Proportional representation and election reform in Ohio
The story of proportional representation in the United States is an important one for contemporary politics. The phrase proportional representation describes an electoral system that allows the majority to elect a majority of representatives while also enabling minority groups to win their fair share of seats on a city council or legislature. Although some think of proportional representation as an untried option, there were at one time twenty-two cities in the United States using proportional representation to elect their councils. Little is known about the experience of these cities, and this book seeks to fill that historical gap. Kathleen L. Barber locates the roots of proportional representation (PR) in the late eighteenth-century debate about how best to establish a modern democratic state. In the Progressive Era, proportional representation by single transferable vote (PR/STV) was promoted by American reformers as a tool for wresting power from corrupt party bosses and, at the same time, providing representation to partisan minorities and Independents. At the heart of this examination are case studies of five Ohio cities between 1915 and 1960 that elected their councils by PR/STV In Ashtabula, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Toledo, minorities were indeed successful in winning representation on city councils: Independents, African Americans, and ethnic minorities broke through their previous exclusion from seats at the council table. These results were not always welcome, however, and helped to make the electoral system controversial. But the increase in conflict and instability in governance predicted by opponents of PR did not appear. The book concludes with an analysis ofthe relevance of alternative electoral systems to Voting Rights Act cases and the contemporary "right to representation."
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
The Roots of Proportional Representation
Proportional Representation as a Progressive Cause
11 other sections not shown
adopted advocates African-American amendment American Ashtabula black candidates campaign candidacies charter commission Charter Committee choices Cincinnati citizens city council City Manager League city manager plan city's Cleveland coalition constitutional council elections council members count Court cumulative voting democracy Democratic elected at-large electoral system endorsed ethnic first-choice votes gerrymander groups Hallett Hamilton Hoag home rule incumbents independent issue labor leaders legislative losers major parties mayor minority representation minority vote multimember districts municipal elections nomination opponents P.R. League partisan percentage plurality voting plurality voting system plurality/at-large elections population post-PR period PR councils PR elections PR period PR-elected council PR's PR/PL PR/STV ballot PR/STV elections pre-PR period proportional representation proposed racial reelection reform repeal representative Republican organization seats significant single transferable vote single-member districts Socialist suffrage tion Toledo transfer winners turnout U.S. Supreme Court voters Voting Rights Act ward elections ward-based women