The considered voting methods:
|Citizens Assembly beavers on.||Every household to receive their report.|
In British Columbia, which is a couple of years ahead of Ontario on this issue, a citizens' assembly has just recommended a whacko system called the single transferable vote.
Ian Urquhart, political columnist, "Toronto Star".
Reportedly, a reporter suggested the assembly was "a bit of a fiasco".
The reply was: Not necessarily. BC is BC.
At this, everyone "guffawed with great gusto".
To say "guffawed" would suffice.
Superficial and misleading coverage of voting methods are nothing new. Something of this view of a "wild west" may be attributed to the wild distortions of a crude and obsolete electoral system that can give a political party a national majority of seats ( if not votes ) with hardly any seats won in western Canada, tho this does not represent the balance of votes cast.
For instance, in 1980, the last Trudeau government won only two seats in Manitoba and none in the other three western provinces. That is for votes ranging from over 22 per cent to nearly 25 per cent in Manitoba. In British Columbia, over 41 per cent votes won the Progressive Conservatives 16 seats. Over 35 per cent won the NDP 12 seats. In the Yukon, the Liberals' 37 per cent was greater than the Progressive Conservatives and the New Democrats, both with 31 per cent, who took 2 and 1 seats, respectively.
The Citizens Assembly final report does what I dont do so well. It builds
a picture of how STV, the single transferable vote might be expected to
improve the every-day practise of politics.
The assembly's assessment has its feet on the ground. Nothing could be further from the truth than any innuendo that BC citizens are somehow far out politicly, as well as geographicly, from the center of things in eastern Canada.
But the simple majority system has been the thing that is. And such things
tend to go unquestioned.
When young, I was tired of having to read-up even on voting, which I thought I knew all about.
I have no difficulty in understanding the poor response to random requests to join a citizens assembly on voting method. I was a natural non-respondent.
All the electoral complacency of the day found its way into an essay I was set. Half way thru, tho, I reluctantly decided that I would have to glance at a book or two on the subject. I was lucky that included JFS Ross' "Elections and Electors", one of the great works. Even this crammer realised that the simple majority system is a stump compared to the tree of transferable voting.
Then, I looked to ecology for understanding society. When the
environmental movement got going, I wanted to be a part of it. I hoped it
would bring a new politics of scientific detachment, for solving the world's
problems of wilderness and wild-life conservation and mankind's health.
I still think the Greens are closest to realising that radical ills require radical remedies. But some of their parties have been ironicly partisan. Without effective elections, political and economic, they would be too much like a re-run of state socialism.
Anyway, I realised that the environment was already a well-supported
cause, with abler experts than I would ever make. As Ive admitted on another
web page, the Press were soon doing a reasonable job of conveying the scale
of environmental abuse to the public.
In contrast, there seemed much more work to be done before democratic method would become anything like general knowledge. So, I decided to study voting method, as well as economic democracy including an occupational second chamber.
( As explained elsewhere on this site, I recommend an STV elected vocational second chamber to be included in any plans for democratic renewal, such as those initiated by Ontario's government. )
Some learn-nothing responses to electoral reform have proved more tenacious than my own complacency, re-assuring me that I answered a necessary calling.
|Assembly members take to the country.||Fire-side meetings held.|
British Columbia has revived the classical democracy of ancient Athens, whereby the citizens were chosen by lot to take part in public affairs. Meanwhile, Ontario is the next Canadian province to put popular participation back at the heart of politics. British Columbia was just the first of the provinces to get in on the act of changing the voting system.
Prince Edward Island resorted to a commission to prefer the Mixed Member
Proportional ( MMP ) system ( as they were less sure about STV ). If MMP is approved in a referendum in 2005, they claim
this will make them the first Canadian province in modern times to use
proportional elections. It matters most not to be first but to be right. Act
in haste and repent at leisure.
What happened to the Island's citizens' studied choice of reform?
The Yukon government sent an observer to the BC citizens assembly, to make a
recommendation. This is also the job of a committee of the parliament of
The Technical Report of the British Columbia Citizens Assembly details the organisation that went into running the first citizens assembly. This will help future bodies repeating this experiment.
The Quebec government intends to introduce MMP. Their reformers want the
government to make it more proportional.
Straight away, this shows the dilemma of a mixed system of conflicting counts, part simple majority ( in single member constituencies ) and part party proportional ( from party lists of candidates ). MMP is not so much a system as a running quarrel between party monopolies against party share-outs.
In Quebec, 1973, the simple majority system gave a Liberal majority, on 55 per cent of the votes, 102 seats to 8 seats. In 1976, this changed into a parti Quebecois majority of 69 to 41. PQ won 63 per cent of the seats for 41 per cent of the votes, up from 30 per cent votes winning 6 seats.
In 1979 in the Electoral Reform Society journal, "Representation", Enid Lakeman said of the Quebec government Green Paper ( consultative document ) and the Federal government's task force report on constitutional issues including electoral reform:
Both are quite extraordinary documents, which I have felt obliged to criticise in letters to their authors. One would think that a Canadian body set up to consider possible alternatives to that country's present electoral system would as a matter of course consider Canadian experience of other systems, but no; there is not even a passing reference to STV in Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton or the alternative vote in Alberta...
Both working parties seem to have been aware that it is desirable to give fair representation to such groups as French- and English- speaking Canadians, Indians, Eskimos ( Innuit ), etc., but completely unaware of the single transferable vote as a means of achieving this. They have allowed themselves to be attracted by the West German mixed system, without taking account of the fact that it gives proportional representation only to parties. It cannot possibly enable Indians to elect Indian representatives unless they set themselves up as a separate Indian party and that is surely not to be desired.
In Belgium, the parties not only have their own lists but these lists have to be split into lists for French speaking and Flemish speaking candidates. In short, list systems, including the German hybrid system, can only express differences as crude divisions, weakening each other by competing for an X-vote.
In contrast, transferable voting can also be a force for individuality, unity and strength. It recognises that divisions are not absolute but a matter of more or less difference, that is more or less bridgable by transfering one's votes from individual candidates, one has most in common with, to the next prefered candidates. STV makes compromise and co-operation possible, tho it does not and cannot enforce it.
STV doesnt have to have lists for French or English speaking candidates in
Canada. French speaking voters only have to prefer candidates of their own
language and STV's proportional election of prefered candidates then ensures
Francophone proportional representation in parliament.
