Women Winning: Electoral Reform

Representation2020 advocates for the use of fair representation voting systems to elect more women

The type of electoral system used in counties, cities, and states has a clear impact on women's electoral success. Multi-winner districts (where more than one person represents a community) are more likely to elect women candidates. Ranked choice voting - a system that allows voters to rank candidates in order of choice - elects more women as well.

Fair representation votingcombines multi-winner districts with ranked choice voting to create openings for women, people of color, and all parties in areas that are now one-party strongholds. It is in use today across the country and can be used at the local, state, and federal level without amending the U.S. Constitution.

Women are more likely to win in these fair representation voting systems because political parties are more likely to recruit women to run, voters are more likely to vote for women candidates when electing multiple representatives, fewer incumbents win re-election, campaigns are more civil, and candidates spend less money to get elected - focusing instead on grassroots outreach.

The ten states that use multi-winner districts for their state legislative elections rank among the highest in the country for women’s representation.

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When combined with intentional actions that increase the recruitment of female candidates, fair representation voting systems will increase the representation of women in elected office.

 

Representation2020’s research shows that among the largest 100 cities in the United States the average percentage of women on city councils with only at-large seats is 41% while the average percentage of women on city councils with only single member district seats is 28%.

 

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