA-8), would introduce three pro-democracy changes to our voting system: ranked choice voting; proportional representation; and fair redistricting. The bill proposes:
- “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.”
Combining multi-winner Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) with independent redistricting commissions would equitably and effectively resolve the conditions that foster gerrymandering in our existing single-member, winner-take-all elections.
RCV is a generic term for counting the ranked votes in successive rounds, or run-offs, until maximum voter support is achieved for the winner (single member districts) or winners (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.
“It’s time to end the failed zero-sum, winner-take-all and single-member electoral system, and to institute ranked choice voting and proportional representation in Congressional elections,” said Jennifer Sullivan, former co-chair of the Green Party of Florida and delegate from Hernando County. “RCV would also be beneficial for all local, state, and federal elections across the country.”
“Elections should ensure that the people are represented proportionally,” added Samson LeBeau Kpadenou, Green Party 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 imposing demographic. Have you looked at a voting district map lately? Natural neighborhoods can be carved up and rejoined in zigs and zags just to assemble the right number of voters to help guarantee one party or another’s desired results.”
RCV is an election method that allows voters to rank their preferences. It eliminates the spoiler or wasted vote issue, thus allowing voters to engage more fully in the democratic process. They could be confident that supporting their favorite candidate does not inadvertently help their least favored candidate. And by ranking votes by one visit to the polls, RCV would eliminate unnecessary run-off elections, and also save money. Currently, 12 U.S. cities — including Cambridge, MA; Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN; Santa Fe, NM; San Francisco, CA; and Portland, ME — use RCV in either multi-winner or single-winner elections. Most recently, RCV has been adopted for use in state and federal elections in Maine.
In Florida, the City of Sarasota adopted RCV in a 2007 referendum by 77% of the vote, but is awaiting the Secretary of State’s establishment of certification criteria for RCV tabulators to be fully implemented. Santa Fe College in Gainesville and New College of Florida both use RCV in their student elections. The City of Boynton Beach adopted a motion to study the use of RCV in 2016.
Under HR 3057, U.S. House members would be elected by RCV in multi-winner districts starting in 2022, both in primaries and general elections. FairVote, a nonpartisan national organization championing electoral reforms, has analyzed the effect of the Act within each state. Their analysis of the State 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 (https://fairvote.app.box.com/v/FairRepFlorida). FairVote projects that RCV would potentially yield 12 Democrats, 11 Republicans and 4 from other parties.
“This Act would give voters of all backgrounds and all political stripes the power to elect representatives to the U.S. House who actually reflect their views,” stated Kpadenou.
The state Coordinating Council of the Green Party of Florida has formally endorsed the Fair Representation Act and calls on Congress and the President to swiftly implement this key pro-democracy reform. “Let’s make the U.S. House actually representative,” said Steve Showen, a Green Party of Florida delegate and Secretary of the Miami-Dade Green Party.