What is more, separatist voters in Quebec can prefer the separatists and French-speaking federalist voters can prefer the French speaking candidates of their own persuasion. Both persuasions can prefer French-speaking candidates of any party or none. And they can express a preference between other linguistic groups of candidates of whatever parties.
Similar considerations apply to English or any other ethnic group.
One shouldnt forget that the basic advantage of STV is that the voters are
allowed to elect the candidates they most prefer. Obviously, we want our own
group to be properly represented. For example, women may prefer women
candidates, from the candidates of their most prefered party, maybe then the
men, then perhaps the women from their next prefered party, and so on.
However, one can prefer the best candidates, that one thinks will do the most for the people they are serving, with or without regard to affiliation by party, culture, race or class etc.
According to the Fair Vote Canada website, the current Quebec government proposal of MMP would be without a second
X-vote for a party list. This means that small parties would have their
proportional share of seats for votes given to their best losing candidates,
second, third or even fourth past the post, if they didnt win a fair share of
seats from first past the post results.
Hence, single member constituencies can have one or two ( even three ) additional members and be smaller than other constituencies with no additional members.
Essentially, this Best Losers MMP shows why a transferable vote is necessary. The simple fact is that the most prefered candidates cannot be elected without giving the voters a preference vote and without those prefered candidates being equitably elected on a proportional count.
Leaving orders of election to the vagaries of plurality counting in a single
member system opens not so much a ballot box as a pandoras box. Britain's
Hansard Society proposed Best Losers MMP, which they called the Additional
Members System ( AMS ), in 1976.
Electoral reform Society's Robert Newland called it "botched". Constitutional expert, Vernon Bogdanor called it too anomalous for further serious consideration.
Scattered about my web pages are criticisms of this system and its failings as illustrated when the Japanese introduced it. For the reader's convenience, I mention a few points. These are not the damning failings in theory that AMS undoubtedly has, but a few examples I happen to know about Japan: the single members' patronage system of safe seats continues under AMS. Japan's second election under the new system saw turn-out decline, similar to the decline in Canada's federal turn-out. By reducing the number of seats for additional members, the Japanese were able to virtually wipe out the previous proportional election of Communists. This had nothing to do with the voters' wishes and everything to do with how the system can be rigged. An Independent in a large constituency had a huge vote that just missed being first, whereas a party candidate with a small constituency vote was elected to make up some party's proportional entitlement to a seat.
Scottish and Welsh politicians both had second thoughts after introducing, as Quebec's government intends, MMP. Neither could these two Keltic countries agree on what proportion of list members to have as members of their parliaments. But then, countries do not agree, even with themselves, on that.
Like New Zealand, Scotland decided to turn to STV for local elections, after adopting MMP for national elections. The Kerley report is reviewed on this web site, as is the Sunderland report, which recommended STV for local elections in Wales. Since then, the Richard Commission has recommended the Welsh assembly change from MMP to STV. Dissatisfaction with MMP in Scotland has also set in motion a review of the voting method for Scottish national elections. The former Speaker, Sir David Steel has already spoken out for MMP to be replaced by STV.
Some politicians are realising that a bad electoral system is bad for the political system, and not just some of the parties compared to the others.
In 2003, the British Columbia government randomly chose 160 members of the public for a Citizens Assembly, to be a representative sample of the people. Half were women. The Liberal government accepted that political parties were under a conflict of interest in deciding an electoral reform. Voting method is supposed to be in the public interest but different methods favor different parties.
There followed "ten months of study, research and debate" with 50 public
hearings and 1603 written submissions. ( All references, on this page, to
numbered submissions, are with respect to the British Columbia Citizens
The premier Gordon Campbell, on his first visit to the assembly, thanked its members for their great gift to public life. An information office would be set up and he encouraged British Columbians to get to know about the recommended system and debate it. The government and cabinet remained neutral.
A referendum would be held in the following May, 2005. Existing BC
legislation, however, requires a 60% majority and a wide spread of support
among the Ridings.
The Liberal government itself would have been two per cent short of a 60% victory requirement.
|Sailing thru the referendum.|
The chair, Jack Blaney plainly regarded the Citizens Assembly as a
wonderful event. I'm sure it was deserving of his highest praise.
But the assembly might have been plunged into the old exclusive politics of partisan self interest. It is to the credit of the BC parties, except perhaps one, that they did show restraint. Their silence was more eloquent than the odd party's propagandising.
In 2002, the BC Greens decided to canvass for a referendum on their favored voting system, the mixed member proportional system ( MMP ). Other reformers resisted this attempt, to pre-empt the pledge of the majority-elected Liberals, as a "hi-jack" of electoral reform in favor of the wishes of a small party. This take-over bid was as bad as ruling parties who monopolise electoral power thru existing rules. However, the so-called "Free your vote" campaign didnt obtain the required large number of signatures ( 250,000 ) for their MMP Initiative.
A constitutional reform requires a broad agreement as to the rules of the political game. Without that, there can be no basis for co-operation.
Cynics and defeatists among reformers urged that a government could never be trusted to keep its word. But members of Fair Vote BC, that included reform members of all parties and none, kept their head, noting that the government was implementing a time-table. They welcomed the unprecedented generosity of the government's proposals and stopped campaigning while the assembly was in session.
The citizens assembly was formed into discussion groups. Anyone, who has
under-gone this experience, wont be surprised that members felt their
individual points of view were not adequately represented by summary reports
of a spokesman to the full assembly. Eventually, people had to be allowed to
have their own say.
My experience confirms a friend's, that small groups pull all different ways, until most members realise this isnt getting anywhere. Usually, they give up and let the most assertive person take over. And conventional wisdom, in the name of all, mocks individual view-points.
But the discussion group members seem to have realised the importance of what they were doing and not given up distinctive contributions of their own. The groups' discussions were valued for learning but not for group decision-making.
Seeing the proceedings of the Citizens Assembly werent going their way, the Green leadership urged people to say not only that they wanted MMP but that they didnt want the rival system of proportional representation called STV ( single transferable vote ).
The effect of this incitement was a flurry of messages, to the Citizens
Assembly website, to the effect: "We want MMP. We dont want STV". My
favorites among these was one that urged the assembly to ignore STV as it
will take forever to count. And another message that warned darkly of the
consequences of the assembly not listening to their wishes.
This "spamming", that an MMP supporter admitted afterwards was bad tactics, staged a little submissions "referendum" to pre-empt the real referendum.
