"The crudity and unfairness of the present method of election. . . still goes on sending men to Parliament for whom only a minority of their constituents have voted, leaving the majority quite unrepresented. As a representative system, it is a sham, a delusion and a snare to the unthinking."
• Kate Sheppard, who led women's suffrage movement
in New Zealand (the first nation to give women the
vote), Natl. Council of Women Address, 1902

        "The loss of Lani Guinier as Assistant Attorney General for civil rights is a grave one, both for President Clinton and the country. The President's yanking of the nomination, caving in to shrill, unsubstantiated attacks, was not only unfair, but some would say political cowardice. . . .
        "Although Ms. Guinier does not advocate forcing cumulative voting plans upon local jurisdictions, she suggests that some localities may prefer a race-neutral plan to a race-conscious plan. This idea is hardly radical. During the Bush Administration, the Justice Department approved alternative voting systems in at least 35 different jurisdictions."
William T. Coleman Jr. (Secretary of Transportation
under President Ford), June 4, 1993
NY Times
column supporting Lani Guinier's nomination

        "Let there be no mistake: the current at-large system is no longer acceptable. In Dallas County, 37% of the people, but less than 14% of the judges, are African-American or Hispanic. . . The federal courts may ultimately hold that the evidence presented in pending litigation is insufficient to demonstrate that the system is illegal, but they cannot make it fair or right. . . .
"Some scholars believe that a better method of electing trial judges, particularly in metropolitan areas, would be limited or cumulative at-large elections. . . While little used in judicial elections, such procedures have long been used in both public and private elections around the world."
Chief Justice Thomas Phillips, Supreme Court of
Texas; "State of the Judiciary" address
to Texas legislature, February 23, 1993

        "I can think of no other way [than cumulative voting] to create a reasonable opportunity for the Latino and Asian-American communities to organize effectively to elect School Committee members from their midst."
Former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn, in May 1993 letter
to mayoral candidates shortly before resigning to
become U.S. ambassador to the Vatican

        "The second track [in Angola policy] is to recognize that winner-take-all elections seldom bring peace to conflict-torn societies. Political talks must be organized with the goal of achieving effective, multi-party power sharing to broaden the regime's base and decentralize power during a transitional period of several years (as in South Africa)."
Chester Crocker, Assist. Sec. of State for African
Affairs, 1981-89; Oct. 10 column,
Washington Post

        "For us, the significant thing about the victory was the fact that the voters were not fooled by the anti-MMP propaganda which saturated television, radio and newspaper advertising in the last few weeks; the anti-MMP group spent at least $1 million in the last week alone. The use of fear-raising images, distortions and half-truths about MMP certainly led to a narrowing of the margin, but it bodes well for the future of democracy that our voters had the maturity of judgment to see through those tactics."
Colin Clark, National Chair of New Zealand
Electoral Reform Coalition, 12/93 letter to CV&D

        "Comparative electoral systems is an unusually well-researched part of politics, with quite clearcut results, but the U.S. press tends to operate on knowledge that is outdated by 40 years, or rather on myths. Electoral systems have an appreciate impact on politics; yet the U.S. public is woefully uninformed, and, indeed, misinformed about them. City fathers regularly attempt to reinvent the wheel, unaware of most of the options that might fit their stated goals."
Rein Taagepara (Professor at U. of Calif.-Irvine;
1992 presidential candidate in Estonia), in
unpublished letter to
New York Times, April 1993

Table of Contents