New Hampshire demonstrates a key problem with our winner-take-all elections: a slight lead in both its congressional districts can allow half the state to determine its representatives and leave the other half voiceless.
With proportional representation, every voter would have their voice heard in the halls of power.
WASHINGTON, DC – Fix Our House released the following statement in response to last night’s primary elections in Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island:
Around 90% of general elections for Congress will likely be uncompetitive this fall, and last night’s Democratic primaries in Delaware and Rhode Island’s 1st District probably determined those districts’ representatives. In contrast, Rhode Island’s 2nd District and both of New Hampshire’s districts are competitive, allowing general election voters there to have a real say in determining their representative.
But even competitive seats present problems. New Hampshire is a purple state, with similar numbers of Republicans and Democrats. Should either party win both seats – as Democrats have for the last few elections – the entirety of New Hampshire will be represented in Congress by one party. One party representing 100% of the 50/50 state dramatically misrepresents the true diversity of New Hampshire voters.
“New Hampshire demonstrates a fundamental problem with our winner-take-all system of electing Congress,” said Fix Our House spokesperson Dustin Wahl. “The House is supposed to be the voice of the people, but single-member districts with winner-take-all election rules allow a state’s representatives to be chosen by little more than half the voters, leaving the other half completely voiceless. Instead of this outdated and broken system, voters deserve multi-member districts, where they can have representation in proportion to their party’s amount of support.”
New Hampshire shows another key electoral problem that we’ve seen repeatedly for the past few years. Donald Bolduc, a 2020 election denier, eked past his opponent in NH’s GOP senate primary. Republican voters who opposed Bolduc – a sizable chunk of the state – will now be forced to choose between Bolduc and a Democrat they disagree with on policy. This tension exists in many other House and Senate races throughout the country, putting a large portion of Republican voters who respect the outcome of elections in an uncomfortable position and worsening a perilous situation for democracy.
All voters – Republicans in Democratic areas, Democrats in Republican areas, and everyone in between – deserve an electoral system that represents them. More representatives, elected in multi-member districts with proportional representation, make that possible. With more than just one person representing each district, real differences among voters can be reflected in the halls of power. Congress has the ability to make this change and create a fairer, more functional, and more sensible election system in the United States.