FairVote's Programs
FairVote acts to change elections to guarantee universal access to participation, meaningful ballot choices and governments grounded in majority rule and fair representation. As an innovative idea factory and reform catalyst that sparks and supports change, we build understanding of and support for more democratic voting rules.

In times demanding a vibrant, responsive democracy, American elections fall short of their promise, too often mired in antiquated practices that continue due to institutional inertia. But our strategic advocacy promises to lead to major changes by 2012: a national popular vote for president, instant runoff voting and universal voter registration in many states and a widely-discussed roadmap for replacing winner-take-all elections with proportional voting. Among FairVote’s specific reform proposals:
  • Presidential elections reform: We are key players in the campaign for the National Popular Vote plan to transform general elections so that every vote counts equally and popular vote losers cannot win. We support more democratic and inclusive nomination procedures through our FixThePrimaries.com project.
  • Instant runoff voting: When more than two candidates run., the candidate with the most votes can win despite being opposed by most voters. This discourages candidacies, suppresses new ideas and establishes a zero-sum politics that encourages negative attacks. We are the nation’s leading advocate of instant runoff voting, a win-win solution that elects candidates with majority support and encourages candidates to reach out to more people – all in one trip to the polls. We’ve helped lead IRV to victory in 13 of its last 14 ballot measures.
  • Proportional voting for legislative elections: Winner-take-all elections divide rather than unite and award 100% of power to slim majorities elected by barely 20% of eligible voters. As used in a growing number of our cities and the world’s democracies, proportional voting allows more voters to win fair representation and gain the power to change government’s direction. FairVote engages in innovative research, legal strategies, high-profile writing and grassroots organizing in promoting proportional voting in the United States and analyzing other nation’s elections.
  • Universal voter registration: Barely seven in ten eligible voters in the United States are registered to vote, with the lowest rates of registration in young people who generally leave school without being registered or introduced to voting mechanics. We support policies that anticipate participation and provide secure voting rolls through universal voter registration.
  • A constitutional right to vote: We support establishing an affirmative right to vote in our Constitution that ensures it joins our First Amendment freedoms in grounding our democracy. We promote this goal and statutory changes in its spirit, from municipal elections to federal elections.
  • Transparent election administration: We believe that elections must be run with full transparency and clear accountability. The public should be able to comment on draft plans and ballot designs, and election officials should encourage public involvement in running elections. Our ground-breaking Democracy SoS project focuses on transparency for actions of Secretaries of State.