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POLI 101- November 18-1.docx

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Political Science
POLI 101
All Professors

ELECTIONS Friday, November 18, 2011 Review: Electoral Systems - Three main traits of Electoral Systems (1) Districts (2) Quantity of Representatives - Single Representative per district (3) Method of Election - How you choose which candidates are elected Review: Gerrymandering - Drawing boundaries to help a party of interest - Where boundaries are drawn affects who wins - Demographic characteristics taken into consideration - Negative and Positive forms of gerrymandering - Negative: Partisan gerrymandering - Little partisan gerrymandering in Canada - Boundaries drawn by independent commission - Positive: Drawing boundaries so that minorities have better chance of gaining representation (both at federal and provincial level) - Drawing new boundaries for Canada starts this spring, taking into consideration growth of population (adding seats) and census data Method of Election - Similar to a horse race - Don’t need to win by 50%, just have to be faster than the other horses - Canada has First Past the Post (FPP) system - Don’t need 50% of votes, just have to have more than your competitors - Plurality of votes rather than a majority - Most elected without a majority (when there are more than 2 parties) - SMP system generally result in 2 party systems - Canada an anomaly (Liberals, Conservatives and NDP) Effects of SMP System - SMP system privileges parties with regionally concentrated support - Bloc official opposition in 1993, despite only having representatives running in ¼ of the districts - Regions become important to getting a majority - Politicians need to be able to appeal to regional support in order to be successful - Exaggerate popular support- more majority governments than popular vote would suggest - In 3 or 4 party systems (like in Canada) the government of the day doesn’t have majority of popular vote, but has majority in legislature EG. Popular small majorities turn into overwhelming legislature majorities - McKenna in 1987 in NB: 60% of vote but 100% of seats - McKenna in 1991 in NB: 47% of vote but 77% of seats - Campbell in 2001 in BC: 57% of vote but 97% of seats - Difficult for official opposition party to serve its purpose when there are so few party MPs in the legislature Elections in Canada - Elections a Prime Ministerial prerogative - General election required every 5 years (section 4 of the constitution of 1982) - 4 years (or less) is typical - Strategic factors impact when elections are called (want to have an election at time when PM is able to be reelected) - Gives PM an advantage: Some believe this advantage should be taken away completely - Many provinces now adhere to set election dates - Fixed election laws in place at federal level- not used yet - Elections fixed in Constitution in the US Election administration - Independent of government - Federal agency called Elections Canada - Large agency, large budget, efficient bureaucracy (logistically) - Chief Electoral Officer -
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