Historical Quotes
"The principal difficulty lies, and the greatest care should be employed in constituting this representative assembly. It should be in miniature an exact portrait of the people at large. It should think, feel, reason and act like them. That it may be the interest of the assembly to do strict justice at all times, it should be an equal representation, or, in other words, equal interests among the people should have equal interests in it. Great care should be taken to effect this, and to prevent unfair, partial and corrupt elections."

-- John Adams,  Thoughts of Government, 1776      

"Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure. There are but two methods of providing against this evil: the one by creating a will in the community independent of the majority that is, of the society itself; the other, by comprehending in the society so many separate descriptions of citizens as will render an unjust combination of a majority of the whole very improbable, if not impracticable."

 -- The Federalist, No. 51

"If the power is not immediately derived from the people in proportion to their numbers, we may make a paper confederacy, but that will be all."

-- James Madison, Constitutional Convention Debates

"Each Elector should give two votes, one naming his first choice, the other naming his next choice. If there be a majority for the first, he to be elected; if not, and a majority for the next, he to be elected: If there be not a majority for either, then the names having the two highest number of votes on the two lists taken together, to be referred to a joint ballot of the Legislature."

-- James Madison, proposing a ranked ballot method for the Electoral College in 1824

"The present mode of choosing representatives ... is based on the just principle of the right of the majority to govern -- but in practical legislation it is connected with a very erroneous one, that the voice of the majority alone is to be regarded."

-- Thomas Gilpin, Philadelphia, 1844

"It is the right of every interest to be represented, as far as possible."

-- Thomas Gilpin, 1844

"What is the principle of democracy? Is it not that everybody should be represented, and that everybody should be represented equally? Am I represented by a member against whom I have voted, and am ready to vote again?"

-- John Stuart Mill, supporting his personal representation bill in House of Commons

"Against ... class predominance, the personal representation of every voter, and therefore the full representation of every minority is the most valuable of all protections. Those who are anxious for safeguards against the evils they expect from democracy should not neglect the safeguard which is to be found in the principles of democracy itself. It is not only the best safeguard but the surest and most lasting, because it combats the evils and dangers of false democracy by means of the true."

-- John Stuart Mill, in the House of Commons  

"In a democratic government, the right of decision belongs to the majority, but the right of representation belongs to all."

-- Ernest Naville, 1865  

"Proportional Representation is the shield and the essence of the charter."

-- Murry Seasongood, Mayor of Cincinnati 1926-1930                                     

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.