Electoral system

An electoral system is a set of rules that determine how elections and referendums are conducted and how their results are determined. Political electoral systems are organized by governments, while non-political elections may take place in business, non-profit organisations and informal organisations.

Electoral systems consist of sets of rules that govern all aspects of the voting process: when elections occur, who is allowed to vote, who can stand as a candidate, how ballots are marked and cast, how the ballots are counted (electoral method), limits on campaign spending, and other factors that can affect the outcome. Political electoral systems are defined by constitutions and electoral laws, are typically conducted by election commissions, and can use multiple types of elections for different offices.

Some electoral systems elect a single winner to a unique position, such as prime minister, president or governor, while others elect multiple winners, such as members of parliament or boards of directors. There are a large number of variations in electoral systems, but the most common systems are first-past-the-post voting, the two-round (runoff) system, proportional representation and ranked or preferential voting. Some electoral systems, such as mixed systems, attempt to combine the benefits of non-proportional and proportional systems.

The study of formally defined electoral methods is called social choice theory or voting theory, and this study can take place within the field of political science, economics, or mathematics, and specifically within the subfields of game theory and mechanism design. Impossibility proofs such as Arrow's impossibility theorem demonstrates that when voters have three or more alternatives, it is not possible to design a ranked voting electoral system that reflects the preferences of individuals in a global preference of the community, present in countries with proportional representation and plurality voting.

Electoral systems map
Map of electoral system for national legislatures, as of 2012.
  SNTV
  Borda
  STV
    MMPR
        Parallel voting

Types of electoral systems

Plurality systems

Countries That Use a First Past the Post Voting System
Countries using first-past-the-post for legislatures.

Plurality voting is a system in which the candidate(s) with the highest number of vote wins, with no requirement to get a majority of votes. In cases where there is a single position to be filled, it is known as first-past-the-post; this is the second most common electoral system for national legislatures, with 58 countries using it to elect their legislatures,[1] the vast majority of which are current or former British or American colonies or territories. It is also the second most common system used for presidential elections, being used in 19 countries.[1]

In cases where there are multiple positions to be elected, most commonly in cases of multi-member constituencies, plurality voting is referred to as bloc voting or plurality-at-large.[1] This takes two main forms; in one form voters have as many votes as there are seats and can vote for any candidate, regardless of party – this is used in eight countries.[1] There are variations on this system such as limited voting, where voters are given fewer votes than there are seats to be elected (Gibraltar is the only territory where this system is in use)[1] and single non-transferable vote (SNTV), in which voters are only able to vote for one candidate in a multi-member constituency, with the candidates receiving the most votes declared the winners; this system is used in Afghanistan, Kuwait, the Pitcairn Islands and Vanuatu.[1] In the other main form of bloc voting, also known as party bloc voting, voters can only vote for the multiple candidates of a single party. This is used in five countries as part of mixed systems.[1]

The Dowdall system, a multi-member constituency variation on the Borda count, is used in Nauru for parliamentary elections and sees voters rank the candidates depending on how many seats there are in their constituency. First preference votes are counted as whole numbers; the second preference votes divided by two, third preferences by three; this continues to the lowest possible ranking.[2] The sums achieved by each candidate are then totalled to determine the winner.[3]

Majoritarian systems

Majoritarian voting is a system in which candidates have to receive a majority of the votes to be elected, although in some cases only a plurality is required in the last round of counting if no candidate can achieve a majority. There are two main forms of majoritarian systems, one using a single round of ranked voting and the other using two or more rounds. Both are primarily used for single-member constituencies.

Majoritarian voting can take place in a single round using instant-runoff voting (IRV), whereby voters rank candidates in order of preference; this system is used for parliamentary elections in Australia and Papua New Guinea. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote in the first round, the second preferences of the lowest-ranked candidate are then added to the totals. This is repeated until a candidate achieves over 50% of the number of valid votes. If not all voters use all their preference votes, then the count may continue until two candidates remain, at which point the winner is the one with the most votes. A modified form of IRV is the contingent vote where voters do not rank all candidates, but have a limited number of preference votes. If no candidate has a majority in the first round, all candidates are excluded except the top two, with the highest remaining preference votes from the votes for the excluded candidates then added to the totals to determine the winner. This system is used in Sri Lankan presidential elections, with voters allowed to give three preferences.[4]

The other main form of majoritarian system is the two-round system, which is the most common system used for presidential elections around the world, being used in 88 countries. It is also used in 20 countries for electing the legislature.[1] If no candidate achieves a majority of votes in the first round of voting, a second round is held to determine the winner. In most cases the second round is limited to the top two candidates from the first round, although in some elections more than two candidates may choose to contest the second round; in these cases the second round is decided by plurality voting. Some countries use a modified form of the two-round system, such as Ecuador where a candidate in the presidential election is declared the winner if they receive 40% of the vote and is 10% ahead of their nearest rival,[5] or Argentina (45% plus 10% ahead), where the system is known as ballotage.

