by Clarence Hoag and George Hallett
THE HISTORY OF PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION WITH
§ 117. We shall make no attempt in this chapter 1 to deal with the history of P. R. comprehensively. Most of our readers will probably prefer a bird's eye view.
Inquiry in regard to scientific methods
of electing representative bodies began
as early as the latter part of the 18th
century, perhaps earlier. The earliest
thinkers on the subject of whom we know
The earliest statement of the proportional ideal that we have found was made by Mirabeau in 1789. In a speech before the Assembly of Provence on January 30th of that year he declared: "A representative body is to the nation what a chart is for the physical configuration of its soil: in all its parts, and as a whole, the representative body should at all times present a reduced picture of the people¾ their opinions, aspirations, and wishes, and that presentation should bear the relative proportion to the original precisely as a map brings before us mountains and dales, rivers and lakes, forests and plains, cities and towns. The finer should not be crushed out by the more massive substance, and the latter not be excluded; the value of each element is dependent upon its importance to the whole and for the whole." 2
The draft of a constitution presented to the French National Convention on February 15 and 16, 1793, written by Condorcet, provided that each voter should have only two votes for the election board of his district, though the number to be elected might be as great as eighteen. Although in a large district such a system would allow several different elements to share in the election, it would not, as we explained in §44, assure true proportional representation.
On June 24th of the same year Saint-Just
proposed to the Convention for
parliamentary elections the single
non-transferable vote 3 with
The earliest published proposal, apparently, of a proportional system which protects the voter from the danger of wasting his vote was that of the French mathematician Gergonne. In 1820 he published in the Annales de Mathématiques 4 of which he himself was editor, an article entitled "Arithmétique politique. Sur les élections et le système représentatif," in which he said: "At the elections the voters would group themselves freely according to their opinions, their interests, or their desires, and any citizen would become a Deputy from the department in the elective chamber who bore a mandate from two hundred voters." 5
Gergonne suggested no method of putting this idea into effect.
§ 118. Thomas Wright
Hill. About the same time
the idea was independently carried much
farther by a schoolmaster of
"November, 1821.—Since February, which is the date of the last entry in this book, I have delivered two lectures before the Society for Literary and Scientific Improvement; one on Comets and the Asteroids, the other on the Fixed Stars.
"We have adopted a plan of electing a committee which secures a very exact representation of the whole body. Every member is returned by unanimous votes, and he may be recalled at any moment by a resolution of the majority of his constituents, who may then return another representative, but this must be done by a unanimous vote. Very much to my surprise, I was the first member elected."
The biographer continues: "The plan of election had been devised by his father, who, as I have already said, was strongly in favour of the representation of minorities. I have before me a copy of the laws of this society. The tenth, in which the mode of election is described, I give below:
"At the first meeting in April, and also in October, a Committee shall be elected, which shall consist of at least one-fifth of the members of the Society. The mode of election shall be as follows: A ticket shall be delivered to each member present, with his own name at the head of it, immediately under which he shall write the name of the member whom he may wish to represent him in the Committee. The votes thus given shall be delivered to the president, who, after having assorted them, shall report to the meeting the number of votes given for each nominee. Every one who has five votes shall be declared a member of the Committee; if there are more than five votes given to any one person, the surplus votes (to be selected by lot) shall be returned to the electors whose name they bear, for the purpose of their making other nominations, and this process shall be repeated until no surplus votes remain, when all the inefficient votes shall be returned to the respective electors, and the same routine shall be gone through a second time, and also a third time if necessary; when if a number is elected, equal in all to one-half of the number of which the Committee should consist, they shall be a Committee; and if at the close of the meeting the number is not filled up, by unanimous votes of five for each member of the Committee, given by those persons whose votes were returned to them at the end of the third election, then this Committee shall have the power, and shall be required, to choose persons to fill up their number; and the constituents of each member so elected shall, if necessary, be determined by lot. The President, Secretary, and Treasurer, all for the time being, shall be members of the Committee, ex-officio, whether elected or not. In the intervals between the general elections, it shall be competent to any four members of the society, by a joint nomination, in a book to be opened for the purpose, to appoint a representative in the ensuing Committee; such appointment being made shall not be withdrawn, nor shall the appointees give any vote in the choice of a Committee-man, as such, until after the next election. A register shall be kept by the Secretary of the constituents of every member of the Committee; and the constituents of any member, except those appointed by the Committee (upon whose dismissal that body may exercise a negative), shall have the power of withdrawing their representative, by a vote of their majority, of which vote notice in writing shall be given (subscribed by the persons composing such majority) both to the member so dismissed, and to the Chairman of the Committee; and in the case of a vacancy occasioned by a dismissal as above, or by any other cause, the constituents of the member whose place becomes vacant, may elect another in his stead, by a unanimous vote, but not otherwise; if such election be not made within a fortnight after the vacancy has occurred, the appointment shall devolve upon the Committee."
