Posted on February 10, 2007
A U.S. District Court on February 9 ordered the city of Martin (SD) to implement cumulative voting for city council elections. The six-member, at-large council will be elected three at a time. Each voter will have three votes, which they can allocate any way they wish.
The order is to ensure the city's sizable Native American population, protected under the federal Voting Rights Act, has the opportunity to elect candidates of choice. Despite comprising over a third of Martin residents and a third of voters at the last election, geographically dispersed Native Americans have consistently failed to win representation in the city's district system.
Cumulative voting has been a successful remedy in similar cases from Amarillo (TX) to Peoria (IL). Illinois used cumulative voting to elect its House of Representatives from 1870 to 1980.