[EM] In defence of IRV

Daniel Carrera dcarrera at gmail.com
Mon Nov 15 13:04:55 PST 2021

On Mon, Nov 15, 2021 at 2:49 PM Jan Šimbera <simbera.jan at gmail.com> wrote:

> As an aside since the debate has broadened considerably anyway:
> To me, a Central European, it is still quite strange how little the
> American debate on electoral reform focuses on the option of multimember
> constituencies (the reform of House elections from single-member
> districts to a per-state PR method perhaps being the most obvious
> candidate).
> The main argument I find for the "first show support, then negotiate"
> paradigm is that it gives the votes more expressive power
> AND makes the negotiation process more transparent and observable
> for the general public.

Yeah. I think multimember precincts are a brilliant solution but my
impression is that anglo-saxon countries are really stuck on the idea of
single member districts (Ireland being a notable exception). The argument
I've heard is that the elected official is there to represent their
particular region, but I've never been persuaded by that argument. I've
lived in three anglo-saxon countries (Canada, UK, US) and national politics
are always national. I've never heard of an MP or member of congress
actually push for a little parochial issue that is specific to their
particular spot in the country. It all seems to be party-line votes
regardless. If politicians are going to behave that way, then we might as
well just have a system with proportional representation. I would love to
see STV in more places. I think in the US specifically there are
constitutional barriers to multi-member districts.

Dr. Daniel Carrera
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Iowa State University
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