NEW PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION ELECTORAL SYSTEMS THAT MAKE DEMOCRACY WORK:

Your Vote Should Elect – Overlapping Election Districts Proportional Representation Electoral Systems Enable You to Elect Your Chosen Candidate When Traditional Electoral Systems Don’t

 

Your Vote – use your vote to elect, not just to vote

New and better First Past The Post, Alternative Vote and Single Transferable Vote proportional representation electoral systems improve proportional representation by enabling voters to directly elect chosen candidates that traditional electoral systems don’t.  These new systems can ensure virtually every voter directly elects their preferred candidate and that virtually every voter is directly represented by their preferred candidate in government.  This strong connection between voting intention and the election of preferred representatives provides a tangible, direct connection with the voter and candidates.  This systems structure is expected to increase voter interest and turnout.

Before discussing these new concepts in implementing effective proportional representation electoral systems, let’s take a short look at the history of voting plus some traditional, commonly used and greatly flawed electoral systems in order to see how we can encourage voter interest and the basic motivation to vote.

Progression of Right to Vote and Right to Elect – we’ve come a long way but …

In the seventeen hundreds, the right to vote was limited to privileged groups in society.  Advocates of full democracy favored and campaigned for universal adult suffrage.  Today, nearly all modern governments provide universal adult suffrage.  However, the right to elect personally chosen candidates is still quite limited because about 46% to 100% of voters normally fail to directly elect preferred candidates when virtually all of today’s most commonly used and widely known electoral systems are used to elect representatives to legislative assemblies.

Voting Limitations on the Right to Elect – present accepted systems to elect are all flawed

Currently, there are no effective and easily understood electoral systems to enable very large majorities of voters to directly elect preferred candidates.  For example, although first past the post (FPTP) and alternative vote (AV) method electoral systems are quite understandable; they respectively normally enable only about 50% and 54% [1] of all voters to elect candidates of choice.  Also by contrast, single transferable vote (STV) method electoral systems can enable large majorities of voters to elect candidates of choice, but its’ complexity often forces voters into guessing who they elect with their votes.  Furthermore, commonly used high election rate List Proportional Representation (List PR) electoral systems only enable voters to elect preferred parties of choice, not preferred party candidates of choice.

Disincentives to Vote – accepted systems ensure voters statistically fail to elect preferred candidates

High election failure rates can discourage substantial proportions of the voting population from voting.  For example, consider:

  1. List PR electoral systems.  List PR ensures 100% of voters fail to directly elect preferred candidates of choice.  This election failure rate can discourage those voters who want or prefer to elect party candidates of their own choosing from showing up to vote.
  2. FPTP electoral systems.  FPTP normally ensures about 50% or less of all voters fail to elect preferred representatives.  This election failure rate result can discourage voters who do not expect to elect a preferred representative from casting their votes.
  3. AV electoral systems.  AV typically ensures about 46% or less of all voters fail to elect preferred representatives.  Like FPTP, this election failure rate result creates a disincentive to vote.
  4. Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral systems.  MMP generally combines the List PR electoral system with FPTP or AV electoral systems.  The List PR component dilutes and reduces the total proportion of legislative assembly members that are directly elected as representatives of choice.  As discussed above, this system contains all the disincentives for not voting that come with List PR, FPTP and AV electoral systems.
  5. STV electoral systems.  Small multiple-member district (few representatives per district) electoral systems ensure large proportions of voters fail to elect preferred representatives.  For example, two-member districts ensure about 33% or less of all voters fail to elect a preferred representative.  Again like FPTP, this election failure rate result creates a disincentive to vote.  By contrast, large multiple-member district (many representatives per district) electoral systems can ensure very large proportions of voters elect preferred representatives.  But the big problem with high election rate STV electoral systems is complexity.  This complexity may discourage people who yearn for simplicity from voting.

