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League of Women Voters Positions
in Support of
Proportional Representation

January 2003

The League of Women Voters has a long tradition of careful study and consensus building prior to taking positions. An early step in this study by the Washington State League for example was an objective study of voting systems, cataloging of the variety of methods by which municipal governments can conduct elections, including choice voting, etc.

Carrie Chapman Catt, the founding chair of the National League of Women Voters, was also an advocate of proportional representation. Many local Leagues supported proportional representation in local reform efforts in the first half of the 20th century. The Cincinnati League of Women Voters supported cumulative voting (a semi-proportional representation system) ballot measure in Cincinnati in 1993.

The League of Women Voters of the United States adopted a study of electoral systems at its convention in June 2000 and has been seeking funding to conduct it among its many hundreds of state and local branches.

Here are the positions adopted by Washington State, New York City (NY), Oxford (OH) and Santa Monica (CA):

Washington State League (May 2002)

�Supports adoption of election methods that produce proportional representation when electing representative government bodies such as councils, legislatures and Congress.�

New York City, NY League of Women Voters

�supports proportional representation in community school board elections.�

Oxford, OH League of Women Voters (Spring 1997)

�Supports the use of preference voting for Oxford City Council and Talawanda City School District elections.�

Santa Monica, CA League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters of Santa Monica supports consideration of alternative voting systems in Santa Monica elections with a special emphasis on the single transferable vote or choice system.

Any system adopted should produce fair and accurate community representation reflecting the diversity (racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, gender, etc.) of the community; increase voter participation and maximize effective votes and raise the level of political campaigns and increase the focus on issues, not personalities. The system should be easy for the voter to use and understand, both in terms of understanding how to vote and how their vote would be counted.

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