In California, legislators dream of being lobbyists when they grow up.

And who can blame them? They can make more money in government relations jobs than in government. The resignation of Democrat Henry Perea is just the latest example of the dynamic.

The trouble with such resignations is the void that’s left. A district can go without representation. Special elections are called to fill the seats. That costs money, and often mean someone is elected in low turnout.

For all these reasons and more, Californians should no longer vote for the person when they go to the polls. They should vote for a party.

Party lists are a common method of election in other parts of the world. They are foreign in U.S. politics, but they deserve a shot here. After all, Californians don’t vote for the person in legislative elections—they rarely know much at all about their legislative candidates. They vote for the party.

Party lists work well with proportional representation, which allows more voters to have representation. Instead of single-member districts, with single members who can quit by leaving midstream, California should have multiple-member legislative districts. The number of members that each party gets in these districts would be based on their percentage of the vote.

The parties would offer lists of candidates. If an elected legislator were to resign, he or she could be replaced – without any wait or a special election – by the next person on his or her party’s list.

This would be better for those represented. And it would be better for legislators seeking greener pastures. Who wants to stand in the way of a legislator who dreams of real power and fortune, representing interest groups?