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By Douglas J. Amy

There's a turning out to be recognition that some of the difficulties afflicting American elections might be traced to the electoral procedure itself, specifically to our winner-take-all method of electing officers. Douglas Amy demonstrates that switching to proportional illustration elections -- the balloting approach utilized in so much different Western democracies, through which officers are elected in huge, multimember districts in line with the share of the vote gained through their events -- may liven up democratic political debate, raise voter selection and voter turnout, be certain reasonable illustration for 3rd events and minorities, dispose of wasted votes and "spoliers," and eventually produce regulations that higher mirror the general public will. taking a look past new vote casting machines and different speedy fixes for our electoral trouble, this new version of actual Choices/New Voices bargains a well timed and creative manner out of the frustrations of our present approach of selecting leaders.

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Ideally, the state would send six Democrats and four Republicans to Congress, a distribution that would accurately mirror the political preferences of that state’s citizens. And this would indeed be the result under a proportional representation system. But under plurality rules the results could be radically different. Assuming that the 60/40 proportion of Democrats to Republicans held in each district, the election would send ten Democrats and no Republicans to the House. 36 Fair Representation for All One hundred percent of the seats for 60 percent of the vote is nowhere close to a fair or representative outcome.

The transfer process in STV is designed to ensure that the fewest votes are wasted and that the maximum number of people get to elect a representative to office. It also ensures that all political groups receive the number of seats they deserve based on their portion of the vote. Simpler Than They Look To American eyes, these various systems of proportional representation can often appear at first to be overly complex and confusing. And while the mechanics of seat allocation can sometimes be complicated, the actual voting process is not intimidating at all and can be easily used by the average citizen.

Ideally, a party’s strength in the nation should correlate closely with its strength in the legislature. If a party receives 40 percent of the vote, it should receive 40 percent of the seats. The larger the deviation of seats from votes, the more unrepresentative the legislature. 1 ranks 20 democracies according to the average percentage by which political parties’ shares of seats deviate from their voting shares—using a widely accepted formula developed by Michael Gallagher. What is most interesting about this table is not simply the low position of the United States, but that all of the countries ranking lowest on the list use winner-take-all elections—either single-member plurality or single-member majority voting systems.

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