[EM] Census re-districting instead of PR for allocating seats to districts.

Juho Laatu juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Jul 2 03:22:25 PDT 2012

On 2.7.2012, at 8.45, Michael Ossipoff wrote:

>  You asked:
> , or would the candidate maybe indicate his favourite party separately?

Sorry, I had a typo here. I should have written "would the voter maybe indicate". No need to answer again since I think this was already covered below.

> But if your independent that you vote for locally doesn't win a district seat, s/he might still win an at-large seat in the national list PR allocation, because, as I said, there's no reason why an independent shouldn't be able to run as a 1-candidate "party". So, if you really want to elect hir, then vote for hir in your district STV election, and also in the national PR allocation election. We're assuming that s/he's a candidate in your district, which is why you can vote for hir in your district STV election.

Here you refer to a separate "national PR allocation election". Is your plan maybe that the voter casts one ranked vote in the district STV election and one party vote in the national party election?

Note that this kind of methods may easily allow such free riding where parties list some of their strong candidates (that will be certainly elected) as independent candidates in the districts. This makes the total number of seats of that party appear smaller that it in reality is. And that may lead to more top-up seats to this party.

> They couldn't get them via a party's national list. But they could get them if they run as an independent in the national list PR election, in addition to running in their own district's STV election.   ...but of course only if they qualify for a seat in that national allocation by the same standards by which a party would qualify for a seat. I read about a woman who ran as an independent in a European PR election, as if she were a party. To win, she merely had to get the number of votes that a party would need. 

A single independent candidate of one district could be associated with a national party name "NN from District1". I guess you would allow also people from other districts to vote for this "party" in the national party election. The probability of getting elected at the national level this way seems low, but for fairness also this option could be supported.

> > STV systems usually use small districts, tending to defeat the purpose of PR.
> One hybrid PR oriented approach would be to use STV within the parties. The voters would be able to rank candidates of one party only (a simplification to keep the method manageable). Seats would be allocated to the parties using some list style method. STV would be used to allocate seats within each party.
> Sure. That's a fine open list system. But the existing open list systems (including the one in Finland) are fine already, and there's no need to make them fancier by using rankings and an STV count in each party, to determine which candidates, in which order, will fill the seats won by that party in the list PR allocation.
> The use of STV for that internal purpose, in an open list election, would be fine. It would be fancy and luxurious. But the other open list systems are already fine.

One key feature that STV would bring in is party internal proportionality. In current open lists for example the left and right wings of a party will usually get approximately proportional number of seats, but nothing is guaranteed, and a majority might well become a minority. STV (or e.g. party internal trees) could fix this problem.

I have not seen any major complaints in Finland concerning the proportionality of different political sectors of the parties. But there has been some (but not very organized) criticism on how the open list methods treat candidates of remote areas. A typical example is one where one district has a central city + numerous municipalities around it. Let's say one of the southers municipalities has a strong candidate. Then the neighbouring municipality gets also a strong candidate. Now we have a vote splitiing problem. Those southern municipalities would like to get their own representative. A joint representative would do - either of the strong candidates. But since the votes will be split, they will probably not get one. Those voters that fear that a vote to their own candidate might be a lost vote, may easily vote for some candidate of the central city instead. This way the central city will collect many votes from the rempte areas, and it may easily get a disproportionally large share of the seats (of that party within that district). STV (or a tree that would allow the southern candidates to unite) would solve the problem and would allow voters to guarantee a seat to the southern region.


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