This, evidently, is the system of P. R. with the single transferable vote. It falls short in not providing for the expression on one ballot of several choices and is therefore not suited to public elections with secret voting. But, on the other hand, it is superior in principle to the first plans which many years later did make such provision. Unlike those plans it provides not only for the transfer of surplus votes but also for the transfer of votes from weaker to stronger candidates.
That the Hills appreciated the significance of the principle they had discovered is strongly indicated by the following passages:
"The objects proposed in arranging the plan of choosing the Committee are:
"lst. A fair representation (as near as can be) of all the classes of which the general body is composed.
"2nd. Responsibility on the part of the members of the Committee.
"To obtain the first of these objects, it has been provided that each member of the Committee shall be chosen by a section only of the society; and, as will appear upon examination, opportunity is afforded, in forming the sections, for every voter to class himself with those whose views most resemble his own." From a sheet of paper in Sir Rowland Hill's handwriting, found by his biographer, and quoted on p. 70 of the first volume of the Life.
"With views like these, the 'Society for Literary and Scientific Improvement' have been anxious to establish a mode of electing the Committee, that should secure (as nearly as possible), an accurate representation of the whole body; not only because it appeared reasonable that the members would feel interested in the welfare of the Institution, in proportion as the arrangements and regulations met their own views and wishes, but because experience proves that, owing to imperfect methods of choosing those who are to direct the affairs of a society, the whole sway sometimes gets into the hands of a small party, and is exercised, perhaps unconsciously, in a way that renders many persons indifferent, and alienates others, until all becomes listlessness, decay, and dissolution." From the Preface to the Laws of the Society for Literary and Scientific Improvement, given as Appendix B in the first volume of the Life.
Thomas Wright Hill died in 1851, before Hare and Andrae, the persons usually credited with the first invention of his system, had brought it to the attention of the public.
Application of the Principle to
Public Elections. The
first application of the principle of
proportional representation to public
elections was made in 1839 (sic) [the correct
date, 1840, is shown four
paragraphs down] in Adelaide,
Actually, however, the form used was
not the transferable vote of Thomas
Wright Hill (Rowland
Hill’s father) and Thomas
Hare, but a simpler form
essentially the same as
that recommended by Gergonne.6
Section X of the "Act to Institute a
Municipal Corporation for the City of
X. That it shall be competent to the electors by voluntary classification to form themselves into as many electoral sections or quorums as there are members to be elected, and each of these quorums may, provided they can agree upon a unanimous vote, return one member to the common Council, and on the said first appointed day, between the hours of ten o'clock of the forenoon and 4 o'clock of the afternoon, and at the polling place or places appointed as aforesaid, when and as often as any number of qualified electors, amounting to the proportion required to constitute such quorum as aforesaid shall assemble and appear personally at the poll and declare their unanimous vote in favor of any single candidate, the Returning Officer, or such assessor as he may appoint to be for him at such polling place, shall enter in a poll book in the form as nearly as may be of the Schedule C hereto annexed the names of the electors in every such quorum, respectively specifying under proper columns the names of the candidates so voted for, and at four o'clock in the afternoon the assessors if acting at separate polling places shall certify and seal their respective poll books and proceed to deliver them to the said Returning Officer, and the said Returning Officer shall forthwith scrutinize the poll books and declare duly returned to the common Council all members so elected by the unanimous votes of quorums respectively: Provided always that no elector voting with any such quorum in the return of a member as aforesaid shall be competent to vote at the subsequent part of the election, as hereinafter provided, or for more than one candidate.