A BC Green supporter, who attended some Green party meetings, was
disgusted by the superficial way these electoral reform resolutions were
Anyone who has been at a political rally, perhaps, has some idea of how attending crowds too easily resemble a steered herd. Classical psychologists, like Carl Jung, observed that crowds can behave not so much as individuals but their lowest common denominator.
Why didnt this party of enthusiasts have the courage of their convictions,
and leave MMP to prevail on its own alleged merits with a representative
sample of the people?
It didnt seem to occur to the Green leadership that their activism could invalidate the independence of the citizens assembly verdict, had it gone their way. Supporters of the present system could have taken legal action against the one-sided interference with assembly deliberations. Whether successful or no, this would have thrown in doubt the legitimacy of the assembly's referendum recommendation.
But for the ( as I'm told ) "fanatical" opposition among Greens, the Assembly vote, in favor of STV, most probably would have been even closer to unanimity than it was.
An eye-witness, of the final debate to choose MMP or STV, said that it was
conducted with courtesy. Civilised values were inculcated in the assembly's
procedure, such as "criticise ideas not the people who hold them".
Overwhelming majorities in the assembly did vote for STV against First past the post, and voted for a referendum on whether to adopt STV in British Columbia.
After the Assembly's decision, the current Green leader opposed the decision of the independent citizens who took a year out of their lives to study the matter. For combining ingratitude with wrong-headedness, this hubris takes some beating. ( Some members, such as the current deputy leader, do support STV. )
The fact is that the assembly's recommendation is another version of proportional representation, from which the Greens have more to gain than any other party. New Zealand Greens and Scottish Greens have been campaigning successfully for STV in local government.
It may be worth dispelling an objection that the Citizens Assembly was too
much influenced by "STV people".
The Citizens Assembly was a free parliament not steered by party whips. The assembly was allowed to decide for itself, without being told who to be influenced by. They were not sheep who chose the wrong shepherd.
It was further objected that the assembly's basic text book was by a known
STV supporter, David Farrell.
But, go back a generation, and the standard work on voting systems was by Enid Lakeman, an irrepressible campaigner for STV. Go back another generation to JFS Ross and you have another world reputation on voting methods, who campaigned unequivocally for STV. And so on, back to John Stuart Mill, the great philosopher of science.
Doug Woodward of Ontario, also mentioning Kenneth Carty and Dr Taagepera, says that it's notorious that STV-PR is popular among electoral experts and asks: What does this tell us?
Another of the "STV people" mentioned was British Columbian Nick Loenen. He was one of the nine people chosen by the assembly to make a final case for their recommendations. His Citizens Assembly website submission, number 35, shows how well qualified was this founder member of Canadian electoral reform. He also wrote a book for proportional representation. His many talks to fellow citizens convinced him of the need to compromise, by allowing some retention of single member constituencies in very sparsely populated areas.
But it would be truer to say that the citizens assembly led Nick Loenen
than that Nick Loenen led the citizens assembly. Receiving nearly a year's
input on all electoral options is not like receiving an evening talk in a
hall. The citizens assembly decision, for STV in multi-member constituencies,
did compromise, recommending a few two member constituencies ( giving PR of
at least two-thirds the constituents ) in the most sparsely populated areas.
But they didnt go so far as the Loenen compromise.
Mr Loenen was acknowledged in the technical report as one of the movers for a citizens assembly, which does more justice to his reform role.
My previous web page, "British Columbia chooses a voting system", reviewed the main voting methods, in anticipation of the Citizens Assembly's investigation. It was written before I knew foreigners would be allowed to join in the debate. Subsequent debates in other provinces of Canada may resume where the assembly left off. Ive tried to write a sufficiently different review, to make both worth reading, and also bear in mind further things that were said in BC.
|First past the ( trading ) post.|
First past the post is well known for forcing tactical voting between the
two front running party candidates.
I call simple majority system a unitive tactical election, because it
pressures voters to eliminate all but two choices of party candidate, as "wasted votes". In
turn, only one of these main parties wins a majority of seats. Thus, unity,
if a somewhat forced and exaggerated kind, prevails.
Tho, in the 2004 Canadian federal election, the largest party, the Liberals could only manage less than 44% of the seats with less than 37% of the votes.
Moreover, the turn-out of 60.5% was the lowest since 1898 or since confederation.
In British Columbia, in 1996, the simple majority system won the New Democratic Party ( NDP ) a virtual majority of 39 out of 79 seats with just under 40% of the votes. The Liberals with nearly 42% of the votes won only 33 seats. The term "simple" majority system really means it is not even a majority system. The Liberals promised to review electoral reform, if they came to power.
The 2001 election gave the Liberals 77 out of 79 seats with only 58% of the votes. The NDP with 22% of the votes took the remaining 2 seats. Thus, they were virtually wiped out after the previous two elections, in which they held majority governments with just 40% of the votes. The Green party with over 12% of the votes took no seats, nor did the other parties.
The pioneer reformer, JFS Ross remarked that persisting with a faulty electoral system was like using a faulty scales and compared it to tampering with weights and measures. When he said that, Britain, like Canada at one time, was close to being a partisan class system. Labour and Tory put up with being sold short by each other, as the simple majority system robbed most the smaller parties of seats in proportion to their votes.
The duopoly of Tory and Labour were occasionally miffed with each other when one lost on more votes but less seats than the other. Labour has formed about ten governments, but lost the 1951 election on its biggest ever share of the total vote, 48.5%, half a per cent more than the Tories, at 48% votes, who won 50.5% of seats. Labour's two and a half per cent increase in votes, on the 1950 election, didnt prevent them from being thrown out of office.
Population sizes change relatively rapidly in single member constituencies. To maintain equal representation, the boundaries are always having to be re-drawn. The single member system destabilizes local identity, like a "permanent revolution" against permanent neighborhoods. The single member system is not the system of localities but the systematic disruption of localities.
Urban parties benefit from population depletion in city centers thru
winning more seats from fewer voters.
In Britain, in 1979, the Tories equalised single-member constituencies, with sometimes rather scant regard for natural community boundaries. This is a rare instance of their practical regard for a sort of equality, one enough to benefit only themselves. In other words, the principle of equal constituencies showed their regard for a sort of proportional representation, that between single member constituencies, and no more.
But it was wrong of them to be against proportional representation except
in so far as it could be made to benefit themselves.
There's no doubt about it. PR should be introduced properly.
"Properly" is the operative word.
