Proportional Voting Around the World
Around the world, a variety of voting systems are used - from single member districts to choice voting to party list systems (and everything in between) - the nations within our global community display a staggering array of voting systems. In spite of this, one thing is clear -- the modern trend is toward using proportional voting systems, as most industrialized nations and all of the newly emerging democracies in the former Eastern Bloc have done, as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of the lingering winner-take-all, first-past-the-post systems exist in former British colonies, including in the United States. Ironically, even as we maintain our own unrepresentative electoral system in America, the United Kingdom is beginning vigorous discussions to move away from the very winner-take-all system it brought to our shores many years ago. In light of these global developments, FairVote monitors news coverage of international electoral systems changes.
  • For information on international electoral systems, please download IDEA's manual. [.pdf - 3.2 MB]
  • For examples of international ballot designs, please visit Andrew Reynold's site. [More]
  • For information on redistricting procedures around the world, please visit EPIC's site. [More]
  • Read our analysis of international elections using proportional voting in 2005. [More]


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.

June 29th 2009
The Case for a Diverse Bench -- and Congress
Roll Call

In the midst of the heated rhetoric surrounding Judge Sonia Sotomayor's potential ascension to the Supreme Court, it's time to ask how much we value fair representation, particularly of women.

June 28th 2009
Voting rights: Time for new thinking, not rehashed ideas
Sun Sentinel

Mr. Guy examines why new ideas and legislation are needed to ensure minority voting rights after the recent Supreme Court Ruling on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

May 21st 2009
Fixing City Hall
News Review

A Sacramento Charter Review Committee is looking at both instant runoff voting and proportional representation as possible changes to the city's charter.

April 26th 2009
AISD trustees earn new terms
www.amarillo.com

Cumulative Voting expected to return incumbents to the Amarillo Independent School District Board.

April 4th 2009
Cumulative vote - again
www.amarillo.com

Amarillo voters get ready for another election with cumulative voting.

February 4th 2009
Opinion: Now's the time to think of ideas for a new state government system
San Jose Mercury News

New America Foundation Fellow Micah Weinberg talks about ideas for a proposed California constitutional convention, including proportional voting, instant runoff voting, and decreasing the number of representatives per resident.

November 30th 2008
California fiscal crisis spurs push for reform
Sacramento Bee

California looks at proportional representation as part of a program of reform.

November 10th 2008
How D.C. votes
The Washington Times

FairVote Executive Director Rob Richie and former staff member Jack Santucci explain how winner take all rules promote one party rule on the Washington, DC City Council.

November 6th 2008
Choice Voting Is the Way to Go
Berkeley Daily Planet

A local resident makes the case for Choice Voting in Albany.

November 5th 2008
Every Vote Should Count, From Sea to Shining Sea
New York Times

Letter to the Editor from FairVote's Rob Richie calling for a National Popular Vote for President to make sure that everyone's vote is counted equally.

October 23rd 2008
Former Nirvana member speaks about political involvement
The Collegian

Former Nirvana Bassist and FairVote Chair Krist Novoselic speaks to Fresno State students about election reform.

October 21st 2008
Christopher Smitherman and Marian Spencer United on Yes on Issue 8
Cincinnati Herald

Commentary by former Cincinnati vice-mayor and FairVote board member Marian Spencer and Cincinnati NAACP president Christopher Smitherman on the case for adopting Issue 8 and proportional representation in Cincinnati this November

September 23rd 2008
Final arguments today on Port Chester voting-rights remedy
Lower Hudson Journal News

A federal judge in White Plains will hear final arguments today on how to remedy Port Chester's village board elections, which were found to put Latino voters at a disadvantage. FairVote has filed an amicus brief arguing for a PR solution.

September 20th 2008
Issue 8 deserves voters’ OK
Business Courier of Cincinnati

This newspaper editorial provides a strong endorsement for Cincinnati's campaign to reintroduce proportional voting.

