[EM] Question for STV-PR supporters
atarr at purdue.edu
Wed Jul 16 09:18:24 PDT 2003
James Green-Armytage wrote:
> I agree that STV can be used for a district of any size. The main
>tradeoff in district magnitude seems to be between proportionality and
>connection with local / regional areas.
> That is, the higher the district magnitude, the greater the
>proportionality, but the less connection between representatives and a
>particular geographic region.
I see a couple other factors to consider in the trade-off:
- A large list of candidates makes it hard for the voter to study them all,
thereby forcing the voter into a more party-based decision
process. Similarly, larger numbers of winners make it harder for the voter
to keep abreast of them all, and weaken the accountability of
representatives to their constituents (a similar argument to your local
- Some would argue that a viewpoint should have to achieve some critical
mass (say, 10% of the voters) before it should gain representation. This
reduces proportionality, but it helps prevent splintering and radicalization.
For these reasons, I feel like 7 or 8 is the ideal number of
representatives for a district. There could be exceptions - New York City
could be one big 13-seat district, for example - but 7 or 8 seems like the
right balance between proportionality, connection to the voters, ease of
voting, and protection against splintering.
> Personally, I like to see PR with a district magnitude of at least 10
>seats, and I would tend to prefer more than that rather than less.
I'd imagine you prefer larger districts because you see fewer factors
motivating smaller districts than I do.
> I agree that a paper ballot for a large-magnitude district might
> be kind
>of expensive. For example, if you had 50 seats, you might have upwards of
>500 candidates. I've always imagined those kind of things on some sort of
>computer interface (with paper printouts etc., of course). That is, a
>user-friendly interface with various panels and buttons and whistles, one
>where you can search through the candidates by first name, last name,
>party, rank them as you go along, change your rankings, add write-ins or
>search from some kind of secondary list of candidates, and so on.
I agree that getting good implementation/results for large-district STV or
PAV-based PR almost requires a user-friendly touch-screen interface. That
said, I don't think even the most whiz-bang user interface could enable the
typical California voter to make informed choices about what 53 candidates
to send to congress.
More information about the Election-Methods