STV-PR Re: [EM] Using weights to compensate multiple votes (It'smostlyabout PR)

James Gilmour jgilmour at
Wed Aug 25 10:47:53 PDT 2004

Dr.Ernie Prabhakar  > Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 4:30 PM
> to.   With STV-PR, is there any way to preserve 'weak' 
> locality?  That > is, say I have district magnitude of 20, so I can 
> conceptually identify > 20 subdistricts which have been combined into a single 
> district for PR > purposes.

Why have you got a district magnitude of 20?  If you are using (any system of) PR why are you
interested or concerned about "sub-districts"?  If you are looking at an existing situation where
you want to change from single-member districts to multi-member districts for PR, reformers like me
always advocate grouping the new multi-member districts around "natural communities".  The scale of
such communities will vary according to the scale of the whole exercise.

>  Now, for the extreme cases where one party wins all the 
> seats, it would make sense (at least to me) to have each of those 
> candidates from a particular sub-district.   That of course would be 
> relatively easy to enforce.

This I don't understand at all.  With STV (or any other sensibly implemented system of PR) one party
will win all the seats in the multi-member district only if it wins nearly all the votes in that
district.  Because voters have complete freedom to mark as many (or as few) candidates as they wish
in order they wish, parties will nominate and promote teams of candidates.  Unless a party's support
is all concentrated in one small corner of the multi-member district, all parties will nominate
candidates who live in different parts of the district, to get their share of the "locality vote".
If locality matters to the voters, they will take this into account when they mark their
preferences.  So you will get PR of parties and PR of locality, both as determined by the voters.
> But, with PR, it can get quite complicated.  Has anyone thought about 
> the 'fairest' way to maximize locality while preserving PR?  Or, is 
> there a really strong argument that one should ignore locality 
> completely?  Or is it just too hard?

With all PR systems there is a trade-off between degree of PR obtained and localness of
representation.  To increase PR, increase district magnitude.  To increase localness, reduce
district magnitude.  Different people will have different views about where the balance should be
struck in making that trade-off.  Remember also that the law of diminishing returns applies: see:

For discussion of these issues in a real political reform context, see:

> P.S.  Does STV-PR actually allow voting for predefined lists > as well as 
> individual candidates?  I had trouble understanding the existing > articles on this point.

Yes, this is allowed in the perverted version of STV-PR used in Australia for Federal elections.
The effect of "ticket voting" is such that STV-PR is reduced to nothing more than a fancy version of
party list PR.  This runs counter to the whole concept behind STV, ie that the system is centred on
the voters and not centred on the parties.


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