New York City

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New York City is a really big city in the southeast corner of New York with a really Long Island sticking out of the side of it.[1] Not to be confused with the package that it comes in.

Single transferable vote

To weaken the party machine that was controlling New York City, progressive forces pushed for the adoption of STV there, and STV was adopted by voters of the city in 1936. Before this change, Democrats would win above 90% of the seats on the Board of Aldermen; in the first election after proportional representation, in 1941, the Democrats won 65.5% of the seats with 64% of the vote, with four other parties also being represented.[2][3]

The Democratic party machine fought back and managed to repeal the method in 1947, using red-baiting tactics. In the New York Post in 1947, Tammany Hall leader Frank J. Sampson called STV "This Stalin Frankenstein system" and "a foreign political theory that has created confusion with the blessing of the Kremlin".[4]

After the repeal, the old arrangement quickly restored itself: in 1949, the Democratic party won 24 of the 25 seats.[5]

Board of Aldermen party diversity with FPTP and STV

Effective number of parties (entropy measure)
Year Voting method Effective number of parties by votes Effective number of parties by seats
1931 First past the post 2.39 1.08
1933 First past the post 2.74 1.75
1935 First past the post 2.38 1.21
1937 Single transferable vote 4.24 4.23
1939 Single transferable vote 3.00 2.98
1941 Single transferable vote 3.10 3.00
1943 Single transferable vote 3.28 3.07
1945 Single transferable vote 3.42 3.39
1949 First past the post 3.56 1.18


  2. Prosterman, Dan. "Who's Got the Power? Proportional Representation in New York City, 1936-1947". NYU Department of History. Archived from the original on 2007-04-25.
  3. Docter, Jesse; Landsman, Theodore. "Proportional Representation In New York City" (PDF). FairVote. Retrieved 2022-04-01.
  4. Zeller, Belle; Bone, Hugh A. (1948). "The Repeal of P.R. in New York City—Ten Years in Retrospect". American Political Science Review. Cambridge University Press (CUP). 42 (6): 1127–1148. doi:10.2307/1950618. ISSN 0003-0554.
  5. Rosa-Clot, Michele (2008). "This Stalin Frankenstein System: Adoption and Abrogation of Proportional Representation in New York City, 1936-1947" (PDF). Rivista di Studi Americani. 17 (18): 201–240.