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One person, one vote?





jmi256
This is just plain stupid, and I'm not sure how this can pass any type of constitutional test.


Quote:
Residents get 6 votes each in suburban NY election

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. – Arthur Furano voted early — five days before Election Day. And he voted often, flipping the lever six times for his favorite candidate. Furano cast multiple votes on the instructions of a federal judge and the U.S. Department of Justice as part of a new election system crafted to help boost Hispanic representation.

Voters in Port Chester, 25 miles northeast of New York City, are electing village trustees for the first time since the federal government alleged in 2006 that the existing election system was unfair. The election ends Tuesday and results are expected late Tuesday.

Although the village of about 30,000 residents is nearly half Hispanic, no Latino had ever been elected to any of the six trustee seats, which until now were chosen in a conventional at-large election. Most voters were white, and white candidates always won.

Federal Judge Stephen Robinson said that violated the Voting Rights Act, and he approved a remedy suggested by village officials: a system called cumulative voting, in which residents get six votes each to apportion as they wish among the candidates. He rejected a government proposal to break the village into six districts, including one that took in heavily Hispanic areas.

Furano and his wife, Gloria Furano, voted Thursday.

"That was very strange," Arthur Furano, 80, said after voting. "I'm not sure I liked it. All my life, I've heard, `one man, one vote.'"

It's the first time any municipality in New York has used cumulative voting, said Amy Ngai, a director at FairVote, a nonprofit election research and reform group that has been hired to consult. The system is used to elect the school board in Amarillo, Texas, the county commission in Chilton County, Ala., and the City Council in Peoria, Ill.

The judge also ordered Port Chester to implement in-person early voting, allowing residents to show up on any of five days to cast ballots. That, too, is a first in New York, Ngai said.

Village clerk Joan Mancuso said Monday that 604 residents voted early.

Gloria Furano gave one vote each to six candidates. Aaron Conetta gave two votes each to three candidates.

Frances Nurena talked to the inspectors about the new system, grabbed some educational material and went home to study. After all, it was only Thursday. She could vote on Friday, Saturday or Tuesday.

"I understand the voting," she said. "But since I have time, I'm going to learn more about the candidates."

On Tuesday, Candida Sandoval voted at the Don Bosco Center, where a soup kitchen and day-laborer hiring center added to the activity, and where federal observers watched the voting from a table in the corner.

"I hope that if Hispanics get in, they do something for all the Hispanic people," Sandoval said in Spanish. "I don't know, but I hope so."

FairVote said cumulative voting allows a political minority to gain representation if it organizes and focuses its voting strength on specific candidates. Two of the 13 Port Chester trustee candidates — one Democrat and one Republican — are Hispanic. A third Hispanic is running a write-in campaign after being taken off the ballot on a technicality.

Campaigning was generally low key, and the election itself was less of an issue than housing density and taxes.

Hispanic candidates Fabiola Montoya and Luis Marino emphasized their volunteer work and said they would represent all residents if elected.

Gregg Gregory gave all his votes to one candidate, then said: "I think this is terrific. It's good for Port Chester. It opens it up to a lot more people, not just Hispanics but independents, too."

Vote coordinator Martha Lopez said that if turnout is higher than in recent years, when it hovered around 25 percent, the election would be a success — regardless of whether a Hispanic was elected.

"I think we'll make it," she said. "I'm happy to report the people seem very interested."

But Randolph McLaughlin, who represented a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said the goal was not merely to encourage more Hispanics to vote but "to create a system whereby the Hispanic community would be able to nominate and elect a candidate of their choice."
That could be a non-Hispanic, he acknowledged, and until exit polling is done, "it won't be known for sure whether the winners were Hispanic-preferred."

The village held 12 forums — six each in English and Spanish — to let voters know about the new system and to practice voting. The bilingual ballot lists each candidate across the top row — some of them twice if they have two party lines — and then the same candidates are listed five more times. In all, there are 114 levers; voters can flip any six.

Besides the forums, bright yellow T-shirts, tote bags and lawn signs declared "Your voice, your vote, your village," part of the educational materials also mandated in the government agreement. Announcements were made on cable TV in each language.

All such materials — the ballot, the brochures, the TV spots, the reminders sent home in schoolkids' backpacks — had to be approved in advance, in English and Spanish versions, by the Department of Justice.

