[Election-Methods] RE : Taiwan legislative elections and referendum

Chris Benham chrisjbenham at optusnet.com.au
Tue Jan 15 08:32:50 PST 2008

Kevin Venzke wrote:

>--- Augustin <beginner2005 at masquilier.org> 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

I think a rule like this is more democratic than having super-majority 
requirements that exist in a lot
of places.

>But in my opinion, to avoid government abuse of referendum, they should not
>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 be
>interpreted as "have the government make this decision" not "let the other
>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?

Chris Benham

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