Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mixed Member Proportional

I've read and digested the Ontario Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform proposal, and I support their recommendation for mixed member proportional.

Summary of the recommendation:
A Mixed Member Proportional system combines members elected in local districts and members elected for the whole province from party lists to serve as Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) in the legislature. This combination produces proportional election results that better reflect the wishes of voters.

In short, each voter will cast two votes at election time - one for their local candidate, and one for a political party.

A big win for me is highlighted in the report:

Many voters have been faced with the dilemma of wanting to support a local candidate but not his or her party, or wanting to support a party but not its local candidate.

A Mixed Member Proportional system allows voters to vote for a local candidate and for a party.

I find this more a problem with federal politics, but still, the option is great.

I was going to suggest that the only disadvantage would be that I don't vote for who gets named as a member of the list if I'm unaffiliated. But, I've run this through my head a couple of times, and if I don't feel comfortable with somebody on the list, I won't vote for the party.

The only opposition to this proposal are those who would suggest a minority held position should govern the majority, and that's not right.

I encourage all Ontarians to support this measure. I encourage the Progressive Conservative Party to endorse this measure.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have to say, of the proposed systems for proportional representation, this is my least favourite.

The majority of seats end up being elected in exactly the same "first past the post" manner as before. These are the local candidate votes. The rest of the seats (only 39 in this case) are the only ones truly based on proportion.

My favorite system was the one that B.C. was considering. (I think it was called the "Single transferrable vote.")

Although a little more complicated, it struck a balance between having local representatives and a list of party members. Each of the ridings were larger, and had multiple local representatives from each party. You could simply go through the list and mark down who, in order, you'd like to elect. You could have marked as few or as many as you would have liked. The idea was that if your first choice already has enough votes to get elected, your vote would count toward the second choice, and so on.

I'm still hoping that this gets implemented federally some day.

Jim said...

My favorite system was the one that B.C. was considering. (I think it was called the "Single transferrable vote.")

I did briefly glance at that option.

The one problem I had with that is, you almost had to select a "second" choice. In essence, you're voting for someone you did not want.

On the plus side, it would discourage strategic voting, because you could vote for the party/candidate you really wanted first, and choose the backup as your second choice. That would likely reflect real voters intention (and likely vote less Liberals :) ).

Anonymous said...

The one problem I had with that is, you almost had to select a "second" choice. In essence, you're voting for someone you did not want.

No, you voted for your first choice. Under FPTP, if that person is not elected, you're out of luck. With STV, you can say "OK, I accept that my first choice X doesn't have broad enough support to be elected. Of the remaining candidates, I think Y is the best alternative." Typically, Y will be of the same party as X, so party proportionality is excellent under STV and you have the added benefit of getting to choose from amongst the candidates a party puts up. With MMP, you're voting for any or all of the candidates a party puts up, so even your first choice doesn't get your vote directly. That's not to say that I don't support MMP - it's far better than FPTP - but I still think STV is better.

Leonard said...

"The majority of seats end up being elected in exactly the same "first past the post" manner as before. These are the local candidate votes. The rest of the seats (only 39 in this case) are the only ones truly based on proportion."

Looks like you're confusing the proposed MMP system with a paralel system where the lists seats are assigned regardless of the number of local seats won. But under the Mixed Member Proportional system the party list vote would apply to all 129 seats, not just to 39 list seats; the list seats would be distributed to compensate the parties underrepresented on the local ballot, bringing their share of seats in proportion with the popular vote.

Let me explain it with an example:
Let's say a party won 65 local seats (out of 90) and 51.2% of the vote on the "party list" ballot. So the party would be entitled to 51.2%x129=66 seats and since it already won 65 local seats, the party will be assigned only 1 (one) list seat. (Not 20 list seats on top of the 65 local seats - as it would be under a paralel system.)

Leonard said...

"My favorite system was the one that B.C. was considering. (I think it was called the "Single transferrable vote.")
Although a little more complicated, it struck a balance between having local representatives and a list of party members.
"

STV and MMP address different issues. The key issue for MMP is proportionality; it ensures the seat count matches the popular vote and it's assumed that if you don't like the candidates on a list - you'll vote for another party.
The key issue for STV is the level of support for each individual candidate; it allows voters to choose not only between parties but also between candidates of the same party - moving ahead those with the highest support.
STV is considered a proportional system, plus it distributes vote reminders ("fractional seats") based on voters' second choices rather than using a mathematical formula. But creating multi-member constituencies in Northern Ontario would've been quite problematic - so the citizen's assembly chose MMP.

Linuxluver said...

Leonard: STV's proportional qualities are very dependent on how many members are to be elected in any multi-member riding. If the number is too small (less than 5, in my view) te outcome won't be very proportional at all. Much also depends on where the riding boundaries are drawn. STV can be gerrymandered. This is one of the reasons I prefer MMP, where a vote is a vote is a vote....MMP can't be gerrymandered overall, though, of course, the local seats may be fiddled....but overall, thanks to the party vote....such fiddling won't alter the size of the "teams" as defined by the party vote share.