Over 200 political scientists, including the Ford School's Robert Axelrod and Christian Davenport, recently penned a letter to lawmakers urging them to end single-member congressional districts and adopt proportional representation.
"Congress has the ability to embrace this political richness by joining nearly every other advanced democracy in moving to more inclusive, multi-member districts made competitive and responsive by proportional representation," the scholars wrote. "The effects would be far-reaching and salutary. Proportional representation would render gerrymandering obsolete and help ensure that a political party’s share of votes in an election actually determines how many seats it holds in the House. Larger, multi-member districts would mean almost every voter could cast a meaningful vote, regardless of where they live. And as the Supreme Court further weakens the Voting Rights Act, proportional representation allows communities of color to have their voices reflected — and their candidates elected — at the ballot box."
According to The New York Times, Axelrod was joined by nine of his fellow Johan Skytte Prize winners.
"This redistricting cycle is a wake-up call for voters and our elected representatives," the authors conclude. "Our arcane, single-member districting process divides, polarizes, and isolates us from each other. It has effectively extinguished competitive elections for most Americans, and produced a deeply divided political system that is incapable of responding to changing demands and emerging challenges with necessary legitimacy."
Read the news items featuring Axelrod, Davenport, and their colleagues:
- Letter to Congress on Ending Single Member Congressional Districts and Adopting Proportional Representation, Medium, September 19, 2022
- Scholars Ask Congress to Scrap Winner-Take-All Political System, The New York Times, September 19, 2022