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Illinois' Drive to Revive
Cumulative Voting

Illinois Report Highlights Benefit of Full 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 full 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.

Recent Developments in Illinois Reform:

News Coverage:

  • WMAQ-TV (Chicago) transcript in which Dick Kay, an NBC political commentator, called for a return to cumulative voting.  July 22, 2001
  • Chicago Sun-Times: "Let's bring back old way of voting." Editorial, July 16.
  • Northwest Leader:  "UIC poll explores voter participation, election standards."  By Dirk C. Archer, July 11.
  • Chicago Sun-Times: "A Commonsense Plan to Revive Legislature." By Steve Neal, July 11.
  • The Daily Herald: "Group wants return to 'cumulative voting'."  From the Associated Press, July 10.
  • Chicago Tribune : "New legislature reform push." By Christi Parsons, July 8.
  • Springfield Journal-Register: "A vote for cumulative voting: Task force backs system used to elect House members ended by 1980 Cutback Amendment."  By Bernard Schoenburg, July 8.
  • Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette: "State House change deserves a look." April 26, 2001

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