Cumulative Voting in Peoria

Postcard saying \In 1991, the city of Peoria settled a Voting Rights Act suit filed in 1987 by adopting cumulative voting for the five at-large seats on its city council. That means Peoria voters may select up to five candidates when voting at-large and have their five votes distributed equally among those candidates. If a voter only selects one candidate, their other four votes are not wasted, because all five votes will count for that candidate. If a voter selects two candidates, both will receive 2.5 votes, and so on.

Peoria has regularly elected women, racial minorities, and political newcomers to its City Council under this system. The last at large election held in Peoria maintained the diversity of the Council, with two women and one African American man elected to office. In 2011 Peoria elected its youngest council member ever, Ryan Spain, using cumulative voting. Spain won re-election in 2015.

In 2011, the City Council rejected an attempt to replace Peoria's cumulative voting system with single-member districts, finding that cumulative voting provided the best opportunity for minority candidates. Cumulative voting has been and continues to be a success in Peoria, demonstrating the success and feasibility of proportional representation voting in the United States. 

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