Chapter 13.docx

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 1400
Nanita Mohan

Chapter #13: elections and the Electoral System • Elections must be conduced “Free and Fair” • Anyone should be able to contest the election, everyone should be able to vote, every vote should be equal on election day and each province and territory should be fairly represented in HOC Theoretical Considerations • Primary functions of elections is to allow the mass citizens to choose their parliamentary representatives and indirectly their governmental leaders • They also serve as legitimage function, by exercise their franchise, voters legitimize the power of those elected by agreeing to be bound by their decisions • Elections help to integrate the country by putting everyone in it through a common national expierence • Elections provide policy guidelines for authorities and a feeling of political efficacy for the voters • Question of proportionality? o The extent to which representation in the house of commons reflects the wishes of the voters Drawing the Electoral Map • Electoral process beings by dividing the country into single-member electoral districts (redistribution) o Involves two stages:  1. Deciding how many seats in the commons to allot to each province and territory  2. Actually draw constituency boundaries within the provinces Distribution of Seats Among Provinces • starting with 282 seats, one seat is allocated to each of the Northwest territories, Nunavut and Yukon leaving 279 • total population of te provinces is divided by 279 to obtain electoral quota • this quota is divided into the population of each province to obtain the number of seats each is entitled to • if these provincial seat allocations result in any province having fewer seats than it has senators, then it obtains such additional seats as to equal its number of senators Drawing Constituency Boundaries • Second phase of redistribution process • Process of gerrymandering—manipulating constituency boundaries so as to ensure as far as possible the re-election of the members of the govt party • Electoral boundaries commission is appointed for each province, chaired by a judge designated by the chief jussive of the province o The other two members of each commission are appointed by the speaker of the house of commons and are often chosen from the political science community • Commissions swing into action as soon as the provincial population figures are available from the census • Must consider the community of interest or community of identity in or the historical pattern of an electoral district, thus rural and northern constituencies tend to be under the provincial quotient and southern, urban ones tend to be slightly over it • Publication of the map of proposed electoral boundaries is followed by a period of public hearings, which are held in different locations in the province The Official Election Machinery Setting the Date • Until 2007 the PM decided the date of the election within a 5 year period from previous election • Public opinion polls can be wrong, or public opinion can change between the calling of an election and the actual voting day Election Officials • The chief electoral officer is responsible for overall administration of the election and must function with absolute impartiality • Chief electoral officer choses the returning officers on a nonpartisan basis The Voters’List • Voters list was historically compiled from scratch after the election writ was issues, this was done by door to door enumeration • Hard to get 18 year olds on the list Nomination • About 95% of candidates are nominated at a meeting of a political party but they must then submit formal nomination papers, endorsed by 100 people on local voters list and a 1000 deposit Election Day • After nom. Day, the returning officer arranges for the ballots to be printed and allows people to vote in advance polls or by special ballot • Voting is made easier for ppl not at home like army, ppl abroad, temp. out of country • Canadian federal elections are helf Mondays and polls are open from 9am-8pm local time • Voters mark their X in private on ballot provided and when polls close the deputy returning officer and poll clerk count them • Results are announced an hour or so after the polls close, “First past the post: is declared elected The Ballot • Secret ballot was introduced in federal elections in 1874 The Franchise • Federal franchise • Vote was extended to women in the war • In 1918 all women could vote • 1948:Asian Canadians • 1953: Inuit’s • 1960: Registered Indians • 1970: Persons 18 years of age • 1988: Judges and ppl with mental disabilities • 1999: Returning officers • 2002:All Prisoners The Proportionality of the Electoral System • in each constituency, the candidate with the most votes wins, even if this is less
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