[EM] Vote Management

Olli Salmi olli.salmi at uusikaupunki.fi
Sat Apr 12 12:28:01 PDT 2003

At 16:12 -0700 10.4.2003, Alex Small wrote:
>It seems that this phenomenon of figuring out how many candidates to run
>is a common feature of PR systems that focus on candidates rather than
>parties.  Cumulative Voting, Limited Voting, and STV all come to mind off
>the top of my head.
>Party list systems, even open-list systems, suffer from no such defect.
>I've never taken the time to wrap my brain around Proportional Approval
>Voting, so I don't know how it fares in that regard.  My hunch is that,
>since members of a party can treat all of the party's candidates equally
>on their ballot, such a problem does not commonly occur, but that is just
>a hunch.

My understanding is that if you only vote for your party, there's no 
problem. But in an Approval system you have to be careful not to cast 
votes for other parties because the order of preferences on your 
ballot is determined by other voters.

>Can anybody think of other PR methods that don't force parties to either
>limit the size of their tickets, or persuade their voters to distribute
>their votes among candidates in a particular manner?

>I realize that some people aren't big fans of PR based on parties.

You will have parties anyway. They also provide stability. What is 
essential that you don't need 25000 signatures to get on the ballot.

>Certainly, it's ideal if voters decide for themselves which groups of
>candidates best represent their interests, rather than adhering to labels
>designated by politicians.  However, the concept of a party is useful for
>analyzing PR systems.  Even if candidates run without a formal partisan
>label, a group of voters with a common interest (e.g. environmental
>issues, gun rights, ethnic matters, etc.) might strategize among
>themselves to maximize the number of winning candidates who support their
>cause.  The word "party" then denotes any group of people with common
>interests, not just the formal parties found in list PR systems.

This is quite often the case in non-governmental elections here. In 
our students' unions the lists are mostly gathered around clubs and 
other organizations, including political parties. In the students' 
union of the University of Helsinki you can nominate yourself, in 
other unions you usually need around ten signatures. In teachers' 
trade union elections there were two lists, one for the teachers of 
the lower years and one for the teachers of the higher years. They 
were not real parties, probably not even organized.

In church elections there were two lists where I live. The names bore 
no resemblance to party labels but the candidates of the lists tended 
to be local politicians with known party affiliations. One list was 
for the left, one for the right.

Olli Salmi

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list