The Act goes on to prescribe that seats in the Council not filled by the unanimous "electoral quorums," as provided for in Section X, shall be filled "by ordinary election," that is, presumably, by ordinary block vote on the part of those voters who have not already helped to elect a member under the provisions of Section X.
The ideas behind this provision are
clearly set forth in the following
passage in the Third Annual Report of
the Colonization Commissioners for
innovation is referred to in Chapter III
of the Autobiography
of Catherine Helen Spence, who was
First List Systems. About
this time the list type of proportional
representation, which has since been
adopted so widely in
§121. Andrae. The
first public proportional elections
carried out by ballot were held in
Andrae intended his method to be
applied at large to the election of the
members of the Rigsraad or Supreme
Legislative Council of the federated
The election provisions, in sections 22-26 of the Constitution of 1855, were as follows: 13
SECTION 22, The election is opened by the chairman, and it commences with his counting the ballots sent in. The resulting number is divided by the number of members to be elected to the Legislature [Rigsraad] by the electoral district; and the quotient hereby obtained becomes, after the rejection of any fraction that may be present, the electoral basis in the manner prescribed by the following section.
SECTION 23. After placing the ballots in an urn, and mixing them there, the chairman draws them out one by one and provides them with serial numbers and reads aloud the top name of each ballot, which name is at the same time recorded by two other members of the electoral committee. Ballots on which the same name is written in the top place are placed together, and as soon as a name has recurred so often that the corresponding votes amount to the quotient determined according to Section 22, the reading of the ballots is stopped. When the number of votes thus recorded has been verified by a second counting, the candidate in question is declared elected. The ballots thus counted and verified are now put aside and not considered any more. Now the reading-out of the remaining ballots is resumed, in such a manner, however, that whenever the name of the candidate already elected appears in first place on any ballot, it is struck out, and the next name is regarded as name number one on that ballot. If the before-mentioned quotient appears again in favor of some other candidate, the procedure just described is taken again, and when this election has been thus determined, the reading-out is continued and the procedure provided followed, care being taken to strike out, when they re-appear, the names of those already elected. In this way the process continues until all the ballots have been read.
SECTION 24. If in this manner [referring to the machinery of election outlined in the preceding sections] the entire number of elections which the district requires is not obtained, examination shall be made to find those candidates who, after the candidates already elected, have obtained the greatest number of votes read. And from these candidates the remaining seats are filled according to plurality of votes. No candidate, however, shall be elected who has not obtained votes amounting to more than half the quotient beforementioned. In case of candidates' obtaining the same number of votes, and a number that would make them eligible, the choice between such candidates shall be made by lot.
SECTION 25. In the event that all the seats have not yet been filled, the reading of all the ballots is to be resumed in such a way that the remaining seats are filled by those candidates not already elected whose names are inscribed on the top line of the ballots. These elections are to be determined by simple [Relative] majority of votes. If the number of votes be equal, the decision is to be made by lot. 14
SECTION 26. When a single member only is to be elected, the method of election prescribed in Sections 22-25 is not followed. Election in such a case is determined by a simple [relative] majority of votes. In the event of equality of votes the decision shall be made by lot.
