[em] In answer to Ren's second question

New Democracy donald at mich.com
Sat Oct 24 20:25:30 PDT 1998


     On Mon, 19 Oct, Ren Aguila asked a number of questions.
     The second question was:
     "2. Some complaints which I believe would be brought up if any form of
preferential voting is imposed is that counting would be more complicated,
especially if we do a manual count. Thus, people in our country believe
that plurality, for all its flaws, is easier to count, considering that
most election officials are volunteers who cannot get much sleep. How would
you answer this?"

Dear Ren Aguila,

     It is true that the better forms of preferential voting are more
complicated and will require computers, but there are election methods that
are both better and simpler than At-Large Plurality. I am thinking about
Limited Voting and Single Non-Transferable Vote(SNTV).
     At-Large Plurality yields only about fifty percent proportionality.
The Limited Voting method will have a higher proportionality and it has
less votes to count. The SNTV method can have a proportionality as high as
eighty percent and it only has one vote per voter to count. What I am
saying here is that you can have an improvement in your election system and
at the same time have less work. I would suggest that you use SNTV.
     SNTV can also be used for the election of the national legislature.
Each polling place only needs to list the local candidates on the ballot
plus a spot in which the voter can write in some other candidate.

     The next level of improvement is a form of preferential voting. You
will have to make a value judgement because this next level will require
more time of the election officials.
     This next level is called Bottoms Up - which is the same routine as
Alternative Vote, except that the routine is stopped when the number of
remaining candidates is equal to the number of members to be elected.
     I would suggest that you stay with SNTV until you have computers.

     Single Seat Elections:
     I would suggest Alternative Vote(AV) in place of Plurality for single
seat elections.
     Alternative Vote is not more complicated than Plurality - it is merely
more of the same. AV has the same first step of Purality and then repeats
this same routine - on a smaller scale.
     The first step of a Plurality election is to divide and count the
ballots according to the choice on each ballot. The election officials
already know how to do this.
     If the election method were changed to Alternative Vote, the officials
would still do the same division and count of the ballots. They would then
be asked to do a smaller division and count of ballots that come from the
eliminated candidate - a routine they already know how to do. It is a
question of asking the officials to repeat the same routine a number of
times on a smaller scale, and not asking them to do something different and
more complicated.
     If this is acceptable then the use of Alternative Vote will insure
that the winning candidate will always win with a majority.

    Note: In the event single seat districts "must" be used for the
national election of the legislature then I would suggest that you use Lord
Jenkins Proposals:
    * Alternative Vote in the districts to elect one half of the members.
    * The other half of the members are elected to Top Up the
proportionality of the district members. This is done by using a second
vote for party lists.

Donald Davison

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