Ranked Choice Voting and Minority Representation
38 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021
Date Written: February 2, 2021
In this paper, we outline and demonstrate a data-driven methodology that voting rights advocates can use to compare the likely effectiveness of a single transferable vote system (STV) to single-member districts (SMD) for securing minority representation in local government. We incorporate both election data and demographics, and can apply variable assumptions on candidate availability and voter turnout. The core of our STV analysis uses four models of voter ranking behavior that take racial polarization into account; to assess districts, we use random district-generation algorithms developed at the MGGG Redistricting Lab.
We demonstrate this method on four case studies: judicial elections in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana; the county commission of Jones County, North Carolina; and the city councils of Cincinnati, Ohio and Pasadena, Texas. We find that STV provides proportional or slightly better representation for the relevant minority group in each case, while districts vary widely in their effectiveness depending on local circumstances.
Keywords: ranked choice voting, single transferrable vote, redistricting, minority representation
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