The Way Out: Toward a Legal Standard for Imposing Alternative Electoral Systems as Voting Rights Remedies
Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review (CR-CL), Vol. 33, No. 33, 1998
49 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2011
Date Written: August 10, 2011
The article discusses the use of “proportional”-type electoral systems, such as limited voting, cumulative voting, and preference (or choice) voting, as remedies for minority vote dilution under the Voting Rights Act. It argues that such systems are available as alternatives to the usual remedy of drawing single-member electoral districts with significant minority populations. Although applicable law requires that plaintiffs establish that a compact majority-minority district can be drawn to establish liability, the article suggests replacing that prong of the liability test with a showing that the minority group meets the “threshold of exclusion,” a well-established political science formula designed to test whether a cohesive political minority can elect a single candidate of choice under such an alternative electoral system.
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