[EM] STV vs Party-list PR, could context matter?

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Sun Feb 19 07:01:42 PST 2012

David L Wetzell    > Sent: Saturday, February 18, 2012 8:21 PM
> 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 party's candidate.   

This is far from the reality  -  it matters a great deal.  Most parties are coalitions, to greater or lesser degrees.  For example,
here in the UK we still have "left" and "right" wings within the Labour Party and we have "pro-EU" and "anti-EU" wings with the
Conservative Party.  If the party hierarchy can impose one political viewpoint by putting candidates from one wing of the party in
all the winnable places on the party's list the many of the supporters of that party will be faced with a "hold your nose" choice  -
either vote for they party's list dominated by "the other" wing or vote against the party altogether and let the opposition in.  And
that's not theoretical  -  we have seen it done here in the UK where, sadly, we do have some party-list PR elections.

> 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.  

This is also very far from the reality.  The role of the Liberal Democrats in UK-level politics has not been fostered by the use of
PR voting systems (of various kinds) in some sub-UK elections.  The two things are not at all related and certainly had nothing to
do with preparing any imaged climate for the AV referendum.

James Gilmour

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