These currently utilized electoral systems are all flawed.  But there are solutions that can enable you and all other voters to directly elect your candidates of personal choice much more often at a statistically higher rate every time elections are held.

Overlapping Election Districts System – strengthens the right to elect and quality of representative government

For the first time in history, the US 1787 constitution introduced the overlapping election districts system on a massive scale.  This constitution produced federal election districts that overlap smaller state election districts which in turn overlap smaller city election districts.

The overlapping election districts concept is a concept that can be employed to improve the quality of representative government.  When overlapping election districts are combined to form a single overlapping election districts electoral system, they can enable large majorities of voters to directly elect preferred candidates.

New and revolutionary overlapping election districts proportional representation electoral systems have been developed to improve the election success of voters and the proportional representation of parties.  These systems use overlapping single-member election districts or overlapping multiple-member election districts to directly elect all members of legislative assemblies.  In some overlapping election districts proportional representation electoral systems, the election success rate approaches 100%.  This election success rate makes the right to representation by consent and proportional representation close to perfect.  These systems tweak and improve upon the foundations of democracy.

FPTP, AV and STV Election Methods – produce proportional representation from candidates of direct election choice

Overlapping election districts proportional representation electoral systems can be utilized by many traditionally utilized election methods.  Here’s how the FPTP, AV and STV election methods work.  FPTP and AV candidates are respectively elected to single-member districts by the most votes and by an absolute majority of votes.  By contrast STV candidates are elected to multiple-member districts by a quota of votes, which gets smaller as the number of representatives per district increases.  On Election Day, STV and AV voters separately rank candidates from each overlapping election district on the ballot in order of preference whereas FPTP voters put a mark beside just one candidate from each overlapping election district on the ballot.

FPTP Overlapping Election Districts Electoral System Example

A FPTP general election area for a three overlapping election districts electoral system is shown below.

 

Overlapping election districts are subdivisions of general election area tiers.  As shown above, the general election area is divided into three overlapping election tiers and seven overlapping election districts, which have common boundaries.  Tiers 1, 2 and 3 respectively have four, two and one overlapping election district (7 representatives).

Election Day voting is simple.  For example, voters residing in local district A1 cast their first vote for a candidate in local district A1.  Then they cast their second vote for a candidate in overlapping district of residence B1.  Lastly, they cast their third vote for a candidate in overlapping district of residence C1.  Voters residing in local districts A2, A3 and A4 also cast votes in their local and overlapping districts of residence in similar fashion.  In effect, the overlapping districts of residence voting process enables voters to elect candidates of choice regardless of where they live within their allocated voting districts.

Election Day votes are counted and election results are tallied in smaller local districts before larger overlapping districts.  In this three district model each voter is given a single transferable district vote with three district preference votes.  However, in order to have a fair legislative assembly representation of all voters from election votes counted; each voter can use one but no more than one valid district preference vote on the ballot to elect a candidate of choice.  So for example, if a voter elects in their first district, the second and third district preference vote on the ballot is null and void.  Alternatively, if a voter does not elect in their first district, then their second district preference vote on the ballot is counted as in the first district.  The voting process is repeated until votes from all election districts on the ballot are counted.  Furthermore, candidates can run for election in only one district on the ballot.  This counting method considerably increases chances for voters to elect candidates of personal choice.

About 50% of valid votes elect candidates of choice in each round of vote counting on the ballot.  After each round of voting, the percentage of valid votes counted in the next round of vote counting drops by about 50%.

The three overlapping FPTP election districts electoral system shown above ensures about 88% or more voters elect candidates of choice and that about 12% or less don’t.  This election success result is considerably better than results produced by traditional FPTP electoral systems.

Traditional FPTP Electoral System – limits the election power of voters and prevents proportional representation from parties

A traditional FPTP general election area is shown next.  Like the above overlapping election districts diagram, this diagram has seven election districts for voting.

