James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Wed Aug 25 15:11:53 PDT 2004

Adam Tarr  > Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 10:29 PM
> Well, I would make it a requirement that population-per-seat be equal 
> across districts, plus or minus an extremely small margin owing to the 
> granularity of census blocks or zip codes or whatever is used as the 
> "atoms" of district formation.  So that takes (c) out of the criteria.

I am aware of this North American obsession with equalness of numbers, but it is a pointless pursuit
if the real objective is "equality of representation".  You can equalise every aspect of your
districts as much as you like, but differences in turnout at the election will make a nonsense of
the attempt to attain some perfection of "equalness".  In the most recent Northern Ireland Assembly
STV-PR elections (all 6-member districts) the turnouts varied between districts from 55% to 75%.
This distorts the "equalness of representation" between districts.  Add to this the political fact
that there is a strong correlation between turnout and party support, and the difference in turnout
also distorts the "equalness of representation" between political parties.  But the obsession with
equalness misses the point.  "Equality of representation" is about more than can be obtained by
equalising numbers of electors.  Look at the variations that exist where STV-PR is used

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