Proportional Representation

in New
York City:
Looking Back, Looking Forward

CUNY Graduate Center’s Independent Politics Group and the Center for Voting and Democracy present:

Panels and Group Discussions on the Past, Present and Future of Proportional Representation in New York City

May 4, 2001
7-10 PM

CUNY Graduate Center:
Proshansky Auditorium

365 Fifth Avenue and 34th Street
(Concourse Level)

7-8 pm:  History of “PR” Elections for City Council
8–9:15: Current City Politics and Reform Prospects

9:15-10: Necessary Steps for a Successful Campaign


  • John Flateau (DuBois Bunche Ctr. for Public Policy, Medgar Evers College, CUNY)
  • Amy Goodman* (Pacifica Radio’s “Democracy Now”)
  • Charles Juntikka (Students for Reform)
  • Douglas Kellner (Board of Elections)
  • Guillermo Linares* (City Council)
  • Wilfredo Larancuent* (UNITE / Working Families Party)
  • Michael Long* (Conservative Party)
  • Rob Richie (Center for Voting and Democracy)
  • Darren Rosenblum, (Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP)
  • Neal Rosenstein (NYPIRG)
  • Craig Seeman (Green Party)
  • Esmeralda Simmons (Center for Law and Social Justice, Medgar Evers College)
  • Henry Stern (New York City Parks commissioner / Former city councilmember)

* invited

For more information, contact Andrew Lawrence ([email protected])

The Center for Voting and Democracy:, (301) 270-4616  

Proportional Representation: A principle of elections in which like-minded groupings of voters win representation in accordance to their share of the vote. Winning 20% of the vote wins one out of five seats in a legislature. Winning 51% of the vote earns three seats and the right to decide, but not all seats. Proportional representation contrasts with "winner-take-all" elections in which winning 49% of the vote is not enough to earn any representation.  

New York City and Proportional Representation: The New York City Council was elected by proportional representation for five elections during its "golden age" under Mayor Fiorello La Guardia in the 1930s and 1940s. Full representation of the city's political, racial and ethnic diversity flourished. But the old "Tammany Hall" machine used anti-minority sentiment in the Cold War atmosphere of 1947 to win a repeal over the opposition of the League of Women Voters, Citizens Union, NAACP and many others.  

New York Supporters of Proportional Representation: Among those who have supported proportional representation in New York City over the years are President Franklin Roosevelt, his son Frank Roosevelt, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Senator Jacob Javits, Adam Clayton Powell and Mayor La Guardia. A growing number of New Yorkers suggest that it may be time to bring it back. Learn why at our May 4th forum.