For their turns in power, Labour drags its feet over boundary changes. For this reason, a Labour vote will count more than any other at the next British general election, expected in 2005. That is a sin of ommission, allowing a drift to inequality or disproportion to win more seats for one's own side.
In any case, the single member system is the most inequitable with regard to observing community boundaries. Say, the required equal representation is 60,000 constituents. Then the size of constituency must rationally be allowed to go up to a possible 80,000, with regard to the actual size of a local community. Above 80,000, it is more rational to have two constituencies of over 40,000. This way, no constituency, having regard to local community populations, varies by more than 20,000 votes above or below the required average.
The single member system, if it is to pay due attention to the variations
in size of local population units, must have larger than average
constituencies that are up to half as well represented as the smaller
constituencies. There is no proportional representation within the single
member constituencies, also PR is least marked between single member
The single member system actually least respects local wholeness, under the condition of equal constituencies.
One 1970's proposal of boundary revisions took 40 people six years work.
This is mostly unnecessary with STV's flexible multi-member system. You just change the number of seats, more or less, per constituency, to keep up with population changes.
In fact, it is the single member system, and not ( as alleged ) STV, that is "too complicated."
Under instructions from the 1979 Tory government, the Boundary Commission
over-rode protests, up and down the country, against wards being removed from
their constituencies of interest. Ingenious attempts at equalising
constituencies, that happened to fail, included a do-nut constituency
completely surrounding an inner city constituency. A pie-missing-slices
constituency was a city, which had to fight to keep two of its wards.
In the latter case, the city probably should have been given two seats. This would have meant one of the seats for the opposition party.
The boundary changes boosted, to some twenty per cent, Tory inflated
majorities of seats for votes, which stayed in the low forty per cents for
For a country as a customer, this is like making a purchase for 40 currency units and being short-changed 20.
As voters rebel from a choice of two parties, to make several parties
serious contenders, election wins increasingly become a lottery. This is the
classic scenario for electoral reform, which explains why most of Europe
switched from a majority count to a proportional count. English-speaking
countries are all more or less in the throes of this change.
The fortunes of Canadian parties have been more volatile than in Britain. Simple majority tends to soar and crash parties, making some Canadian politicians like political refugees from the artificial disasters of an erratic system.
|The party whips up a list.|
Party List systems usually have been rejected out of hand in English-speaking countries, because they are lists of candidates chosen by each party, rather than candidates elected in local constituencies. The public has no say about which people, behind their party facades, get into parliament.
It is not surprising that Lenin, the future dictator, approved party lists, because they are top-down systems that regiment the candidates and the voters to a party agenda, without individual freedom of choice. The voters only can say who they wish to be indoctrinated by, or which side of the class war they will join, and so forth.
In 1997, a closed list system was introduced by the new Labour government for British Euro-elections. For the first time in their history, British voters could only vote for a party and not individuals. Tho, it meant that Liberals, the UK Independence Party and the Greens won proportional shares of seats.
More parties are being founded, especially left wing, such as Respect, which did "surprisingly well," tho winning no seats. Vanessa and Corin Redgrave have started a human rights party. More split voting is in the offing. For instance, a Green socialist party in one regional constituency threatened to prevent the Greens getting a big enough proportion of votes for a seat in that region.
To the Right of Tories and UKIP, the British National Party has made in-roads. Like the casualty counters in some war of attrition, partisans of the Tories claimed that they had won, in 2004, with their simple majority of 27.4% of the votes ( only in England and Wales ).
The party list system encourages a proliferation of parties, either to start a list themselves, if they cannot get high on another party's list, or to prevent some other party getting a seat by splitting their vote. The system is eminently manipulable.
Hence, I have termed party lists "divisive tactical elections". List systems force division upon the people, in contrast to the simple majority system forcing unity upon the people.
In the 1989 Euro-elections, the British Green party became the most popular in Europe with nearly 15% of the votes. Then, they got rid of their popular leaders, like Jonathan Porritt, and sank down to a few per cent. They did not recover popular support, even after the list system was introduced, giving them a few seats.
STV might have saved the fortunes of Green politics by allowing voters to prefer its popular leaders, even had they only been able to stand as Independent Greens, over-ruling the activists. Because STV is not merely a count of proportional partisanship, it does not discriminate against Independents. STV proportionally represents individuals from all groups or none.
Had a so-called proportional list system been used in Ulster, the Irish
nationalist vote would have been split between SDLP and Sinn Fein lists. But
with STV, republican voters could transfer their votes between republican
candidates, so that the most prefered among them takes one of the three
Northern Ireland seats in the European parliament.
A list system only gives PR between parties but STV also gives PR across parties.
Neither do list systems give PR within parties. The British Labour
government recommended but failed to pass a Regional List for the first
British Euro-elections. It was suspected that the Left favored this open list
system, because more right wing candidates on the Labour list would have
their votes split, letting in the left wingers first past the post on the
Only STV, being the consistently proportional election of prefered individual candidates, gives PR within, as well as across and between parties, and indeed PR without parties or any other official groups.
Small parties sometimes claim STV is "not proportional enough". This implies that STV doesnt impose proportional partisanship on the people, by making everyone vote for a party list of candidates, with no say as to the individuals on them. They really meant STV isnt partisan enough. Or, STV doesnt make the people follow the partisans, the doctrinaires.
Actually, STV is the only system that is comprehensively proportional, if not highly so, in small constituencies. But the narrow party proportionality of a list system is also only as proportional as the number of seats, in its multi-member constituency, permits.
Former Eire coalition premier Brunton made a case to the European Union, that STV be used for Euro-elections in general.
The only reason why the list system need be discussed at all for Canada, or other English-speaking countries, is that many reformers or small parties think party lists are alright as an Additional Members System to the single member system. This is sometimes also called Mixed Member Proportional system.
Two wrongs dont make a right. MMP supporters would have us believe that a system, of simple majorities, they regard as unacceptable on its own, becomes benign in combination with another system, of party lists, also regarded as unacceptable on its own.
|Mixed member proportional /
additional members boat.
The Mixed Member Proportional system ( MMP ) is an aggravation of the two systems, by binding them to each other. MMP could hardly be more confusing of purpose. Many reformers have been avid to confer it upon their fellow citizens. As the name implies, MMP combines two different kinds of members of parliament. Some members are elected by simple majority vote in single member constituencies. Other members are elected, from lists, in proportion to votes for their parties. A monopolistic constituency system is combined with a seat-sharing list system.
