[EM] Proportional Representation In The USA
electionmethods at votefair.org
Mon Apr 19 16:51:22 PDT 2021
Here's the link to an 8-page PDF (Acrobat) document I wrote recently.
It's titled "Proportional Representation In The USA."
This document answers the question "Which PR methods do you recommend?"
which came from an organization that is seeking to better understand
election-method reforms in the United States.
A shortened version, without formatting and without the three tables,
follows my signature.
Anyone is welcome to share this document with people who are interested
in how PR can be implemented in the United States.
As always, constructive feedback is welcome.
The VoteFair guy
Author of the book "Ending The Hidden Unfairness In U.S. Elections"
................. highlights ................
Title: "Proportional Representation In The USA"
The PR method recommended in this document, which does not have a name,
uses the best elements from the most popular PR methods already in use
by various nations. Yet the recommended combination differs from what
any nation currently uses. A later section ("Why Many Nations Still Use
Primitive PR Methods") explains why this gap occurs.
Step One: Ranked Ballots, And More Nominees
Three election-method changes are needed before the United States can
adopt a well-designed PR method.
* Ranked ballots. Voters and election officials need to gain experience
marking and counting ranked ballots in both primary elections and
general elections. On a ranked ballot the voter indicates their first
choice, second choice, third choice, and so on.
* Good vote-counting method. Ranked Choice Including Pairwise
Elimination (RCIPE) or some other good vote-counting method (possibly a
Condorcet method) needs to be used to count the ranked ballots.
Instant-runoff voting (IRV) does not qualify because it too often yields
unfair results. (STAR voting does not qualify because it uses rating
ballots, not ranked ballots.)
* Multiple nominees. The Republican and Democratic primary elections
must nominate two (or more) candidates per party to compete in the
general election. If the RCIPE vote-counting method is used, the
candidate who is eliminated last (just before identifying the single
remaining candidate) deserves to be the party’s second nominee.
Step Two: Two Representatives Per District Plus Statewide Representatives
After voters and election officials have gained experience using ranked
ballots in both primary elections and general elections, three more
changes are needed.
* Two representatives per district. Each district will elect two
representatives. Both winners will represent the citizens in their
district. Typically the two representatives will be from different
* Favorite party. Each voter will answer the question "Which political
party is your favorite?" This easy-to-answer ballot question is common
in many nations, but it will be a new concept for US voters.
* Statewide representatives. Some statewide representatives will be
elected to represent voters who, according to their favorite-party
ballot marks, are not well-represented by the district-specific
representatives. The choice of representatives to fill these
party-specific seats will be done using the available ballot
information, without any influence from political-party insiders.
After the PR changes, the legislature will have two kinds of legislative
* District-specific seats. Most representatives (about 80 to 85
percent) will get elected to this kind of seat.
* Statewide seats. These seats compensate for any political parties
that fail to win as many district-specific seats as would be expected
based on how many voters prefer each political party.
Second-Most Representative Versus Second-Most Popular
The most confusing part of understanding PR is that there are two
different kinds of "popularity."
* Runner-up candidate. A candidate who is second-most popular in a
primary election is the runner-up candidate who could replace the
winning candidate if the winner was disqualified or became unavailable.
* Second-most representative candidate. A candidate who is second-most
popular in a general election is the strongest opponent to the winning
candidate, and represents an entirely different group of voters compared
to the winner. This kind of popularity is named second-most
representative to distinguish it from the ambiguous term second-most
Filling The Legislative Seats
Within each district, the winner of the first district-specific seat
will be the candidate who is most popular in that district.
The winner of the second district-specific seat will be the second-most
representative candidate. This is the candidate who is most popular
among the voters who are not well-represented by the first-seat winner.
The statewide seats are awarded to candidates who were not popular
enough to win a district seat, yet are the most popular candidates
associated with the political parties that did not win enough
district-specific seats. (Specifically a statewide seat is awarded to
any qualifying candidate in any district who received the most
first-choice votes from voters who also marked the seat-winning party as
their favorite party.)
Both Kinds Of PR
* Party-based PR asks voters to indicate their favorite political party,
and then fills legislative seats in ways that improve the match between
party popularity and the number of elected representatives from each
party. The goal of party-based PR is to enable small ("third") parties
to more easily win elections, and to defeat the tactic of gerrymandering
* Candidate-specific PR elects multiple (two or more) candidates who, as
a group, best represent the voters. Specifically each winner represents
a different group of voters. For example, a two-seat version of
candidate-specific PR used in an "average" district in the United States
would elect one Republican and one Democrat. The goal of
candidate-specific PR is to give representation to the large number of
voters who are not represented when a district is represented by just
Widespread economic prosperity will increase for states that adopt these
recommended election-method reforms. Why will the state's prosperity
Currently the largest campaign contributions flow to politicians who
protect tax breaks, subsidies, and legal monopolies that financially
benefit the people who give these contributions. As a result, too many
businesses (especially out-of-state businesses) are squeezing too much
money from consumers, essential workers, employees, and (at least
through IRAs) investors. When too many businesses each take a too-big
slice of economic pie, not much pie remains for the employees and
customers of that state’s businesses.
In opposition, most voters want politicians to reduce such corruption,
which undermines the state's economy. When money-based tactics have
less influence on election results, politicians will dramatically shift
their allegiance from the biggest campaign contributors to us, the
voters. What most of us want is less corruption, wiser solutions to the
problems that governments are expected to solve, and full democracy.
Initially after a state adopts the PR method recommended here, the
number of elected representatives from third parties will increase.
This is the intended goal of PR.
Yet in response the state's Republican and Democratic parties can change
their actions and platforms to win back at least some of the third-party
voters. But if these reforms are not sufficient, it's likely that
either a third party will grow or either the Republican or Democratic
party will split.
The party that suffers the biggest decline will be whichever party fails
to offer candidates who voters like. This is the change that will take
us to higher levels of democracy, where voters will have more influence
and campaign contributors will have less influence.
The full document is at:
More information about the Election-Methods