Andrae's method was a great advance over any previous one in its provision for the expression of alternative choices on the same ballot. It was inferior to that of Thomas Wright Hill in that it did not provide for the transfer of ballots from defeated candidates. Like Hill's plan it made the quota too large. 15
There is no evidence, according to his
son and biographer, that Andrae received
help, either for the fundamental idea or
for the details of his system, from any
source. So far as is known, he never
heard of the suggestion of Saint-Just to
the French Convention, of the Hills, of
Who was Andrae? He was a profound mathematician and geodesist, an army officer, and a Conservative. For some years, ending in 1854, he was professor of mathematics and mechanics at the national military college. In that year he became Minister of Finance, in 1856 Prime Minister. Though thoroughly convinced of the soundness of his method of electing representatives and ready to defend it in the cabinet or the parliament, he made no effort to bring it to the attention of scientific men and statesmen in other countries, much less to defend his claim as an inventor. He seemed surprised that devising a political method so obvious and so simple should be regarded as reflecting much glory on anybody's intellectual powers. When the Italian statesman Perruzzi and Signora Perruzzi, after visiting Andrae, wrote in the name of the proportionalists of Italy asking him to suggest his system to the Senate of Italy, Andrae replied: "Ce ne sont que des problèmes de haute géodésie qui me tentent. Les seuls articles que je me sens capable d'écrire doivent traiter de la figure de la terre ou de la méthode des moindres carrés, et non pas de la méthode proportionelle." 18 In a letter to his son Poul Andrae in 1871 he wrote: "Frankly, it is ridiculous that a matter really so simple should create such a 'big noise.' There is another instance of human folly." 19
Shortly after Andrae's system had been
put into effect in
In its earliest form—until 1865—Hare's system was substantially the same as Andrae's, as advocated by him in 1855, except that its provisions for filling the seats remaining unfilled after the transfer of surplus ballots 21 were less simple and reasonable than those Andrac proposed and preferred. After 1865, however, when Hare adopted the rule for dropping the lowest candidates one after another and transferring their ballots, his system became more complete and excellent than Andrae's.
Starting with Hare's improved system as
a basis, various refinements have been
adopted or suggested from time to time.
Some of these are incorporated in the
American and the British rules set forth
in Appendix IV. Others are discussed in
Appendix VI. The most important
modification and the one most generally
accepted is the reduction of the
quota—in a five-member district from
one-fifth of the total vote, as proposed
by Hill, Andrae, and Hare, to barely
more than a sixth. This modification was
apparently first suggested by H. R.
§ 123. The
Spread of the List System. It was
over forty years after the appearance of
Hare's first work before the single
transferable vote was used for public
elections anywhere outside of
But on further consideration Hare's plan seemed to the Swiss proportionalists "too bold and too foreign to our customs." 24 They therefore began in 1867 to advocate a party list system based on those published by Morin in 1861 and 1862. Long afterwards, in 1895, their eminent leader Ernest Naville wrote: "I do not mean to say that the Swiss reformers considered the list voting as the best in theory. I, for one, would prefer the method which, like that of Mr. Hare, gives the elector a chance of preferential vote without the party official list, for the purpose of realizing better than any other the idea of representation." 25
For many years the Association’s
proposals were given scant attention by
practical politicians. But when in 1889
electoral injustice in the canton of
In some of the continental countries which do not yet use P.R. (January, 1926) there are influential movements for its adoption. In France P. R. has been championed by statesmen of such varying views as Jaurés, Briand, and Poincaré. In 1919 a P. R. proposal was passed by the Chamber of Deputies but rejected by the Senate. The compromise scheme finally adopted that year has often been called P. R. for the reason that it provides for the application of the principle in districts where certain conditions hold; but its actual effects, as explained in § 250, are utterly different from those of a proportional system.
Already the people who are living under proportional list systems number more than two hundred million.
British Movement. While
the proportionalists of continental
Europe were pushing their propaganda for
less perfect systems with such success,
In 1867 John Stuart Mill
spoke in favor of this system in the
House of Commons. In 1872 a bill was
introduced proposing it for the election
of all members of the House from
In 1884 the British Proportional Representation Society was founded. Leonard Courtney (afterwards Lord Courtney of Penwith), Sir John Lubbock (afterwards Lord Avebury), Professor John Westlake, and Albert Grey (afterwards Earl Grey) took the lead in an active educational campaign, addressing numerous meetings, conducting demonstration elections, and urging the reform on members of the Government. Their efforts, however, failed in their immediate object, and the Representation of the People Act, passed in 1884, settled the method of election for a long period. The leaders of the P. R. movement, all active men in the political life of the day, became engrossed in other affairs. The Society was never dissolved, but its committee did not meet from 1888 until 1905.
