[em] Two Debates - One Solution (updated 10/29)

New Democracy donald at mich.com
Thu Oct 29 04:36:38 PST 1998


     Currently Salva and Owen seem to be engaged in two debates:
     One - An election in a single area vs an election in an area divided
into districts (constituencies).
     And two - voting for candidates vs voting for political parties.
     Salva advocates that: "MPs should be elected in a
nation-wide-single-constituency and represent all the voters from all over
the country that have voted for their party."
     Owen advocates STV in Multi-Seat districts of four to seven seats and
favors the idea of voting for candidates rather than for parties.

     The solution to both of these debates is the same. We should allow the
voters to decide. We allow the people to decide the size of their local
district and we allow the people to rank candidates and/or parties on the
one vote.

     In regard to the use of a single election area for an entire country,
Salva, of course, is correct. The single area is workable and would yield
the best proportionality for any reason including political party.
     The polling places would not need to list all the candidates on the
ballot, but instead they would only need to list candidates from the local
area, plus space on the ballot to write-in other candidates. Each voter can
draw his own virtual district.
     But the reality is that most people cannot comprehend a single large
election area for themselves to be inside of. They would feel like we were
asking them to swim in the middle of the ocean. They would rather swim in a
backyard pool. Salva needs a Plan B to fall back on in the event the people
insist on the country being divided into districts.

     A good Plan B would be to give the voter a choice for party, which
would be used to Top Up the proportionality of the district members. The
main advantage that a single area has over many districts is that the
single area will automatically balance up the proportionality across the
entire country - Owen's multi-member districts will not do this as well.
     Mixed Member Portionality(MMP) balances up the proportionality by
giving the voter a second vote for party. The Top Up MMP type vote will
offset the effects of small districts and the Droop quota. Oh yes, it
should be noted that there are many people in the reform movement with the
mind set that they must have the Droop quota - like as if it is some sort
of commandment. So, the best solution to the district size and the best
solution to the debate on voting for candidates or voting for parties is
the same and can be solved at the same time.
     And that best solution is to let the voter decide by giving the voter
the power to rank candidates and/or political parties in districts. The
result will be party proportionality as good, if not better, as we would
get in a single area election.

My proposed election system that allows voting for both candidates and
parties is as follows:
  * This system can be used in a single area election or in a district
  * If the area is divided into districts the maxinum number of districts
shall be equal to one half of the number of members.
  * The people shall be allowed to combine their districts to form larger
  * The people shall be allow to rank candidates and/or parties on the one vote.
  * The system will use two cycles of Choice Voting(STV).
  * Both cycles and every district will use the same quota - total national
votes divided by the total number of members.
  * In the first cycle of Choice Voting the parties are not to have any of
their surplus votes transferred and no party is to be eliminated. Surplus
votes of candidates are transferred and candidates are eliminated until
only candidates with full quotas are left.
  * Any candidate that gains a quota in the first cycle is elected and that
candidate and his quota of votes will not be used in any calculations in
the second cycle.
  * 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.
  * The party votes from all the districts are added together, party by party.
  * There shall be no artificial threshold.
  * The second cycle of Choice Voting will now start using the total party
votes and attached party lists. The same quota is to be used.
  * The transfer of surplus votes from each party will elect a number of
members from each party list, but there will be a remainder left over for
each party. The total of the remainders will equal the number of seats yet
to be filled.
  * The way my proposal resolves the remainder is to drop the lowest party
remainder and transfer the votes to the next party choice made by the
voters. The votes of this dropped remainder would be divided according to
the percentages of the different parties in the next choices of all the
list votes of the party having the remainder eliminated. Even if only a
minority of the voters make more than one choice for party, this way is
still better than other ways of resolving the remainder because in this way
we get some imput from the voter on how he wants the remainder resolved.
  * In the event no voter makes any lower party choices, the results of
this way will become the same as the Highest Remainder solution - which is

     This proposed plan will yield better party proportionality than what
we could expect to get in a large single area election. Yes, I said better,
because a large single area election will have many exhausted votes. My
proposed plan takes exhausted votes from the first cycle of Choice Voting
and recylces them onto the party list, where they help elect members. The
measure of an election method is the percentage of the votes that end up on
the winning candidates - the more the better. This is why a large single
area election should also use my proposed plan, because my plan will also
recycle the exhausted votes of the large single area election.

     There is another advantage of my plan that is not apparent. My plan
has an advantage in the area of apportionment and reapportionment of
     You may or may not have noticed that the districts in this plan do not
need any great effort in apportionment and no effort in reapportionment -
this is good. The plan provides the best solution to any problem of
reapportionment - the routine employed by the plan eliminates any need for
reapportionment. The number of seats elected by a district will depend on
the number of votes cast in the district in relation to the number of votes
cast in all the other districts. Apportionment can be done casually and
reapportionment is not necessary. Any changes in the voting numbers from
election to election for any reason will be automatically reflected in the
number of seats elected in each district. When drawing up the districts
there will be no need to get them balanced. Districts can have differences
of population.
     The number of seats in one district can be influenced by a number of
reasons: Any increase or decrease of population in any district since the
last election - higher or lower voter turn-out in any district - maybe some
part of the people were denied the right to vote in a district. Any change
in the vote count in any district will be reflected in your district.
     There are two benefits with my plan from having the election divided
into districts. ONE: The people would have an increased inducement to vote
- they would want to get their just share of the representation for their
district. A single statewide district would not have this inducement - nor
do current single seat districts. TWO: If some people are denied the right
to vote, the district involved would lose that percentage of
representation. It is only fitting that the district lose seats until we
can get the evil corrected. Changes and conditions in a district should be
reflected in the number of seats elected to a district.

     One last advantage of my proposed plan: In MMP it is possible for
voters to help elect two members. This results in other voters losing their
right to elect a member and/or more members being elected than seats to be
filled. That problem is not possible in my plan. The voter only has one
vote. He can help elect a member in the district or he can help elect a
member on the party list - it is impossible to do both.

Donald Davison

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