This hybrid system fights itself because the single member system was designed to give one of two main parties a government majority by winning the most seats. But the other system is designed to give as many parties a share in government as the votes warrant. The simple majority system favored decisiveness at the expense of inclusion of more parties. The party proportional system favored more inclusion at the expense of a simpler decision.
MMP combines a disagreement of principle as to whether parties should
monopolise or share government. It is like trying to play a game in which
there is an underlying squabble about the rules. The point of having a
constitution is that there is a basic agreement in society about how things
are done, about procedures or means, that need not be challenged, so that
ends may be achieved.
The mixed member proportional system turns a conflict of principle into a power struggle between party monopoly or coalition, whichever suits the various contenders for power.
Many reformers think that MMP is really a proportional system rather than
a majority system. But it can never be made to stick as such, any more than
it can be made to stick as a majority system. This is shown by the fact that
there is no agreement in the world, or within the United Kingdom, about the
proportion of MPs to be constituency MPs or list MPs. The mix of mixed
members need only be what suits the prevailing parties.
Quebec's quarrel has been mentioned.
Even when it is agreed that the system be fully party proportional with
half the MPs as list MPs, there is usually an excluding clause against
parties with less than a few per cent of the national vote. There is not even
agreement on how high this threshold should be: four or five per cent, more
or less? ( The BC citizens assembly model set a 3 per cent threshold. )
The difference may not seem much but it can be decisive for how many parties are represented and even which of the big parties forms a coalition government. Even in this marginal way of the threshold, the majority principle can come in thru the back door of MMP and make itself felt crucially and arbitrarily.
So, majority coalitions formed may be an accident of the level of threshold. In any case, MMP does not guarantee that any one, of a possible number of majority combinations between parties, is the people's prefered coalition to form a government.
One might guess that the German coalition of Social Democrats and Greens was the most prefered combination. On the other hand, one perceives that the simple majority requirement, for half the MPs from constituencies, has aligned German politics into a simplistic left-right division, with one large party, and small party confined to the lists, on either side of the divide.
The disproportionate power, that a fully proportional MMP gives small parties in forming a government, sometimes leads to a tempering of party proportionality, so that the system is still weighted in favor of the bigger parties. Britain's Jenkins Commission claimed they decided not to make their recommendation too proportional, so as not to erode too much the probability of one-party majority governments.
It did not occur to these social engineers that, in a democracy, it is the people who should decide how monistic or pluralistic they want their governments, rather than have some bias in the electoral system decide it for them. Mixed systems impose more or less unity and division upon the voters, rather than allow the voters to express how much unity and division there is among them.
Ultimately, MMP could be manipulated to squeeze out the small parties who
hold the balance of power. If the two main parties polarise their society
with extreme policy differences, they can make it not worth many people's
while to vote for any but the two main parties with which their interests are
aligned. To vote for a small party is to risk its coalition negotiations
letting in the more threatening, of the big two parties, to any given voter.
Indeed, the voters may simply desire to "cut out the middleman party" from deciding for them which of the main two parties forms the government.
MMP fans over-look that MMP keeps small parties small. Typicly, small parties remain the additional list member stooges to the two main parties, whose position they can not challenge in the constituencies. Stooges, tho they may be, they remain an indispensible pain in the neck for the big parties by being able to switch coalition allegiances, regardless of the voters' wishes, if their demands are not met.
James Gilmour, of the FairShare campaign, mentions ( in submission 1332 ) suggestions in Scotland of the artificial splitting of a main party into two, so the second vote for a party list, gains them list seats they would not otherwise have:
the use of two votes in MMP opens the way for some new forms of tactical voting that can completely pervert the intention of obtaining party PR. If large numbers of electors vote for the constituency candidates of one party and vote for the party list of a closely aligned party, that two-party block can very readily take a disproportionately large share of the seats in the Legislature.
|MMP's second vote casting has a snag.|
Some reformers have not realised how proportional counting can be frustrated by MMP. Opponents of reform have seen more easily how majority counting is frustrated by proportional counting. This undoes the whole point of a decisive majority result, that tells you which party forms a government, making cliff-hanger elections less likely. The artificial majorities in seats won by one party are replaced usually by no one party having a majority of the votes that would give them a majority of the seats.
But there is more to it than that. The existence of a party proportional count encourages splinter parties, instead of factions coming together to compete as potential majority parties, that offer the public a decisive choice of government.
The proportional count not only frustrates the majority count in deciding a government. The party list elections also frustrate the supposedly personal vote for a single member in a constituency. Many single member constituencies are safe seats, because a party could elect "a beer glass" there. But should the unthinkable happen and the safe seat be breached, there is still the placement of the same candidate high on his party's list to ensure his election as an "additional member" ( as the system is sometimes named after ). The German Chancellor Kohl was saved in this way by MMP's doubly safe seat system.
Moreover, James Gilmour says that in Scotland, and also New Zealand, the losing candidates in the single member constituencies, who are still elected on their party lists, tend to set up office in the constituency they lost. Second or even third and fourth past the post candidates compete as representatives for the constituents' attentions even tho they received no representative mandate to do so.
What we see, with MMP, is an unprincipled wavering back and forth between degrees of party majority and degrees of party proportional government.
If anyone thinks the above considerations against MMP are empty theory, there is the rare example of a British Columbian citizen, Paul Brenneisen, in submission 1367, giving his experience of the German system in use since the end of world war two.
Having lived with the results of the mixed member proportional [MMP] system in Germany I can only emphasize the importance of not implementing it in BC.
Since many years the following happens:
There are 2 big political parties, Conservatives and Social Democrats. They each have a firm voter base of roughly 35% each. Furthermore there are 2 smaller parties, Liberals and Green Party which often are only able to just jump over the 5% hurdle which entitles them to send representatives to Parliament.
None of the 2 big parties can form the Government alone and need one or 2 of the smaller Parties as a partner. Plain blackmail and continuous threats of leaving the Government block are regular occurrences. Needless to say all well intended and necessary legislature is watered down to the point where nobody even recognizes the original ideas.
In addition a lot of the representatives sent to Parliament are selected from lists and are not voted for directly. This becomes necessary to allow for the balance in the popular vote compared to the majority vote. A very bad idea since they do not represent a riding and can't therefore be held accountable directly by their constituents. In fact nobody knows up front which people and how many are selected from these lists until the ballots have been counted. Those seats are rather like patronage appointments. There is no way to get rid of bad politicians under this system or even get rid of a bad party all together since there is always a part of the population who will vote for them no matter what.
