Back during those nearly forgotten pre- Obama days of the 2008 presidential campaign, I did a post entitled Vote Early and Often. At the time I included a qualifier that I was just kidding. Perhaps I was just ahead of schedule and I did not live in Port Chester, NY.
Port Chester is a small village about 30 minutes from New York City. Over the years no Latino had ever been elected as a trustee ( assume that would equivalent to a city council member) even though the village is about half Hispanic. Pay close attention to this next line. Most voters were white and white candidates always won.
Enter the feds, as represented by the U S Dept of Justice ( think Eric Holder) and federal judge Stephen Robinson. Judge Robinson said that the Voting Rights Act was being violated and something had to change. He rejected a proposal to break the village into 6 voting districts, one being heavily Hispanic. This next just amazes me. Vill;age officials suggested a method known as cumulative voting. This system gave each resident 6 votes to apportion as they chose. Even more amazing this system is already used for the Peoria, Il city council, the Amarillo, Tx school board and the Chilton County , Al county commission.
This whole approach just astounds me. It seems very easy to manipulate plus the fact that it seems designed to achieve certain pre-ordained results. Can’t believe it isn’t being used in Cook County. Their system is probably more sophisticated.
An outfit called FairVote was hired as a consultant. The organization is a nonprofit election research and reform group. I looked up this organization and lo, and behold one of their advisory members is non other than Jesse Jackson,Jr. and one of their staunchest supporters is Harvard law professor and civil rights activist Lani Guinier. But, the organization takes great pains to state that it does not support, endorse or oppose any political party or candidate. Not sure if I buy that or not.
Anyway, back to Port Chester. When their wacky election took place, there were three Hispanic candidates in the race. One of those folks managed to come in fourth, so I suppose the effort was a success. What further in=terested me was that with all the efforts to get people to vote and vote the turnout, based on the numbers did not seem so good. Of course, how do measure voter turnout , multiply eligible voters by six? Almost getting into Land of Oz stuff here.
I learned one more tidbit. FairVote has a chapter in North Carolina , so I may get an opportunity to vote multiple times myself.
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