A Dramatic Idea for Election Reform

By Richard Fassett
Published December 11th 2005 in New York Times

To the Editor:

Re "The Number One Reform" (editorial, Dec. 4):

Why even keep districts around? It's time to swallow the pill we've been holding under our tongue for 200 years: we live in a party system. Why not just vote for the party? Each party can have a number of seats in the Assembly proportional to the percentage of the vote it wins.

Maybe other voices could even get heard. New York is unique among states in that it has influential third parties. They rarely get elected to office, however. If the Independence, Conservative and Working Family Parties get a little say in the Legislature, it potentially can bring new ideas to the table. The end consequence might be that new, workable ideas spill into nearby states, and ultimately into national discourse.

As long as there are districts, somebody will try to gerrymander them. For those who are concerned that localities will no longer be represented when districts are gone, there will still be the Senate.

Richard Fassett
Financial District