August 18th 2008
A Free and Fair Vote Gives Power to the People
The Seattle Weekly

Blogpost from FairVote Chair Krist Novoselic advocates cumulative voting for Washington State.

July 16th 2008
How to make local races for Legislature meaningful
The Capital Times, Madison, WI

Editorial suggesting that PR and IRV might beneficially increase competition in Wisconsin elections.

July 3rd 2008
Cincinnati NAACP to kick off proportional representation drive
Business Courier of Cincinnati

The Cincinnati NAACP is beginning a petition drive to change Cincinnati City Council elections to a choice voting proportional representation system.

June 8th 2008
Would A Bigger Congress Be Better?
Media General News Service

News article on potential of increasing number of U.S. House members features quotes of FairVote's David Moon.

May 14th 2008
Is the House of Representatives Too Small?
Miller-McCune

The U.S. House of Representatives has been at 435 members since 1911, when the country was a third of its current population. Research suggests that districts may now be getting too big for adequate representation.

April 22nd 2008
Of Grunge and Voting
The Washington Post

Jeffrey Birnbaum of the Washington Post on Krist Novoselic's new role at FairVote.

March 3rd 2008
Rules About Delegates Can Sway an Election

The Washington Post's Shankar Vedantam poses a hypothetical switch of rules between the Democrat and Republican primaries in an effort to see the effect of a proportional system on our process.

January 22nd 2008
Making the House of Representatives More Representative
Blog Critics Magazine

Op. Ed. calling for proportional representation for the United States House of Representatives, in order to provide citizens with more input into party platforms and prevent political balkanization.

January 22nd 2008
Daniel Weintraub: Maybe it's time for a government overhaul

Opinion piece calls for a constitutional convention in California, to consider proportional representation for the state.

January 21st 2008
Lib Dems may be offered PR as part of power-sharing deal
The Independent

Article discussing proposal by the ruling Labour Party to replace winner-take-all elections for the U.K. parliament with a form of proportional voting.

January 18th 2008
No dangling chads, old-fashioned all-paper process picks Oscar nominees
Canadian Press

Explanation of the choice voting method used for the Academy Awards, and how the process utilizes paper ballots, while producing a fair nominations process.

January 14th 2008
Represent all in Fiji’s voting system
Radio Fiji

Fiji's Prime Minister calls for proportional representation elections.

January 9th 2008
The glories of the ‘single transferable vote’
The Providence Journal

FairVote RI Director Ari Savitzky and RI State Rep. David Segal co-author an op. ed. showing how the Iowa Democratic Party caucuses function much like the choice voting method of proportional representation.

January 9th 2008
Academy hopes Oscars' red carpet not shredded (Excerpt)
Hollywood Reporter

Article excerpt discussing the Oscar balloting process, using choice voting, and how the system allows Academy members to vote with their hearts.

January 8th 2008
Oscar accountants lift veil on voting
Variety Magazine

PriceWaterhouseCoopers accountants explain how they conduct the choice voting balloting for the Academy Awards Oscars' nominations.

January 8th 2008
Explaining Oscar’s enigmatic ballot
Variety Magazine

Quick facts on the Oscar balloting process, and an explanation of the tabulation under choice voting.

January 8th 2008
Mum, Can a Man be President?
Inter Press Service

Article discussing the state of women's representation around the the world, and noting that proportional representation systems have done better than winner-take-all systems on this issue.

January 5th 2008
Non-Republicans cheated out of fair representation
Salt Lake Tribune

Op. ed. discussing the benefits of proportional voting systems for Utah, given the state's inherent bias towards certain political parties under the single-member, winner-take-all system.

January 1st 2008
Pakistan and Feudalism
Asia Sentinel

Article discussing divisions and strife in Pakistan and noting that the winner-take-all elections should be replaced with proportional representation to ease tensions.