 

Sample General Election Area of Traditional FPTP Election Districts Electoral System

On Election Day, the districting system gives voters residing in local districts 1 to 7 one chance to elect candidates of choice.  Normally, about 50% or more of all voters elect candidates of choice and about 50% or less don’t.  As a result, this traditional FPTP electoral system prevents large majorities of voters from directly electing candidates of choice, which also prevents proportional representation from parties.

Districting Reform – creates new and better electoral systems

The main difference between the new FPTP electoral system and the traditional FPTP electoral system is the overlapping election districts reform.  With overlapping districting reform, voters vote in local districts as usual and then in each overlapping district of residence on the ballot instead of voting in only one local district of residence.  That’s basically all there is to enabling large proportions of voters to directly elect representatives of choice, which improves the proportional representation of parties.  It’s that simple.

What’s more, the total number of election districts is typically the same with districting reform as it is without election districts reform.  This means there’s generally no need to change the total number of representatives elected to legislatures when a switch is made from a traditional FPTP electoral system to an overlapping election districts FPTP electoral system.  Legislatures can have just about any number of elected representatives they want.

Overlapping Election Districts Proportional Representation Electoral Systems – strengthens the will of the peoples grip on government

Overlapping election districts election success results from FPTP, AV and STV election methods are shown below.

  1. First Past The Post Proportional Representation (FPTP) Election Method Electoral Systems.  Two overlapping election districts electoral systems ensure about 75% or more voters directly elect first choice candidates.  By contrast, three overlapping election districts electoral systems ensure about 88% or more voters directly elect first choice candidates.  Furthermore, four overlapping election districts electoral systems ensure about 94% or more voters directly elect candidates of first choice.
  2. Alternative Vote Proportional Representation (AV PR) Election Method Electoral Systems.  Two, three and four overlapping election districts electoral systems respectively ensure about 79% or more, about 90% or more and about 96% or more voters directly elect candidates of personal choice.
  3. Reformed Single Transferable Vote Proportional Representation (Reformed STV PR) Election Method Electoral Systems.  Two and three overlapping two-member election districts electoral systems respectively ensure about 89% or more and about 96% or more of the votes directly elect candidates of personal choice.  Also, two overlapping three-member election districts electoral systems ensure about 94% or more of the votes directly elect candidates of personal choice.

FPTP PR electoral systems are the simplest and Reformed STV PR electoral systems are the most complex.

As shown above, each overlapping election district on an election ballot contributes to the election success of voters.  As a result, the right to representation by consent is stronger when more overlapping election districts are on the ballot than when fewer overlapping election districts are on the ballot.

Overlapping election districts proportional representation example results from FPTP, AV and STV election methods are shown next.

  1. FPTP PR Election Method Electoral Systems.  Two overlapping election districts electoral systems enable a party that earns 40% of the popular or elected vote to receive about 53% of the representative seats in the legislature.  By contrast, the three overlapping election districts electoral system enables a party with 40% of the vote to receive about 46% of the representative seats.  Also, four overlapping election districts electoral systems enable the party with 40% of the vote to receive about 43% of the seats.
  2. AV PR Election Method Electoral Systems.  Two overlapping election districts electoral systems enable a party that earns 40% of the popular or elected vote to receive about 51% of the seats.  Also, three overlapping election districts electoral systems enable a party with 40% of the vote to receive about 44% of the seats.  As well, four overlapping election districts electoral systems enable the party with 40% of the vote to obtain about 42% of the seats.
  3. Reformed STV PR Election Method Electoral Systems.  Two overlapping two-member election districts electoral systems enable a party that earns 40% of the popular or elected vote to receive about 45% of the seats.  Also, three overlapping two-member election districts electoral systems enable the party with 40% of the vote to obtain about 42% of the seats.  By contrast, the two overlapping three-member election districts electoral system enables the party with 40% of the vote to obtain about 43% of the seats.

As shown above, each overlapping election district on the election ballot contributes to the proportionality of seats to votes.  This means, electoral systems with more overlapping election districts produce better proportional representation results than systems with fewer overlapping election districts.