In 1905 Leonard Courtney was induced by
John H. Humphreys to address a meeting
on P. R. in a suburb of
But the man above all others who has
made this recent British movement
possible is Mr. Humphreys. For several
years after 1905 he served the British
Society as Honorary Secretary. Since
1912 he has served it as secretary on a
fulltime basis. His book, Proportional
which we have frequently referred—now
unfortunately out of print—has been the
leading authority on the subject since
it appeared in 1911. Under his
leadership the British Society has
exerted a powerful influence throughout
the world, notably in
Of the early champions of that form of
P. R. outside of
THE MOVEMENT IN THE
UNITED STATES AND
§ 125. The
First Minority Systems.
The earliest plea for either minority or
proportional representation in this
country which we have been able to
discover was that of Thomas Earle in the
Constitutional Convention of
Pennsylvania in 1837. On that occasion
Earle advocated the limited vote for the
choice of election inspectors in each
voting precinct. Though the proposal was
rejected by the Convention,
it was adopted by the legislature on
July 2, 1839. The Act, which provides
that each voter shall vote for only one
inspector, though two are elected
is still in effect throughout the state.
It is to be noted that this use of the
limited vote, though contemporary with
Rowland Hill's introduction of the
proportional principle in
Gilpin's pamphlet of 1844 32 though worthy of being the source of a great movement, failed, as we have seen, to have any practical effects. We have not seen it noticed in any publication prior to 1866, when the system which it set forth was advocated for the election of municipal councils by J. Francis Fisher of Philadelphia, son of a first cousin of Gilpin's, in a pamphlet entitled Reform in our Municipal Elections.
The second treatise on P. R. printed in
It advocated a plan on the lines of
Gergonne's proposal and the
§ 126. The
First P. R. Movement in the
About the same time, too, Charles R.
Buckalew, United States Senator from
In a number of able speeches, notably in the Senate on July 11, 1867, at a large public meeting in Philadelphia in November of the same year, before the Social Science Association at Philadelphia in October 1870, and in the Senate of Pennsylvania on March 27, 1871, as well as in the report 35 of the Select Committee on Representative Reform of the United States Senate, of which be was chairman, Mr. Buckalew explained the limited vote and cumulative voting and argued persuasively for the use of the latter in the election of representatives in Congress, state legislatures, town councils, and other bodies.
Though familiar with the writings of Hare and of Hare's admirer, Mill, Senator Buckalew did not support the Hare system of proportional representation, regarding it as too complicated.
It was cumulative voting, just as we have described it in Chapter IV, that Senator Buckalew advocated, but he did not call it by that name. Apparently to emphasize the voter's privilege of either cumulating his vote or not as he pleased, Senator Buckalew preferred the name "free voting." How little the system really deserves that name has been explained in Chapter IV.
From 1865 until his death in 1901 Simon
Sterne championed proportional
representation strongly in
For several years beginning in 1866
election reform was popular in
progressive circles in this country. It
was taken up by some of the leading
newspapers, including the
The only minority systems adopted for
any of our public elections at this
time, namely, cumulative voting in small
districts and the limited vote, failed,
as it is now clear they were bound to
fail, to result in all the benefits
fondly predicted for them by the leaders
of the movement. And the result,
naturally, was a slump in the enthusiasm
for the principle of true representation
itself. In 1886 the
§ 127. First
Applications of the Hare System.