So what if votes fall by the wayside because only the front runner in each riding gets to Parliament. This will happen in the mixed system as well if your party of choice does not reach the 5% hurdle. Or if there is no minimum percentage required we will end up like the Parliament in the German Weimar Republic between the wars. Just imagine dozens of parties represented in Victoria...".
I sooner have the advantage of a Government which actually is able to make decisions and follows through than the endless bickering and horse-trading required in many European countries.
It is true that Mr Brenneisen wanted no electoral change. But then, he doesnt mention any other possibilities. Generally speaking, continental Europeans only know of party list systems as "PR". If STV has been heard of, it is often assumed to be the same kind of animal as a party list count.
It would be interesting to know how many members of the British Columbia
Citizens Assembly had heard of, or knew much about, STV before they started
their study of electoral methods.
Very few, I would guess, from a former lack of knowledge ascertained in the general population.
The technical report, which is full of statistics, notes that the assembly members even gave themselves less than half marks on their electoral knowledge, when they arrived. I dare to suggest this was an over-estimate, since they gave themselves nearly full marks after they'd stayed the course.
The Citizens Assembly had the valuable task of modeling the leading systems of electoral reform. "Given that fewer discrete decisions were required to describe an STV system, the Assembly decided to begin with it." ( Technical Report: Deliberation phase. Assessing electoral systems. ) In short, STV was easier to model ( requiring 6 decisions ).
MMP required 14 of those "discrete decisions". ( I would use the phrase, "arbitrary decisions," for the important ones, some being discussed here or on my previous page, "British Columbia chooses a voting system. ) Only 8 decisions were actually decided. The rest were left, till after the vote, if it favored MMP. The 6 omissions included the choice of "proportional formula for allocating seats", as well as "how to address over-hang seats".
These omissions, of the proportional counting method from MMP, were
serious. No model of a proportional count should be accepted, in principle,
before the proportional count, in practise, has been presented for discussion
The assembly members chose STV against MMP, despite this unfair comparison of STV's count in practise with an MMP count proportional only in principle.
MMP supporters should not be allowed to dismiss their own difficulties as "details" to be dealt with, after the public has been taken in.
They dismissed STV as "too complicated", in one of their waves of submissions to the citizens assembly website.
Mixed member proportional systems represent a floundering in confusion of principle. They have no scientific credibility. Their democracy is superficial.
|Instant run-off boating.|
Party list systems, sometimes used for Additional Members or Mixed Member
Proportional systems, are all attempts to reform the count without reforming
the vote. The list system still counts X-votes or spot votes, tho for parties
sharing out the seats in proportion to party votes.
Above sections have shown that both simple majority and list systems' X-votes are prone to split voting, that may let in less prefered candidates.
Actually, reform of the vote came by the French Enlightenment, when preference voting for a single vacancy received distinguished treatment from the new democratic and scientific movement. A preference vote orders the choice of candidates: 1, 2, 3, etc. If no one candidate receives an over-all majority of first preferences, then the candidate with least votes is excluded and those votes re-distributed to their next preferences. And so on, until some candidate gets fifty or more per cent of the votes.
This is the "Alternative Vote" ( AV ), used for Australian general elections, and called "Instant Run-off Voting" in North America. The latter name implies that a preference vote is more convenient for the voters, who can state their alternative choices at one journey to the polls, instead of having to come back for a second ballot of spot voting.
It is ironic that France still uses the second ballot, when some of its most famous sons pioneered preference voting. That is just an instance of the lack of public knowledge on the important subject of voting method to democracy.
Unfortunately, the alternative votes, promoted in the count, are those first given to the least popular candidates. This is anti-democratic. Also, the smallest difference between the two least popular candidates can decide which is excluded. But their respective vote re-distributions can elect entirely different kinds of candidate. Such results are haphazard and unstable.
The system's irrationality was shown by Enid Lakeman in "How Democracies Vote". In 1948, Alberta, the Alternative Vote gave Social Credit all the seats for 58% of the total vote. This was even more disproportionate than First Past The Post in British Columbia recently. Lakeman also speaks of "the absurdity of Victoria ( Australia ) in 1967 when the Liberals, with fewer first preference votes than Labour, secured nearly three times as many seats."
Marie Jean Condorcet suggested that the count of an alternative vote
should be conducted by matching all the candidates, in pairs, against each
other to find if any candidate won against each of the others. But the
results can be ambiguous or paradoxical. Jean Charles, Chevalier de Borda
identified the cause of this, as mistakenly treating lower preferences as of
equal weight with higher preferences. Borda weighted preferences by counting
the lowest as one point, the next lowest as two points, the next as three
points, and so on.
( This is discussed in JFS Ross' Elections and Electors. )
One of history's greatest mathematicians, Pierre Simon Laplace gave a
proof in favor of Borda's weighted preferences over Condorcet pairing.
Nevertheless, Borda's method of weighting preferences had two disadvantages.
The lesser weights of lower preferences counted somewhat against higher
preferences. Also, Borda's weighting of the count was in "arithmetic
progression" but other weightings, with a potential to change the result,
were equally possible.
These objections were over-come by another weighted count of the preference vote, called the Senatorial rules or Gregory's method, after its Australian inventor.
Before this could happen, proportional representation had to be invented, as a proportional count of a preference vote. Transferable voting means that when a candidate has more first preferences than he needs to win an elective proportion, or quota, of the votes in a multi-member constituency, then that winning candidate's surplus, over the quota, is transferable to his voters' next preferences.
All those winning candidate's voters' next preferences are counted in proportion to the size of the transferable surplus. In other words, the size of this surplus determines the ( fractional ) size of the weight given to those next preferences. The senatorial rules are a simple arithmetic that ensure each vote counts as just one vote, while a fraction of it may help elect next prefered candidates.
STV, using the senatorial rules, means the weighting of preferences is exactly determined by the size of transferable surpluses. And these transfers cannot count against higher preferences, because they only take place when the candidate, whose surplus vote is transfered, has been elected.
STV does more than solve the two outstanding problems of Borda's method of
weighting the count. The latter only gives a majority representation. STV
progresses from electing one candidate with half the votes or more, to two
representatives on one-third the votes each, or more, for a proportional
representation of two-thirds the voters in a two-member constituency. A
three-member constituency gives a PR of three-quarters or more of the voters.
And so on.
This rationalisation of representation is called the Droop quota, after its discoverer.
The point of the alternative vote is that all candidates may have less
than half the first preferences. Thereby the candidate, who wins with help
from later preferences, represents less than half the first preferences.