December 28th 2007
House amends interim constitution
NepalNews.com

Brief news article discussing Nepal's recent decision to switch to proportional representation for legislative elections.

December 28th 2007
Alternative Electoral Systems: The Possibilities and Implications for Nigeria
Nigeria Vanguard Online

Editorial describing methods of proportional representation and suggesting their use in Nigerian elections.

December 21st 2007
Electoral Lessons From Australia
The Washington Post

FairVote's Rob Richie extols the virtues of instant runoff voting in Australia's recent parliamentary elections.

December 17th 2007
Gold Derby
L.A. Times Blog

Article discussing the Oscar nomination process using choice voting, and how the system allows films with a core of passionate support to get nominated.

November 14th 2007
Mayor wants same size council with five at-large seats
Providence Journal

Article covering competing proposals to reform Providence, Rhode Island's city council elections. A proposal backed by FairVote RI for at-large seats using proportional representation is given serious consideration.

October 26th 2007
Fifteen and Six for Providence City Council
The Providence Journal

FairVote RI's Ari Savitzky writes that the current Providence (RI) municipal election system is outdated, and a form of proportional representation should be adopted.

October 19th 2007
City Council leans toward adding at-large seats

Article discussing FairVote RI-backed proposal to add at-large seats to the Providence, RI council - elected by choice voting.

October 9th 2007
Referendum? Lie back and think of Oscar
The National Post (Ontario)

FairVote's David Moon uses the Academy Awards and pizza toppings to help explain MMP.

August 21st 2007
Chilton integration system upheld
Birmingham News

Article discussing a federal appellate court's upholding of the legality of cumulative voting in Chilton County, Alabama. The groundbreaking decision affirms the value of proportional voting systems in Voting Rights Act settlements.

July 13th 2007
State Republican Committee dumps winner-take-all policy
Boston Globe

Massachusetts Republicans vote in favor of proportional representation for choosing their delegates to the national convention.

July 11th 2007
International Snapshot: Scotland 2007

A Dry Run for Proportional Voting

July 7th 2007
CVS Caremark election puts focus on broker voting rules
The Providence Journal

Proportional voting is cited as possible solution to broker voting rules in corporate elections.

July 5th 2007
Voter apathy to continue councilors
Botswana Press Agency (BOPA)

Councillors in Botswana recommend proportional representation as remedy for voter apathy.

July 3rd 2007
Fillon lays out his strategy for a 'modern France'
International Herald Tribune

French Prime Minister François Fillon plans to use proportional representation to permit smaller parties representation in Parliament.

July 3rd 2007
Brown to set out plans to cede powers to parliament
Guardian Unlimited

Gordon Brown urged to consider proportional representation in House of Lords for restoration of confidence in political process.

June 24th 2007
Ballot paper design at fault for record number of spoilt votes
The Scotsman

Researchers determine poor ballot design caused high rate of vote spoilage in the May 2007 Scottish Parliament elections under mixed member proportional voting.

June 13th 2007
Fresh-faced challenge
The Guardian

Young people have fairer representation in Scotland's local councils after using choice voting for the first time in May 2007.

May 31st 2007
Change is a-comin' to Ontario
Ottawa Citizen

Peter Robb argues in favor of a proposal to replace Ontario, Canada's current winner-take-all system, which "breeds cynicism and apathy," with a mixed member proportional system.

May 25th 2007
Dozen seats to be won and lost on transfers
Irish Examiner

Choice voting will decide the most competitive seats in Ireland's recent parliamentary election.

May 24th 2007
`Yes' side to battle for voting reform
Toronto Star

The Ontario, Canada campaign for proportional voting is off to a strong start. Earlier in 2007, a Citizens Assembly recommended mixed-member proportional voting replace winner-take-all for provincial elections.

May 11th 2007
Never mind the ballots, what's the verdict on STV?

Scotland's local council elections under choice voting saw low error rates, fair results and a focus on candidates, not parties.

