PR vs. Geographic Representation [WAS: RE: [EM] Bill Lewis, never re-district]

Adam Tarr atarr at
Wed Jan 28 08:17:35 PST 2004

Bill Clark wrote:

>Agreed.  But independently, I still thought that the choice was between
>Geographic Representation and a system that gave political parties a
>priveleged status (such as party list systems of PR do.)

If you're married to the idea of geographic representation (I'll admit it 
has some advantages) then there's still a few options for MMP:

1)  German-style multi-member proportionality.  Everyone votes for local 
representatives, who all declare party affiliations.  Then at the end, 
extra representatives from the appropriate parties('s lists) are sprinkled 
in to make overall proportionality correct.  So if Greens get 8% of the 
vote and 1% of the district seats, they will get a bunch of national 
representatives to fill the difference.

MMP has some disadvantages, notably that it gives the parties extra power 
and it can fail to represent all sides of local issues.  But it does give 
both proportionality and local representation.

2)  Moderate-sized districts.  Especially in densely populated areas, it's 
pretty easy to get both local representation and proportionality.  The New 
York metroplotian area has 13 representatives, 12 Democrats and one 
Republican.  If it was one meta-district, you'd probably see something more 
like (wild guess here) 6/5/2 between Dems, Republicans, and Greens.  In 
other areas where the population is a little more spread out, you can still 
get some proportionality by going to 3-5 member districts.  My opinion is 
that you want at least 7-8 member districts for good proportionality, but 
the point is that a balance can be struck.

>All of the examples of PR I'd ever seen always dealt with party list
>systems, so I thought that's all there was (and consequently didn't follow
>up with the additional research that I apparently should have.)
> > If you were to adopt any party list system of PR (closed list, open
> > list, MMP) you would give the parities more leverage.  But if you
> > adopted STV-PR (Choice Voting) you could shift the balance of power
> > away from the parties to the voters.
>I'll look into STV-PR, then.  Stephane Rouillon has also suggested to me
>that I examine SPPA, which I believe may be a variant of (or at least
>similar to) STV-PR.

Yes, and STV-PR has lots of subtle variations, too (notably Hare quota vs. 
Droop quota). has a good 
operational definition of STV.

I also suggest you check out proportional approval voting (PAV).  Here's 
the initial thread about it:

and here's some commentary I had before:

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