Johnston County
Johnston County as a whole has a relatively small African American population, only 14.5% of the county. Their County Board of Commissioners consists of seven members who are elected at large in staggered elections. They are all currently white. In order to be representative of the African American Population there should be at least one African American county commissioner. The County School Board is a seven-member board, which has one African American member and is therefore representative of the population.

The largest city and Johnson County seat, Smithfield, has seven city council members who are elected at large in staggered elections. Currently two out of the seven members are African American, which is sufficiently representative of the 30.1% of the city population that is African American. Smithfield elects its council members in staggered at large elections.

All other towns within Johnston County have populations of less than 6,000. Some do, however, present points of interest. The town of Benson has already moved to a one-vote form of limited voting to solve problems of minority disenfranchisement. As a local example of extant functioning full representation, it could prove useful. Voting system reform has also arisen as an issue in the town of Clayton. Currently, Clayton has a five-member board of Aldermen elected at large in staggered elections. At present, all five are white while African Americans make up 18.5% of the cityís total population. In May 2004, a citizen came before the board with a petition calling for town residents to vote on a move to chance the voting system to one of single member districts. The petition did not have the necessary signatures to put the issue on the ballot, but Council member Boykin became interested in the issue and has asked the council to work on it, with the likelihood of an eventual public vote. The black population of Clayton is geographically concentrated, and drawing a compact minority-majority district would present few problems. In this context, a move to full representation might be seen as an unnecessary complication. However, ethe town council might still benefit from more information on full representation voting systems.

Recent Articles
October 19th 2009
A better election system
Lowell Sun

Election expert Doug Amy explains how choice voting can "inject new blood" into the elections of Lowell (MA), and give voters a greater incentive to participate.

October 16th 2009
Haven't Detroit voters spoken enough?
Livingston Daily

In Detroit, there have been three mayors in the past two years and the current one has come under scrutiny. Perhaps a system like instant runoff voting will help bring political stability to motor city.

August 21st 2009
Black candidate for Euclid school board to test new voting system
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Limited voting, a form of proportional voting, will be used in Euclid (OH), in the hopes of allowing better representation of minorities.

July 2nd 2009
Reforming Albany
New York Times

FairVote's Rob Richie responds in a letter to the editor making the case for proportional voting systems to bring substantive reform to New York's legislature.