Conetta said the voter education effort was so thorough he found voting easier than usual.

"It was very different but actually quite simple," he said. "No problem."

Source = http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100615/ap_on_el_st_lo/us_voting_rights_election
handfleisch
A seeming bizarre story. However, apparently all residents get these 6 votes each so it's not unfair. Let me explain what might be going on here.

The article doesn't explain the practice very well, so I am just guessing, but I can speculate that this is an attempt to improve the USA's "winner takes all" (WTA) system. In the US, a candidate (or party) with 51% of the vote gets 100% of the power. In some other democracies, power must be shared according to percentage of the vote.

The US system therefore discourages people from voting for small party candidates due to the well-known "throwing away your vote" argument. In this situation from the article, that means that Hispanic voters haven't been able to get a candidate elected from their community despite their sizable percentage in the population.

One proposed solution to WTA is to have voters be able to vote for a first choice (maybe the small party that they truly favor) and then a second choice and third choice. That way their minor party gets a chance but they don't throw away their vote, either.

Another solution is automatic run-off elections based on percentage of votes.

What this new system in the article seems to do is create an approximation/combination of those two alternate systems.

I can't claim to understand it 100% but it might be a good thing.
Bikerman
We call it proportional representation - and this sounds like 'alternative vote PR'. Basically you vote for as many as you like (though here it seems restricted to 6) and you put them in order. That means that someone who polled consistently well but not the best, stands a chance, and it will tend to drop the minority fringe candidates.
It is one of several alternatives to 'first past the post' - and much preferrable IMHO.
deanhills
Sounds interesting and makes a great deal of sense. Wonder whether it would have helped in the recent election in the UK when they were quite certain of a hung parliament even before the election started. Would it have made a difference if everyone had been given three votes?
Bikerman
deanhills wrote:
Sounds interesting and makes a great deal of sense. Wonder whether it would have helped in the recent election in the UK when they were quite certain of a hung parliament even before the election started. Would it have made a difference if everyone had been given three votes?
yes, for reasons I've already explained in some depth. Any system which attached more importance than the current one to those finishing 2nd will favour the LibSDP party, because they are second in most contests, where both labour and Tory are normally either 1st or 3rd (or worse).
In a fictional vote of 4 seats to elect you would currently get something like:
labour 1+1+3+2 = two seats in parliament
Lib Dem - 2+2+2+2 = no seats
Tory - 1+1+10+did not stand = one seat
(where 1 is first, and 99 is ninety-ninth in the election result).
Under systems of this sort then you will get more like this:
1+1+3+2 = 2 seats
2+2+2+2 = 2 seats
1+1+30+99 = 1 seat

Clearly more are elected in the second, because we have not included all the minority parties who also place, but this system will produce more anyway. It is fairer in terms of representing the electorate as a whole rather than simple the majority.
deanhills
Thanks for the impressive and detailed explanation Bikerman. Do you think this is something that could be implemented in the UK one day?
Bikerman
Yes - the Tories have already agreed to a referendum on the matter - though they are offering a far less good system called STV (Single Transferrable Vote) - here you get one additional vote to cast for whoever you want. It works in the same way but doesn't give as clear a picture because it only uses one extra vote...
mugundhan
A seeming bizarre story. However, apparently all residents get these 6 votes each so it's not unfair. Let me explain what might be going on here.

The article doesn't explain the practice very well, so I am just guessing, but I can speculate that this is an attempt to improve the USA's "winner takes all" (WTA) system. In the US, a candidate (or party) with 51% of the vote gets 100% of the power. In some other democracies, power must be shared according to percentage of the vote.

The US system therefore discourages people from voting for small party candidates due to the well-known "throwing away your vote" argument. In this situation from the article, that means that Hispanic voters haven't been able to get a candidate elected from their community despite their sizable percentage in the population.

One proposed solution to WTA is to have voters be able to vote for a first choice (maybe the small party that they truly favor) and then a second choice and third choice. That way their minor party gets a chance but they don't throw away their vote, either.

Another solution is automatic run-off elections based on percentage of votes.

What this new system in the article seems to do is create an approximation/combination of those two alternate systems.

I can't claim to understand it 100% but it might be a good thing.

Its Very nice
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