Electoral System 1

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9 Apr 2011
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Lecture Eight: Electoral System
The Electoral System
Set of institutions and rules that translate the votes of citizens into political
seats
Kinds of Electoral Systems
Single-Member Plurality (SMP)
oCountry divided into constituencies
oOne member per constituency
oCandidate with plurality of votes wins
Plurality: Majority = 50%+1 = 1.5 more votes than everyone
else combined; Plurality: more votes than any other single person
oCanada: 308 constituencies
oCriticisms:
Discrepancy between the percentage of voters who support a
party and the amount of seats they win
Rewards regionally concentrated support
Regional parties get more seats because they have
concentrated support
Seats not divided by percentage of the total vote, but
only the votes in a specific area
Parties can have no seats but a fair share of the vote;
Parties can have many seats but a smaller share of the vote
Promotes regionalization
Punishes non-territorial support
Kinds of Electoral Systems Cont.
Proportional Representation (PR)
oPercentage of seats that a political party recieves should be the same
as the percentage of the votes that the party received
oParty List PR: Each party prepares a list and members are elected
from that list
oDepending on percentage of votes, seats are allocated
oExisting threshold (ie. Wont give seats to parties who get less than 5%
of the vote)
oMixed-Member PR is a form of Proportional Representation; retains
idea of constituency for a group of seats, but another group of seats are
assigned based on voter percentages OR the other seats are used to 'fix' the
imbalance of seats
oCritisisms:
Empowers fridge parties
Okay for parties we like (Green Party) but not for
parties that are negative or un-Canadian
Doesn't make government officials accountable to voters (with
SMP you have specific local MPs to hold accountable)
Creates a minority government
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