The urban PR “spells” chart, updated

If you are reading this, you know that 24 U.S. cities tried the STV form of proportional representation. Here is an updated chart summarizing those episodes.


The changes include:

1) Cropping to 1965, since events thereafter are basically chartjunk.

2) Adding a failed 1959 repeal attempt for Worcester, MA.

3) Changing the dates for Oak Ridge, TN, which evidence suggests to have emerged with STV a decade later than I thought. Note that the Oak Ridge council was “advisory,” whatever that means.

4) Adding Norris, TN, which I had not included because I could not find the dates of any STV elections. This Town Council was also “advisory.” Elections were held annually from 1937 through 1945. I cannot find evidence of an STV election post-1945. The federal government sold Norris to a developer in 1948, and Tennessee granted Norris its own charter in 1949.

5) Date-stamping, since this chart may evolve gain.

Please share any suggested, further changes. Wouldn’t it be nice if our state and local politics were better documented?

Evolution of the American proportional representation movement

In seeking an explanation for why several cities once adopted PR-STV, I sometimes encounter the following hypothesis. Among myriad goo-goo reform ideas, PR was unusually obscure, and that’s why it only happened in 24 places.

Obscurity could not have been the cause of PR’s rarity, and I’ll show you why below.

Continue reading “Evolution of the American proportional representation movement”

Really, the US chose its electoral rules in 1967

Entertain me for a moment while I present a conspiracy theory. Congress banned multi-member House districts in 1967 in order to curb the threat of proportional representation.
Continue reading “Really, the US chose its electoral rules in 1967”