Cambridge Choice Voting 2005

Cambridge City CouncilNovember 2005: Cambridge, MA Choice Voting Elections Once Again Provide Fair Racial Representation and Voter Choice

Cambridge's choice voting system has consistently provided the city's African American population with fair representation on the council, while encouraging a diversity of political perspectives. In November 2005, the Cambridge Election Commission conducted yet another successful election using this fair and effective electoral system, and both African American councilors were re-elected in a city where that population makes up only 12% of the population. Notably, the ranked ballot feature of choice voting allowed the two African American candidates to win on the 11th and final round of counting with the crossover support of other defeated candidates. Additionally, the electoral system made many of the races competitive, insofar as one of the incumbents was defeated and after nine rounds of elimination, only four of the nine candidates were elected. The remaining five seats were filled with the support of the defeated candidates' voters in the last two rounds of counting. Nevertheless, the council is still a stable body, with eight of its nine members returning in the next session. Similar results occurred for the School Committee, where the African American incumbent was re-elected in the fifth round, and two of six incumbents were defeated.

While the 2005 November elections nationwide also witnessed the sputtering of the independent redistricting reform movement in states where it was on the ballot, voters and reformers alike are still interested in achieving better elections. As a result, the time has come to entertain the use of  proportional voting systems like choice voting throughout the nation. Cambridge's history with the system demonstrates that fair representation, competition, voter choice, and cooperative politics do not have to be mutually exclusive.

[2005 City Council Results - City of Cambridge]
[2005 School Committee Results - City of Cambridge]
[2005 Chart of Preliminary Results - Download .pdf from Cambridge Civic Journal @]
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.