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One of the critical debates within political science is over whether proportional or majoritarian electoral systems are better at securing democracies from slipping into authoritarianism. To this debate we add a critical flaw that exists within single-member district electoral systems: electoral bias, or the tendency of these types of electoral systems to inflate the number of elected positions a party or set of parties wins as compared to other parties. The level of electoral bias in any given election under such an electoral system can be unpredictable and sometimes extreme, and it can put a party with authoritarian aspirations into a stronger position to undermine democratic institutions. We test this theory by examining how the American single-member district electoral system helped lead the Jim Crow South into becoming a one-party, authoritarian region.

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