[EM] STV vs Party-list PR, could context matter?
David L Wetzell
wetzelld at gmail.com
Sat Feb 18 12:21:11 PST 2012
On Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 6:58 PM, James Gilmour <jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk>wrote:
> David L Wetzell > Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 7:31 PM
> > > James Gilmour: But why would you want all these differences
> > > and complications?
> > dlw: Because context matters.
> I have great difficulty in believing that there are such context specific
> differences. I could believe that there are differences
> in the hostility of the political parties to proposals for reform of the
> voting system at different levels of government and that
> reforms that the parties might accept at one level would not be acceptable
> at another - especially their own election!
dlw: well there are diffs in voter awareness and interest in different
elections. If voters are less into "more local" elections then "more
options" via STV or what-not wouldn't be as helpful for most voters. They
might appreciate the reduced number of candidates, since this reduces the
cost of becoming an informed voter in a given election. They also might
like the less competitive elections with 2 safe seats. The candidates
wouldn't be taking each other to the cleaners but they would be doing their
best to promote their parties.
> > dlw: 1. There are benefits to party-list PR, relative to STV.
> I do not agree that there are any benefits of any party-PR voting system
> that outweigh the benefits to the voters of STV-PR.
Like I said, it may depend on the context.... the benefits of STV-PR vary
with the interest level of the voters in the election.
> "Elections are for electors" - or at least, they should be - and to
> change that balance in favour of the voters should be one of
> the key objectives of any reform of a voting system.
If voters can help elect a 3rd party more easily then it doesn't matter if
there's a stronger role for party hierarchy in the determination of their
> > > JG: We had to accept local government wards electing only 3 or
> > > 4 councillors as part of our STV-PR package - that's
> > > practical politics. But that reform has transformed our
> > > local government - no more "one-party states".
> > dlw: Undoubtedly, and this is what made the AV referendum
> > possible, no doubt.
> The reform of the voting system for local government in Scotland in 2007
> had absolutely nothing to do with the 2011 UK referendum on
> AV (= IRV, not "approval voting"). THE problem with the AV referendum was
> that no serious reformer wanted AV. Some party
> politicians wanted AV, but far more party politicians (especially
> Conservatives) were opposed to any reform at all. The Liberal
> Democrats (whose party policy is for STV-PR) decided that a referendum on
> AV was the best they could extract from the Conservatives
> in the negotiations to form the coalition government. The negotiating
> teams were under a great deal of pressure and wanted to
> achieve an agreement before the UK financial markets opened on the Monday
> morning after the Thursday election.
dlw: All that is true, but it does not change my point that election reform
got on the ballot in large part because the use of quasi-PR in "more local"
elections helped the LibDems to continue to rival the two biggest parties.
When third parties can gain foot-holds, there's inevitably going to be
pressure away from FPTP.
> James Gilmour
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