[EM] UK electoral systems "post mortem" discussion on radio

Kristofer Munsterhjelm km_elmet at t-online.de
Wed Jun 10 14:23:49 PDT 2015

On 06/09/2015 10:47 PM, Gervase Lam wrote:
> A few weeks back, I heard on the radio a reasonable discussion about the
> chances of electoral reform in the UK.  It sounded like one of the
> panellists in the discussion knew of the various ("complicated") PR
> systems more than the average person.
> In any case, only glancing mentions were made about other electoral
> systems.  The panellist knew the target audience.  I think this is
> understandable given that the target audience really want good results,
> not a "technical" system.

That raises the question of what the best "simple" PR method one can get 
is. There's probably a trade-off between conceptual simplicity and 
fairness too, and what's simple depends on the audience.

I suppose the simplest amortized fair (so to speak) PR voting method is 
random favorite with single-member districts, but it wouldn't be 
accepted because in the constituencies where the plurality winner didn't 
win, the voters would loudly complain. They want fairness throughout, 
not only on a large scale.

Next simplest would probably be party list PR, but then you have to make 
parties an official part of the system. Multiwinner candidate methods 
can be more fair without parties, but they're complex and get more 
complex still if you want them to gracefully degrade when there are few 
seats. (Multiwinner SNTV can kinda work, but you get stronger parties 
anyway because of the need to coordinate strategy, and it definitely 
doesn't degrade gracefully.)

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