PR Cities: 20th Century STV in the United States


in 1996, Professor Doug Amy published an article in the Journal Representation, entitled "The Forgotten history of the Single Transferable Vote in the United States," in the hopes that this history should no longer, in fact, be forgotten. It is not.

This is the last of the three pages on this site dedicated to the Single Transferable Vote form of PR, and it focuses directly on this history. "PR Cities" might generally be understood as the tale of the forgotten 21 US cities who adopted STV/PR in the zeal of municipal reform, beginning with Ashtabula, OH in 1915, by way of Cincinnati, OH and New York City, and ending with the last repeals in 1960, in Hamilton, OH and Worcester, MA. Some of these experiences are indeed described here, along with others also referenced in Electoral System: Single Transferable Vote, but it's not limited to just them. Importantly, PR Cities of the 20th century counts among its ranks Cambridge, MA, which not only survived incessant repeal attempts similar to what brought down the others, but has been an exemplar of inclusive democracy for eighty years and counting. So too is a second STV act in New York City - one that is still deserving of the term "forgotten," despite being even more recent. The outsize amount of material here on just two of the PR cities, Worcester and Lowell, Massachusetts, reflects the simple fact that I live in Worcester, and also became engaged in public education during Lowell's recent Voting Rights settlement options.

Return to Principles of Proportional Representation

Before they were white: PR and “ethnicity” in pre-Voting Rights Act America
Public policy issues and PR municipal elections_ two case studies.pdf
Diverse representation on New York City’s long-forgotten Community School BoardsNew York City Community School Boards.pdf
Cross-community Alliances at work in Cambridge_ the 1989 City Council election.pdf
Progressive Era Reform in Ohio.pdf
Lowell, MA_ choosing among different Voting Rights remedies, revisiting its PR past (1).pdf
Worc, District and Ethnic Loyalties under PR.pdf
District and Ethnic Loyalties Under PR (Lowell, MA).pdf
The 1994 Rent Control Initiative in Massachusetts_ a Window into Voting Patterns in Cambridge.pdf
Worcester City Council, Geographic Distribution 1949-1959.pdf