[EM] Raph: Sainte-Lague. Transfers in party-list PR.

Raph Frank raphfrk at gmail.com
Sat Jul 14 13:53:26 PDT 2012

On Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 5:47 AM, Michael Ossipoff <email9648742 at gmail.com>wrote:

>  But, when it happens without being the rssult of successful splitting
> strategy, it could just as easily _disfavor_ small parties. Maybe they're
> all just barely short of a round-up point.

True, similar to bloc voting, the strategy could backfire.  Also, it would
require coordination of lots of small (pseudo) parties.  Maybe voters could
be given cards that were properly randomised.

>  Evidently it [using 0.7 instead of 0.5] does, because that's what they
> do in the Scandinavian countires that use Sainte-Lague.

It would be interesting if that was why they did it that way.  I think it
is likely that did it simply to prevent small parties from getting seats.

It only disadvantages small parties for the first seat. d'Hondt is much
> worse, because it disadvantages them everywhere.


>  With Sainte-Lague, with a first divisor of 1.4 or 2, yes someone might
> want to vote for an at least slightly larger compromise party--one that at
> least is big enough to be sure to get a seat.

True, it isn't likely to be that big a deal in practice, just vote for a
party which is expected to get more than 2 seats and you should be pretty
safe.  However, it would act as a barrier to new parties, which is
something all incumbents could agree on.

> (Unless the sort of transfers that you spoke of are available, which would
> make it safe to initially give your vote to your small favorite party).

Right, it allows people to vote honestly without risking losing their
vote.  Even 2 choices would get most of the benefit, vote 1 for your
favourite and then 2 for a party that is sure to get at least 2-3 seats.

> With the transfers, either one-only, or the whole STV ranking wth
> transfers, for ballots that voted for eliminated candidates, Sainte-Lague
> with a first denominator of 2 would be fair, as you pointed out. But if
> even the ability to strategically, by splitting, multiply their s/q by up
> to 4/3 turned out to be problematic, then it would be time to go to
> Largest-Remainder. The bottom-end elimination-transfers would be a good
> thing with SL or LR. When reading about PR,I always wondered why party list
> PR doesn't have that.

I was thinking that "excess" above their fair share could be distributed.
If a party gets 25 seats but 25.2 seats worth of votes, the 0.2 could be

>  The ranking could even be set by the parties. This would mean no lost
>> votes, but still be very simple (voters just pick one party).
> Yes. It would keep the balloting simple. And it would keep the count easy
> too, since the transfers wouldn't have to be made ballot-by-ballot. ...but
> only party by party. Anyone could do the count at home, given the party
> vote totals.

Right.  For most ballots, it would only be a few percent of the vote that
was transferred anyway and they would likely agree with the party's choice.

Another option is a "candidate" list system.  You vote for 1 candidate, and
effectively you vote for his list.  This would be equivalent to voting a
ranked ballot equal to his list.  PR-STV could be used to tally the votes.
This would keep it simple, but still more complex than party list.

The PR-STV count method could be Meek's method, and anyone could do it at
home too, once they had the votes for each candidate's list.

This would require all candidates to be listed.  This gets the benefit of
PR-STV in taking the right to set the list out of the hands of the party
leader, while being possible nationally.  Ofc, the party leadership would
probably have rules about the lists, but they couldn't push it to far, or a
popular candidate would just leave.

Japan used to use the Single-Nontransferrabgle-Vote (SNTV). It, too, has a
> simple and easy count, though it lets people vote for individual
> candidates. It requires some sort of organization, agreement or
> instructions among a party's voters, but that needn't be a prohibitive
> problem. They used it for a long time, so it must have worked fine.

You could give randomised votes out.  I think it likely has similar
problems to bloc voting, where parties have to be careful in estimating
their vote totals.

>  Likewise, the various open list systems have the simple and easy count
> of party-list PR, while still letting people vote for candidates, to
> determine which candidates will occupy the seats won by a party.

Open list normally has multi-member plurality for the intra party count.
Some use the list unless the candidate gets more than a certain percentage.
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