[EM] Request comments on MMP?

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Sun Jul 27 00:11:01 PDT 2003

Alex wrote:
> I actually think STV is superior to open party-list in 
> principle, but in
> practice I'm not convinced America is ready for it.

I don't think simplicity should be the over-riding issue.  You should decide what you want
politically and select the most appropriate voting system.  In our experience here you will get
about one chance in a generation (30 years) to make any major change to the voting system.

> To prove me wrong, all you have to do is go to southeast 
> Florida, take a
> representative and statistically significant sample of 
> registered voters,
> and try to explain STV to them.  If you get 80% to understand it, I'll
> enthusiastically support STV.

Why have you set the threshold at 80%?  What's wrong with 50% + 1?!!!!!!

In any case, this isn't the real issue.  Most voters in most countries do not understand the details
of the voting systems they use.  Even with FPTP, the voters don't know anything about the detailed
procedures though if they can 1 + 1 they understand the principle.  And experience has shown that
voters don't need to understand all the details to know that they have got something good and to
rebuff the politicians when the politicians try to take it away from them.

> Until then, I think the Swiss version of open party-list is the best
> compromise between simplicity and principle:  Each voter gets 
> a number of
> votes equal to the number of seats up for election.  He or 
> she can vote
> for whichever candidates he or she wants to, giving each 
> candidate up to 2
> votes.  A vote for a candidate is also a vote for the list, 
> and seats are
> apportioned among lists using some quota system (Hare?  Droop?  Saint
> Somebody?  I don't know).

Now who's confused?   Surely you're not one of that 80% of Florida voters!!

>  The candidates elected from each  list are the
> ones with the most votes.

Interestingly, one of my sources describes the Swiss system as one of the most complicated voting
systems in the world, in terms of the options the voter has.  Despite that, it seems to be
understood well enough and significant numbers of voters do make use of its more unusual features.

> (In politics, I'm a great admirer of many aspects of the  Swiss system.)

Me too.  But remember the Swiss system is highly devolved and they also make much use of referenda.
Also they use PR to determine the composition of the Federal Council (government cabinet).  Is the
USA ready for that?


More information about the Election-Methods mailing list