League of Women Voters Chapters Supporting Proportional Representation

The League of Women Voters of Arizona

The League of Women Voters of Arizona (LWVAZ) believes in the election system principle of greatest voter representation.  The League further maintains the hope that election system reform that provides a stronger voice for the greatest number of voters would have a positive effect on voter participation.  Therefore, the LWVAZ:
1.  Supports changing the present election systems so that they more accurately represent the wishes of voters.
1.a.  Adopting the Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) system for single seat races.
1.b.  Adopting proportional representation for multi-seat races; specifically Ranked Choice Voting.
2.  Believes that education of the voting public is important to election systems.
3.    Supports giving Arizona voters the option of more choice among election systems.
Adopted 1/8/05
Amended 5/17/08

League of Women Voters of South Carolina

10. Adopting election systems that ensure better proportional representation of the varied segments of our voting population, within South Carolina, by city, county or statewide, as is appropriate. Our present “winner-take-all” system in many instances fails to achieve a goal of fair representation of minorities and women.  Most of the world’s major democracies use a form of proportional representation, and we endorse this opportunity for the following reasons:

a.   To achieve better election and/or influence for minorities and women in proportion to their numbers in the population.
b.   To lessen election costs, in part by eliminating costly runoff elections.
c.   To eliminate redistricting and its frequent abuse through gerrymandering.
d.   To lessen the advantages now in place for incumbent candidates over new officeseekers.
e.   To lessen polarization among segments of the population.
f.    To increase voter turnout and decrease voter cynicism.
g.   To encourage election campaigns based on issues rather than personal attacks.
h.   To promote a greater opportunity for the voices of third party candidates.

Continued support for the League’s one-person, one-vote position, with added emphasis on the right of each community to develop its own election system, after careful examination of the demography of its community.  Systems which may be considered include Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), Limited Voting, Cumulative Voting, and others.  Of these, IRV has been used in various states and localities, and is being introduced into various election districts.  It is likely to be the most effective and widely accepted new system.

The actions supported below speak to local elections only because it is unrealistic to consider them at a statewide level before actual local practice has taken hold so that the public may be aware of the advantages of a new system, as well as its simplicity in practice.

In order to seek the method most suitable for the local population, we recommend that the local League determine whether a form of proportional voting would benefit the community in so far as providing more equitable elected representation and if the result is affirmation, proceed as follows:
a.   Determine what alternative election system would be desirable to achieve the above goals.
b.   Engage in a concerted voter-education process within the community so as to gain community understanding and support.
c.   Work with the city or county council to change their respective election methods to incorporate at-large elections, as well as a selected alternative election system, either through Council vote or by voter referendum.  
d.   Work with legislators to change school board election methods. (Any agreement to change the voting method will require subsequent approval of the US Justice Department.)
e.    Provide continuing voter education to enhance public acceptance and ease of voting under a new election system and work with County Election officials to ensure successful execution at the first election under a new system.
Background/Action:  A study of alternative election systems was passed at the LWVSC convention in 2003. This number 11 support position was adopted by the state board at its March 2005 meeting based on consensus answers received from 10 local Leagues and MAL Unit.

League of Women Voters of Vermont

The emphasis on geographic representation in legislative bodies in the U.S. may be anachronistic. It is more important that voters be represented by elected officials who reflect their political views, than happen to
live nearby. Single-seat winner-take-all elections, regardless of method of redistricting, elevate the representation of geography above political philosophy, and other priority voter self-identities.

It is impossible to redistrict single-seat districts in such a way as to promote BOTH competitive elections AND a highly representative delegation (as these two priorities are in  inherent conflict in single-seat
districts). Therefore, The League of Women Voters of Vermont supports the principle of legislative districts using alternative voting methods, such as proportional representation in multi-seat districts, as a way of achieving both competitive elections and fair representation of both majorities and minorities within a district.

Position on Redistricting and Voting Methods of The League of Women Voters of Vermont (adopted May 3, 2008)

The League of Women Voters of Washington
  • Supports state election laws allowing for more options for alternative election systems in governmental jurisdictions at both the state and local levels.
  • Believes that consideration should be given, when evaluating election systems, to how well they promote "representative-ness," citizen participation and accountability.
Positions Adopted Resulting from the 2001 Election Methods Study

Recent Articles
October 19th 2009
A better election system
Lowell Sun

Election expert Doug Amy explains how choice voting can "inject new blood" into the elections of Lowell (MA), and give voters a greater incentive to participate.

October 16th 2009
Haven't Detroit voters spoken enough?
Livingston Daily

In Detroit, there have been three mayors in the past two years and the current one has come under scrutiny. Perhaps a system like instant runoff voting will help bring political stability to motor city.

August 21st 2009
Black candidate for Euclid school board to test new voting system
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Limited voting, a form of proportional voting, will be used in Euclid (OH), in the hopes of allowing better representation of minorities.

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.