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Electoral reform?

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  • Electoral reform?

  • #2
    First, let me apologize for only coming to the forums when there's something in it for me :O... At university I have to give a speech and I'm thinking of doing it on electoral reform.

    I'm curious about ClothesFree members' opinions of electoral reform. First-past-the-post (FPTP), used in the U.S. and Canada, has serious problems in my opinion and causes the two-party system and contributes to voter apathy and the tendency of politicians to be "plastic" people that don't admit to strong opinions on controversial issues (though their hidden opinion may affect their behavior once elected).

    But what do you think? Are you even aware of the issue? Do you know what the alternatives to FPTP are? If you know what specific kind of reform you'd like, please write below.

    If the only reform you want is abolishment of the electoral college, please choose the first answer in the poll.

    Maybe I should poll in a political forum of some kind, but hey, I'm not a member of any :P


    • #3
      I just thought I should mention what Approval voting is for those who don't know.

      Approval is like FPTP, except that you're allowed to select more than one candidate if you want. This simple change, on a macro scale, allows it to avoid Duverger's Law; on an individual level it allows an individual to avoid the vote-splitting dillemma. For example, suppose in the presidential election, you don't like either of the two frontrunners (e.g. "B" and "K"), so you'd really like to vote for a third party "N", BUT you really don't want B to win so you vote for K to avoid "wasting" your vote on N.

      This problem tends to prevent third parties from getting any traction, hence Duverger's Law.

      Other systems for choosing one candidate from several are arguably better than Approval, but also correspondingly more complicated. These systems include Cardinal, Condorcet and Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). Having looked at the mathematics of these systems, Condorcet is a clear winner and IRV a clear loser. Please see here for more information.


      • #4

        Great to see you back on the forum. I have missed your posts. I know school can be a real time consumer, so post here when you have the time. Get the good education, that is something noone can take away from you.

        Welcome back!


        • #5
          Great topic Qwertie! I hope people, particularly those who vote for one-vote FPTP, will explain why. I prefer the Appoval method myself for the reasons you give above.


          • #6
            2 votes for and 3 against -- distressing so far, but hardly statistically valid. Perhaps more telling is that not a lot of people are even looking at the thread, let alone voting. In new Zealand the people were 85% in favor of reform in a vote, and I would have expected a little more interest in a relatively non-mainstream forum such as this. (I mean, yes, naturists are normal people, but they aren't known for "following the herd".)

            Then again, maybe if I wait longer, it'll pick up steam?


            • #7

              anyways, i think the election system is screwed up, i vote for QWERTIE


              • #8
                Single Transferable Vote system


                • #9
                  After reading the following report...


                  ...I like the mixed-member proportional system that it proposes. However, various alternatives look good too. But one thing I have concluded for sure is that a good electoral system for legislatures must include some degree of proportional representation.

                  To the FPTP lovers: why, oh why? *cries*


                  • #10
                    Here's my favorite reform. Each candidate should be allowed only $1,000.00 NO MORE!!!, if you can manage to get elected by using your brain rather than your money you might, I said might, be able to run things better i Washington. HG


                    • #11
                      I'm generally not posting but since NZ was mentioned why not.

                      Yes, over 10 years ago we went for MMP (Mixed Member Proportional vote) where you vote for your local area member of parliament and also a vote for the party you wish to support. The result of your first vote only determines your representative for your area - the results of the second vote says what proportion of parliament will be occupied by each party for the whole country.

                      Overall, it has its advantages and shortcomings. It allows a greater range of political parties to be allowed in. i.e. it is not just a two party duopoly. The uncontrolled bridled power of the largest party is contained.

                      But it has more concessions made - an elected party cannot always keep its promises. Also there are times when a smaller party will have suddenly wield some power.

                      Overall though, it is MUCH better than First-Past-The-Posts. I would have preferred Single Transferrable Vote though.

                      Mountain Goat


                      • #12
                        Why do you say an elected party can't always keep its promises? You mean because they don't have majority and hence no absolute power?

                        It's funny you should mention it, because in Canada, the Liberals who were in power for the last 14 years (until last week), and had at least two majority parliaments, were ALSO unable to keep most of their promises!

                        I suspect there's no electoral system that can get politicians to do what they say they will.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Qwertie:
                          Why do you say an elected party can't always keep its promises? You mean because they don't have majority and hence no absolute power?

                          That's right. It is difficult for one party to get more than 50% of the vote when there are so many parties to choose from, so coalitions with smaller parties are formed to get them over the 50% mark. Of course, the smaller party will ask for some policy concessions before going into a coalition, some of which might be different to what the larger party promised. Also the smaller party's ideologues suddenly see their once proud party supporting the 'enemy' large parties for power and selling out their core values and often never recovers again.

                          Recently though, we have had minority governments. This is when the strongest party doesn't have 50% even with its desired coalition. So it signs 'supply' agreements with other parties, saying "we will consult you in relation to policy if you support us in votes of confidence etc." But as the government doesn't have 50% of the vote, it is very vulnerable to a change of heart by its coalition parties and 'supply' supporters etc. Sometimes it cannot do what it wants to do.

                          Our Labour party (on the same general ideas of your Liberals I assume) have been in power for 7 years but had a big scare from the National Party (our version of a conservative party) in last years election.

                          Mountain Goat