electoral systems, and trying to judge what the public would think of SM-PV. In all three areas I have had a bit of success.
For those who didn't check out the link above my proposed system keeps most of the FPTP system intact with one key
change: every MP in the House of Commons would have a vote that is stronger or weaker based on their party's share of the popular vote. The result being that FPTP's tendency towards majority governments is preserved but the ability to pass
legislation would be tied to the government's share of the popular vote. If you want a more in depth look at how this
might work check out the link above.
Prof. Andrew Heard Weighs In
one day. I specifically was looking for a critique of SM-PV. The Professor was happy to give a short reply:
It's very good to hear from you. Many thanks for letting me know about your idea for
modifying the electoral system. You have a great idea there, in many ways, and it made me
pause and think about the possibilities. I do like the advantage of not having to change
anything except the weight of each MP's vote. I guess the one possible weakness is that it
wouldn't correct the tendency of the first-past-the-post to allow a party to dominate or blank
out the other parties in a province or region. The Liberal victory in every seat in Atlantic
Canada, in the recent election, is an example.
Thanks once again - you've given me good food for thought!
help the voter's preferred party it doesn't help a party ensure regional representation. On one hand making sure every
region has MPs in both Her Majesty's Government as well as Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition is important for helping
parties understand regional concerns. But on the other hand perhaps a temporary shellacking acts as a wake up call to
parties that their policies in a region need a re-think. Rarely do such complete lockouts last for more than one election
cycle. Equally important are the other avenues the regions have to make their concerns known to the affected parties,
namely the provincial premiers and the (much maligned) Senate.
I am glad that Prof. Heard agrees that only having to change the weight of each MP's vote is an advantage. As I will show
further down, Canadians agree.
Direct Party and Representative Voting
systems. At the time I didn't find anything. There are no legislatures that use weighted voting systems and most electoral
reform debates are between Ranked Vote and Proportional Representation. So it was exciting to stumble upon an effort
in Britain to establish a similar weighted voting system. Direct Party and Representative Voting (DPR) differs from
Single Member-Proportional Vote only in that DPR has voters choose both the candidate they support as well as the
party they support. The latter vote determines how the votes are weighted in the ensuing parliament. I'm not convinced
the extra ballot is strictly necessary. It also may create situations where the party that gets the most MPs is not the party
that people support the most. This has a few potential problems. However, Stephen Johnson has done a lot of the
legwork of investigating how a weighted voting system would be advantageous which has been a great help to me.
Canadians Want Modest Electoral Reform
interesting findings (most of which I'm going to look at).
Q: Based on what you know and feel about the way we elect members of Parliament, which of the following
statements comes closest to your view?
meeting the preferences of a majority of Canadians.
When asked what 5 things Canadians valued in an electoral system they gave the below proportion of answers. I have
coloured red the values SM-PV does not help. I've marked one value in orange since while my system doesn't support
it that is because it by-passes the issue entirely.
more interesting point in this section:
Of note, respondents were offered a goal of "electing majority government" and
despite this, only 25% ranked it in their top five issues, suggesting it is not the type
of government a voting system produces that is important but the nature of the
government. In other words, preference for a “strong and stable government” should not be confused for preference for a system that produces majorities.
ability to survive explicit confidence votes (Speech From The Throne, Budget, and Motion Of No Confidence). However,
their ability to pass legislation functions more like a minority government. When the results include only those who want
electoral reform the list ends up a bit different:
basis. Why are seat totals matching popular vote such a concern? Because seat totals represent the ability to pass
legislation. In SM-PV this is instead taken care of by modifying voting power rather than seat totals.
of preference. Not surprisingly no weighted systems were considered. Of note is the preference for proportional systems
which SM-PV could technically be classified as. Also, note that our current system was the 2nd or 3rd choice 55% of the
time. It out-ranked each other system in this regard. Taken with the earlier graph that showed a majority only want
minor changes to the electoral system it can be argued that most Canadians would accept a modified FPTP system
that adds proportionality. SM-PV, in other words.
Much of the rest of the study looks at what the last election would look like under different electoral systems. This is an
easy process under SM-PV: The Liberal Party would have a stable majority government but have to consult the other
parties in order to pass their legislation.
SM-PV is likely one of the few contenders that both those who want electoral reform and those who don't would be
willing to accept. Should it get a proper hearing at the yet-announced electoral reform committee it will be interesting
how the debate develops.