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Statesman-Journal (OR)

Legislature lacks fair representation
July 30, 2001

Much ado 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.

óBlair Bobier


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