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NORRIS.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL201Y1
Professor
C Jung

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Choosing Electoral Systems: Proportional, Majoritarian and Mixed Systems (PIPPA NORRIS) -electoral system are a stable democratic institution and have changed rarely until recent developments -> Europe, systems were ‘frozen’ until enfranchisement of the working class at the turn of the century (as stable as they are, they have the capacity to break down: punctuated equilibrium, statis with periods of abrupt change and then reassertion of inertia) - RULES ARE NOT ALWAYS NEUTRAL, electoral processes means that some groups, parties and representatives are rules out of decision making processes while others are favoured (in areas such as transferring votes to seats, regulation of candidacies, funding for campaigns) CLASSIFICATION OF ELECTORAL SYSTEMS: vary greatly on many dimensions such as district magnitude, ballot structures, assembly size, open/closed lists FORMULAS; Majoritarian – oldest system in the world, requires candidates to win a plurality or an absolute majority of votes, focus on accountability and efficiency  Plurality/First Past the Post: creates a manufactured minority for leading party to work effectively - ‘winner take all’. focus on governance, not representation of minority votes - have constituencies with borders that are reviewed to have roughly equal populations - don’t need a majority or meet a quota, just a simple plurality (more than closest rival) is decisive - share of parliament seats determines the government (ie. constituents vote on leaders to gain parliament seats, party with most seats forms government) - parties like Greens who have shallow, widespread support do less well than parties with a strong geographic support system  Second Ballot Majority-Runoff Systems: winning candidate gets the majority of the vote - consolidates vote behind victor, must have 50% and if not, election is continued between the top 2 contenders and decided based on majority , promotes coalition building amongst parties  Alternative Vote - votes give ranks to candidates as well as voting, translates close leads to a majority win by counting preferences Proportional Representation –  Party List System: majoritarian systems emphasize governability, proportional systems focus on inclusion of minority voices - principle is that seats in a constituency are divided according to the number of votes cast for party lists, but are variations in implementation - party lists rank candidates, are either open (which means public votes for preferences) or closed (where party chooses candidates), ranking order determines which candidates are elected SEMI-PROPORTIONAL- number of cotes (equal or less than # of representatives) for citizens to vite and winner is cumulatively determined  Single Transferrable Vote: ranking candidates per constituency, then divided by number of seats available -> winner must each minimum quota MIXED-SYSTEMS: additional member system, have 2 votes: half members are selected through plurality, other half elected, must receive minimum quota of votes Normative Criteria for Evaluating Electoral Systems (Criteria that systems should meet, whether accountability > minority inclusion) government effectiveness: majoritarian systems emphasize effectiveness, FPP model produces the “Westminister model” of strong (ie. single party/no coalitions!) and responsive party government and this is deemed attractive > majoritarian parties with majority of seats are able to engage in their policies without negotiations with coalition partners, can pass any legislation they wish, election result is decisive of outcome - manufactured minority: because parties may not have a great lead, but this is still transferred to greater number of parliamentary seats responsiveness of government: no matter what, governments are still accountable to the electorate, swing votes can bring oppositions into office “pulley-and-weights mechanism where a modest pull of electorate an lead to a disproportionate displacement of weight” POWER IS SHACKLED WITH ACCOUNTABILIY (electorate i
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