An exhaustive ballot is not limited to two rounds, but sees the last-placed candidate eliminated in the round of voting. Due to the large potential number of rounds, this system is not used in any major popular elections, but is used to elect the Speakers of parliament in several countries and members of the Swiss Federal Council. In some formats there may be multiple rounds held without any candidates being removed until a candidate achieves a majority, a system used in the United States Electoral College.

Proportional systems

Proportional voting systems
Countries by type of proportional system

Proportional representation is the most widely used electoral system for national legislatures, with the parliaments of over eighty countries elected by various forms of the system.

Party-list proportional representation is the single most common electoral system and is used by 80 countries, and involves voters voting for a list of candidates proposed by a party. In closed list systems voters do not have any influence over the candidates put forward by the party, but in open list systems voters are able to both vote for the party list and influence the order in which candidates will be assigned seats. In some countries, notably Israel and the Netherlands, elections are carried out using 'pure' proportional representation, with the votes tallied on a national level before assigning seats to parties. However, in most cases several multi-member constituencies are used rather than a single nationwide constituency, giving an element of geographical representation. However, this can result in the distribution of seats not reflecting the national vote totals. As a result, some countries have leveling seats to award to parties whose seat totals are lower than their proportion of the national vote.

In addition to the electoral threshold, the minimum percentage of the vote that a party must obtain to win seats, there are several different methods for calculating seat allocation in proportional systems, typically broken down into the two main types; highest average and largest remainder. Highest average systems involve dividing the votes received by each party by a series of divisors, producing figures that determine seat allocation; examples include the d'Hondt method (of which there are variants including Hagenbach-Bischoff) or the Webster/Sainte-Laguë method. Under largest remainder systems, party's vote shares are divided by the quota (obtained by dividing the number of votes by the number of seats available). This usually leaves some seats unallocated, which are awarded to parties based on the largest fractions of seats that they have remaining. Examples of largest remainder systems include the Hare quota, Droop quota, the Imperiali quota and the Hagenbach-Bischoff quota.

Single transferable vote (STV) is another form of proportional representation, but is achieved by voters ranking candidates in a multi-member constituency by preference rather than voting for a party list; it is used in Malta and the Republic of Ireland. To be elected, candidates must pass a quota (the Droop quota being the most common). Candidates that pass the quota on the first count are elected. Votes are then reallocated from the least successful candidates until the number of candidates that have passed the quota is equal to the number of seats to be filled.[3]

Mixed systems

In several countries, mixed systems are used to elect the legislature. These include parallel voting and mixed-member proportional representation.

In parallel voting systems, which are used in 20 countries,[1] there are two methods by which members of a legislature are elected; part of the membership is elected by a plurality or majority vote in single-member constituencies and the other part by proportional representation. The results of the constituency vote has no effect on the outcome of the proportional vote.[3]

Mixed-member proportional representation, in use in eight countries, also sees the membership of the legislature elected by constituency and proportional methods, but the results of the proportional vote are adjusted to balance the seats won in the constituency vote in order to ensure that parties have a number of seats proportional to their vote share.[1] This may result in overhang seats, where parties win more seats in the constituency system than they would be entitled to based on their vote share. Variations of this include the Additional Member System and Alternative Vote Plus, in which voters rank candidates, and the other from multi-member constituencies elected on a proportional party list basis. A form of mixed-member proportional representation, Scorporo, was used in Italy from 1993 until 2006.

Additional features

Some electoral systems feature a majority bonus system to either ensure one party or coalition gains a majority in the legislature, or to give the party receiving the most votes a clear advantage in terms of the number of seats. In Greece the party receiving the most votes is given an additional 50 seats,[6] San Marino has a modified two-round system, which sees a second round of voting featuring the top two parties or coalitions if there is no majority in the first round. The winner of the second round is guaranteed 35 seats in the 60-seat Grand and General Council.[7]

In Uruguay, the President and members of the General Assembly are elected by on a single ballot, known as the double simultaneous vote. Voters cast a single vote, voting for the presidential, Senatorial and Chamber of Deputies candidates of that party. This system was also previously used in Bolivia and the Dominican Republic.

Primary elections

Primary elections are a feature of some electoral systems, either as a formal part of the electoral system or informally by choice of individual political parties as a method of selecting candidates, as is the case in Italy. Primary elections limit the risk of vote splitting by ensuring a single party candidate. In Argentina they are a formal part of the electoral system and take place two months before the main elections; any party receiving less than 1.5% of the vote is not permitted to contest the main elections. In the United States, there are both partisan and non-partisan primary elections.

Indirect elections

Some elections feature an indirect electoral system, whereby there is either no popular vote, or the popular vote is only one stage of the election; in these systems the final vote is usually taken by an electoral college. In several countries, such as Mauritius or Trinidad and Tobago, the post of President is elected by the legislature. In others like India, the vote is taken by an electoral college consisting of the national legislature and state legislatures. In the United States, the president is indirectly elected using a two-stage process; a popular vote in each state elects members to the electoral college that in turn elects the President. This can result in a situation where a candidate who receives the most votes nationwide does not win the electoral college vote, as most recently happened in 2000 and 2016.

