“Imagine if Congress was elected by Proportional Representation”

Steven Hill:

A number of US cities and towns – from New York City, Cincinnati and Cleveland to Chilton County AL and a number of counties in Pennsylvania — have had a history of electing their city councils or county governments by one of several proportional representation electoral methods. But only one US state, as far as I know, has ever used a proportional method to elect its legislature. That’s the state of Illinois.

For 110 years until 1980, Illinois used a method called cumulative voting to elect its state House of Representatives. Instead of single-seat “winner take all” districts, in which legislators were elected one district at a time, cumulative voting in Illinois used three-seat districts, and a candidate needed only 25% of the popular vote to win one of the three seats. Cumulative voting, which is known as a “semi-proportional” voting method, is designed to foster broad representation, more voter choice and less bitter partisanship. Illinois’ experience with this method has a lot to teach us about how to address the severe crisis of American democracy….

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