In April, 1870, the Hare system of
proportional representation was used by
the Alumni of Harvard for the nomination
of Overseers of the College. This was
the first test of the system in an
election of importance in
From 1867, when he heard Senator
From 1872 until 1893 the record of the
movement in this country is scanty. The
Personal Representation Society of New
York was active only occasionally. The
society which had existed in
§ 128. Early
Days of the American P. R. League,
August 11 and 12, 1893, there met in
At the outset of its career the League issued an excellent little quarterly edited by Mr. Cooley, the Proportional Representation Review. It contained articles not only by leading American proportionalists, including William Dudley Foulke, John R. Commons, Charles Francis Adams, and Simon Sterne, but by such eminent foreigners as Sir John Lubbock (afterward Lord Avebury), Leonard Courtney (afterward Lord Courtney of Penwith), and Ernest Naville of Geneva. At the end of three years the energy of the organization was somewhat spent. The members were not yet united on a single system of voting. It became hard to raise the funds required to continue the quarterly. The League therefore became less active, and publication of the quarterly was suspended.
At the so-called "First Social and Political Conference," held at Buffalo in the summer of 1899 under the leadership of Eltweed Pomeroy and other Progressives, and at the "Second Social and Political Conference," held at Detroit in the summer of 1901, proportional representation received a good deal of attention and elections under the Hare system were conducted by Robert Tyson of Toronto. These demonstrations made a number of converts to the Hare system and revealed Mr. Tyson as an able and devoted leader of the movement. From 1901 until 1913 the Proportional Representation Review, supported by a few dozen faithful members of the League and published as a department of one periodical after another, was edited by Mr. Tyson, who served also during most of that time as secretary of the League, which had had Canadians in its membership from its foundation. Through nearly all those years Mr. Tyson, though a man of very small means, gave his services to the cause, like his predecessor, Mr. Cooley, without compensation.
For some two years, 1909-1911, William
In 1912 one of the authors of this
book, C. G. Hoag, became secretary and
treasurer of the League for the
§ 129. The
In their efforts, however, to pass measures prescribing P. R. for the legislature they were not so successful. In 1908 a novel plan of P. R., which they worked out in connection with single-member districts, was defeated in the legislature. In 1910 the same plan, submitted to the whole electorate under the provisions of the Initiative, was defeated at the polls. Later two other P. R. plans for the legislature, submitted under the Initiative by the same indefatigable group, were also defeated, the proxy plan in 1912 and the single non-transferable vote in 1914.
Though the defeat of these courageous
attempts to introduce P. R. on a
state-wide scale was hard for the
devoted workers there, it was not,
perhaps, without its compensations for
the cause in this country. For none of
the three plans proposed in Oregon
could, in our firm opinion, have given
completely satisfactory results; and any
weaknesses in a P. R. plan adopted for
such important and conspicuous elections
would probably have been an obstacle to
the use by other American communities of
any proportional plan whatever.
Physiologically, half a loaf is better
than no bread; politically, not always.
The use of cumulative voting in
§ 130. The
P. R. Society of
The first secretaries (honorary) of the
Society, Howard S. Ross and Daniel G.
Whittle, were able to serve only a short
time. The volunteer who took their place
in February, 1916, Ronald Hooper, then a
civil servant in
Proportional representation has not
been tried in any of the eastern
P. R. continues, however, in
§ 131. The Single Transferable Vote in American Cities. By the time C. G. Hoag assumed the secretaryship of the American P. R. League in 1912, P. R. with the single transferable vote had clearly gained the ascendancy in the English-speaking world over other proportional systems, having been adopted for important public elections in two of the British dominions, Australia and South Africa, whereas the list system used in some countries of Continental Europe had not been tried in any English-speaking country. P. R. with the single transferable vote was advocated, too, in the authoritative publications of the British P. R. Society. It had been preferred by the recent secretaries of the American P. R. League, Robert Tyson and William Hoag, and it was preferred, for the reasons given in this book, by the new secretary. Naturally, therefore, as he was free under the new constitution of the League, adopted in 1913, to recommend any system of P. R. that seemed to him best for the purpose in view, he decided to recommend only the Hare system for all purposes for which it seemed at all practicable. This policy has been adhered to ever since, and it has been objected to by only some four or five members of the organization. No list system of P. R. has been adopted for public elections in any English-speaking community.
