Illinois' Drive to Revive Cumulative Voting

Illinois Report Highlights Benefit of Proportional Representation -- July 2001

In 1999 the Institute for Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) at the University of Illinois received a major grant to conduct a study of the impact of the state's conversion from cumulative voting to single-member districts in 1980. The IGPA formed a task force to analyze different electoral systems and make recommendations. Co-chaired by former Republican governor Jim Edgar and former Democratic Congressman and federal judge Abner Mikva, the task force members included leading state legislators and civic leaders.

The task force has called for reviving cumulative voting, and the Institute for Government and Public Affairs has issued an excellent report about their deliberations and the history of cumulative voting in the state. The Illinois story is a testimony to the impact of even very modest proportional representation plans. In this case, it still required close to 25% of the vote to win a seat in a in three-seat district, but this change was significant for a broader range of political forces to participate in elections, win representation and contribute to good policy-making.

  • Read the executive summary of the report released July 9 by the Illinois Task Force on Political Representation and Alternative Electoral Systems entitled "Illinois should return to cumulative voting" [.pdf 1 MB]
  • Read the full findings of the Illinois Task Force [.pdf 1.6 MB]
  • Visit the Midwest Democracy Center's website. They are an Illinois-based group advocating for the return of cumulative voting. [Here]
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