The city of Cambridge, Massachusetts elects both its city council and school board by at-large ranked choice voting. Cambridge is one of the two-dozen cities that adopted ranked choice voting at-large for city government in the first half of the 20th century and one of two using ranked choice voting in multi-winner elections in 2015.
Use in the United States of the single vote method dates back to the nineteenth century. Single, or limited, voting ensures that each candidate will be elected by a distinct group of voters, meaning more voters overall achieve representation. Since 1871, all counties in Pennsylvania (except some with home rule powers) must use a form of limited voting in which voters have two votes for three seats. Philadelphia has used limited voting since 1951 for its at-large city council seats. Connecticut has required limited voting for all local school board elections since the 1950s; Hartford and other Connecticut cities use it as well. Limited voting is often paired with "limited nominations," meaning a political party can nominate fewer candidates than there are seats to be won. As of May 2015, 164 jurisdictions use limited or single vote methods of election.
Many cities, counties, school boards and other governing bodies have recently extended cumulative voting rights to their voters or limited the number of seats a single group can elect, as a way of resolving illegal vote dilution of their racial minority populations. Fifty-eight jurisdictions nationwide use cumulative voting in local elections. These changes generally happen following a lawsuit (or threat of a lawsuit) brought under the Voting Rights Act; those settlements are regularly upheld by the courts tasked with reviewing them.
Fair representation voting effectively remedies racial minority vote dilution by empowering all groups of voters to achieve actual representation. FairVote produces a booklet for practitioners to describe how fair representation voting can remedy vote dilution claims and under what circumstances they should be used.