Systems used outside politics

In addition to the various electoral systems in use in the political sphere, there are numerous others, some of which are proposals and some of which have been adopted for usage in business (such as electing corporate board members) or for organisations but not for public elections.

Ranked systems include Bucklin voting, the various Condorcet methods (Copeland's, Dodgson's, Kemeny-Young, Maximal lotteries, Minimax, Nanson's, Ranked pairs, Schulze), the Coombs' method and positional voting. There are also several variants of single transferable vote, including CPO-STV, Schulze STV and the Wright system. Dual-member proportional representation is a proposed system with two candidates elected in each constituency, one with the most votes and one to ensure proportionality of the combined results. Biproportional apportionment is a system whereby the total number of votes is used to calculate the number of seats each party is due, followed by a calculation of the constituencies in which the seats should be awarded in order to achieve the total due to them.

Cardinal electoral systems allow voters to score candidates independently. The complexity ranges from approval voting where voters simply state whether they approve of a candidate or not to range voting, where a candidate is scored from a set range of numbers. Other cardinal systems include Proportional approval voting, sequential proportional approval voting, Satisfaction approval voting and majority judgment.

Historically, weighted voting systems were used in some countries. These allocated a greater weight to the votes of some voters than others, either indirectly by allocating more seats to certain groups (such as the Prussian three-class franchise), or by weighting the results of the vote. The latter system was used in colonial Rhodesia for the 1962 and 1965 elections. The elections featured two voter rolls (the 'A' roll being largely European and the 'B' roll largely African); the seats of the House Assembly were divided into 50 constituency seats and 15 district seats. Although all voters could vote for both types of seats, 'A' roll votes were given greater weight for the constituency seats and 'B' roll votes greater weight for the district seats. Weighted systems are still used in corporate elections, with votes weighted to reflect stock ownership.

Rules and regulations

In addition to the specific method of electing candidates, electoral systems are also characterised by their wider rules and regulations, which are usually set out in a country's constitution or electoral law. Participatory rules determine candidate nomination and voter registration, in addition to the location of polling places and the availability of online voting, postal voting, and absentee voting. Other regulations include the selection of voting devices such as paper ballots, machine voting or open ballot systems, and consequently the type of vote counting systems, verification and auditing used.

Compulsory voting
Compulsory voting, enforced.
Compulsory voting, not enforced.
Compulsory voting, enforced (only men).
Compulsory voting, not enforced (only men).
Historical: the country had compulsory voting in the past.

Electoral rules place limits on suffrage and candidacy. Most countries's electorates are characterised by universal suffrage, but there are differences on the age at which people are allowed to vote, with the youngest being 16 and the oldest 21 (although voters must be 25 to vote in Senate elections in Italy). People may be disenfranchised for a range of reasons, such as being a serving prisoner, being declared bankrupt, having committed certain crimes or being a serving member of the armed forces. Similar limits are placed on candidacy (also known as passive suffrage), and in many cases the age limit for candidates is higher than the voting age. A total of 21 countries have compulsory voting, although in some there is an upper age limit on enforcement of the law.[8] Many countries also have the none of the above option on their ballot papers.

In systems that use constituencies, apportionment or districting defines the area covered by each constituency. Where constituency boundaries are drawn has a strong influence on the likely outcome of elections in the constituency due to the geographic distribution of voters. Political parties may seek to gain an advantage during redistricting by ensuring their voter base has a majority in as many constituencies as possible, a process known as gerrymandering. Historically rotten and pocket boroughs, constituencies with unusually small populations, were used by wealthy families to gain parliamentary representation.

Some countries have minimum turnout requirements for elections to be valid. In Serbia this rule caused multiple re-runs of presidential elections, with the 1997 election re-run once and the 2002 elections re-run three times due insufficient turnout in the first, second and third attempts to run the election. The turnout requirement was scrapped prior to the fourth vote in 2004.[9] Similar problems in Belarus led to the 1995 parliamentary elections going to a fourth round of voting before enough parliamentarains were elected to make a quorum.[10]

Reserved seats are used in many countries to ensure representation for ethnic minorities, women, young people or the disabled. These seats are separate from general seats, and may be elected separately (such as in Morocco where a separate ballot is used to elect the 60 seats reserved for women and 30 seats reserved for young people in the House of Representatives), or be allocated to parties based on the results of the election; in Jordan the reserved seats for women are given to the female candidates who failed to win constituency seats but with the highest number of votes, whilst in Kenya the Senate seats reserved for women, young people and the disabled are allocated to parties based on how many seats they won in the general vote. Some countries achieve minority representation by other means, including requirements for a certain proportion of candidates to be women, or by exempting minority parties from the electoral threshold, as is done in Poland,[11] Romania and Serbia.[12]

History

Pre-democratic

In ancient Greece and Italy, the institution of suffrage already existed in a rudimentary form at the outset of the historical period. In the early monarchies it was customary for the king to invite pronouncements of his people on matters in which it was prudent to secure its assent beforehand. In these assemblies the people recorded their opinion by clamouring (a method which survived in Sparta as late as the 4th century BCE), or by the clashing of spears on shields.[13]

Early democracy

Voting has been used as a feature of democracy since the 6th century BC, when democracy was introduced by the Athenian democracy. However, in Athenian democracy, voting was seen as the least democratic among methods used for selecting public officials, and was little used, because elections were believed to inherently favor the wealthy and well-known over average citizens. Viewed as more democratic were assemblies open to all citizens, and selection by lot (known as sortition), as well as rotation of office.

