Baltimore City Council Advances Bill to Adopt Multi-Member Districts

Posted by Michelle C. Whittaker on April 08, 2016

The Baltimore City Council gave initial approval to a charter amendment to change the council from 14 single-winner districts to 7 two winner districts by 2024. Councilwoman Rochelle Spector sponsored the bill to change the City Council to multi-winner districts. Combined with a fair representation voting system, multi-member districts have been shown to foster greater diversity and collaboration in legislative bodies. Women, people of color, and political minorities are more likely to run and win.

We hope the council will include fair voting methods, like ranked choice voting, when they transition to multi-winner districts, and to consider districts with three or more representatives as recently used in Baltimore and still used in state legislative elections. Fair representation has been proven to work. Since 1941, the City Council and School Committee in Cambridge, Massachusetts has used ranked choice voting to elect its members. Cambridge does not have wards or districts, so all members are elected at-large. The city’s use of ranked choice voting to elect members has created more diversity for historically underrepresented communities.

If ultimately sent to the ballot, Baltimore voters will have the final say in November.

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