Choice voting form of "PR" boosted in Cincinnati (OH) & Port Chester (NY)

by Rob Richie // Published July 4, 2008
Good news for advocates of fair elections from Cincinnati, Ohio and Port Chester, New York.

Cincinnati has a proud history with its choice voting form of proportional representation, which was used every two years to elect its city council for three decades, ending in a 1957 repeal driven by concerns about how the system provided fair representation to racial minorities. My early activism for proportional representation was highlighted by spending two months in Cincinnati in 1991 volunteering on a campaign to bring choice voting back -- it won 45% on a small budget. The issue has continued to simmer and nearly come to a boil, as Cincinnati has at-large, winner-take-all elections that provide uneven representation.

Now the Cincinnati NAACP is working with long-time advocates on a petition drive to put choice voting on the ballot. This time, it should have a real chance to succeed-- keep an eye on this effort.

Meanwhile, in New York State, we are thrilled to have the Brennan Center for Justice representing our amicus brief arguing for choice voting in a voting rights case in Port Chester, New York. The judge is weighing allowing the Brennan Center to represent our perspective in upcoming oral arguments. As background, Port Chester has lost the case on liability and has suggested cumulative voting as a remedy. We believe cumulative voting would be better than the current winner-take-all system, but argue that choice voting is a more reliable remedy and one with a history of being used successfully in New York State and upheld in state courts. Oral arguments on remedy will take place later this month.