In the early 1980s, Ireland's constituencies ( mainly three member, some four, and the odd five ) offered a fairly modest proportional representation. Even so, STV ensured about 70 per cent of first preferences counted towards candidates' election. And around 83 or 84 per cent of voters elected someone of their choice.
Tasmania would also return about seventy per cent of representatives on first preferences. But its 7 member constituencies ensured, in all, over 90 per cent representation by first preferences "or others closely associated with them." ( Jack Wright, Representation vol. 22. number 88. )
Reviewing these eighteenth and nineteenth century pioneers on voting method leads to this conclusion: While a preference vote is needed to order one's choice between more than two candidates, a preference vote does not work properly without a count to elect more than one representative, on proportions of the total votes, making use of transferable surpluses.
|Single transferable boat.|
The Droop quota gives STV a proportional count that rationalises an over-all majority to a progressively greater majority, consistent with the offer of a greater range of choice in the preference vote. Thus, STV extends and improves on the elementary election of a majority vote for one of two candidates.
This is quite different from the assumption behind MMP, as stated by the
British Labour party's Plant report. According to Lord Plant there was an
unbridgable difference of principle between "majoritarian" and proportional
The subsequent Jenkins report followed a similar out-look. ( I have written web pages critical of both reports. )
A spurious distinction, between majority counts and proportional ( just explained as rationalised majority ) counts, pretends to two different styles of government. The majoritarian style lionises the single largest party, usually not with an over-all majority. It is not even maiorocracy, the tyranny of the majority. It is only the tyranny of the simple majority or an "over-whelming minority".
Britain's tradition of a strong executive, bequeathed to other English-speaking countries, has made politicians used to getting all their own way thru simple majority rule. The rise of a three or more party system has not made political incumbents give up their old ways, so much as oblige them to concede more proportion in representation.
The mixed member proportional system embodies this split mentality or ambivalence. But there is no point in making an MMP hybrid of two "unbridgable" principles, because, as such, they couldnt possibly work together. And, as shown in above sections, they dont.
The MMP dilemma comes from failing to appreciate how it takes STV for a proportional count to produce a genuine majority, by cross-party preference voting.
Partisan disregard for the voters' wishes is shown in the attitude that
when voters prefer candidates, across party lines from their own party, this
is a "leaking" of votes, as if they were to be captured from the voters.
In Malta, the two parties told their supporters to number all their party's candidates "and then stop".
Australian parties told people how to vote, with "How to vote" cards, tho they were banned in Tasmania.
These encroachments on the voters' rights exemplify parties putting themselves before their countries.
According to Enid Lakeman ( in Representation, vol. 22, number 87 ) transfering votes between candidates of different parties did not explain why, in Malta, 1981, the party with slightly more total first preferences had slightly less seats. In sixty years, this was the first such modest anomaly, if it was an anomaly at all. "Incongruence" might be a better term, as the total votes, after the last stage has been counted, is the truer basis of comparison.
As Malta's two parties had the voters very much under partisan control,
any anomaly appears to have come from the continuous and contentious
re-drawing of boundaries to maintain equal constituencies. These are not
needed in a multi-member system, where natural boundaries can be respected by
varying the number of seats per constituency.
The Citizens Assembly recognised such variation was essential for such a disparate territory as British Columbia.
If the Maltese have been somewhat imposed upon by the parties, they remain
exemplary voters. Their 90 per cent or greater turn-outs put to shame the
rest of Europe, as in the 2004 Euro-elections. ( Ulster, which also happens
to use STV for Euro-elections, had the highest turn-out in the UK. )
And over a series of four Maltese elections, for instance, less than 1 per cent of their votes were invalid.
The most serious deprivation, of freedom to transfer votes, in a supposedly STV system, is in Australia's federal senate elections, compelling preferences for all candidates, scores of them. An eighth of the votes would be invalid. This forced feeding of the people's preference served the party bosses' preference, when later legislation let the voters off with an x-vote for a party list.
But freely transferable voting can decide democraticly the prefered
majority coalition to form a government.
In 1973, Fine Gael and Labour agreed to fight on a "common programme" to form a "National Coalition". They narrowly won the election and it is estimated that the two parties gained six seats from lower preferences being transfered between candidates of the two parties.
In the nineteen forties, Ireland's Labour party lost a splinter group,
National Labour. But voters still transfered their vote, so that Labour did
not lose much representation, and by 1950, National Labour rejoined the main
If desired, transferable votes can both bridge different parties and help keep the same party together. That is cross-party and within-party preference voting, respectively.
If the people wanted to, they could prefer candidates across several parties amounting to something like a preference for a national government -- perhaps desirable in a national emergency.
STV is proportional representation, proper, with or without parties. It could produce a post-modernist parliament made up largely of Independents, if that is what the people prefered. Ireland has a significant number of Independents. And Britain's STV university constituencies, returned several distinguished Independents to the House of Commons.
STV can freely express unity as well as division. And that is why it confounds critics, who wrongly assume it must lead to a proliferation of parties, like list systems. Sometimes it does. At other times, a country with STV prefers just two parties, as in Tasmania and Malta, or "a two and a half party system" that Ireland settled down to, for a considerable period.
The joke on STV's critics is that it does not have the serious bias built in other systems. Its changableness is more attributable to the occasional human desire for a change. In sum, STV, in large enough constituencies, and generally without partisan corruption of the system, uniquely gives the kind of parliament the public wants.
STV is the original and genuine "proportional representation" that gives
no privileged or oligarchic position in the count to parties or any other
group. This means that STV is used for all kinds of social and professional
elections that require proportional representation to all groups ( and not
just one ) regarded as significant by the voters.
Previously, in the British National Health Service, first past the post ensured that white male General Practitioners swept the board. STV gave PR to women, ethnic minorities and specialists.
Now the New Zealand NHS also uses STV.
This system of proportional preference applies just as much to the
composition of a political parliament. Moreover, politics itself can change
with the times much better with STV than with party lists.
If an issue becomes important enough, the list system can count it as the policy of a new party. But that puts the policy, like conservation, say, in competition with a lot of other issue parties, fragmenting support for all of them and promoting deadlock. List systems establish a party like the Greens but as something like a political ghetto for the environment.