Generally, the taking of votes was effected in the form of a poll. The practice of the Athenians, which is shown by inscriptions to have been widely followed in the other states of Greece, was to hold a show of hands, except on questions affecting the status of individuals: these latter, which included all lawsuits and proposals of ostracism, in which voters chose the citizen they most wanted to exile for ten years, were determined by secret ballot (one of the earliest recorded elections in Athens was a plurality vote that it was undesirable to win, namely an ostracism vote). At Rome the method which prevailed up to the 2nd century BCE was that of division (discessio). But the system became subject to intimidation and corruption. Hence a series of laws enacted between 139 and 107 BCE prescribed the use of the ballot (tabella), a slip of wood coated with wax, for all business done in the assemblies of the people. For the purpose of carrying resolutions a simple majority of votes was deemed sufficient. As a general rule equal value was made to attach to each vote; but in the popular assemblies at Rome a system of voting by groups was in force until the middle of the 3rd century BCE by which the richer classes secured a decisive preponderance.[13]

Most elections in the early history of democracy were held using plurality voting or some variant, but as an exception, the state of Venice in the 13th century adopted approval voting to elect their Great Council.[14] The Venetians' method for electing the Doge was a particularly convoluted process, consisting of five rounds of drawing lots (sortition) and five rounds of approval voting. By drawing lots, a body of 30 electors was chosen, which was further reduced to nine electors by drawing lots again. An electoral college of nine members elected 40 people by approval voting; those 40 were reduced to form a second electoral college of 12 members by drawing lots again. The second electoral college elected 25 people by approval voting, which were reduced to form a third electoral college of nine members by drawing lots. The third electoral college elected 45 people, which were reduced to form a fourth electoral college of 11 by drawing lots. They in turn elected a final electoral body of 41 members, who ultimately elected the Doge. Despite its complexity, the method had certain desirable properties such as being hard to game and ensuring that the winner reflected the opinions of both majority and minority factions.[15] This process, with slight modifications, was central to the politics of the Republic of Venice throughout its remarkable lifespan of over 500 years, from 1268 to 1797.

Development of new systems

Jean-Charles de Borda proposed the Borda count in 1770 as a method for electing members to the French Academy of Sciences. His method was opposed by the Marquis de Condorcet, who proposed instead the method of pairwise comparison that he had devised. Implementations of this method are known as Condorcet methods. He also wrote about the Condorcet paradox, which he called the intransitivity of majority preferences. However, recent research has shown that the philosopher Ramon Llull devised both the Borda count and a pairwise method that satisfied the Condorcet criterion in the 13th century. The manuscripts in which he described these methods had been lost to history until they were rediscovered in 2001.[16]

Later in the 18th century, apportionment methods came to prominence due to the United States Constitution, which mandated that seats in the United States House of Representatives had to be allocated among the states proportionally to their population, but did not specify how to do so.[17] A variety of methods were proposed by statesmen such as Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and Daniel Webster. Some of the apportionment methods devised in the United States were in a sense rediscovered in Europe in the 19th century, as seat allocation methods for the newly proposed method of party-list proportional representation. The result is that many apportionment methods have two names; Jefferson's method is equivalent to the d'Hondt method, as is Webster's method to the Sainte-Laguë method, while Hamilton's method is identical to the Hare largest remainder method.[17]

The single transferable vote (STV) method was devised by Carl Andræ in Denmark in 1855 and in the United Kingdom by Thomas Hare in 1857. STV elections were first held in Denmark in 1856, and in Tasmania in 1896 after its use was promoted by Andrew Inglis Clark. Party-list proportional representation began to be used to elect European legislatures in the early 20th century, with Belgium the first to implement it for its 1900 general elections. Since then, proportional and semi-proportional methods have come to be used in almost all democratic countries, with most exceptions being former British colonies.[18]

Single-winner revival

Perhaps influenced by the rapid development of multiple-winner electoral systems, theorists began to publish new findings about single-winner methods in the late 19th century. This began around 1870, when William Robert Ware proposed applying STV to single-winner elections, yielding instant-runoff voting (IRV).[19] Soon, mathematicians began to revisit Condorcet's ideas and invent new methods for Condorcet completion; Edward J. Nanson combined the newly described instant runoff voting with the Borda count to yield a new Condorcet method called Nanson's method. Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, proposed the straightforward Condorcet method known as Dodgson's method as well as a proportional multiwinner method based on proxy voting.