May 10th 2007
Letter: A call for fair representation
The Guardian

Without proportional voting, Labor would have won a majority in the Scottish Parliament with not even a third of votes, notes FairVote board member and UK Electoral Reform Society director Ken Ritchie.

May 6th 2007
Election chaos unacceptable, say observers
The Scotsman

Sky-high error rates in Scotland's May 3 elections resulted from poor ballot design and inconsistent administration, according to FairVote director Rob Richie.

May 2nd 2007
Americans come for lesson in Scottish democracy
Hollyrood Today

FairVote leads a delegation of pro-democracy leaders, election administrators and public officials to observe Scottish elections under mixed-member proportional and choice voting.

April 18th 2007
PEORIA: Young politician wins seat
Peoria Journal-Star

A youthful, grassroots candidate made his political debut in Peoria's (IL) cumulative voting elections on April 17.

April 17th 2007
Port Chester board move to settle voting rights suit
The Journal News

FairVote's Jack Santucci is quoted on Port Chester's (NY) move toward cumulative voting rights in a Voting Rights Act lawsuit.

April 16th 2007
Ontario to vote on electoral system
The Globe & Mail

Ontario's Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform has sent mixed member proportional voting to referendum in a 94-8 vote.

April 2nd 2007
Panel picks radical voting changes for Ontario
Ottawa Citizen

A study group of Ontario Citizens Assembly members recommends that the province adopt a mixed-member proportional voting system.

March 8th 2007
Northern Ireland heads back towards power-sharing
Guardian Unlimited

Preliminary results from choice voting elections in Northern Ireland look to have Unionists and nationalists sharing power.

March 8th 2007
First results in Northern Ireland election
politics.co.uk

Choice voting elections in Northern Ireland show high voter turnout.

March 5th 2007
Council race looks like 1999 election
Peoria Journal Star

Peoria (IL) held local primaries under cumulative voting, which turns bullet voting into a way to win fair representation.

February 28th 2007
Sandberg top vote-getter in Peoria
Peoria Journal-Star

Primary elections under cumulative voting in Peoria (IL) saw a youthful door-knocker advance to the general round in April.

February 20th 2007
A new plan for politics
Daily Kent Stater

A Kent State (OH) political science major calls for proportional voting in order to open up our politics.

February 19th 2007
Court decides districting of South Dakota city
Indian Country Today

Martin (SD) will use cumulative voting in one at-large district to ensure Native American voters can elect candidates of choice.

February 19th 2007
Shifting the goalposts
The Pioneer

Twenty seats in Nepal's legislature will be elected using proportional voting.

February 17th 2007
Voting ends in Lesotho elections with high turnout
Africa News

Lesotho's elections under mixed member proportional voting saw high, peaceful turnout.

February 15th 2007
Real Democracy Or Dystopia
TomPaine.com

New America's Steven Hill highlights America's crossroads: a diminishing role for voters in dumbed down elections or real democracy characterized by diverse legislatures, fair media and a directly elected president.

February 5th 2007
Elk Grove weighs election overhaul
Sacramento Bee

Elk Grove (CA) may hold a referendum on whether City Council members should be elected under choice voting.

February 3rd 2007
We get letters...
Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia's Libertarian Party political director calls for ranked choice voting as an electoral reform 'with teeth.'

January 29th 2007
The Work Cut Out for Us
The Nation

Strong praise in a book review of Steven Hill's 10 Steps to Repair American Democracy

January 28th 2007
Redistricting reform draws a map of great disappointment
San Francisco Chronicle

According to political scientists, California's independent redistricting proposal alone can't make races more competitive. Also needed: larger legislature, public financing and proportional voting.

January 28th 2007
Let's give a swift kick to the rumpocracy
San Francisco Chronicle

New America Foundation's Steven Hill calls for redistricting reform with proportional and instant runoff voting to make California politics more inclusive.

