Democracy and Electoral Systems

Two very different ideas are usually confounded under the name democracy. The pure idea of democracy, according to its definition, is the government of the whole people by the whole people, equally represented. Democracy as commonly conceived and hitherto practised is the government of the whole people by a mere majority of the people, exclusively represented. The former is synonymous with the equality of all citizens; the latter, strangely confounded with it, is a government of privilege, in favour of the numerical majority, who alone possess practically any voice in the State. This is the inevitable consequence of the manner in which the votes are now taken, to the complete disfranchisement of minorities

—John Stuart Mill, Representative Government, 1861

Electoral systems of the world:

The case for proportional representation:

For more effective, color-blind, representation of minorities:

Proportional representation in U.S. local elections:

A related concept for electing members of the executive branch (mayors, governors, presidents) without primaries or runoffs:


Proportional representation:

To help U.S. citizens vote intelligently, this site provides facts on elected officials and candidates:

An electronic town hall—register your choices online, then compare with contributions from other contributors:



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