[EM] Re: bicameral design poll

Jeffrey O'Neill jeff_c_o at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 5 11:32:07 PST 2004

> From: "James Gilmour" <jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk>
> Jeff wrote:
> > Interesting question.  I agree with your answer except for 
> > the size of the districts.  According to Duverger, a district 
> > size of 10 supports 11 parties. 
> What does this statement mean?  I am not aware that there is any direct
> relationship between
> district magnitude and the number of active or contesting parties.

Duverger proposed this theory and it is well known in the political science
community.  You should be able to find more details in academic articles and

> 4 or 5 may be the ideal size in a particular situation, but "reducing the
> number of candidates" is not a good reason for making such a decision.  

IMHO, the number of candidates is an important consideration in designing an
electoral system.  I think too many candidates can overwhelm the voters and
hinder meaningful political dialogue.  150 candidates for the election of the
governor of CA is clearly too much.  The number of candidates can also be
controlled through ballot access laws, but this is getting off topic.

> From: Rob LeGrand <honky1998 at yahoo.com>
> I agree with using single-member districts for the smaller house and
> multimember districts for the larger house, but I think such a
> geographical linkage would be best avoided.  I'd want the two sets of
> districts to differ and overlap as much as possible to differentiate the
> electorates for the two houses.  In my opinion, that's the major reason
> to have a bicameral legislature in the first place.  It would also
> dilute the effect of a single instance of gerrymandering somewhat.

Rob, very good points.


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