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Proportional Representation

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION is an electoral device that seeks to make a representative body a faithful image of its electorate. Ideally, the system gives legislative voting strength proportionate to the electoral strength of every shade of societal opinion. Technically, proportional representation is achieved by devising a quota that determines the minimum number of votes required for election. The number of seats a party wins is the number of votes it receives divided by the quota. The simplest quota is the Hare quota, which is found by dividing the total number of votes cast by the number of seats to be filled. Such elections are usually at large or employ multimember districts. The greater the number of seats to be filled, the greater proportionality of representation possible.

Proportional representation dates at least to the French Revolution. Although it is the most common method of election in the Western democracies, the use of proportional representation in the United States has been rare. It has been tried by several cities, notably Cincinnati, Ohio; Boulder, Colorado; and New York City. Debate over the use of proportional representation has focused on the consequences of the system—especially instability of governments—rather than on its inherent logic or principle. Proponents argue that proportional representation prevents excessive centralization of government, strengthens parties by making candidates more dependent on them, and increases voter interest and participation in elections. Opponents contend that the system vitiates democracy on the interparty and intraparty levels.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Barber, Kathleen L. Proportional Representation and Election Reform in Ohio. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1995.

David, Paul T., and James W. Ceasar. Proportional Representation in Presidential Nominating Politics. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1980.

Robert B.Kvavik/t. g.

See alsoApportionment ; Caucus ; Gerrymander ; Majority Rule ; Republic .

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"Proportional Representation." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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proportional representation

proportional representation (PR) System of electoral representation in which the allocation of seats reflects the proportion of the vote commanded by each candidate or party. In the single transferable vote system, an elector ranks candidates in order of preference. In the list system, an elector votes for a party's entire list of candidates; the number of seats allocated to a party is determined by the number of votes for its list. The main contrast is with a majoritarian system in which representatives are elected for each of numerous single constituencies. Supporters of PR argue that it delivers more representative democracy. Critics contend that it tends to produce coalition governments, and destroys the bond between representatives and constituents. In the UK, PR was first used in elections to the devolved Scottish Assembly and the European Parliament (EP) in 1999.

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proportional representation

proportional representation: see representation.

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"proportional representation." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"proportional representation." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/proportional-representation