STV for party lists

Mike Ositoff ntk at
Thu Jul 23 11:47:03 PDT 1998

When someone posted about the use of Borda to choose & order
party lists in PR, and someone else suggested a form of Approval,
I assumed that we were talking about replacing one single-winner
method with another, for choosing & ordering the PR lists. It
didn't occur to me till later that the original subject line
mentioned STV as the proposal to replace Borda. Of course
STV is almost surely the best way, but the person who wrote the
original posting already knows that.

When I used to discusss PR, I always said that STV would be the
ideal way to choose & order lists for party list PR. But if there
were any question about the feasiblility of setting up rank-balloting,
or explaining STV to the voters, then I also always said that the
Finnish system is a simple but good system.

I don't discuss PR nowadays, because I've already said everything I knew
about it, and because many electoral reformers are dealing competently
with it in the U.S., & because I consider all PR systems & methods
to be good. And also because we have a long, conservative tradition
in which big changes would be especially difficult to achieve, and
our public are suspicious of representation, and suspicious of any
proposals for fundamental change in representation. And because
we don't have national initiatives, where voters enact national
legislation, and so the only way initiatives could affect national
government would be for states to use better single-winner methods
to choose their Congressmembers.

Single-winner reform seems like less to ask for here, since it's
just a better way of doing the same thing, a better way of picking
representatives in our single-member districts. But some of us,
including me, believe that even modest single-winner reforms would
open up the regrettable "two-party-system" duopoly, & result in
more freedom of choice for voters, and a better selection of
choices available.

Mike Ossipoff

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