Illinois Drives to Revive Cumulative Voting

Illinois HouseFrom 1870 to 1980, Illinois elected its state House of Representatives using cumulative voting. House districts elected three members each. Rather than awarding all seats to the plurality winner, the majority party usually won two seats, and the minority party won one. Cumulative voting made for a diverse legislature, letting minority groups from African Americans to Chicago Republicans win some seats.

Now groups are collecting signatures to put cumulative voting on the ballot this November. The measure has a history of bipartisan appeal. Sen. Barack Obama supports cumulative voting, which again would make room in the legislature for conservative Democrats and urban Republicans.

[Midwest Democracy Center]
[FairVote on IL's Drive to Revive]
[Cumulative voting resources]
[FairVote Blog post on the issue]
[Executive summary of report by Illinois Assembly on Political Representation and Alternative Electoral Systems - PDF 1MB]
[Commentary in the Chicago Sun-Times]