Electoral Reform

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Which voting system would you like to see used?

Additional Member System
0
No votes
Alternative Vote
2
18%
Alternative Vote Plus
2
18%
Block Vote
0
No votes
Borda Count
0
No votes
First Past The Post
2
18%
Limited Vote
0
No votes
Parallel Voting
0
No votes
Party List PR
3
27%
Single Transferable Vote
2
18%
Supplementary Vote
0
No votes
Two-Round System
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 11

Electoral Reform

Unread postby Joe » 2 May 2015, 00:37

Electoral reform has been something that has been debated in the United Kingdom for a long time. Following on from the GE2015 thread, I've decided to make one about electoral reform. I've summed up each electoral system, so readers can skim them all and do further research into the ones that they like, before settling on what they think is the right choice. In the brief explanations of electoral systems, I'll use the example of the fictional constituency of 'Grumbel', with four main parties, simply named A, B, C and D. I've also added a poll, as I'm a stickler for figures, and it makes it easy to see at a glance what people support.

Additional Member System
A semi-proportional system that allows voters to vote locally for their MP, and for a party, as a proportional top-up. Voters in Grumbel would be able to elect the Party B candidate for their MP, because they like her as a person, but vote for Party C regionally, as they prefer their policies, with both votes counting.
Pro: It takes advantage of FPTP and PR
Con: Party lists encourage 'cronyism'

Alternative Vote
A majoritarian system in which voters rank candidates by preference. If there is no candidate with above 50%, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is knocked out and their votes are redistributed by second choice. This continues until a candidate has above 50%, when they are declared the winner. Grumbel could return Party A with 43%, Party B with 27%, Party C with 20% and Party D with 10%. No party has a majority, so Party D is eliminated. Their voters rank Party B next, so they gain their votes, taking them to 37%. There is still no majority, so Party C is eliminated. Their voters ranked Party A next, so they gain their votes, taking them to 63%. As they have over 50% of the votes, Party A wins.
Pro: It stops tactical voting
Con: It can return a 'lowest common denominator' winner without much support

Alternative Vote Plus
An AMS-style system that uses the Alternative Vote instead of First Past The Post for the constituency seats.
Pro: Every elector would matter, one way or another
Con: The ballot papers would be complicated (ranking on one side, a cross on the other)

Block Vote
Multiple member constituencies elected by first past the post. Say Grumbel has 3 MPs, and Party A get 40% of the vote, Party B 30%, Party C 25% and Party D 5%, Party A would get all three seats.
Pro: It would help produce stable governments
Con: It's incredibly disproportional

Borda Count
A points based system, like in Eurovision. Constituents in Grumbel can give any number between two (say, one to five) of points to the candidates. The candidate with the most points wins.
Pro: It generally accepts broadly electable candidates
Con: It encourages tactical voting, as a low score for another candidate could actively harm your candidate

First Past The Post
The candidate with the most votes wins. Grumbel returns 40% Party A, 30% Party B, 25% Party C and 5% Party D. Party A has the most votes, so they win.
Pro: It's very simple to understand
Con: It punishes parties with evenly spread support.

Limited Vote
A multi-member first past the post system. The candidates with the most votes wins. Grumbel has three seats. Alan Anderson for Party A gets 40%, Barbara Billington for Party B gets 30%, Clive Cliff gets 25% and Darren Davies gets 5%. Because Alan, Barbara and Clive have the most, they each get a seat.
Pro: It's relatively straightforward
Con: It leads to disproportional outcomes, as the first MP elected could have 24,000 votes, and the next MPs could only have 2,000 each.

Parallel Voting
Effectively two elections running simultaneously. One for a PR election and one for a FPTP election. The two elections are ran, and then added together to make the chamber. Say the House of Commons has 100 Constituencies and 50 PR seats. Party A gets 40%, Party B 30%, Party C 25% and Party D 5%. The constituencies return 52 Party A MPs, 43 Party B MPs and 5 Party C MPs. The PR seats go 20 to Party A, 15 to Party B, 13 to Party C and 2 to Party D, creating a chamber with 72 Party A MPs, 58 Party B MPs, 18 Party C MPs and 2 Party D MPs. In theory, any two voting systems could be used, but FPTP and PR are the most common.
Pro: It combines the best parts of FPTP and PR, because that's literally what it is
Con: It creates two classes of MP

Party List Proportional Representation
The number of seats a party gets depends on the percentage of votes. Party A gets 40%, Party B 30%, Party C 25% and Party D 5%. If the House of Commons had 100 seats, Party A would get 40, Party B 30, Party C 25 and Party D 5.
Pro: Every vote matters and has equal value
Con: It completely destroys the link between a constituency and an MP.

