[EM] Constituency Size

New Democracy donald at mich.com
Mon Nov 2 00:56:28 PST 1998


     Doug Porter commented on my proposed two cycle election plan. My reply
to him follows.

Donald: * The un-elected candidates from all the districts will go onto a
list of their party in an order according to the highest number of votes
they had when they were eliminated.

Doug: Why is constituency size unimportant here?  Wouldn't larger constituencies
get their man nearer the top of the list just because they have more voters
to choose a particular candidate?

Dear Doug,

     Constituency size is unimportant here because in the first cycle we
are using the same quota to elect every member that is elected in a
constituency. These members are elected with equality.
     In the first cycle we are also collecting party votes that will be
used to elect members from the party lists. These party votes are all
collected with equality, regardless of any different size constituencies.
     The order of the party list is not perfect, but it is more open than a
Closed List.
     I would listen to any other suggested way to form the order that
anyone may have.

     The size of any flaw should be put into perspective. Any possible
dispute as to which candidate should be elected will only occur between
candidate N and candidate N+1, where N is the number of party seats that a
party is entitled to as a result of party votes being divided by the quota.
While who gets elected is important to these two candidates, I must remind
you that the main point of party list is to elect members according to
party, and it follows that any candidate of the party will do. The second
cycle of my plan does elect party members exactly according to the
proportionality of the party votes. So, therefore my plan is doing its job.

     The condition that you question is a problem of small constituencies.
The problem is that a small constituency does not allow a candidate to
receive votes from most of his support. If two small constituencies were
joined together just before an election, and if one candidate will now
receive appreciable more votes, that means that more of his support is able
to vote for him. This in spite of the reality that he is now running
against more candidates.

     Larger is better for constituencies, but the question is how much
larger. A constituency should be large enough so that a candidate is able
to receive votes from most of his support. If constituencies were large
enough to contain all the support of candidates then there would be no
     From the voters' viewpoint, I would say that the constituency should
be large enough so that a voter can expect his candidate will be able to
gain a quota of votes.
     One way to answer this size question is for everyone to ask
themselves: " If I were a candidate, how large a constituency would I like
to run in?"
     I would like about ten quotas of votes. I feel I could reach ten
percent of the voters, which would give me a fair chance to gain one quota.
If I were required to get twenty percent in order to gain one quota, I
would feel that would be more than twice as hard to do. And, to get fifty
percent is very much harder to obtain than five times ten percent.
     I think everyone should decide on a number of quotas per constituency
and then maybe we could come up with a consensus.

     Many people have the mind set that they must have a small constituency
- so be it. My plan allows them to have their small constituency. When they
realize they are hurting themselves and their candidates, they are free to
join into larger constituencies. In the meantime I am not going to fight
them - any local area that wants a small constituency can have a small
constituency. The size of a constituency is not as important as having a
means to balance up the party proportionality across all the
constituencies. MMP has this means. My proposed plan also has this means
and is offered as an improvement over MMP.
     My plan is not any more complicated than MMP - only different. Both
have two election cycles. Both do a good job of balancing up the party
proportionality across all the constituencies.

Donald Davison

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