Posted by Ben Fogarty on June 17, 2016
As a part of its ongoing Divided America series, the Associated Press released a story about how the demographics of America’s legislatures do not match the demographics of its people. In this piece, Alfonso Lopez - the only Latino state lawmaker in Virginia - discusses how having a state legislature that under-represents Virginia’s Latino community makes it more difficult for the state’s government to adequately address problems facing the Latino community. David A. Lieb, the piece’s author, makes it clear that Latinos are not the only racial minority affected by inadequate representation. He also points to Blacks, Asian-Americans, and Hispanics as being under-represented throughout America. Lieb offers a number of reasons for these disparities, including lower voter involvement among racial minorities.
All of these issues illustrate the need for a fair system of representation in America’s legislatures. By using a fair system to elect legislators at both the state and national level, representatives of minority groups would have a better chance of being elected, and the demographics of America’s legislatures would more closely resemble the demographics of its people. In addition to helping government better respond to the needs of minority communities, this would also encourage all candidates for office to seek support among diverse communities within their districts, leading to greater political engagement in all communities. Check out FairVote’s page about fair representation to learn more about how switching to a fair system can make American democracy more fully representative of its people.