[Election-Methods] RE : Fwd: Re: RE : Taiwan legislative elections and referendum
stepjak at yahoo.fr
Tue Jan 15 11:02:07 PST 2008
--- Chris Benham <cbenhamau at yahoo.com.au> a écrit :
> >>I am very angry when I think about how referendums are conducted in
> >>a- stupid 50% rule.
> >>For the result of a referendum to be valid, at least 50% of the
> >>*registered voters* must participate. I.e. if at least 50% of the
> >>registered couch potatoes stay at home, the referendum will fail even
> >>if the vote expressed show 90% + support to the referendum item.
> >>Thus, the surest way to kill a referendum is to stay at home.
> >>Also, all those registered voters who genuinely don't care about the
> >>referendum one way of the other (e.g. the disinterested couch potato
> >>group of people), are all automaticall counted in the NO camp,
> >>whatever the question asked. !!!
> >>How much more undemocratic can that be??
> >The rule that a majority of voters must vote is unfortunate because it
> >means that by showing up to vote "No" you can cause the proposal to
> You could avoid that problem by having a rule that says for a
> referendum to pass the number of
> cast ballots in favour of it must exceed the number of cast ballots
> against it and also comprise at
> least (say) 25% of the "registered voters". (The 25% figure is
> consistent with the intention of the
> actual "50% must vote" rule, because if it passes by a narrow margin
> then about 50% must have
Yes, that would do it.
> I think a rule like this is more democratic than having super-majority
> requirements that exist in a lot
> of places.
If the result of the referendum (pass or fail) is definitely binding, then
yes, a super-majority requirement is less democratic.
> >But in my opinion, to avoid government abuse of referendum, they should
> >pass or fail only on the opinions of the voters that the government was
> >able to convince to participate.
> Kevin, can you explain (and maybe give an example) of what you mean by
> "government abuse of referendum"
> and how your proposal avoids it?
> >If I choose to not vote in a referendum for some issue, I want this to
> >interpreted as "have the government make this decision" not "let the
> >voters make this decision."
> Since the government derives its authority and legitimacy from being the
> voters' representatives, I find
> this personal view of yours to be a bit perverse and undemocratic.
> Presumably you think this should
> be the general view. If so, why?
Because I have no confidence that the "other voters" willing to express an
opinion are the ones that I think the government should listen to.
I don't want the government asking the people to make any decision that the
government should be in a better position to be able to answer.
Often the local government asks me to say whether my taxes should be raised
in order to better fund schools. What do I know about what funds are needed
by the schools? Don't I elect a government to deal with that? If the
schools really need the funds then I guess I shouldn't be involved in this
It seems quite likely that there are situations where the government
expects that the number of voters interested in voting to approve a
proposal would dwarf the number interested in showing up to vote against
it. (Or the opposite.) In that case holding the referendum may be a
calculated political move to dodge responsibility or give the decision more
legitimacy. To prevent gaming the procedure I would prefer that the measure
can't be passed (or definitively defeated) only by a small number of voters
who strongly support (or oppose) it.
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