Single Transferable Vote
Multi-member constituencies use transferable votes. If each party only fields one candidate for the three seat Grumbel constituency, and Party A gets 40%, Party B 30%, Party C 25% and Party D 5%, Party A gets an MP as their 40% is above the threshold (calculated by the number of votes divided by the number of seats, in this case 100/3=33, so 33%). The remaining 7% of the votes are redistributed to Party C, as ranked, bringing them to 32%. Party D is eliminated, as they have the fewest votes, and their votes are split with 4% going to Party B and 1% Party C. This gives Party B 34% and Party C 33%, meaning Parties A, B and C all return one MP.
Pro: It produces roughly proportional results
Con: It's very complicated unless done electronically

Supplementary Vote
A shortened version of AV, where you have two columns to tick. If no candidate gets over 50%, all candidates but the top two are eliminated, and all second choice votes for them are added. The candidate with the most votes then wins.
Pro: It encourages conciliatory campaigning
Con: It doesn't require majority support for an MP to win

Two-Round System
A voter ticks one box. If no candidate has above 50%, all but the top two candidates are eliminated. A second election between the top two candidates is called, generally in two to three weeks, and at that election, the candidate with the most votes wins.
Pro: It's relatively straightforward to understand
Con: It favours large parties heavily
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Re: Electoral Reform

Unread postby Jacketh » 2 May 2015, 00:50

I've never really given proper thought to what actual form of proportional representation should be used. All systems have advantages and disadvantages, it seems. I really should look in to it. From what I can understand, STV seems favoured by a lot.

Borda Counts sounds so exciting, though. We could have Graham Norton hosting it live from the Palace of Westminster whilst the results come in in the form of Eurovision. 'We now head up to the city of Manchester where Peter Kay is waiting!'

It has the predictability and would no doubt have the drama, as well.
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Re: Electoral Reform

Unread postby Joe » 2 May 2015, 00:54

Jack™ wrote:I've never really given proper thought to what actual form of proportional representation should be used. All systems have advantages and disadvantages, it seems. I really should look in to it. From what I can understand, STV seems favoured by a lot.

Borda Counts sounds so exciting, though. We could have Graham Norton hosting it live from the Palace of Westminster whilst the results come in in the form of Eurovision. 'We now head up to the city of Manchester where Peter Kay is waiting!'

It has the predictability and would no doubt have the drama, as well.

With regards to STV, this is a very good video that makes most circumstances fairly clear:

Last edited by Joe on 2 May 2015, 00:54, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Electoral Reform

Unread postby Joe » 2 May 2015, 01:03

I'm personally stuck between AMS, AV+ and Parallel Voting.

I like the additional top-up of AMS and AV+, but I think that the MPs in it should be more directly elected, as opposed to placed in 'top up seats', causing me to think Parallel Voting is a good idea. That being said, parallel voting can combine any two simultaneous systems, though AV and PR would be highly unusual. Thinking about it, I will vote for AV+, as of the three, I think it would make the democratic process stronger by not discarding votes through a FPTP element.
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Re: Electoral Reform

Unread postby Nickr » 2 May 2015, 10:40

AV. AV. AV.
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Re: Electoral Reform

Unread postby Marmaduke » 2 May 2015, 10:50

Nickr wrote:AV. AV. AV.

You can't vote three times, Nick, no matter how much you like a deeply flawed system that would let you vote UKIP and then vote again to remain in any way relevant.
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Re: Electoral Reform

Unread postby Nickr » 2 May 2015, 11:52

Marmaduke wrote:
Nickr wrote:AV. AV. AV.

You can't vote three times, Nick, no matter how much you like a deeply flawed system that would let you vote UKIP and then vote again to remain in any way relevant.


UKIP voters getting three each would save the country!
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Re: Electoral Reform

Unread postby Edward » 2 May 2015, 18:18

Joe wrote:With regards to STV, this is a very good video that makes most circumstances fairly clear:


How do they decide which 'extra votes' to redistribute? As not all of the candidates who voted for the first winner will have voted for the same second candidate.

I'd also say a further problem with the two round voting system is that it really encourages tactical voting, at least in France anyway.
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Re: Electoral Reform

Unread postby Ciniselli » 2 May 2015, 20:09

I don't see why tactical voting is necessary so awful. It also confuses me why so many people who hate tactical voting endorse PR systems, which all but guarantee deals between leaders being the real forces that determine the govt - i.e. processes which are almost entirely removed from the electorate.

