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Twelve Ways to Democratize the U.S. Political System: Fifth

by David Hanks for Global Exchange Wednesday, Sep. 06, 2000 at 10:54 PM
david@globalexchange.org 415-558-9486x237 2017 Mission Street, San Francisco CA 94110

Twelve Ways to Democratize the U.S. Political System: Fifth Institute proportional representation & instant runoff procedures.

Twelve Ways to Democ...
medeabeach.jpg, image/jpeg, 270x400

5. Institute proportional representation & instant runoff procedures.

Our legislative elections are based on winner-take-all districts, meaning that the one candidate who gets a plurality of votes becomes the sole representative of that district. Minority viewpoints aren't represented in Congress or in state legislatures because new parties and perspectives are effectively shut out. With proportional representation, parties would receive seats in proportion to the percentage of votes received. All voters are represented--not just those voting for the winner. It's easier for small parties to win seats, so political debate becomes broader, new issues can be introduced more easily, and more people come out to vote. This system is used by most of the world's democracies and should be instituted in the US. When voting for a single position, as in a presidential race, we should use the instant runoff system, in which voters rank candidates in order of preference. If your first choice does not receive a majority, your second choice is counted, and so on. This encourages people to vote for their preferred candidate without fear of "wasting" their vote.

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