January 24th 2007
Oscar noms: Wide open best picture race
The Hollywood Reporter

Good summary of the 2007 Academy Awards nominations, which have used choice voting since the 1930s.

January 8th 2007
Quest to make every vote count

The chair of Ontario’s Citizens Assembly is optimistic that the body will endorse a move to proportional voting.

January 5th 2007
Citizens' assembly probes changes to electoral system
Ancaster News

Ontario's Citizen's Assembly considers proportional representation system for future elections.

December 25th 2006
'Instant Runoff' Voting Touted
Los Angeles Times

Article citing FairVote's work and instant runoff voting wins covers the history of proportional voting in the United States and the growing interest after ballot victories in Davis (CA) and Minneapolis (MN).

December 13th 2006
Poll Shows Support for California "Citizens Assembly" to Recommend Changes
California Progress Report

New America Foundation poll shows support for California Citizen's Assembly.

December 11th 2006
Optimism over new voting system in PNG
ABC Asia Pacific

Papua New Guinea will begin using limited voting for seats in parliament.

December 7th 2006
New supervisor voice from right
San Francisco Chronicle

Ranked choice voting helped Ed Jew win a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, giving the right more representation in the city.

December 3rd 2006
District lines in Ohio foil Democrats
Columbus Dispatch

FairVote's Rob Richie and Jack Santucci quoted in this article on Ohio's 2006 wrong-winner congressional elections and other winner-take-all anomalies around the country.

November 30th 2006
Four in five peers would be elected in reform plan
The Independent

Discussion is heating up over reform in the House of Lords of the United Kingdom. Most observers believe that eventually 80 percent of the Lords will be elected.

November 25th 2006
Poor commitment snags resolution on women
ekantipur.com

Despite a Nepali House resolution that requires 33 percent women's participation, the law has not been enforced. The government is only slowly moving toward electoral reform.

November 21st 2006
Voting system also to blame
Toronto Star

Proportional representation and an increase of women in government are linked, comments June Macdonald.

November 21st 2006
KPFA Elects New Board
Berkeley Daily Planet

Pacifica Radio listeners successfully used choice voting to elect nine KPFA board members.

November 21st 2006
Want political competition?
Charlotte Observer

For North Carolina, independent redistricting is a step in the right direction, but to ensure competitiveness, the commission must be empowered to consider proportional voting.

November 21st 2006
EC consults with parties on CA polls
Nepal News

In an attempt to ensure that the upcoming Nepali elections will be free and fair, the Election Commission met with the major parties to set the election standards. Half of the CA will be elected by proportional representation.

November 20th 2006
Fresh ideas for politics of tomorrow
The Toronto Star

Ontario teenagers excitedly discuss ways to increase voter turnout, ensure better representation, and find the best electoral system for their area.

November 19th 2006
FACTBOX-Mauritania polls, a first step towards democracy
Reuters Alert Net

In Mauritania's first municipal elections after a bloodless military coup last year, parties will be elected by proportional representation.

November 18th 2006
Electoral college? Sign them up
Globe and Mail

As Ontario looks into its electoral system, different forms of proportional representation are considered as a correction to the current problems.

November 18th 2006
Combating Muslim exclusion
Frontline

A new study shows that political exlcusion is even worse for Indian Muslims than earlier believed. This problem comes from the first-past-the-post electoral system, which needs to be replaced with proportional representation, argues Praful Bidwai.

November 17th 2006
The French Connect to Women at Long Last
The Herald

There are definitely more women in politics all over the world, and proportional representation is one reason for that, comments Rebecca McQuillan of the Herald.

November 16th 2006
Free our MPs to represent us
Times Colonist

Supporters of single-transferable voting (STV) in British Columbia say that the electoral system would make MPs accountable to their constituents once again.

November 15th 2006
Cumulative voting protects minority voice
Vietnam Net Bridge

Shareholder elections in Vietnam now use cumulative voting as a way to protect minority shareholders.

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