As Mr. Hoag was able for some years to give the cause his entire time, the membership and the income of the League grew and the P. R. Review was published again—from October, 1914, independently of any other periodical.
A favorable opportunity for the trial of proportional representation in some American city was presented at this time by the granting of "home rule"—that is, the right to adopt and amend their own charters—to the cities of several states and by the spread of the "city manager plan" of government. The city manager plan differs from the old plan of government generally used in the United States in that the chief administrator is selected by the representative body, that is, the council or "commission," instead of being elected at the polls, that he is supposed to be selected solely on the ground of fitness for his administrative duties, and that he can be replaced by the representative body at its pleasure. The plan therefore gives to the representative body complete responsibility for the administration of the city's business as well as for its legislation. In the cities which had thus far adopted the plan the council to which so much power was given had been elected at large by the block vote or general ticket, 43 which made it possible for the one largest party or group in the city to elect all the members. For such a purpose the block vote was sure to be unsatisfactory and proportional representation was sure to be appreciated by thoughtful citizens.
The first of our cities to give
proportional representation real
Later the secretary addressed the Ashtabula Chamber of Commerce, and finally he addressed the official Charter Commission elected to revise the city's government. The commission voted to incorporate P. R. in the charter which it was preparing to submit to the voters. Afterwards, however, it changed its mind, fearing that a charter which contained two such novelties as the city manager plan, which the commission desired, and proportional representation would not secure popular approval. The charter was submitted to the people without P. R. in November, 1914, and adopted in that form. In August, 1915, however, before the first election was carried out under the new charter, a special election was held to vote on an amendment prescribing the Hare system of P. R. for the election of the council. The amendment was carried by a vote of 588 to 400. The petition to call the special election and the favorable vote were both due to W. E. Boynton, labor leader and former president of the City Council, a man who commanded the respect of all classes. Mr. Boynton was one of the little group who had heard the secretary's first message in 1912. He had grasped the importance of P. R. at once and had furnished the local leadership necessary to bring the campaign to a successful conclusion.
The record of Ashtabula's experience with P. R. and that of the other American cities which have since followed her example—first Boulder, Kalamazoo, Sacramento, and West Hartford, and later Cleveland and Cincinnati—will be found in the next chapter.
In 1923 P. R. was recommended by an official charter commission for the Board of Aldermen of New York City.
For the progress of the cause in this
country since 1917 much credit is due to
Walter J. Millard, who in that year
joined the staff of the P. R. League as
Field Secretary. Mr. Millard has toured
the country from
Though proportional representation is
still a new thing in the
We seem appreciably nearer, therefore, to the realization of the prophecy made by Dr. Hatton of Cleveland after watching the first P. R. election in the little city of Ashtabula in 1915: "It is possible that Ashtabula has started a movement which will ultimately lead to the reform of the present demoralizing method of choosing the members of state legislatures and of the lower house of Congress."
1 Historical information is scattered
through most of the other chapters. It
may be found by referring to the heading
"History of P. R." in the index.
2 This translation is given on pages 50
and 51 of Simon Sterne's book On
Representative Government and
Mirabeau's statement (taken from
Sterne) and Condorcet's and Saint-Just's
proposals mentioned below are listed in
Ernest Naville's valuable chronological
summary entitled Les Progrès de la
3 See § 45.
4 Volume X, pages 281-288.
5 À l’époque des élections les
électeurs se grouperaient spontanément,
suivant la nature de leurs opinions, de
leurs intérêts, ou de leurs voeux ... et
sera ... député d'un département à la
chambre élective tout citoyen qui ...
sera porteur d'un mandat de deux cents
électeurs." For the information in
regard to Gergonne, we are indebted to
the book by Poul Andrae of Copenhagen,
son of the eminent Danish statesman
referred to later in this chapter, on
his father's contribution to the cause
of proportional representation (Andrae
og hans Opfindelse Forholdstals
Valgmaaden, Copenhagen, 1905). An
English translation of this book is
listed in Appendix XII.