In conclusion, high election success rates and attractive proportional representation results are expected to motivate larger proportions of voters to vote.

Strengthening Voter Participation – overlapping election districts create a strong connection between voter and representative

Overlapping election districts electoral systems make a big difference to the motivation to vote.  For example, consider:

  1. The FPTP PR four election chances model (four overlapping single-member election districts model).
    1. This model enables about 94% or more voters to succeed in personally electing representatives.  Only about 6% or less of voters fail to elect with this model in comparison to the traditional FPTP model where about 50% or less of voters typically fail to elect representatives of their own direct choosing.  As a result, larger proportions of FPTP PR voters than traditional FPTP model voters are expected to vote.  Why?  Because about 44% or more of all FPTP PR electoral system voters than traditional FPTP model voters are directly represented by candidates of their own personal choice.
  2. The AV PR four election chances model (four overlapping single-member election districts model).
    1. With this model, about 96% or more voters elect personally chosen representatives and about 4% or less of all voters don’t.  By contrast, about 46% or less of traditional AV model electoral system voters fail to elect representatives.  As a result, larger proportions of AV PR voters than traditional AV model voters are expected to vote because about 42% or more of them elect candidates.
  3. The Reformed STV PR two election chances model (two overlapping three-member election districts model). 
    1. Here, about 94% or more of the votes elect candidates and about 6% or less do not.  By contrast, about 25% or less of traditional STV three-member district model electoral system votes fail to elect.  As a result, larger proportions of Reformed STV PR voters than traditional STV PR three-member district model voters are expected to vote because about 19% or more of the votes elect candidates.
    2. In this case, five relatively simple three-member districts are used by voters to enable about 94% or more of the votes to elect legislative assembly members.  By contrast, the traditional STV model requires a relatively complex fifteen-member district to enable about 94% or more of the votes to elect candidates.  Therefore, the fifteen-member district contains twelve more members than the three-member districts.  This means two overlapping three-member district ballots are shorter, and therefore less complex and burdensome than the fifteen-member district ballot.  Also, tracking personal votes within three-member districts to see how they are used to elect representatives is somewhat easier than it is within a fifteen-member district.  As well, three-member district links are clearer and stronger than fifteen-member district links.  In sum, shorter ballots, a somewhat easier ability to track personal votes and stronger multiple-member district links are expected to motivate larger proportions of three-member district voters than fifteen-member district voters to vote.

Next Best Thing to Direct Democracy – in an increasingly partisan world, each voice is heard

FPTP PR, AV PR and Reformed STV PR may be the next best thing to direct democracy.  In representative democracies, politicians make group decisions by voting on behalf of their constituents.  In a direct democracy every person can help to make group decisions by voting on their own behalf.  But when nearly every voter in a representative democracy directly elects a candidate of their own personal and therefore meaningful choice, people may feel that they are as close as they can get to making group decisions on their own behalf.  In this citizen-centric representative democracy, voters are actually being represented, feel that their concerns are being represented and heard, and that their votes are making a difference.  Also, when people know their votes are truly important in personally electing politicians, this can ignite more pride, interest and positive feelings about the legitimacy of government.  As a result, people are much more inclined to care about what is going on politically and to go to the polls to vote.

Strengthening voter participation is really just a matter of common sense.  We need to take away election failure rate disincentives, and create voter friendly incentives like the right for as many voters as possible to successfully elect candidates of personal choice every time they vote, which strengthens the right to representation by consent and encourages more people to vote.  Traditional electoral systems have failed us; its time to reform them and strengthen government’s right to rule.

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[1] The average election rate is obtained from a series of past state elections in New South Wales and Queensland in Australia where the method of voting is ‘Optional Preferential Voting’.  Also, of further interest in New South Wales and Queensland, about 57% of the total valid vote of voters tends to express a voting preference for elected members of the legislative assembly.

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