Ace dug out the memory of wanna-be Assistant General for Civil Rights Lani Guiner when he found that Port Chester, New York was forced by a Lawgiver-In-Black to give up its at-large voting system for its six village trustees and adopt “cumulative voting” in order to assure Hispanic representation, and also keep the in-person polls open for five full days.
The difference between at-large voting systems and cumulative voting systems is, in an at-large system, one can only vote for each candidate once, casting votes up to the maximum number of offices being filled. Meanwhile, in a cumulative voting system, one can apportion votes up to the maximum number of offices being filled with no limit on the number of votes cast for a particular candidate.
The reason this “works” for the “aggrieved minority”, and indeed, worked for one Luis Marino, who The Journal News cheered as the first Latino elected in Port Chester, is a minority group can multiply their votes behind a single candidate, while the “high-minded majority” splits their votes among multiple candidates. The effect is enhanced if, like Port Chester, there is no primary to narrow the field to “the number of offices plus one”.
Bear in mind that, while what Jay Weber calls the Accomplice Media notes, correctly yet incompletely, that Latinos make up close to half Port Chester’s population, there is a small detail that most of them will miss, and I will give kudos to The Journal News for mentioning it – Latinos make up only roughly 20% of the voting-age citizens in the village. The fact that, up until yesterday, no Latino had been elected to the board is more a statistical quirk than anything else.