Fair and Effective Representation? by Bruce E. Cain

By Bruce E. Cain

Specialists on political illustration, balloting rights, and the election procedure debate the main pertinent problems with electoral reform and verify them within the context of the Founders' imaginative and prescient of illustration and minority rights. Mark E. Rush and Richard L. Engstrom talk about the guarantees and pitfalls of electoral reform--specifically, the benefits of changing from the normal single-member district to a few kind of proportional illustration. The authors learn the shortcomings of the present equipment of elections (such as gerrymandering, low turnout, voter apathy, and underrepresentation of minorities and women), debate the advantages of changing to proportional illustration, ask no matter if it will tackle the imperfections of the present method, and examine the level to which proportional illustration adheres to the Founders' (particularly Madison's) plan for illustration. With an advent by way of esteemed political scientist Bruce E. Cain, this is often an important textual content for classes in balloting rights and behaviour, elections, and American political inspiration.

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Demography has changed dramatically in the last thirty years owing in large part to the new immigration policies adopted in 1965. S. population. This has increased the diversity of the American electorate and restored ethnicity to the level of political salience it held in the middle and late nineteenth century. The Voting Rights Act and a more aggressive application of the post-Civil War constitutional amendments (especially the Fourteenth) have helped create the expectation that electoral outcomes should be “fair” to substantially sized nonwhite minority groups.

Groups that are less than optimally dispersed cannot be helped even by the most creative districting schemes. For instance, consider the practical difficulty of creating majority-female districts as women persist in their unfortunate habit of living close to men. Representational questions also arise for those who live in a geographically concentrated minority community. It could be said, for example, that the districting process imposes a political identity upon them rather than allowing them to choose one for themselves.

One might think that bringing districts into compliance with such a straightforward rule would be a relatively simple task, but it has not been so. , Engstrom 1992b, 4; Kousser 1998, 137; Aguilar 1998, 797). Redistricting following the 2000 census promises to follow the same pattern. 5 In the United States, however, the responsibility for revising election districts is almost always placed, at least initially, with an elected legislative body. S. House of Representatives from that state. Local legislative bodies, such as county boards, municipal councils, and school boards, are likewise usually responsible for revising the districts used to elect their members.

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