The Proportional Voting Solution
Through proportional representation electoral systems, like-minded groupings of voters win legislative seats in better proportion to their share of the population. Whereas winner-take-all elections award 100% of power to a 50.1% majority, proportional representation allows voters in a minority to win a fair share of representation. Proportional representation describes a broad range of methods that require at least some legislators to be elected in districts with more than one seat.

Proportional representation voting systems used in the United States include choice voting (voters rank candidates, and seats are allocated by efficiently distributing voters preferences using a proportional formula), cumulative voting (voters cast as many votes as seats and can give multiple votes to one candidate), and limited voting (voters have fewer votes than seats). Internationally, some proportional representation systems are based on voting for political parties, others for candidates. Some allow very small groupings of voters to win seats; others require higher thresholds of support to win representation. The common thread that defines proportional representation is promoting more accurate, balanced representation of the spectrum of political opinion. More than 100 communities in the United States use proportional representation, the Democrats require states to nominate presidential convention delegates by proportional representation, and almost all emerging democracies have chosen proportional representation. This family of electoral systems is becoming the international norm, with Iraq, Afghanistan, and the entire Eastern Bloc being recent welcome additions to the global community of proportional representation nations.


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.

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.

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.

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