DAVID T. CANON
Electoral Systems and the
Representation of Minority Interests in Legislatures
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:331-85

The rules and institutions used to translate preferences into electoral outcomes have a profound impact on the nature of representation provided in a political system. This is especially true when it comes to representing divergent racial and ethnic group interests. This essay examines the range of alternatives that nations have used to address this fundamental problem, with a focus on the representation of minority interests within U.S. legislatures. After a brief review of related issues, I examine the following questions: how should representation be provided to minorities within a majority rule system (the normative literature); how can representation be provided (the legal literature); and, how are minority interests represented (the partisan implications of racial redistricting and the broader empirical literature on representation).The rules and institutions used to translate preferences into electoral outcomes have a profound impact on the nature of representation provided in a political system. This is especially true when it comes to representing divergent racial and ethnic group interests. This essay examines the range of alternatives that nations have used to address this fundamental problem, with a focus on the representation of minority interests within U.S. legislatures. After a brief review of related issues, I examine the following questions: how should representation be provided to minorities within a majority rule system (the normative literature); how can representation be provided (the legal literature); and, how are minority interests represented (the partisan implications of racial redistricting and the broader empirical literature on representation).


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