Ranked voting electoral systems eventually gathered enough support to be adopted for use in government elections. In Australia, IRV was first adopted in 1893, and continues to be used along with STV today. In the United States in the early-20th-century progressive era, some municipalities began to use Bucklin voting, although this is no longer used in any government elections, and has even been declared unconstitutional in Minnesota.[20]

Recent developments

The use of game theory to analyze electoral systems led to discoveries about the effects of certain methods. Earlier developments such as Arrow's impossibility theorem had already shown the issues with Ranked voting systems. Research led Steven Brams and Peter Fishburn to formally define and promote the use of approval voting in 1977.[21] Political scientists of the 20th century published many studies on the effects that the electoral systems have on voters' choices and political parties,[22][23][24] and on political stability.[25][26] A few scholars also studied which effects caused a nation to switch to a particular electoral system.[27][28][29][30][31] One prominent current voting theorist is Nicolaus Tideman, who formalized concepts such as strategic nomination and the spoiler effect in the independence of clones criterion. Tideman also devised the ranked pairs method, a Condorcet method that is not susceptible to clones.

The study of electoral systems influenced a new push for electoral reform beginning around the 1990s, with proposals being made to replace plurality voting in governmental elections with other methods. New Zealand adopted mixed-member proportional representation for the 1993 general elections and STV for some local elections in 2004. After plurality voting was a key factor in the contested results of the 2000 presidential elections in the United States, various municipalities in the United States began to adopt IRV, although some of them subsequently returned to their prior method. However, attempts at introducing more proportional systems were not always successful; in Canada there were two referendums in British Columbia in 2005 and 2009 on adopting an STV method, both of which failed. In the United Kingdom, a 2011 referendum on adopting Instant-runoff voting saw the proposal rejected.

In other countries there were calls for the restoration of plurality or majoritarian systems or their establishment where they have never been used; a referendum was held in Ecuador in 1994 on the adoption the two round system, but the idea was rejected. In Romania a proposal to switch to a two-round system for parliamentary elections failed only because voter turnout in the referendum was too low. Attempts to reintroduce single-member constituencies in Poland (2015) and two-round system in Bulgaria (2016) via referendums both also failed due to low turnout.

Comparison of electoral systems

Electoral systems can be compared by different means. Attitudes towards systems are highly influenced by the systems' impact on groups that one supports or opposes, which can make the objective comparison of voting systems difficult. There are several ways to address this problem:

One approach is to define criteria mathematically, such that any electoral system either passes or fails. This gives perfectly objective results, but their practical relevance is still arguable.

Another approach is to define ideal criteria that no electoral system passes perfectly, and then see how often or how close to passing various methods are over a large sample of simulated elections. This gives results which are practically relevant, but the method of generating the sample of simulated elections can still be arguably biased.

A final approach is to create imprecisely defined criteria, and then assign a neutral body to evaluate each method according to these criteria. This approach can look at aspects of electoral systems which the other two approaches miss, but both the definitions of these criteria and the evaluations of the methods are still inevitably subjective.

Arrow's and Gibbard's theorems prove that no system using ranked voting or cardinal voting, can meet all such criteria simultaneously. Instead of debating the importance of different criteria, another method is to simulate many elections with different electoral systems, and estimate the typical overall happiness of the population with the results,[32][33] their vulnerability to strategic voting, their likelihood of electing the candidate closest to the average voter, etc.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Table of Electoral Systems Worldwide IDEA
  2. ^ Nauru Parliament: Electoral system IPU
  3. ^ a b c Glossary of Terms IDEA
  4. ^ Sri Lanka: Election for President IFES
  5. ^ Ecuador: Election for President IFES
  6. ^ Hellenic Parliament: Electoral system IPU
  7. ^ Consiglio grande e generale: Electoral system IPU
  8. ^ Suffrage CIA World Factbook
  9. ^ Pro-Western Candidate Wins Serbian Presidential Poll Deutsche Welle, 28 June 2004
  10. ^ Elections held in 1995 IPU
  11. ^ Sejm: Electoral system IPU
  12. ^ Narodna skupstina: Electoral system IPU
  13. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Vote and Voting" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 216.
  14. ^ J.J. O'Connor & E. F. Robertson The history of voting MacTutor History of Mathematics archive
  15. ^ Miranda Mowbray & Dieter Gollmann (2007) Electing the Doge of Venice: Analysis of a 13th Century Protocol
  16. ^ G. Hägele & F. Pukelsheim (2001) "Llull's writings on electoral systems", Studia Lulliana Vol. 3, pp3–38
  17. ^ a b Apportionment: Introduction American Mathematical Society
  18. ^ Proportional Voting Around the World FairVote
  19. ^ The History of IRV FairVote
  20. ^ Tony Anderson Solgård & Paul Landskroener (2002) "Municipal Voting System Reform: Overcoming the Legal Obstacles", Bench & Bar of Minnesota, Vol. 59, no. 9
  21. ^ Poundstone, William (2008) Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (and What We Can Do About It), Hill and Young, p198
  22. ^ Duverger, Maurice (1954) Political Parties, Wiley ISBN 0-416-68320-7
  23. ^ Douglas W. Rae (1971) The Political Consequences of Electoral Laws, Yale University Press ISBN 0-300-01517-8
  24. ^ Rein Taagapera & Matthew S. Shugart (1989) Seats and Votes: The Effects and Determinants of Electoral Systems, Yale University Press
  25. ^ Ferdinand A. Hermens (1941) Democracy or Anarchy? A Study of Proportional Representation, University of Notre Dame.
  26. ^ Arend Lijphart (1994) Electoral Systems and Party Systems: A Study of Twenty-Seven Democracies, 1945–1990 Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-828054-8
  27. ^ Arend Lijphart (1985) "The Field of Electoral Systems Research: A Critical Survey" Electoral Studies, Vol.4
  28. ^ Arend Lijphart (1992) "Democratization and Constitutional Choices in Czecho-Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, 1989–1991" Journal of Theoretical Politics Vol. 4 (2), pp207–23
  29. ^ Stein Rokkan (1970) Citizens, Elections, Parties: Approaches to the Comparative Study of the Process of Development, Universitetsforlaget
  30. ^ Ronald Rogowski (1987) "Trade and the Variety of Democratic Institutions", International Organization Vol. 41, pp203–24
  31. ^ Carles Boix (1999) "Setting the Rules of the Game: The Choice of Electoral Systems in Advanced Democracies", American Political Science Review Vol. 93 (3), pp609–24
  32. ^ "What is Voter Satisfaction Efficiency?". electology.github.io. Center for Election Science. Retrieved 2017-03-30. (VSE) is a way of measuring the outcome quality [of] a voting method ... highest average happiness would have a VSE of 100%. ... it's impossible for a method to pass all desirable criteria ... VSE measures how well a method makes those tradeoffs by using outcomes.
  33. ^ "Bayesian Regret". RangeVoting.org. Retrieved 2017-03-30. The 'Bayesian regret' of an election method E is the 'expected avoidable human unhappiness'

