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Proportional represenation allows minority views to be heard

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Message Ellen Kadransky

The polls show a significant percentage of our population is dissatisfied with the President, the Congress and the Courts.   One problem is that the two major parties dominate the electoral process and minority viewpoints are shut out.   As John Stuart Mill once said "when minorities are not represented, it is a false show."  

The current voting rules disregard all groups which are less than a plurality of their district's votes--only the biggest group can win representation.   In Chicago, Illinois there are many Republican voters, but they are less than a plurality in each district, so often no Republicans are elected to the State House of Representatives from Chicago.    Many democracies in the world believe that an essential part of democracy is for minority views to be adequately represented and they use an electoral system known as "proportional representation."  

Proportional Representation allows more voices to be heard.   If a particular city has ten at-large seats for City Council, the top ten candidates would win and likely some of those would be from the minority party or third parties.   Currently, a voter who supports a Green candidate has no representation since no district has a plurality of Green Party supporters.   Under a proportional representation system more seats would be elected "at-large'.   If there are 10 at-large seats then a Green party candidate would need only to earn 10% of the vote citywide to earn a seat.   10% of the voters support the Green party and 10 % of the Council would be Green party members.   Currently, a certain percentage of voters support third parties such as the Green, Consumer and Libertarian parties, however 0% of Council is made up of members of these parties.     With proportional representation, the Council would more accurately reflect the wishes of the electorate.  

Too many of our citizens do not seem to have grasped the idea that they must work at choosing the people to represent them.   This means making phone calls, going door to door, or using the internet to research issues and candidates.   Right now money from the large corporations influence elections through buying media air time.   Changing to some methods that can make them feel more a part of the action should help--it can really become very interesting.

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Free Lance Writer. OpEds published in Daily News and other Philadelphia area newspapers. Graduate of Temple University School of Communications with a major in journalism. Also an activist for many progressive causes in Philadelphia area.
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