As shown in our 50-state plan at FairVoting.us, the House would be the same size, but would be elected from a smaller number of multi-seat districts. Each voter would have one potent vote in elections for between three and five representatives, according to the district's population. Like-minded voters could elect one candidate with about a quarter of the vote in both the primary and general election.
Our plan for West Virginia's congressional elections creates a statewide district electing all three seats. Democrats would be projected to win one seat and Republicans would likely win the remaining two, preserving the current partisan split of the delegation. But voters would always have the chance to cast a meaningful vote for change, both within and outside of the major parties. Far more voters, including racial minorities and women, would be able to earn fair representation.
Most states have already used multi-seat districts to elect Members of Congress or state legislators, but in 1967 Congress mandated single-seat House districts. Before the next round of redistricting in 2021, Congress should pass a law requiring all states to use ranked choice voting in multi-seat districts drawn by independent commissions. West Virginia can adopt ranked choice voting for its legislative elections right now.
All voters should be in charge of their representation in every election -- not partisan mapmakers once a decade. With ranked choice voting, we can restore the Founders' vision of a truly representative and accountable People's House.
Richie is executive director and McCarthy is a policy analyst at FairVote, a nonpartisan organization based in Takoma Park, Md., fairvotingus.com.