8 Comments

While I have no quibble with the general thesis of this piece, other than that "super" districts with as little as 3 to 5 members will actually help minor parties, I am curious about one of the statistics mentioned:

"In the 2020 congressional elections not a single Republican voter in Massachusetts or a single Democratic voter in Oklahoma cast a vote for a winning candidate."

How can you know this? Unless an election is conducted in conjunction with a primary there is no way to know the voter registration of the person casting a vote. What about a Republican that decided to vote for the Democrat in the General election, or vise-versa, because they were unhappy with who won their party primary?

As an aside, one such election was conducted in Santa Clara County many years ago when a special election for state Senate was held in conjunction with the primaries. All voters, regardless of party, had all candidates on their ballot. Because their registration was part of the ballot image I obtained a copy of the ballot image tape (9-track back then) and and was able tocrosstabulate candidate votes by party. I was of course interested in whether the Libertarian candidate got more votes from Republicans than Democrats which is a common accusation that Republicans make against Libertarians. I may be getting this backwards after all these years but what I recall is that although the Libertarian got a higher percentage of Democratic votes he got more absolute votes from Republicans just because more Republican ballots were cast. As I said, I may be getting these results backwardsnow, but it clearly demonstrated that one party was more willing to vote for someone outside their party but if the other had more voters participating it was the deciding factor in the final vote total. Either way it showed what I had set out to demonstrate, namely that Libertarian votes do not just come from Republicans.

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founding

Does the issue raised here by June G hinge on the definition of "Republican voter?" Is a "Republican voter" a voter who voted for the Republican candidate? Or is a "Republican voter" a voter who is a registered Republican, or if not a registered Republican usually votes Republican? Do June G and Steven Hill mean the same thing by the term "Republican voter?"

I can't read minds about what folks really mean, so the above is just a thought.

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Apr 4Liked by Steven Hill

I meant it to mean a registered Republican. Sorry, I should have been clearer.

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author

I changed the wording slightly in the online version to make my meaning clearer. Thanks

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I have been writing about this for many years. Steven has done a really good job of explaining what is wrong with how Americans elect their representatives. If I were still teaching, I would make it compulsory reading in an American or comparative politics course.

What I have found extraordinary is that, from what I can tell, the standard political science prof in the US simply describes how the institutions work, leaving his/her students to assume that American electoral democracy is fine as it is. Of course there are exceptions, specialists in electoral systems and comparative political institutions.

I hope I am wrong, but it would seem that most American students finish college, despite having taken introductory level political science courses, effectively unaware of what you so well describe.

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author

Thanks Henry. As one of Canada's premiere political scientists on electoral systems and politics in general, I have learned from your wisdom and insights over the years. As have many DemocracySOS readers:

"Better democracy via different flavors of proportional representation"

https://democracysos.substack.com/p/better-democracy-via-different-flavors

"Political misinformation, voter turnout and electoral reform"

https://democracysos.substack.com/p/political-misinformation-voter-turnout

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DRA

1/2 OR LESS VOTES X 1/2 RIGGED GERRYMANDER AREAS = 1/4 OR LESS CONTROL

MUCH WORSE PRIMARY MATH - EST 5-12 PCT REAL CONTROL

SIMPLE PR-

TOTAL VOTES / TOTAL REPS = EQUAL VOTES TO ELECT EACH REP

SURPLUS VOTES DOWN

LOSER VOTES UP

ALL VOTES COUNT

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While I for a long while have agreed with pretty much everything written here, some questions still remain. The devil is in the details, as they say. In particular, multi-representative districts are still geographic, despite being larger than the current single-representative districts. How are they to be set up, their boundaries determined? Aren’t we still going to be bedeviled by the same gerrymandering issues we face now?

I assume that the Fair Representation Act addresses this. I have not read it yet, but that is my next stop.

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