Cambridge, MA Choice Voting Elections Once Again Provide Fair Racial Representation and Voter Choice
voting has been in use for City Council and School Committee elections
in Cambridge, Massachusetts since 1941. The city's proportional voting
system has consistently provided the city's African American population
with fair representation on the council, while encouraging a diversity
of political perspectives. This November, the Cambridge Election
Commission conducted yet another successful election using this fair
and effective electoral system, and both African American councilors
were re-elected in a city where that population makes up only 12% of
population. Notably, the ranked ballot feature of choice voting allowed
the two African American candidates to win on the 11th and final round
of counting with the crossover support of other defeated candidates.
Additionally, the electoral system made many of the races competitive,
insofar as one of the incumbents was defeated and after nine rounds of
elimination, only four of the nine candidates were elected. The
remaining five seats were filled with the support of the defeated
candidates' voters in the last two rounds of counting. Nevertheless,
the council is still a stable body, with eight of its nine members
returning in the next session. Similar results occurred for the School
Committee, where the African American incumbent was re-elected in the
fifth round, and two of six incumbents were defeated.
November's elections nationwide also
witnessed the sputtering of the independent redistricting reform
in states where it was on the ballot, voters and reformers alike are
still interested in achieving better elections. As a result, the time
has come to entertain the use of
proportional voting systems like choice voting throughout the nation.
Cambridge's history with the system demonstrates that fair
representation, competition, voter choice, and cooperative politics do
not have to be mutually exclusive.[ FairVote's Cambridge 2005 - Choice Voting Page ] NEW!