One Person, Seven Votes

In Alabama a radical electoral system helps minorities. But is the system fair?

For the first six decades of Willie Gill's life, the winding dirt road next to his house in Chilton County, Alabama, was a nuisance. If trucks weren't churning its surface into clouds of red dust, rains were turning it into a swamp. Gill, who is black, never really expected the all-white county commission to do much about it. "But Mr. Agee, he come and put in a paved road just about last year," Gill reports. "I'm glad to have it."

Gill is no fire-breathing radical. Nor is Bobby Agee, a 43-year-old funeral director who six years ago became the county's first...

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