Category Archives: Democracy Reform

The advantages of a hybrid city council

Some weeks ago I was approached by some of the members of the 2012 Charter Revision Committee who read some of my previous posts on single-member and at-large districts.  They asked me to write a more comprehensive document detailing the … Continue reading

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Austin has seven Mayors, actually

From the Austin City Code:  The councilmember elected to and occupying the place designated “mayor” shall be the mayor of the City of Austin. At its first meeting following each regular election of councilmembers, the council shall, by election, designate … Continue reading

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Is “Ward Courtesy” Likely to Happen with SMDs?

Chris Bradford over at Austin Contrarian – the inspiration for this humble blog – argues that SMDs will institutionalize planning and zoning parochialism: Council members whose districts will not be affected  directly will have an incentive to defer to the … Continue reading

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What does empirical political science tell us about single-member districts?

In Austin, SMD proponents claim that a new electoral scheme will (1) improve the delivery of public services by creating geographic representation, (2) increase the proportion of Latinos elected to the City Council, and (3) address relatively low voter turnout … Continue reading

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Why is empowering low-information partisans bad, exactly?

Over at Burnt Orange Report, there’s a discussion afoot about the pros and cons of moving our May municipal election to November. No one seems to dispute that the number of people voting for local office holders would increase if … Continue reading

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