Cumulative voting was used in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1870-1980. This system elected three representatives from a district and gave each voter three votes, which could be given to candidates in any combination (3 votes for 1 candidate, 1 vote each for 3 candidates, etc.) This led to unusual combinations, such as Chicago Republicans and suburban Democrats, being elected. Some reformers favor reinstating this system.
In Lee v. Keith, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit struck down Illinois' ballot access laws, opining, "In combination, the ballot access requirements for independent legislative candidates in Illinois--the early filing deadline, the 10% signature requirement, and the additional statutory restriction that disqualifies anyone who signs an independent candidate's nominating petition from voting in the primary--operate to unconstitutionally burden the freedom of political association guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Ballot access barriers this high--they are the most restrictive in the nation and have effectively eliminated independent legislative candidacies from the Illinois political scene for a quarter of a century--are not sustainable based on the state's asserted interest in... Read More