Thursday, February 19, 2015

Proportional Representation in the Media

The Atlantic has a thorough and interesting article on the advantages of changing Congressional elections to a proportional representation system (link below). The article talks about the problem of gerrymandering and the limited success of bipartisan redistricting commissions in the six states where those are used.

The article points out real problems with the current system, for example, that Democrats picked up more votes nationwide in 2012 House elections, yet the Republicans picked up 33 more seats!

While the author, Noah Gordon, does mention the wasted vote syndrome, he does not point out a consequence- that more people would vote if they did not feel their votes were going to be wasted.

Most countries that use Proportional Representation have much higher voter turnout because PR eliminates the wasted vote. In addition, more people feel they have a representative in the legislature because there are more representatives from minor parties.

Here in the US, fewer people are registering as members of the Dems or Reps than ever before. Polls show a majority of people want to see more parties emerge (58%, according to a recent Gallup poll). In 2014, nearly 3 million voters chose someone other than a major party nominee when they cast their ballots- that is a lot of 'wasted' votes.

If we want more voter participation and a government that more accurately reflects the will of the people, Proportional Representation is the solution.

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