POLS 1150 - 01
Friday October 25 2013
Why is representation so important?
• liberal democracy is a representative democracy
• the issue of representative autonomy
• Edmund burke on the autonomy representative - you make that person who is chosen a
• we are much more a delegate now - an MP is voted in to represent he constituency
• B.C has a recall policy to have a new bi - election - however not very popular
How limited is representative democracy
• representation by population for the main legislature - the lower house
• do we really have a choice when we vote?
• is politics dominated by a political elite?
• how large is the district constituency?: can you be heard?
• urban/rural constituencies - people may feel out of touch with their MP
• Gerrymandering - constituencies are drawn and redrawn - tend to favour their voters
• in most liberal democracies that procedure tends to be at the hands of the parties
• Single member plurality or first past the post - used in Canada
• the other majoritarian is the single member majoritarian (AV - alternative vote) - you
have to have an absolute majority in the constituency
• district magnitude = 1
• Plurality - the person with the most votes wins 2
• absolute majority - 50 plus 1
• multi member districts
• district magnitude of more than one
• high magnitude - your constituency returns 10 seats (10 members) in the legislature - this
is good for proportionality according to the vote
• low magnitude - leads to a problem of disproprtionality - those that have low magnitude
have a second tier of seats
Single Member Plurality
• simple ballot
• the problem of disproprtionality
• manufactured majorities
• high effective threshold - need a high percentage of the vote to get into the legislature,
and much higher to be effective (the government)
• the problem of strategic voting, wasted vote -
Single member majority (SMM) orAlternative Vote (AV)
• two ways to get a majority of the popular vote
• run - off vote (France)
• preferential ballot (Australia)
• is the problem of strategy voting solved?
• multi member districts/constituencies
• high magnitude, low magnitude
• lower effective threshold
• complex voting: 3
• single transferable vote
• list systems - where parties run lists instead. IN a ren member constituency, you vote for a
party list. You can rank that part list in an open list. In a closed list you have no control,
just vote for the list. According to the proportional vote, the member get seats according
to the list top to bottom. If the party controls this. Negative - make the list in their favour.
Positive - if you want more women put them at the top, or equality out man and woman
Second Tier adjustment seats
Mixed Member Proportional
• a mixture of majortarian plurality and proportional - an attempt to correct the extreme
disproprtionality that a single member plurality can bring
• single member district
• proportional party vote (list)
• professional and non partisan?
• in the U.S the electoral commission is run by the party in power
• in most democracy it is at arm's length
• this is where gerrymandering can come in - even though we have arms length, districts
can be re drawn in ways that favour the party in power
• this is not an issue for PR because it is proportional
• why is this method of registration important?
• certain people can be shut out
• the U.S is famous for registration for blackAmericans