[EM] Craig Layton and Districts within Districts

LAYTON Craig Craig.LAYTON at add.nsw.gov.au
Thu Nov 9 15:04:36 PST 2000

Donald Davison wrote:

>     Districts Within Districts(DWD) is better than District Hare
>Clarke(STV) because DWD gives the people their Member-Links. We must
>realize that enough constituents want their Member-Link, enough to stop any
>improvement that may take them away from it. We can argue that the
>constituents should pick the member that is the closest or to pick any
>member in the district, but the argument will not carry the day.

My point was that in a medium sized district there is greater member link
than a small electorate.  There is more than simple geographic proximity
that makes for an effective member link (although the distances between
people and their members won't be that much larger in any case).  Because a
larger proportion of the electorate has helped elect a local member (with
seven member districts; at least 88 percent) then more people will have at
least one member on whom they can count.  The 40% of republican voters in a
democrat electorate have *no representation (member link) at all*.

>     Just Proportionality takes place when a percentage of the voters are
>able to elect the same percentage of members. One percent of the voters
>should be able to elect one percent of the members, which is one member per
>100 House members.
>     No district election method will give us that kind of proportionality.
>Not my ten seat Greater District nor your seven seats will give Just
>Proportionality. We must accept a trade off. And, that is what I am doing.
>I am willing to trade off the very good proportionality of Party List for
>qualities of Hare Voting, like allowing voters to vote for candidates and
>to rank these candidates and without regard to party, all at the same time
>- people voting for people.

The problem for BOTH single member electorates and any system that allows
voting for a party (list PR, MMP etc) is that the candidates are determined
by a party hierarchy, and the voters don't get any say in the matter.
Having medium districts encourages parties to run more women, blacks, ethic
candidates, as well as candidates from different factions of the party, with
different stated opinions, in order to capture as much of the vote as
possible.  If, for instance, you are basically interested in one issue -
say, the environment, and you vote democrat, because your local member
democrat is an environmentalist, you may also help to elect a forestry
industry (unionist) democrat candidate in a neighbouring electorate.  Any
kind of party list system is false democracy, because although it appears
more proportional, it is less representative of people's views.

I basically think that the member-link is a non-problem, and the increased
sensitivity of representation at a medium level (smaller and larger scales
are much less sensitive to constituents views) makes it a generally more
representative system.

Craig Layton

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