Everyone in our country deserves representation in our political process. However, the predominant electoral system in the US, “winner-take-all”, is inherently inequitable, very often leaving communities of color without a voice in policymaking. Given the national reckoning on racial justice, we need to scrutinize all the systems and structures in our democracy and re-envision what equitable representation looks like. This workshop provides a crash course on types of electoral systems and delves into proportional representation as a highly promising alternative, including a history of its usage in the US and how it can lift representation for communities of color moving forward.
Previewing of the 25-minute documentary Eastpointe is a prerequisite for this session
In final weeks of the Obama administration, the US Department of Justice filed a voting rights lawsuit against Eastpointe, MI, alleging that the electoral system unfairly blocked its growing African American community, which was then almost half the city, from any meaningful representation. In fact, no African American had been elected to city council in a contested race. Based on a consent decree, the City of Eastpointe agreed to implement proportional representation, a form of ranked-choice voting for the 2019 election. This is the first time such a reform was implemented to address an alleged voting rights violation in US history. In the last days of the election, filmmaker Grace McNally, in partnership with More Equitable Democracy, captured the stories of this groundbreaking shift in political representation, which carries deep implications for the future of voting rights in America.