External links

1831 United Kingdom general election

The 1831 United Kingdom general election saw a landslide win by supporters of electoral reform, which was the major election issue. As a result, it was the last unreformed election, as the Parliament which resulted ensured the passage of the Reform Act 1832. Polling was held from 28 April to 1 June 1831. The Whigs won a majority of 136 over the Tories, which was as near to a landslide as the unreformed electoral system could deliver. As the Government obtained a dissolution of Parliament once the new electoral system had been enacted, the resulting Parliament was a short one and there was another election the following year. The election was the first since 1715 to see a victory by a party previously in minority.

1910 Swiss electoral system referendum

A referendum on the electoral system was held in Switzerland on 23 October 1910. Voters were asked whether they approved of introducing proportional representation for National Council elections. Although the proposal was approved by a majority of cantons, it was rejected by 52.5% of voters. This was the second such referendum, after the one in 1900 also failed. However, a third referendum on the same issue was held in 1918, and passed with 66.8% in favour.

2019 Nigerian general election

General elections will be held in Nigeria on 23 February 2019, postponed from 16 February 2019, to elect the President, Vice President and the National Assembly. They will be the sixth quadrennial elections since the end of military rule in 1999. Presidential primaries were held during the last six months of 2018.

Additional member system

The additional member system (AMS), also known as mixed-member proportional representation (MMP) outside the United Kingdom, is a mixed electoral system with one tier of single-member district representatives, and another tier of "additional members" elected to make the overall election results more proportional.

The term additional member system, introduced by the Hansard Society, has been largely replaced in the literature by the term mixed member proportional coined by New Zealand's Royal Commission on the Electoral System (1984–1986). This article focuses primarily on semi-proportional implementations of MMP designed to yield moderately proportional election results, similar to the mixed systems used in the UK and referred to locally as AMS. In Scotland, Wales, and the London Assembly, the fixed numbers of additional members, elected in relatively small regions, are not always sufficient to fully compensate for the disproportionality caused by the single-member district (first-past-the-post voting) tier.

Elections in China

Elections in China are based on a hierarchical electoral system, whereby local People's Congresses are directly elected, and all higher levels of People's Congresses up to the National People's Congress, the national legislature, are indirectly elected by the People's Congress of the level immediately below.Governors, mayors, and heads of counties, districts, townships and towns are in turn elected by the respective local People's Congresses. Presidents of people's courts and chief procurators of people's procuratorates are elected by the respective local People's Congresses above the county level. The President and the State Council are elected by the National People's Congress, which is made of 2980 people.

Elections in Romania

Romania elects on a national level a head of state – the president – and a legislature. The president is elected for a five-year term by the people (after a change from four-year terms after the 2004 election). The Romanian Parliament (Parlamentul României) has two chambers. The Chamber of Deputies (Camera Deputaţilor) has currently 329 members (after the last legislative elections), elected for a four-year term by party-list proportional representation on closed lists. The Senate (Senatul) has currently 136 members (after the last legislative elections), elected for a four-year term by party-list proportional representation on closed lists.

Romania has a multi-party system, with numerous parties in which no one party often has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments.

On 25 November 2007, for the first time, Romanians elected their representatives to the European Parliament.

Elections in the Soviet Union

The electoral system of the Soviet Union was based upon Chapter XI of the Constitution of the Soviet Union and by the Electoral Laws enacted in conformity with it. The Constitution and laws applied to elections in all Soviets, from the Supreme Soviets of the USSR, the Union republics and autonomous republics, through to regions, districts and towns. Voting was theoretically secret and direct with universal suffrage. However, in practice, until 1989 voters could vote against the Communist Party of the Soviet Union candidate, but could only do so by using polling booths, whereas votes for the party could be cast simply by submitting a blank ballot .

