In the debates over the Supreme Court's partisan gerrymandering cases Vieth v. Jubelirer and LULA4C v. Perry, there has been extensive discussion among legal scholars and political scientists about the lack of competition in national and state legislative races. When compared with city council elections in big cities around the country, however, the races in those legislatures appear intensively competitive. Although gerrymandering and incumbency advantage have rendered many individual congressional and state legislative seats uncompetitive, there is substantial competition for control of both houses of Congress and most state legislatures. By comparison, there are almost no competitive legislative seats at the local level and there is usually no competition for control of the local legislature overall. Further, in most local elections that feature parties, there is no evidence that the major political parties or individual candidates offer voters different policy choices or platforms.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Schleicher, David, "Why Is There No Partisan Competition in City Council Elections?: The Role of Election Law" (2007). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 4950.