Robeson County
Robeson is the most ethnically diverse rural county in the United States. It is unusual within North Carolina in that in addition to a sizeable black population, it also has a sizeable Native American population. Indeed, with 36% of the population white, 36% of the population Native American and 23% of the population black, no group can be said to be in the majority. This racial makeup is reflected in the county commission ñ an eight-member body with two African American members, three Native American members and the white members. Commissioners represent districts, and elections take place every two years.

The Board of Education of the Public Schools of Robeson County is made up of eleven members with eight elected by district and three at-large. Elections are held during the spring primary of even numbered years on a non-partisan basis. The three at large seats are elected using the one-vote system of limited voting. The intention of these seats is to allow at least one African American, one Native American and one White representative to sit on the board. There is some evidence, however, that the voting system may be imperfectly understood by certain sections of the population. A local lawyer, Cynthia Hunt, wrote a letter to Carolina Indian Voice in 2000 to clear up misconceptions. She claimed that some Native American voters were being told they could vote more than once, while others were being encouraged to split their votes between two candidates.

The only town with a population of over 5000 is Lumberton. 53.7% of Lumbertonís voting age population is white, 31.51% is black and 12.1% is African American. The city council is made up of eight council members and the mayor, who can vote only when the council is split. The council is elected in single-member districts. Three council members are currently African American.

Robesonís dispersed population and disparate communities mean that there is no obvious location for workshops within the county. The main Native American group within the county, the Lumbee, are politically organized, and could be potential allies in any drive for voting systems reform.

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.