ustxtxb_obs_1995_07_28_50_00009-00000_000.pdf

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istration Education Project provided training on voter mobilization strategies. In Yorktown, where Concerned Citizens for Voting had begun mobilizing under the first cumulative voting election in 1992, a Latino was running as an incumbent. In stark contrast, where Latino candidates lost, minority voter participation was low. The average turnout rate among Latinos registered to vote in the seven jurisdictions in which Latino candidates lost was onehalf the turnout rate for non-Latino voters. Finally, for a minority group to win under cumulative voting in a highly polarized political contest, they must vote together as a group. This may require planning to limit the number of minority candidatesto avoid splitting the minority vote and to encourage minorities to place all their votes on their preferred candidate. “Plumping,” placing all of one’s votes a single candidate, is a practice that can enable minority voters to concentrate the strength of their group’s vote and improve their chances of electing at least one candidate of their choice. This was the strategy of Atlanta’s African American community, which agreed to field only one candidate, and coordinated and planned an election campaign in only a few weeks. Post-election polling found that 90 percent of blacks in Atlanta had “plumped” their votes for Veloria Nanze. ACCEPTANCE OF CUMULATIVE VOTING Ten of the 16 jurisdictions polled held cumulative voting elections for the first time; five for only the second time. Beyond the success of minority candidates, the survey was designed to investigate how all voters responded to the cumulative voting system. Did they understand the new voting system? How do both minority and white voters perceive cumulative voting? Since all sixteen jurisdictions polled had been sued recently for minority vote dilution, it seemed likely that white voters might harbor much resentment at being forced to adopt a settlement over which they had no control. Yet the exit polls found greater understanding and acceptance of cumulative voting than might be expected. More than nine in 10 voters of each ethnic group knew they could concentrate all of their votes on a single candidate. Asked to compare cumulative voting with previous election systems, more said that cumulative voting was easier than said it was more difficult. Atlanta school board attorney Thompson particularly emphasized that the election was easier and cheaper to run than a districting system would have been. “Everybody runs at-large and everybody runs against everybody else, and it’s just the top vote-getters that get the office. It’s much simpler, and easier…” Yet there were considerable differences between minority and majority groups in evaluations of cumulative voting. More than twice as many minority as Anglo voters felt cumulative voting was easier; even so, fewer than two in ten white voters found this election system more difficult than previous voting methods. And contrary to expectations, cumulative voting was not rejected by the majority of white voters. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9