A 1945 decree allowed for members of the Red Army stationed outside the Soviet Union to vote for both chambers of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (the Soviet of the Union and Soviet of Nationalities) in special 100,000-member districts. These were first enacted in the 1946 legislative elections and continued through the next decades as the Red Army continued its presence in the Eastern Bloc.

Electoral system of Australia

The Australian electoral system comprises the laws and processes used for the election of members of the Australian Parliament. The system presently has a number of distinctive features including compulsory enrolment, compulsory voting, majority-preferential instant-runoff voting in single-member seats to elect the lower house, the House of Representatives, and the use of the single transferable vote proportional representation system to elect the upper house, the Senate.The timing of elections is governed by the Constitution and political conventions. Generally, elections are held approximately every three years and are conducted by the independent Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

Electoral system of New Zealand

The New Zealand electoral system has been mixed-member proportional (MMP) since 1996. MMP was introduced after a referendum in 1993. MMP replaced the first-past-the-post (FPP) system New Zealand had previously used for most of its history.

New Zealand has a single-house legislature, the House of Representatives, usually with 120 members, although the number can increase because of (generally) one or two overhang seats, depending on the outcome of the electoral process. The term of the New Zealand Parliament is set at three years. Whichever party (or combination of parties) wins the most seats at the general election becomes the Government.

In 1893, New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the right to vote. This meant that theoretically, New Zealand had universal suffrage from 1893, meaning all adults 21 years of age and older were allowed to vote (in 1969 the voting age was lowered from 21 to 20. It was lowered again to 18 in 1974). However, the voting rules that applied to the European settlers did not apply to Māori, and their situation is still unique in that a number of seats in the New Zealand Parliament are elected by Māori voters alone. In contemporary New Zealand, generally all permanent residents and citizens over 18 are eligible to vote. The main exceptions are when a person has been living overseas continuously for too long, has been detained in a psychiatric hospital for more than three years after being charged with a criminal offence, or since 2010, is currently a sentenced prisoner.

Electoral system of Peru

The Peruvian electoral system has as its mission the planning, organization and execution of elections in Peru, as well as keeping a civil registry. As defined by the Constitution it comprises the following institutions:

National Jury of Elections (JNE): in charge of overseeing the legality of elections

National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE): in charge of organizing elections

National Registry of Identification and Civil Status (RENIEC): in charge of maintaining a civil registry, as well as record of suffrage eligibility and registrationElections are held through direct universal suffrage, voting is compulsory for citizens age eighteen through seventy. Members of the Armed Forces and the Police are not allowed to vote or be elected.

Electoral system of Turkey

The Electoral system of Turkey varies for general, presidential and local elections that take place in Turkey every four years, five years and five years respectively. Turkey has been a multi-party democracy since 1950 (officially since 1945), with the first democratic election held on 14 May 1950 leading to the end of the single-party rule established in 1923. The current electoral system for electing Members of Parliament to the Grand National Assembly has a 10% election threshold, the highest of any country.

A brief summary of the electoral systems used for each type of election is as follows:

General elections: The D'Hondt method, a party-list proportional representation system, to elect 600 Members of Parliament to the Grand National Assembly from 87 electoral districts that elect different numbers of MPs depending on their populations.

Local elections: Metropolitan and District Mayors, Municipal and Provincial Councillors, neighbourhood presidents and their village councils elected through a First-past-the-post system, with the winning candidate in each municipality elected by a simple majority.

Presidential elections: A Two-round system, with the top two candidates contesting a run-off election two weeks after the initial election should no candidate win at least 50%+1 of the popular vote.

First-past-the-post voting

A first-past-the-post (FPTP and sometimes abbreviated to FPP) electoral system is one in which voters indicate on a ballot the candidate of their choice, and the candidate who receives the most votes wins. This is sometimes described as winner takes all. First-past-the-post voting is a plurality voting method. FPTP is a common, but not universal, feature of electoral systems with single-member electoral divisions, and is practiced in close to one third of countries. Notable examples include Canada, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as most of their current or former colonies and protectorates.

Member of Parliament (United Kingdom)

In the United Kingdom a Member of Parliament (MP) (Aelod Seneddol (AS) in Welsh), is the title given to any one of the 650 individuals elected to serve in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Mixed-member proportional representation

Mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation is a mixed electoral system in which voters get two votes: one to decide the representative for their single-seat constituency, and one for a political party. Seats in the legislature are filled firstly by the successful constituency candidates, and secondly, by party candidates based on the percentage of nationwide or region-wide votes that each party received. The constituency representatives are elected using first-past-the-post voting (FPTP) or another plurality/majoritarian system. The nationwide or region-wide party representatives are, in most jurisdictions, drawn from published party lists, similar to party-list proportional representation. To gain a nationwide representative, parties may be required to achieve a minimum number of constituency candidates, a minimum percentage of the nationwide party vote, or both.

