Jul 13, 2022Liked by Steven Hill

I totally agree that "we must find another route to democratic equality," rather than rely on the Federal courts for proportional racial representation (as well as proportional political representation).

But you missed a key option when you wrote, "we no longer have a choice but to turn to the (state) legislatures...to modify our electoral rules."

Where they can, citizens likely will vote themselves more proportional representation sooner than incumbent legislators will vote to alter the system that made them winners. And if legislators have any say in the matter after such a change, they are much more likely to make tweeks in the direction of less proportional representation over time.

Ballot initiatives to amend state constitutions - independent of current legislators and out of reach of future politicians - should be the focus of the "renewed sense of mission" you rightly suggest in the 18 states that permit them. Demonstrating proportional representation in the legislatures of those states will build pressure on legislators in the other states, and eventually on Congress to allow PR in US House elections.

Also, PR is not a silver bullet. There are several other electoral reforms that should accompany adoption of proportional representation in order to make state-level democracy more responsive to voters. A package should including expanding the size of the state's lower house, lowering ballot access barriers, allowing cross-party endorsements, a compensatory seat tier, and even unicamerialism. (Nebraska has had a unicameral legislature for the last 85 years.) Although gerrymandering is less impactful in a PR system, district lines probably still will need to be drawn, so an independent citizens redistricting commission is still needed in 15 or so of these states (all but CA, CO and MI - others should copy MI).


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