Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-54jdg Total loading time: 0.256 Render date: 2022-08-17T02:32:17.928Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Alternative Voting Systems for Representative Democracy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2013

Joseph F. Zimmerman
Affiliation:
State University of New York at Albany

Extract

The ideal electoral system in a representative democracy is one allowing all eligible citizens to cast an equally weighted vote, and for united groups of voters, except very small ones, to elect one or more of their candidates to a governing body. Approximate proportional representation on governing bodies would be a happenstance and not deliberate. Majority/plurality electoral systems, however, favor the dominant group and often leave women and minority groups with no direct representation.

Designers of electoral systems historically have employed various devices to reduce the influence of opposition political parties or groups and to make it difficult for them to elect their candidates to a governing body. Growing concern that numerous black citizens were prevented from voting in southern states resulted in the U.S. Congress using the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution to enact the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (79 Stat. 437, 42 U.S.C. § 1973), a statute applying to a state or local government meeting two criteria. The Congress in 1975 employed the Fourteenth Amendment to extend the Act's (89 Stat. 438, 42 U.S.C. § 1973) protection to language minorities defined as “persons who are American Indian, Asian American, Alaskan Natives, or of Spanish heritage.”

The Act has eliminated invidious discrimination against protected groups, yet many law-making bodies are still unrepresentative of their respective constituencies.

Type
Features
Copyright
Copyright © The American Political Science Association 1994

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Banfield, Edward C., and Wilson, James Q. 1963. City Politics. Cambridge: Harvard University Press and the M.I.T. Press.Google Scholar
Blair, George S. 1960. Cumulative Voting: An Effective Electoral Device in Illinois Politics. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
Engstrom, Richard L., and McDonald, Michael D. 1993. “Enhancing Factors in At-Large Plurality and Majority Systems: A Reconsideration.” Electoral Studies 12 (December):385401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Featherman, Sandra A. 1992. “Barriers to Representing Women and Blacks in Pennsylvania.” In United States Electoral Systems: Their Impact on Women and Minorities, ed. Rule, Wilma and Zimmerman, Joseph F., Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
Hoecker, Beate. 1994. “The German Personalized Proportional Representation System: A Barrier to Women?” In Electoral Systems in Comparative Perspective: Their Impact on Women and Minorities, ed. Rule, Wilma and Zimmerman, Joseph F., Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
Lakeman, Enid. 1994. “Comparing Political Opportunities in Great Britain and Ireland.” In Electoral Systems in Comparative Perspective: Their Impact on Women and Minorities, ed. Rule, Wilma and Zimmerman, Joseph F., Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
Lijphart, Arend. 1991. “The Alternative Vote: A Realistic Alternative for South Africa?Politiken 18 (June):91101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rule, Wilma. 1987. “Electoral Systems, Contextual Factors, and Women's Opportunity for Election to Parliament in Twenty-Three Democracies.” Western Political Quarterly 40 (September):477–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rule, Wilma, and Zimmerman, Joseph F., eds., 1994. Electoral Systems in Comparative Perspective: Their Impact on Women and Minorities. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
Rydon, Joan. 1994. “Representation of Women and Ethic Minorities in the Parliaments of Australia and New Zealand,” In Electoral Systems in Comparative Perspective: Their Impact on Women and Minorities, ed. Rule, Wilma and Zimmerman, Joseph F., Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
Still, Edward. 1992. “Cumulative and Limited Voting in Alabama,” In United States Electoral Systems, ed. Rule, Wilma and Zimmerman, Joseph F..Google Scholar
Weaver, Leon, and Baum, Judith. 1992. “Proportional Representation in New York City Community School Boards.” In United States Electoral Systems: Their Impact on Women and Minorities, ed. Rule, Wilma and Zimmerman, Joseph F., Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
Zimmerman, Joseph F. 1992. “Fair Representation for Women and Minorities.” In United States Electoral Systems: Their Impact on Women and Minorities, ed. Rule, Wilma and Zimmerman, Joseph F., Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
Zimmerman, Joseph F. 1978. “The Federal Voting Rights Act and Alternative Election Systems.” William and Mary Law Review 19 (Summer):621–60.Google Scholar
2
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Alternative Voting Systems for Representative Democracy
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Alternative Voting Systems for Representative Democracy
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Alternative Voting Systems for Representative Democracy
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *