United States Electoral Systems: Their Impact on Women and Minorities

United States Electoral Systems: Their Impact on Women and Minorities

United States Electoral Systems: Their Impact on Women and Minorities

United States Electoral Systems: Their Impact on Women and Minorities

Synopsis

This is the only full-length study to examine how different electoral systems impact the election of women and minorities to public office in the United States. Professors Rule and Zimmerman have brought together leading scholars to show how different systems affect local, state, and national elections. Important demographic changes, new opportunities, and formidable problems are underscored in analyses of the effects of, among other things, cumulative voting, judicial electoral systems, multimember and single-member district, and reapportionment. This study is unusual in combining an overall analysis of electoral systems and case material with proposals for making government more representative, inclusive, and responsive.

Excerpt

Important demographic changes are occurring in the United States. America's minority population is growing appreciably and in some cases dramatically. The Latino and Asian populations have at least doubled in the last decade in California and other regions of the West. African-Americans continue to increase their proportions throughout the South and industrial areas of the North. All will continue to do so as we move into the 21st century. Many members of racial and ethnic groups aspire to elect their members to the decision-making bodies of our nation. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended, continues to help make that dream a reality for blacks and specified language minority groups in a number of cities, counties, states, and congressional delegations. But there is still much to be done, since minorities remain grossly underrepresented relative to their population.

There are today new actors on the political stage: minority and Anglo women are entering elective government in greater numbers. They compose over 50 percent of the nation and at most average 20 percent of all elected officers. Women bring to office a perspective that has been largely absent in the male- dominated elected bodies of the past. Formidable obstacles still exist and need to be removed or reformed to achieve increased political opportunity for minority and Anglo women.

It is against this backdrop that this anthology took form. The Section on Representation and Electoral Systems of the American Political Science Association sponsored a workshop on minorities and women at the 1989 annual meeting of the association. The workshop participants presented working papers of how electoral systems affected black and Latino men and women as well as Anglo women. It was the first time that a scholarly workshop had considered black and Hispanic women's chances for election separately from black and . . .

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