[EM] Vote Management

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Sat Apr 12 04:02:04 PDT 2003

> At 17:04 +0100 11.4.2003, James Gilmour wrote:
> >  With open lists,
> >even the best of the open list systems, there is no way of securing
> >proportional
> >representation WITHIN the parties.  PR within a party can be at
> >least as important
> >as PR among parties.  And of course, the voters can do nothing to
> >achieve PR of
> >anything other than party.

Olli wrote
> If you use joint lists, it's possible, of course not sufficiently to
> meet your high requirements, but at least to some extent. Sweden used
> to have three levels of lists before 1951 , when they switched over
> to Sainte-Laguë.
> Under STV the constituencies/districts are so small that there's not
> much chance for proportionality within parties.

If a party wins only one seat in the district there is no chance of PR, but at
least the candidate elected is the choice of the party's supporters.

If a party wins two seats there is every chance for the two main factions within
the party to be represented.  This would certainly revolutionise GB politics at
Westminster where there have been major divisions within both the Labour Party
and within the Conservative Party over many years (on different issues).  UK
politics would have been, and would be, very different if the supporters of
those two parties had been able, and were now able, to determine the balance of
representation of the competing factions.

If a party wins three or four seats in a larger district, the proportionality
will be better.  But the effect of the small districts with STV-PR is not so bad
as you think compared with open party list PR.  Consider a party that wins two
seats in most STV-PR districts and has two main factions within it.  It is
likely that the factions will each win one seat in each district, so giving
reasonable PR of views within the party.  But under open party list, with
non-transferable votes, all the support for one faction could be pilled up on
their most popular candidate (so they win only one seat instead of half of the
party's allocation) or spread very thinly over the all the candidates who are
sympathetic to the faction (so that they fail to win any seats, or certainly far
fewer than their half share).

The are many reservations about what STV-PR guarantees in terms of PR, but I
never cease to be amazed by what it delivers in practice.


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