My colleague Ben Fogarty recently highlighted analysis from the Associated Press that showed nation-wide underrepresentation of racial minorities in state legislatures. I wanted to take a moment and highlight statistics from the AP's analysis of the Illinois state legislature in particular:
- Latinos make up nearly 17 percent of the state’s population, but make up just over 7 percent of the Legislature.
- Asians make up 5 percent of Illinois’ population, but do not hold a single seat in the Legislature.
- Overall, whites make up 62 percent of Illinois population, but hold nearly 75 percent of the seats in the House and Senate combined.
From a voting method perspective, Illinois is particularly interesting, as the state used to elect its legislature using a form of fair representation voting called "cumulative voting" for over 100 years. Given the Illinois state legislature's gridlock and the underrepresentation of racial minority groups in the state, a return to fair representation voting is greatly needed. Watch the video below to hear former elected officials talk about how fair representation voting improved representation of all voting groups and made for a more collaborative environment in the state legislature.