The Fair Representation Act, a step forward for American democracy

By Anna Keilly on June 11, 2021

This week, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) introduced the Fair Representation Act, which along with addressing problems of partisan gerrymandering and encouraging politicians to represent everyone, not just their base, has the potential to radically improve the gender and racial diversity of Congress. 

infogram_0_ee9b154f-b4b9-4b7b-89b8-1a027d0b6616FRA Projections Map (side by side) [117th Congress]

The Fair Representation Act would implement ranked choice voting (RCV) to elect all U.S. House and Senate seats for both primary and general elections, establish multi-member districts for the U.S. House, and create an independent redistricting commission to redraw all U.S. House districts. Combined these reforms will transform our democracy for the better by:

  • Encouraging diverse candidate recruitment.
  • Eliminating the spoiler effect.
  • Leading to civil and issue-focused campaigns.
  • Lowering the cost of elections for both candidates and municipalities.
  • Improving the voting power for multiple communities of color. 

Despite the record number of  women in the 117th Congress, making up 27% (118 of 435) of the House of Representatives, up from 101 in the 116th Congress; but, Congress continues to fail at accurately reflecting the diversity of the American population. Projections from FairVote and RepresentWomen show women’s representation would go from 118 in the current  U.S. House to 141 with the Fair Representation Act. The power to elect for communities of color would also improve with the act. 

More than 200 years in, it is becoming increasingly clear that American democracy does not work fairly. Congress continues to be overwhelmingly white, male, and wealthy due in no small part to the structural barriers women and people of color face in our plurality, winner-take-all electoral system. The Fair Representation Act will help to level the political playing field and establish a democracy that works to represent everyone fairly. If you want to show your support for the Fair Representation Act contact your representative and visit our take action page to learn more.

Anna is a spring outreach and advocacy intern for RepresentWomen. She is a senior at American University pursuing a degree in the interdisciplinary study of Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics and Government (CLEG). To hear more from Anna, follow her on Twitter: @akeilly18.