By way of quick update on how the town of Port Chester, New York, was using cumulative voting in its election Tuesday, it turns out that a Latino candidate did, in fact, find himself elected to the town's Board of Trustees. That's the first time a Latino Port Chesterean has received such a distinction, despite Westchester county town being more than 40% Latino. Kirk Semple, who has been following this story, reports that a Peruvian immigrant and Democrat by the name of Luis Marino came in fourth in the unusual balloting.
Port Chester's election was intriguing, you might remember, because each resident of the town was given six votes to distribute among the dozen or so candidates on the ballot. Cumulative voting was the town's response to a federal case that asked why the town's elected representatives didn't reflect its racial makeup. Now, it's impossible to have much insight yet into what went into Marino's election. It could be that strategic "plumping" -- where voters load up their votes on one candidate, something that advocates of cumulative voting like Lani Guinier take as a gauge of intensity -- was a factor. It could be that the federal attention (and perhaps the thought of more federal intervention) had some people in town thinking more openly about whom they'd might elect. It could be other things. Lucky for us, the town has both voting data and exit surveys that are being pored examined now and will hopefully be released soon. That should be a valuable small-scale case study on how the architecting of elections can shape who gets elected.
We still may never know, though, how someone or something by the name "Fluffy" managed to get a vote.
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