I mean, granted, it's a different issue to tactical voting. But surely having to second-guess everything a given leader might or might not do with people you dislike or distrust is just as bad?
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Re: Electoral Reform

Unread postby Frigid » 3 May 2015, 17:23

The voting system doesn't bother me so much as the people who are available to vote for.
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Re: Electoral Reform

Unread postby Joe » 3 May 2015, 18:15

Edward wrote:
Joe wrote:With regards to STV, this is a very good video that makes most circumstances fairly clear:


How do they decide which 'extra votes' to redistribute? As not all of the candidates who voted for the first winner will have voted for the same second candidate.

I'd also say a further problem with the two round voting system is that it really encourages tactical voting, at least in France anyway.


It depends. There are various systems, with each area that uses it doing their own thing. It's one of the things about STV I dislike.

I agree on two round voting. Tactical voting is a massive factor.
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Re: Electoral Reform

Unread postby GBR89 » 4 May 2015, 05:35

I like two round voting/first past the post. It is important for people to elect their own representatives, encourages legislator independence in the Legislature and virtually guarantees there will never be an unstable government coalition.

I frankly don't care for any system where a voter gets more than one crack at voting (transferring, priority points, etc).
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Re: Electoral Reform

Unread postby Marmaduke » 8 May 2015, 13:17

I suppose I would prefer a quite specific iteration of a Borda count system.

I would agree that electoral reform is becoming necessary. Ideally, in five years, I would like to see a sweeping change. I think the entire system should be moved digital. I also think there should be a reduction in the number of parliamentary constituencies, with things like 'Thanet North' and 'Thanet South' becoming just 'Thanet' and Greater London falling to a maximum of 33 seats including The City of London, down from 73. Ideally, I think I'd prefer to see 400-450 seats. No more than 500.

Each constituency would be allowed to front 5 candidates for the actual election, so primaries would have to be held. Primaries should take on the £500 registration fee and the refund threshold should be increased to 10% of the vote. Constituency primaries will remain first past the post, with the top 5 candidates progressing. This would be held around 28 days prior to the election date, to give parties campaign time.

The national election itself could be run by QR codes being sent out on your voter registration cards and a separate invitation to set a PIN, where you would pass a security check against your details. All you need to vote is a computer or tablet/smartphone with a camera. You download the app or go to the website, scan your code and tick a declaration that you're voting alone, using the correct QR code and are doing so free of undue influence. You are then presented with the 5 candidates that passed the primary.

Once a QR code is scanned and the PIN entered, it can never be scanned again. You will have a set maximum time to assign a score of 1-5 to each candidate, 5 being your most preferred and 1 being your least preferred. You will not be able to give the same score twice, i.e. two candidates getting 5. If you fail to complete the process, or complete it deliberately incorrectly, your vote will not be counted and you will not be eligible to re-vote. It will be different from a spoiled vote in that it will not count toward any sort of result and your voter ID will simply be permanently attributed to the "non-voter" list for that election.

All candidates have their scores totalled and the one with the highest score wins the seat. The digital system will also allow for the party with the highest score nationally to be the one that is invited first to form a government. For example, if Labour win the most seats but the Conservatives score the highest score nationally, they will still be the one invited to form a government. They will have a set deadline of around 7 days and at the end will be asked if they can command the confidence of the commons. If they can't, the next highest party will be asked if they have reached a deal. They will not have additional time, they will be expected to have worked in the prior 7 days too. If they can't either, then the process will reset to post-primary and the election held a second time 28 days later. This time, there will be the same deadline to form a government and at the end of it, if nobody can form a majority then a minority government will be installed as the highest scoring party nationally.

After giving it some thought, that is about the fairest and simplest I can see the system being made to work. A digital system would provide the result immediately on the stroke of 10pm, and if there is an obvious winner then the 7 days can be skipped and a government announced the next morning. It also makes the business of voting much easier and more accessible and should lead to greater voter "turn out"
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Re: Electoral Reform

Unread postby c1ask0 » 8 May 2015, 20:25

But I like the tension of the current voting system. It would be a shame to lose that.

In other news, my line manager's partner was involved in the count at Leamington. It runs out that it went on for so long that they gave up and went home at 4:30. That's why it was one of the last few counts to be completed earlier this afternoon. :lol:
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