Editorials: What’s ‘Proportional Voting,’ and Why Is It Making a Comeback? | Alan Greenblatt/Governing

It’s a sign of popular disillusionment with the current course of American democracy that the past couple of years have produced a flurry of reform ideas aimed at changing the way elections are conducted. The newer proposals allow voters to rank several candidates in order of preference, or create nonpartisan primaries in which the top-two finishers are nominated, regardless of party. One older idea that’s being talked about again is proportional voting. Proportional elections are conducted in other countries, and in many of those places, the rules are pretty simple. If a party wins 30 percent of the national vote, it wins 30 percent of the legislative seats. That’s not the way it’s generally been tried in the United States.