Today I would like to make an appeal to you, my readers. Several representatives have introduced a bill in the House of Representatives. H.R. 3057, known as the Fair Representation Act, is a tremendous step toward repairing our extremely damaged republic. I am going to ask you to contact your Representative and ask them to support this legislation.
Anyone paying attention to politics in America is aware that our election system is broken. And what is worse, those in power have convinced a large portion of the people that problem lies not with the broken system itself, but with the people the system is supposed to represent. For example, in the 2000 and 2016 Presidential elections, the winner of the popular vote did not win the electoral college. This is often blamed on third party voters, Nader in 2000 and Stein in 2016. The belief being that those votes took away votes from the candidate that should have won.
This premise ignores several important concepts. First, in a democracy, no candidate is entitled to your vote. They must earn it and if they fail to do so the onus is on them. Secondly, exit polls vastly indicate that third party voters simply would not have voted rather than vote for a candidate they didn’t believe in. Thirdly, it ignores the fact that the other party would receive votes as well, should every third party Green or Libertarian voter vote Democrat and Republican, respectively. But despite this glaring problem with the attack on people voting their beliefs, the attacks persist and are becoming vitriolic in nature.
There is also gerrymandering to contend with. In most states, district maps are drawn by partisan committees. They make a concerted effort to make sure that their party remains in power. Just look at the special election for Senate in Alabama. The state has become so gerrymandered, that despite the fact that Doug Jones won the race, Roy Moore, had they been competing for House races, would have one six out of the seven districts. In 2012, even though the majority of votes nationwide went to Democrat candidates, Republicans ended up winning the majority of the seats in the House. In case you were wondering, this is why it is so important to pay attention to local politics.
H.R. 3057 looks to change that. The bill looks to substantially curb or even end gerrymandering by requiring an independent commission set district lines. But it also looks to implement what is known as Ranked Choice Voting in all House elections.
For those of you who don’t know, Ranked Choice Voting is when a ballot consists of numerous candidates and, rather than picking your favorite, you rank all the candidates. The image at the top of the article is an example of what a ranked choice ballot would have looked like in the 2016Presidential election.
In the first round of voting, everyone’s 1st choice is their vote. Should one candidate not receive a majority of the votes (50% +1) then no one would win in the first round and we would move on to the second round. At that point, the candidate with the least number of votes would be removed from consideration. But, the people that selected him or her as their first choice would not be disenfranchised. Instead, their second choice is then applied. Each round would go like that until there is a winner.
Gerrymandering would cease to be a problem and the make up of Congress would more readily reflect the make up of our country. Since we are a Representative Democracy, that is a truly important necessity.
We could also put an end to blaming people for voting their beliefs. It truly crushes my spirit when I see someone voter shame. Just because a person didn’t vote the way you wanted them to does not make them a bad person. It does not make you superior to them. We as a people must feel free to express ourselves through our votes or else the foundational principles upon which our country rests will collapse.
A Call to Action
What can you do? Well, for starters, you can tell your friends, family, and anyone who will listen about H.R. 3057. The value of people aware and talking about this bill and its potential to right the wrongs of this country is incalculable.
Call up the media. Ask them to look into the details of the bill. Tell them that you, the viewer, are interested in it. Local and independent media will be especially receptive to hearing what you have to say. They want to produce stories that you care about and that is how you get their attention.
Next, you can contact your Representative in Congress. If you don’t know who your Representative is, you can visit this handy website. Just put in your zip code and it will let you know who your Rep. is and how to get in touch with them. Call them. E-Mail them. Write letters. Go to town halls. Interact with them in anyway you can so that they know how their constituents feel about this issue. Encourage them to support the bill and try to get them to consider co-sponsoring.
Right now, the bill is being prepared for committee. Specifically the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution and Civil Justice. Get in touch with the committee members and let them know just how important this bill is. Encourage them to have hearings, debate it, run town halls, and put it up for a vote. Don’t let them think they can just kill it in committee and ignore the needs of the country. The members are as follows:
- Rep. Steve King – Chairman – (R-IA-04)
- Rep. Ron DeSantis – Vice Chairman – (R-FL-06)
- Rep. Louie Gohmert – (R-TX-01)
- Rep. Karen Handel – (R-GA-06)
- Rep. Steve Cohen – Minority Ranking Member – (D-TN-09)
- Rep. Jamie Ruskin – (D-MD-08)
- Rep. Ted Deutch – (D-FL-22)
Finally, contact Representatives Beyer, Khanna, Raskin, Cooper, & McGovern to thank them for bringing this legislation up for consideration. It takes incredible courage to challenge the political machine like this when doing so may mean ending their careers. Let them know you appreciate stepping forward to try and help fix our country’s eroding democracy.