FairVote and Elderhostel

by Drew Spencer // Published April 30, 2014

This past Tuesday, I had the opportunity to present on FairVote’s key reforms to a group of Elderhostelers (now called “Road Scholars”). I started by mentioning the key reforms for fair elections: National Popular Vote, a constitutional right to vote, ranked choice voting, and fair representation voting. I made the last of these the focus of my presentation.

You can download the PowerPoint presentation here. Some of it might warrant a little explanation, though. In particular, you might notice this picture, which isn't explained in the presentation itself: 


Those were the 12 most moderate members of the House of Representatives (by modified DW-Nominate score) prior to the 2012 elections. The presentation goes on to show their parties and the partisanship of their districts, demonstrating that they overwhelmingly come from either competitive districts (less than 58% for either party) or crossover districts (greater than 50% for the opposite party). They are, in order from most liberal (left) to most conservative (right), Representatives…
Donnelly (Indiana district 2),
Kissell (North Carolina district 8),
McIntyre (North Carolina district 7),
Peterson (Minnesota district 7),
Ross (Arkansas district 4),
Matheson (Utah district 2),
Shuler (North Carolina district 11),
Boren (Oklahoma district 2),
Jones (North Carolina district 3),
LaTourette (Ohio district 19),
Latham (Iowa district 3), and
Diaz-Balart (Florida district 25)

As the presentation shows, times have not been good for the congressional moderate; only three of these Members are both still in the House of Representatives and seeking re-election in 2014.

My talk largely presented the work done by my colleagues Devin McCarthy and Andrew Douglas on Monopoly Politics 2014 and the Fair Voting Solution. The parts about polarization in particular came from Andrew’s pieces Moderates Nearly Extinct in the U.S. House and Disappearing “Crossover Legislators” Key to Resolving the Shutdown.