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Final

POL101Y1 Study Guide - Final Guide: Single Transferable Vote, Tactical Voting, Dominant-Party System


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL101Y1
Professor
Nelson Wiseman
Study Guide
Final

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Jan 7 + 14: The Electoral System and Parties
1. Functions of elections
2. Building blocks of elections
oFranchise
oBoundaries
oVoter registration
oAdministration
oMethod of election
3. Courts on parties + elections
4. Chief Electoral Officer report on 2011 elections
Text: Chapter 20 T+W
Reform Party ideology
Populism. A distinctive political style. Particular aspects of it that the RP
emphasized: grassroots party democracy, where membership referendums for
important decisions and frequent national assembly votes are supposed to bind the
decisions of party leadership. Mass > cadre, power is bottom up.
Parliamentary reforms: relaxation of confidence conventions, party discipline,
more free votes, and responsibility of the MP to vote according to the consensus
of the constituency - mouthpiece of the people as opposed to the people. Weaken
control over of the leader over caucus and PM over HoC. Election of senators.
Representing Western interests: Not so much representing Western interests as
in giving them special status, just wanted to ensure equal representation among
the provinces. Opposed to special status and treatment, but did agree with Quebec
in claims for greater provincial autonomy and restrictions on federal spending
power. So long as these claims empower all the provinces and not just Quebec.
Implement three important elements of direct democracy: referendum,
initiative, and recall.
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Jan 21 + 28 : Polling and Voting
Jan 21+28
Jan 21+28: Wiseman Chap 2, T+W 29 and appendix A
Jan 21 (Part 1)
1. Voter turnout across Canada
2. Impact on parties performance
Consequences
3. Alternative electoral systems
1. Current electoral system: FPTP
2. AV/PB/IVR
3. PR: STV/MMP
4. Pros and cons of PR
4. History of voting and electoral reform
1. Voter turnout across Canada
1
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Highest in PEI because it's more insular, social pressure -> increased voter
turnout. Lowest in Nunavut because of highest proportion of Aboriginals who
have the lowest turnout generally.
NFL: prov > fed turnout, because in Alberta you already know who's going to
win.
Sask: low voter turnout but competitive elections.
QC: higher prov > federal election, separatist sentiments = don't want to
legitimize the system.
Why is voter turnout declining? Stronger civic duty 30-40 years ago, people felt
a sense of responsibility. This level of obligation is not present so much in today's
youth.
2. Current and alternative electoral systems
1. Current electoral system: FPTP
2. Preferential voting systems: AV/PB/IVR
3. Proportional representation: STV/MMP
4. Pros and cons of PR
4. History of voting and electoral reform
Text: Chapter 15 T+W
2.1. How FPTP works now
1993: PCs won 16% of the vote -> 2 seats. BQ won 13.5% -> 54 seats. Under PR,
PCs would have won 46 seats. In 1945, CCF won more votes in Ontario than in
Sask, yet garnered no seats in the former and captured 18/21 seats in Sask.
Disenfranchises voters that do not support the main contenders and
encourages strategic voting. In most ridings only one or two of the parties are
real contenders, leaving the supporters of others effectively disenfranchised.
FPTP creates polarized, impoverished, and sterile political arena where
political space is monopolized by two -maybe three - parties. It rewards
regional concentration, not meritorious political policies. It punishes parties that
do not have regionally concentrated votes. Allows parties to win a majority of
seats with a minority of votes.
Exaggerates regional cleavages and makes them appear stronger than they
are: ex. everyone says the West votes conservatives, but there are still a lot of
people who aren't voting Conservative. Liberals win 22-24% of the vote in
Western Canada but win very few seats. Favours parties that have concentrated
regional support. Leads parties to stress regional differences or focus on regional
bastions rather than overcome them; discriminates against parties that have
diffused support across the country. Payoffs (in terms of votes) are greater for
parties who make a regional appeal. Manufactures regional differences more
efficiently than it does parliamentary majorities. Issues are regional, not national.
Courting regions enhances electoral performance; courting the country as a whole
dampens it.
Disproportionately benefits the largest party and small regional parties (eg.
BQ). This is the 'winner's bonus'.
2
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Identifies certain parties with certain regions or provinces.
2.2 Preferential voting systems: AV/PB/IVR
Preferential systems are where the voter has the chance to rank the candidates
in order of preference. The voter puts a '1' by their first choice a '2' by their
second choice, and so on, until they no longer wish to express any further
preferences or run out of candidates. Candidates are elected outright if they gain
more than half of the first preference votes. If not, the candidate who lost (the one
with least first preferences) is eliminated and their votes are redistributed
according to the second (or next available) preference marked on the ballot paper.
This process continues until one candidate has half of the votes and is elected.
Pros: All MPs would have the support of a majority of their voters. It penalises
extremist parties, who are unlikely to gain many second-preference votes. It
encourages candidates to chase second- and third-preferences, which lessens the
need for negative campaigning (one doesn't want to alienate the supporters of
another candidate whose second preferences one wants) and rewards broad-
church policies. It reduces the need for tactical voting. Electors can vote for their
first-choice candidate without fear of wasting their vote.
Cons: AV is not proportional representation and in certain electoral conditions,
such as landslides, can produce a more disproportional result than FPTP. A voting
system that allows voters to rank candidates is prone to so-called 'Donkey voting',
where voters vote for candidates in the order they appear on the ballot. Votes also
don't have equal vote.
Maintains single-member constituencies.
2.3. Proportional representation: STV/MMP
Single transferable vote
The Single Transferable Vote (STV) is a form of proportional representation
which uses preferential voting in multi-member constituencies. Candidates don't
need a majority of votes to be elected, just a known 'quota', or share of the votes,
determined by the size of the electorate and the number of positions to be filled.
Each voter gets one vote, which can transfer from their first-preference to their
second-preference, so if your preferred candidate has no chance of being elected
or has enough votes already, your vote is transferred to another candidate in
accordance with your instructions. STV thus ensures that very few votes are
wasted, unlike other systems, especially First Past the Post, where only a small
number of votes actually contribute to the result. Multi-member constituencies.
Fewer districts, but more members representing each district. Have a bunch of
candidates on the ballot. If x seats are in the district, you elect the top x of those.
Eg. 5 seats, elect the top 5 candidates.
MMP
How do you reconcile the PR outcome with the first votes which give people
Canadian-style SMP winner-take all? You wait to see who wins the SMP races
across the country, then you add to the # of representatives elected an extra
number of seats necessary from the lists to give them the percentage outcome they
would have earned from the 2nd list result.
3
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