Virginia Democrat introduces revolutionary change to House election format

Frustrated with factionalism and gerrymandering, Virginia Democrat Don Beyer has introduced a bill in the U.S. House to drastically change a two-century-old election routine which he says will increase the power of voters and guarantee fairer representation of congressional districts often under the complete domination of one party.

Mr. Beyer introduced the Fair Representation Act on June 26.  The measure is co-sponsored by Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Pa.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.).

“The Fair Representation Act is designed to restore the faith which so many Americans have lost in our political system.  This bill would ensure that every voter has their voice represented in Congress, and make real progress towards bipartisan focus on getting results for the American people,” Beyer said in a statement.

Under Beyer’s proposal, independent commissions, not politicians, would draw district lines.

In a second feature of Beyer’s motion, the current election scheme would be replaced with a ranking system within new districts in which primary voters select candidates in order of preference instead of simply choosing one individual contender for office.

Beyer argues this system would eliminate gerrymandering and produce several representatives in a “ranked-choice voting” for each new district drawn by commissions.  Six states currently use a version of the ranked-choice voting format.

The bill also proposes “multi-member districts” with at least three, but no more than five candidates from each legislative district.

Beyer contends this system, if adopted, will create more centrist officeholders — known as “bridge builders” — who are likely to sidestep partisanship in favor of better working relationships in Congress, as members of the opposite party would have the same constituents in multi-representative districts.


[The Intercept] [Washington Post] [Photo courtesy Friends of Don Beyer via]