STV gives the freedom to prefer individual candidates, of any party or
none, according to one or more policy issues. If the environment is important
to most voters, that will show in their environment-saving choices of
candidates from all parties. With STV, one doesnt have to wait for the Green
party to win an election for an environmental majority to be returned to
The same applies to any other issue or combination of issues that candidates may represent. STV elects individual candidates for their priorities, as distinct from the dilemmas posed by manifestos that voters may only agree with in part. Transferable voting offers a much more discerning combination of choices to a country.
But STV has nothing to do with whether some organisation, like the Papacy, urges a passive role upon women, as it did again a few months ago, for Catholic countries like Ireland and Malta. Only if they want it, does STV allow the voters to give equal representation to women. By ignoring this crucial qualification, STV was misrepresented as not being equally representative of women.
As one of the nine presenters, selected by the BC Citizens Assembly, Dr
Julian West felt obliged to briefly mention the misrepresentations of STV.
Another obvious and ludicrous misrepresentation from partisan man or woman was that voters didnt want all the choice STV gave.
As reformers are no doubt tired of replying, STV permits great choice ( obviously used in the NHS example ) but does not prevent voters making as minimal and miserable a choice as offered by other systems.
People would rather be asked than told. Transferable voting allows the searching questions to be asked. An STV election becomes a research into the composition of the voters' support. Its electoral freedom of information is based on an individual freedom of choice that may transcend party divisions even to indications of national unity. Knowledge and freedom depend on each other and this partnership in progress is made possible in elections thru STV's freely scientific method.
Some of the above arguments are a non-technical version of my three web pages on "Scientific Method of Elections". Theory of measurement and philosophy of science, applied to voting methods, illustrate the difference between good and bad science.
As the BC Citizens Assembly recommendation says, STV is as easy as 1,
2, 3,.. for voters to use. You just order your first, second, third, etc
choice of candidates.
It is just counting all the voters' permutations of preferences that is complicated, requiring trained returning officers. This is a long established procedure.
In the section, headed, the Alternative Vote, I sketched how STV evolved mainly in the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, Meek's method computerised the STV count, allowing the transfer of every surplus to be followed thru without ambiguity and to unprecedented degrees of accuracy.
A remaining weakness in STV is what happens when the count runs out of surpluses. The procedure is to exclude the candidate who is "last past the post," that is, who is unlucky enough to have least votes at that stage. This is the problem of "premature exclusion".
Some opponents have used, for instance, an example of an STV election where no candidate has a transferable surplus. It was shown that some candidate's gaining marginally more votes possibly could lose him a seat, he would otherwise have won.
STV opponents were not concerned that it is a common-place of actual elections -- not their hypothetical cases -- that First Past The Post can give parties less seats for more votes. But that simple majority system fault needs putting in context with its much bigger faults. I do this by a last brief quote from Enid Lakeman, Representation, already cited in the introduction, on the Canadian general election of 1980:
...The New Democratic Party gained votes nearly everywhere but with very inconsistent effects on its seats: in Nova Scotia a gain of 2% meant a loss of the only NDP seat and identical gains of 0.4% meant in Saskatchewan a rise from 4 to 7 seats but in Ontario a fall from 6 to 5 seats. Ontario is the marginal province on which the whole result hinges, and there a small swing almost exactly reversed the representation of the two largest parties -- 38:57 to 52:32. The exaggeration of the difference between Quebec and the rest has been further increased, the Liberals now holding all but one of its 75 seats for two thirds of the votes.
Those and other results, Enid Lakeman called "Canada's erratic pendulum". Yet, British Labour's Plant ( interim ) report faulted STV as an option against the single member system, like the proverbial hypocrite that would remove the mote from another's eye while leaving the beam in their own.
And when the Labour
party came to power, in 1997, they accordingly introduced any other system but STV. ( This was
the subject of my web page, "The Two Cultures. Electoral Lawlessness in
Britain by the turn of the twenty-first century." ) Half a dozen undemocratic
voting methods are used in Britain, where one democratic method would do.
Only in recent years has the tide turned, at least in Scotland and Wales, to STV.
Of course, there was no justice in outlawing STV because of its last past the post exclusion, when it would be much more to the point to replace first past the post elections, which more directly produce anomalies on a much bigger scale. But this unfairness did high-light the fact that STV still possessed a relic of plurality counting in its exclusion count.
Early in 2004, I suggested, in web pages on Reversible STV, that the
exclusion count of STV be a proportional count, just like its election count.
That is, no candidate could be excluded until they reached a quota of least
preference ( by counting voters' preferences in reverse order ).
This system would give voters power of exclusion, as well as election.
Even with a Reversible STV, both an election count and an exclusion count may run out of transferable surpluses before candidates have won all the seats. Once this rational count of election or exclusion is exhausted, then one is back again to plurality counting and a suspicion of criticism.
Later in 2004, I realised that Reversible STV could be considered as
but the first approximation to a series of higher order approximations. The
results of the election count and the exclusion count can be used to qualify
each other, by conducting further counts to see what happens when an elected
or excluded candidate is taken out of consideration. ( Rather like a
controlled experiment. )
This is the subject of my web page on Binomial STV.
How the preference and unpreference counts are to qualify each other may be determined by a ( non-commutative ) expansion of the binomial theorem, in terms of the two counts of p for prefered and u for unprefered candidates. The second order binomial theorem, in terms of p plus u, all squared, that is (p + u)², is expanded like a non-commutative version of the quadratic equation learnt at school. This gives the combinations for how the preference and unpreference counts qualify each other, in a second order approximation of the STV count procedure.
I guess that a second order approximation would be enough, in most cases,
to see a count thru by rational elections and exclusions. But even this, as
exemplifed on my page, Binomial STV, is as complicated as you could wish for.
I am not going to explain it further, here.
It is coming to an election near you, no time soon. New methods need to be tested and in this case programmed ( not by me ) in conjunction with Meek's method.
I dont know if and when it will happen.
STV has evolved over nearly two centuries and is capable of further improvement. This is a unique distinction of STV, to evolve into a specialist science of electoral method.
The alternative, to the scientific or knowledgable improvement of democracy, is the party dictatorship or oligarchy that denies a preference vote to all but party bosses or activists making out their party lists.
The irony is that list systems' counts of proportional partisanship are nothing like so intuitive as STV's standard use of the Droop quota for proportional representation, proper. List or additional list advocates dont mention and cannot solve the anarchy of different proportional counts for their systems.
The illustrations come from R M Ballantyne's children's novel "Hudson Bay". They are by Bayard and other artists, based on sketches by the author.
13 january 2005
with minor excision, 18 jan. '05.