6 Exactly the same plan as that used in
Adelaide, except possibly in matters of
minor detail, was brought forward
independently in the same year (1839) by
the ex-premier of France, de Villèle,
then retired to private life.
7 By the "elective body" is meant,
evidently, the body of voters.
9 Apparently 18 happened to be the
number voted for by majority vote in the
first election because the total number
to be elected was 20 and the number
elected by unanimous quota was 2.
10 It would be more correct to say that
this was the first representation (in a
public body) by unanimous quota.
The single-member district system also
is representation by quota (in the sense
explained in § 12).
11 Professor Ernest Naville of
12 These figures differ widely from
those given by, Robert Lytton in his
report to the British Foreign Office
13 The sections quoted will be found in
Poul Andrae's book, Meisling
translation, pp. 4-6.
14 These unfortunate provisions for
counting the same ballots twice under
certain circumstances were not proposed
by Andrae but were incorporated against
his protest. This we know from a speech
he delivered in the Rigsraad in 1863.
reported in Poul Andrae's book already
cited. Carl Andrae would have omitted
the last two sentences of Section 24 and
all of Section 25.
15See the discussions of the quota in
Appendix VI (1).
16 Andrae's comment on the article in
notes found by his son and biographer,
was as follows: "I am surprised to find
developed in an article by Gergonne the
same idea of carrying out elections of
representative bodies that I thought I
made use of myself for the first time in
the October Electoral Law. Gergonne
demands that anybody who can manifestly
show that he is supported by the votes
of a certain number (200) of legitimate
voters, shall be recognized as
representative or member." P. Andrae,
work cited, Meisling translation, p. 29.
17 For a brief account of
18 P. Andrae, work cited, p. 177 f.,
Meisling translation, p. 109 f.
19 Poul Andrae, work cited, p. 169,
Meisling translation, p. 102.
21 For an explanation of the meaning of
"surplus" see § 66.
22 In this recount it was assumed, we
suppose, that the names on each ballot
were written in the voter's order of
preference. See Die Frage der
23 "Nous avons pris pour base de notre
étude les travaux de M. Hare. Notre plan
est, pour le fond, celui de ce
24 From La Question Electorale,
by Ernest Naville,
25 From Naville's article in the P. R.
Review of September, 1895.
28 See also Appendix VII, which
describes the different forms of list
systems in use.
29 See the article on
31 This form of limited voting, the
single non-transferable vote, was
described in § 45 as a crude form of
proportional representation, but of
course its application in two-member
districts prevents any real approach to
the proportional ideal.
32 See § 120 and Appendix VIII.
33 In his pamphlet of 1863 Fisher
mentioned having given thought to a
scheme of proportional representation
some years before he learned about
Hare's writings. In an appendix to the
main paper of his pamphlet of 1866,
mentioned in connection with Gilpin
above, he explains the matter fully and
reproduces the short sketch of his
scheme which he had "rather hurriedly
written in Paris in the month of June,
1857," after an interesting conversation
on kindred topics with M. de Tocqueville
at the apartment of Mr. George Ticknor.
He adds that he "was discouraged from
giving it publicity by the impression
that it would be listened to by none of
our political leaders and would excite
little interest in our public. It was
only after the publication of Mr. Hare's
book, in 1861, which was not seen by the
writer for more than a year afterwards,
that he determined to put in print his
own scheme of voting, so different, yet
supported on the same principles." As
Fisher was a man of the highest
character and standing, the truthfulness
of this account is not to be questioned.
We may therefore be sure that Fisher
committed a plan of proportional
representation to writing in the same
year that Hare wrote his first pamphlet
and long before Hare's ideas on
proportional representation had reached
34 These provisions for cumulative
35 Of March 2, 1869.
36 Explained in § 50.
38 N. Y., 1872, p. 136.
39 Certain elections of private
40 See § 48
41 However, this resolution has not yet
(January, 1926) been given effect.
43 These terms are explained in Chapter
44 We do not mean to imply, of course,
that election officials could not drag
out the count or prevent adequate
supervision, as they could under any
other system, if they were so inclined.
In fact the second P. R. count in
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