[EM] Artificial Thresholds - Open Lists

David Marsay djmarsay at dera.gov.uk
Mon Oct 5 02:54:07 PDT 1998

In response to a reply to a previous posting of mine:

> From:          donald at mich.com (New Democracy)
> Subject:       [EM] Artificial Thresholds - Open Lists

> Donald:  We should design election systems so that all
> parties receive their just proportional representation.

I don't really understand P.R. This sounds right, but is it?

Is this compatible with having one-member constituencies plus a 
top-up? (As in Jenkins' proposal)  With most systems voters might not 
vote for their genuine first choice - 'tactical voting'. Some 
variants of Condorcet are the only method I know of where voters 
never have an incentive to falsify their first choice, so this could 
be a point in their favour.

Shouldn't a candidate who is everyone's second get a seat? This would 
suggest the Borda method.

What if you had a referendum at the same time "Would you like one 
party to have a working majority". I think that there have been times 
in the UK where you would have got "yes" to the referendum but no 
party having 50% of the seats.

I think its a question of balance. Not knowing what to balance, 
Lord Jenkins' proposal seems reasonable.

Donald quotes me:
> David: I have thought of one problem: What about independents? Maybe there
> is some small print already. My suggestion would be to treat all
> independents as a single party, but to give seats to those who get the most
> votes but were not elected instead of having a 'party list'.
> <SNIP>
> David: This would encourage 'independents' to declare allegiance to a party
> so that their votes are more accurately apportioned.
> Donald: I do not understand this.

If  candidates who are actually 'left' or 'right' declare themselves 
independent then votes for one might elect the other. To prevent 
this, like-minded candidates could form informal groups, so that 
votes elect like-minded candidates, even without a formal party.

Donald has suggested that even for parties the candidate from the 
party who got the most votes without being elected might be selected 
to 'make up the numbers', without a party list. This sounds 
attractive. Presumably one would count percentage of vote, not 
absolute vote.

Sorry folks, but apparently I have to do this. :-(
The views expressed above are entirely those of the writer
and do not represent the views, policy or understanding of
any other person or official body.

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