MMP differs from parallel voting in that the nationwide seats are allocated to political parties in a compensatory manner in order to achieve proportional election results. Under MMP, two parties that each receive 25% of the votes may both end up with 25% of the seats, even if one party wins more constituencies than the other.

MMP was originally used to elect representatives to the German Bundestag, and has been adopted by Bolivia, Lesotho and New Zealand. It was also used in Romania during its 2008 and 2012 legislative elections. In Germany, where it is used on the federal level and in most states, MMP is known as personalized proportional representation (German: personalisiertes Verhältniswahlrecht). In the United Kingdom such systems used in Scotland, Wales, and the London Assembly are referred to as additional member systems. In the Canadian province of Quebec, where an MMP model was studied in 2007, it is called the compensatory mixed-member voting system (système mixte avec compensation or SMAC).

Plurality voting

Plurality voting is an electoral system in which each voter is allowed to vote for only one candidate, and the candidate who polls the most among their counterparts (a plurality) is elected. In a system based on single-member districts, it may be called first-past-the-post (FPTP), single-choice voting, simple plurality or relative/simple majority. In a system based on multi-member districts, it may be referred to as winner-takes-all or bloc voting. The system is often used to elect members of a legislative assembly or executive officers. It is the most common form of the system, and is used in most elections in the United States, the lower house (Lok Sabha) in India, most elections in the United Kingdom (excluding some Scottish and Northern Irish elections), and Canada.

Plurality voting is distinguished from a majoritarian electoral system, in which, to win, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of votes, i.e., more votes than all other candidates combined. Both systems may use single-member or multi-member constituencies. In the latter case it may be referred to as an exhaustive counting system: one member is elected at a time and the process repeated until the number of vacancies is filled.

In some jurisdictions, including France and some of the United States including Louisiana and Georgia, a "two-ballot" or "runoff election" plurality system is used. This may require two rounds of voting. If on the first round no candidate receives over 50% of the votes, then a second round takes place, with just the two highest-voted candidates in the first round. This ensures that the winner gains a majority of votes in the second round. Alternatively, all candidates above a certain threshold in the first round may compete in the second round. If there are more than two candidates standing, then a plurality vote may decide the result.

In political science, the use of plurality voting with multiple, single-winner constituencies to elect a multi-member body is often referred to as single-member district plurality or SMDP. This combination is also variously referred to as winner-takes-all to contrast it with proportional representation systems. This term is sometimes also used to refer to elections for multiple winners in a particular constituency using bloc voting.

Proportional representation

Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. If n% of the electorate support a particular political party, then roughly n% of seats will be won by that party. The essence of such systems is that all votes contribute to the result - not just a plurality, or a bare majority. The most prevalent forms of proportional representation all require the use of multiple-member voting districts (also called super-districts), as it is not possible to fill a single seat in a proportional manner. In fact, the implementations of PR that achieve the highest levels of proportionality tend to include districts with large numbers of seats.The most widely used families of PR electoral systems are party list PR, the single transferable vote (STV), and mixed member proportional representation (MMP).With party list PR, political parties define candidate lists and voters vote for a list. The relative vote for each list determines how many candidates from each list are actually elected. Lists can be "closed" or "open"; open lists allow voters to indicate individual candidate preferences and vote for independent candidates. Voting districts can be small (as few as three seats in some districts in Chile or Ireland) or as large as a province or an entire nation.

The single transferable vote uses small multiple-member districts, with voters ranking individual candidates in order of preference. During the count, as candidates are elected or eliminated, surplus or discarded votes that would otherwise be wasted are transferred to other candidates according to the preferences. STV enables voters to vote across party lines and to elect independent candidates.

Mixed member proportional representation (MMP), also called the additional member system (AMS), is a two-tier mixed electoral system combining a non-proportional plurality/majoritarian election and a compensatory regional or national party list PR election. Voters typically have two votes, one for their single-member district and one for the party list, the party list vote determining the balance of the parties in the elected body.According to the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network, some form of proportional representation is used for national lower house elections in 94 countries. Party list PR, being used in 85 countries, is the most widely used. MMP is used in seven lower houses. STV, despite long being advocated by political scientists, is used in only two: Ireland, since independence in 1922, and Malta, since 1921.As with all electoral systems, both widely accepted and sharply opposing claims are made about the advantages and disadvantages of PR.

Single-member district

A single-member district or single-member constituency is an electoral district that returns one officeholder to a body with multiple members such as a legislature. This is also sometimes called single-winner voting or winner takes all. The alternative are multi-member districts, or the election of a body by the whole electorate voting as one constituency.

A number of electoral systems use single-member districts, including plurality voting (first past the post), two-round systems, instant-runoff voting (IRV), approval voting, range voting, Borda count, and Condorcet methods (such as the Minimax Condorcet, Schulze method, and Ranked Pairs). Of these, plurality and runoff voting are the most common.

In some countries, such as Australia and India, members of the lower house of parliament are elected from single-member districts; and members of the upper house are elected from multi-member districts. In some other countries like Singapore, members of parliament can be elected from both single-member districts as well as multi-member districts.

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