Op-ed: RCV and minority representation

I have an op-ed today in the New York Daily News. It opens:

It was a strange coalition that opposed ranked-choice voting in New York City last week: conservative Republicans and black elected officials. Even stranger was that both groups made the same sorts of arguments, claiming RCV would fuel voter confusion and depressed turnout, especially in minority communities.

Since that sort of coalition its likely to appear elsewhere, we may want to unpack its logic. Doing so means learning about two kinds of ranked-choice voting. And understanding that as long as people keep pushing the single-winner form, Republicans and voting-rights groups are likely to keep fighting it.

This was a difficult piece to write, and if you know me, you know why.

I also want to thank those people whose ideas appear at various points. If you are reading, thank you.

Popular books on voting reform

Note: Updated Feb. 28, 2020.

My RCV bibliography lists books and articles that are research-heavy, but I wanted to keep track of other important texts as well. Some are from the movement itself, and others debate its proposals.

This is a non-exhaustive and evolving list. Entries are organized by period: recent books, slightly older (1990s-early 2000s), old (1890s-1940s), and very old (1860s-80s). Readers interested in very deep PR history can visit this page at the PR Foundation website.

It is an interesting list to compile. The farther back one goes in time, the harder it is to distinguish social science from advocacy.

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Black represention in Cincinnati under the single transferable vote

A reader asks, “When was first African-American candidate elected? Was representation continuous from then, until repeal? When was the first time there were two?” The answers are 1931, no, and November 1949.

Some context: Cincinnati used the single transferable vote in 31 elections, from 1925 to 1955. This was in tandem with an otherwise standard council-manager charter: nonpartisan elections, nine-seat assembly, responsible executive, and so forth.

Here is a list of Black candidates who ran, their parties, and whether they won. The list is based on having researched the identities of every declared candidate. “Charter” means an endorsee of this group, which used to be a coalition of Progressive Republicans and the mainline Democratic Party. A candidate’s name is underlined if they won a seat.

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