UK - Lord Jenkin's Proposals

Bart Ingles bartman at
Sun Sep 27 13:55:36 PDT 1998

David Marsay wrote:
>  [deleted]
> 3) A centre candidate will win unless it has the least support or
> some other candidate has an absolute majority (as above).
> This violates the Smith criterion. But maybe that is a small price to
> pay. In extremis, a centre candidate with 2 supporters could win
> using the Smith criterion.  Do we really want to elect the candidate who
>  has least local support? Also note that methods that appear to
> respect the Smith criterion do not encourage honest voting, so may
> not 'really' meat the criterion.

Good point.  I bet many voters would have a problem with a winner who
had a very small percentage of the first-choice vote.  A compromise
winner would have a better chance of acceptance if he is at least in the
ballpark in terms of first-choice votes.  Maybe non-IRO methods could be
improved by reverting to IRO to eliminate very weak candidates or in
case of a circular tie, etc.

> [deleted]
> 8) The system might produce parties that are very similar, arguably a
> problem. However, geographic spread of views (at least in the UK)
> should mean that non-centre views continue to be adequately
> represented.

If you mean that all of the parties might tend toward center, that is
probably better than the opposite outcome, and if true would seem to
obviate the concerns of those who believe that a method is needed to
favor compromise candidates.  Actual experience will show which is the
greater problem.

If you are concerned about the system encouraging the proliferation of a
large number of similar parties, perhaps only differing from one another
in one or two minor positions, you might consider truncation.  In the
extreme, FPTP tends to support two dominant parties who will receive
LO2E votes.  A minimal IRO allowing voters first- and second-choice
would allow up to three domininant parties to emerge, adding a third
choice would allow four, etc.  The question is how many parties are
needed to provide reasonably adequate representation?  (The opposite
extreme -- what if you were to wind up with 50 or 100 parties on the
ballot?  I think some form of truncation is inevitable, the only
question is where.)  (Note:  The thinking here is that truncation would
encourage similar parties to try to coalesce intelligently rather than
rely on the electoral system to do it mechanically.)

What do you think?

--Bart Ingles

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list