voting system

A voting system may be any method of recording preferences by any group of people used in the process of making a decision. Most discussions of voting systems refer to the choice of a voting system to be used in a representative democracy to elect a political representative to a legislature.

In a representative democracy, a voting system should do the following things:
  • tally voter preferences and translate these into political representation.
  • ensure that each voter can be reasonably assured that their preferences will be reflected in the makeup of the legislature.
  • open the system to new ideas and Parties, and allow for the replacement of outdated ones.
  • preserve the functional capacity of government.

The wide variety of voting systems can be categorized depending on how they attribute representatives to ridings: single member voting system have one representative from each riding, multi-member systems have more than one, and mixed systems have riding representatives and representatives assigned for regions or from party lists.

Multi-member systems

Multi-member systems include Party List systems and the Single Transferable Vote procedure. Party List
systems eliminate the individual constituency. Instead, each party publishes a list of candidates, ranked in order of
preference, for each province or other large division of the country. Voters cast their ballots for the party of their
choice, and seats are apportioned to each party in accordance with their proportion of the vote. In some systems it
is possible for the voter to select the specific candidate he wishes to support, but otherwise seats are allotted starting
from the top of the party list. Thus proportionality is precise, but at the cost of breaking the link between voter
and his individual representative. Candidate selection, also, is entirely in the hands of the party hierarchy, and
thus diminishes, rather than increases, voter control over his representatives.

Under the STV each constituency would elect between three and five MPs depending on its size. Voters
would rank their choices 1, 2, 3... as above. This would see ridings three to five times their present size, but would
retain the link between the individual MP and his constituency, and with his individual supporters. Indeed it
would arguably strengthen the link, as deputies from a given riding could well compete for the favour of their
electorate by focusing on constituency work rather than on dealing with national issues. Cabinet ministers and
parliamentary secretaries in particular might feel disadvantaged by this system.

Mixed Systems

Mixed Systems include the Additional Member system(AMS) and Alternative Vote Plus. Under an AMS
variant each voter has two votes; one as at present (FPTP), the other for a regional, provincial or national party list.
This procedure combines the merits, and the faults, of both FPTP and Party List systems, which are many. In
addition it creates two categories of MP, which could well create a monster!

Like AMS, Alternative Vote Plus (AV+) consists of two elements; a constituency vote and a top-up.
Constituency MPs are elected by the Alternative Vote system (see above). This means that in each case the
winning candidate has the support of at least 50% of the vote in the riding, and that each voter’s preference
actually counts. The top-up votes are cast for individuals selected from open Party Lists. This then provides a
broadly proportional system, allowing for the selection both of the party and candidate of choice, at the same time
ensuring that every vote counts. It is suggested that this system, adapted as follows to the unique Canadian
situation, be adopted as GPC policy.

It is proposed, therefore that the House of Commons be elected by the Alternative Vote system, thus
ensuring that every ballot cast in fact counts in the selection of the constituency MPs.
It is further proposed that members of the Senate be selected on the basis of Open Provincial party lists,
thus ensuring that each province be represented proportionately, by voters selecting their preferred candidate from
the party list of their preferred Party .

The best reference on voting system variations is en: Wikipedia: voting system. See also: