[EM] Artificial Thresholds - Open Lists

New Democracy donald at mich.com
Sat Sep 26 02:19:34 PDT 1998

Donald writes: One thing that is missing in the BBC report on the Lord
Jenkin's Proposals, is news of a possible artificial threshold.

David Marsay writes: Dear Donald

An interesting question. Which is worse, a large party being
under-represented by 100 seats, or a party with 1% of the votes having no
seat at all?

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

David: There are some groups that might command 0.2% support that I would
not like to see represented, but I would still prefer that to the present
system. One would not want to set the threshold too high, lest the groups
continue to feel unduly discriminated against.

Donald: If there is an objectional group, it is best to allow them to have
representation. Otherwise this group will join one of the larger parties
with the result that they will have a larger influence in government.
     All groups should be treated with equality, even if the group has only
a remainder of a list quota - that remainder should be treated the same as
the rest of the remainders. No artificial threshold should be established.

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'.

Donald: I agree with what you are saying here. I read you to say that the
"independent list" would be an open list. I say this because the voters of
your plan will be deciding the order of the list as the voters give more or
less votes to each of the independent candidates.
     I would like to suggest that this should also be done with all the
parties. The non-elected candidates from the districts can become the list
candidates of their party, in order of the highest votes they had when they
were eliminated.
I have this feature in my multi seat election system, which I call the
Davison Plan. I also have the feature in which every district uses the same
number of votes as a quota - but I digress.

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.

David: Maybe one could have a pseudo-party, such as 'left-ish independents'
that simply exists for the purpose of vote redistribution.

Donald: Some voters would be willing to vote for an independent list merely
because of the reason that the candidates are free of any political party.
And, we could also accept list of recommended candidates put out by civic
minded groups.

David: I hope the system would be reviewed periodically to make any small
adjustments that might become necessary.

David Marsay and Donald Davison

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - repeat letter - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
> Dear David Marsay,
>      One thing that is missing is news of a possible artificial threshold.
>      This proposal will give representation to more small parties and their
> voters, but the size of any artificial threshold will limit that
> improvement.
>      I hope no threshold is imposed.
>      In any event this proposal will still be an improvement.
> Regards,
> Donald Davison

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