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What exactly is proportional representation PR how does it work and what are its advantages over our present system The way it works is simple proportional representation system come in several varieties but they all share two basic characteristics The first way is they use mullet-member districts Instead of electing one member of the legislature in each small district PR uses much larger districts that elect several members at one time about five or ten Second the proportion of votes a party receives determines which candidates win the seats in these multi-member districts We are use to our single-member district system in which we elect one candidate in each legislative district with the winner being the candidate with the most votes But while we view this winner-take-all system as normal in reality our approach to elections is increasingly at odds with the rest of the world The vast majority of Western democracies see American-style elections as outmoded and unfair and have rejected them in favor of proportional representation Most of Western Europe uses PR and a large majority of the emerging democracies of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have chosen PR over our form of elections The United States Canada and Great Britain are the only Western democracies that continue to cling to winner-take-all arrangements The single-member district voting system has been on the wane worldwide because it has a number of serious drawbacks It routinely denies representation to large numbers of voters produces legislatures that fail to accurately reflect the views of the public discriminates against third parties and discourages voter turnout All of these problems can be traced to a fundamental flaw in our system only those who vote for the winning candidate get any representation Everyone else -- who may make up 49 of the electorate in a district -- gets no representation We are all familiar with this problem If you are a Democrat in a predominately Republican district
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