On June 15th, 2010 the city of Port Chester, New York will become the first community in the state to elect its representative body through a semi-proportional system of elections known as “cumulative voting”. The village’s six seat Board of Trustees, as in the past, will be elected through an at-large election. Through cumulative voting, voters continue to have the same number of votes as seats, but will now have the freedom to distribute their votes as they please, including casting more than one vote for a favorite candidate.
This new system of elections will be further augmented by an ambitious bi-lingual voter education campaign and "early voting", a process that will allow voters to cast their ballots up to a week prior to Election Day. This historic change in Port Chester’s election system comes as a result of a court ruling declaring the village to be in violation of Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act. Previously, Port Chester voters could vote for two Board of Trustees candidates at yearly intervals in at-large “winner take all” elections. This system, it was argued, marginalized the village’s large Hispanic community by limiting their collective ability to elect a candidate of choice. Other bodies currently elected through cumulative voting include the Amarillo, TX School Board and College Board of Regents, the Chilton County, AL County Council and School Board, and half of the City Council in Peoria, IL.
Port Chester Launches Education Effort on Cumulative Voting - FairVote’s Amy Ngai discusses some of the changes to Port Chester’s election
Port Chester's Election Website
New election system takes place in Port Chester
How Latinos can Build Political Power in Port Chester, NY
Voting Rights Act Information