The Canadian Plan

New Democracy donald at
Wed Aug 26 05:39:13 PDT 1998


Owen asked: "What proportion of MMP seats would you propose?"

     The usual split if fifty-fifty, but in the first election I would
start with 70 percent district STV seats and 30 percnt MMP list seats
because District STV will give a measure of proportionality - which means
we will need less seats to top up the proportionality. After the first
election, we will know better and we can adjust.

     But MMP has problems of its own caused by two vote cross party voting.
One of the effects is the electing of more members than intended. This is
why I have constructed a new system that uses only one vote and two cycles
of STV. I call this new system the Canadian Plan in Canada. I have copied a
summary of the plan below.

                   T H E   C A N A D I A N   P L A N
                          May 20 1998 Revision
                   Study Material for Political Change

     This is an election plan to elect a lawmaking body by a mix of
individual candidates and political parties. This plan can be used for an
election held in a single area or for an election in which the area is
divided into constituencies. The point of the design of this method is to
have a method in which the voters only have one vote, but can vote for
either the candidates or the parties or both - and also a method in which
the candidates are not forced to decide between running as an individual
candidate or on a party list. They can do both in this design. First they
all run as individual candidates in a Choice Voting(STV) election and then
the non-elected ones go onto a party list. The party lists are then put
into a second Choice Voting cycle.

A Quick Summary of the Canadian Plan
     First: The Canadian Plan when used in a single election area

     This election method uses two cycles of Choice Voting. One cycle
elects candidates that reach a full share(quota) - which is total votes
divided by number of seats. The first cycle also determines the order of
the non-elected candidates on party lists. The party lists are used in the
second cycle to convert the lists of ranked parties to ranked party
candidates - which are used in the second cycle of Choice Voting to elect
the balance of the members.

     The voters are allowed to rank candidates - the voters are also
allowed to rank parties. The voters that rank both candidates and parties
will have the candidate choices read first. This system allows the voter to
vote for only a party but the voters that do vote for candidates will be
deciding the order of the candidates on the party lists.

     All candidates will run as individual candidates in the first cycle of
Choice Voting. The first cycle has the rule that any surplus votes of
political parties are not to be transferred and no political party is to be
dropped. The first cycle would only transfer the surplus votes of
candidates and drop only candidates.

     After the transfer of all surplus candidate votes, the lowest
candidates are dropped one by one until only candidates with a full share
of votes are remaining. These candidates are elected but not all seats are
filled yet. We now go into the second cycle.

     In the second cycle we will not be dealing with the candidates that
were elected in the first cycle, nor will we be dealing with the votes that
elected those candidates. The data from the first cycle that we will be
working with is the remaining vote sums for each political party. Each
party will have more than one vote sum because of the different
combinations of ranking the parties.

Example of Vote Sums for one Political Party:

      124,000 WXY      >>>      124,000 FGHJ-XY
      115,000 WX       >>>      115,000 FGHJ-X
       87,700 WY       >>>       87,700 FGHJ-Y
       90,400 WYX      >>>       90,400 FGHJ-YX

W,X,Y,Z are parties:  F,G,H,J are non-elected candidates of party W
The independent list and parties X,Y,Z will also have sets of vote sums.

     We start by replacing the first party of each ranked list of parties
with a list of candidates of the same party. Only the non-elected
candidates from the first cycle of Choice Voting would make up these party
lists. The order of the candidates on each party list is to be determined
by the highest number of votes they attained when they were dropped in the
first cycle. Non-elected independent candidates would have an independent

     After we have replaced these first political parties with their list
of party candidates, we still have the same vote sums but now they are
labeled with a list of ranked candidates plus the lower ranked parties.
This collection of vote sums is now worked as a Choice Voting election
using the same share value as was used in the first cycle. Most of the
votes will be surplus votes that need to be transferred according to the
rules of Choice Voting. This transfer of surplus votes will elect the
balance of the members except for a few that will be made up from the

     After all surplus votes have been transferred, each party will have a
remainder of votes. These remainders if added together will represent the
number of seats yet to be filled. The party with the smallest remainder of
votes is to be dropped. The remaining non-elected candidates of this party
are also dropped. Their remainder votes are transferred to the parties that
are the next ranked party on each of its vote sums.

     It is possible that a party may receive enough additional transferred
votes in order to elect another candidate. When this happens the remainder
run-off routine is to be interrupted and that candidate is to be elected,
and the remainder votes of the party in question are to be reduced by the
amount of one share - which gives that party a new remainder which should
be the new lowest remainder. After the transfer of votes and possible
election of a member, we now drop the party with the new lowest remainder.
We keep dropping the new lowest remainders until all seats are filled. It
is possible that the last few members did not receive a full share of
votes, this is acceptable as long as they did receive a majority of a

     In this plan the voter is allowed to rank both candidates and parties
but the voter only has one vote and it is mathematically impossible for
that whole vote to be cloned and end up on two candidates - which can
happen in MMP elections because of cross party voting. In this method, if
the whole vote is used to elect a candidate in the first cycle that vote
stays with that candidate - a clone of that vote cannot appear in the
second cycle.

     This plan will have a very high level of voter representation because
the plan takes the exhausted votes of the first cycle and uses them to
elect members in the second cycle.

     An option that the math of this system will accept: In the second
cycle I would like to see the addition of recommended lists provided by
civic minded groups. These lists would contain candidates that were already
running as independents or under a party banner. This would mean that some
candidates would appear on more than one list in the second cycle. The math
of this method can handle that.

     The affect of this recommended list on the election will be greater
than appears. One: Many candidates on the recommended list will be elected
already in the first cycle. Two: In the second cycle, some candidates on
the recommended list will be elected by their own political parties.
Therefore the recommended list may only need to help elect a few of the
candidates on its list. As if the list was putting the icing on the cake.

     More and more people are coming to realize that if we are to have a
good functioning govenment we must include everyone. The current policy of
having one party be a ruling class is not acceptable. We should seek the
best members from all parties. This is why we need proportional
representation and it follows that civic minded groups should be encouraged
to provide recommended proportional lists of the best candidates - lists
that cross all party lines - and these lists should be on the ballot.

     What follows is a list of additions to the Plan for when the election
area is divided into constituencies

 * This form of the Plan will have Canada divided into Constituencies
 * This plan allows for the people to decide the size of their
constituencies - large or small.
 * Apportionment can be done casually and reapportionment is not necessary.
This plan will automatically adjust apportionment each election for the
same election.
 * Both cycles and all the constituencies are to use the same Share Value -
Total Area Votes divided by Total Election Seats
 * The results of the political party and other lists of the first cycle
for all the constituencies are added together and the second cycle is
worked the same as the second cycle of a single area election.
 * Plan allows for the election data to be used to select the party that is
to form the government.

     Mixed Member Proportional Representation(MMP) is an improvement over
the single-seat district election - but, MMP has the flaw of cross party
voting which can result in more members being elected than seats to be
filled. One solution is to allow these extra members to be seated. The
extra members are called "overhang". When there is overhang there are
voters that were able to elect more than one member. The Canadian Plan is a
better solution.

                              End of Summary

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