More Equitable Democracy is a racial justice organization working to advance racial equity through electoral reform. Our mission is to advance racial equity by transforming electoral systems.
We support communities of color to advocate for transformative systems changes in order to achieve a more racially just democracy.
We transform electoral systems through coalition building, research, public education, fundraising, and strategic planning.
We build capacity by convening coalitions, investing in leadership development, and responsive grant making.
We tell powerful stories about the struggle for racial justice and how proportional representation can create a more equitable democracy.
Winner-Take-All elections are bad for our communities.
From school board to Congress, too many elected officials don’t look like or share the values of the communities they represent. This disconnect has nothing to do with people and everything to do with winner-take-all elections.
Most elections in the US are winner-take-all, whether we’re choosing just one winner at a time, or multiple winners in a single contest.
Either way, the winners take all the representation, leaving others, even with as much as 49% of the vote share, with none.
This creates a fictional divide, leads to a two-party system that minimizes racial and economic issues, and wastes the votes of millions of people.
The arc of racial justice bends towards the right to vote and representation.
The arc of racial justice in the U.S. has generally bent towards expanding the right to vote. Unfortunately, effective and meaningful representation never kept up.
A snapshot of voting rights in the United States.
- 1856 the last of the states’ property requirements abolished
- 1870 African American men won the right to vote through the 15th amendment
- 1920 Women won the right to vote through the 19th amendment
- 1924 All native Americans won the right to US citizenship
- 1964 24th amendment prohibited poll taxes in federal elections
- 1965 the Voting Rights Act outlawed discriminatory voting requirements
- 1971 26th amendment lowered voting age from 21 to 18.
- 1982 amendments to the federal Voting Rights Act outlaw discriminatory voting practices, independent of intent
- 1996-2018 states restore felon voting rights
The right to vote must be as real in practice as it is on paper. Many hard-fought and hard-won advances have too often been countered by violent opposition, and deliberate schemes to deny the franchise to people of color, which continue right up to the present day. We must be vigilant in defending these past gains.
But even a full and unencumbered right to cast a vote doesn’t result in meaningful representation for all if it’s cast under an unfair voting system.
What comes next? We need voting rights and representation for all.
Proportional representation connects voting rights to representation.
Proportional representation can transform our democracy by creating a government, and possibly new political parties, that accurately reflects all of our communities, values, and issues.
Using winner-take-all systems to elect our legislative bodies leaves too many of us unrepresented and unheard. Proportional representation means a government that accurately reflects the range of communities, ideas, and concerns in the United States.
The principle of proportionality holds that the number of seats won should be based on the number of votes won. Guided by that principle, we can connect voting rights with representation and truly transform our communities.