Legislature lacks fair
is being made about the supposed increase in Latino voting strength
as a result of the redistricting plan offered by Secretary of State
Bill Bradbury. Even if the newly drawn District 38 results in the
election of a Latino candidate, there will still only be one Latino
member of the Legislature. This means that Latinos, 8 percent of the
Oregon population, will have one legislative seat out of 90, or will
constitute 1.11 percent of the Legislature. Even with two seats,
Latinos still will be grossly under-represented.
No amount of redistricting will result in the fair or
equal representation of women, ethnic groups and independent voters
or of all the political parties in Oregon. Oregon, like much of the
United States, uses a winner-take-all election system, an ancient
form of voting that is inappropriate for the diverse and democratic
societies in which we now live.
A number of communities in Texas, for example, use a
system known as cumulative voting, which has resulted in increased
and more accurate Latino representation. Oregon should consider
alternatives to winner-take-all voting to provide fair
representation for all Oregonians and to increase citizen
participation in the democratic process.