Electoral Commission & IRO

Mike Ositoff ntk at netcom.com
Tue Nov 3 22:03:36 PST 1998

> Mike Ossipoff wrote:
> > 
> > It's interesting to note that the British commission recommending
> > on electoral reform recommended against IRO (AV) by itself.
> > Regrettably that information arrives barely too late for
> > the voters of Santa Clara, who will vote tomorrow on whether
> > or not to authorize the use of IRO in their county.
> > 
> > Mike Ossipoff
> Of course, the report was talking about parliamentary elections.  The
> Santa Clara measure is about single-seat elections.

But when they refer to AV on its own, they too are talking about
single-seat elections.

> The relevant statement from Lord Jenkins's report:
> > On its own AV would be unacceptable because of the danger that in
> > anything like present circumstances it might increase rather than
> > reduce disproportionality and might do so in a way which is unfair
> > to the Conservative party.
> If I understand the situation correctly, the concern seems to be that
> Liberal and Labour Party voters would rank each other second, preventing
> the Conservatives from winning any seats.  It may be that the
> Conservatives currently have a small plurality edge in not quite half
> the districts, resulting in a rough semblance of proportionality.

I just meant that they definitely were saying that AV, on its own,
might make things worse than they now are with FPP. From what
you're saying, they're talking about an effect not limited
to AV, in which case I can't use their statement against

But are you sure that they meant it as you said, rather than
a fear that AV might screw up in a way peculiar to that method?

> It doesn't sound like they would have been happy with any single-winner
> method on its own.  A Condorcet Winner in every district could wipe out
> that rough proportionality.

That consideration hadn't occurred to me, that a party might
be able to get roughly its correct nationwise share by getting
enough district pluralities, but never be able to get enough
district CW wins. But maybe, if it's a noncentrist party that
never gets an outright majority in a district.

But if one wants PR, isn't it a lot better to get it by
a PR system than trying to get it via an extreme-electing
problem-ridden single-winner method like Plurality?

I always emphasize that I'm in no position to say what's better
for another country (though of course they have a right to
hear both sides about IRO). I'd never criticize another country's
decision about electoral systems.

> Then again, I may have this all wrong.  Comments from the U.K.?
> Bart

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list