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The Liberal Assault on Our Federal Republic

Part II: Proportional Representation

Michael A. Wallace

mwallace@americasvoices.org      
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July 6, 2001

Introduction

These two planks are discussed together because they are complementary in the eyes of their advocates.

What is Proportional Representation?  According to the Center for Voting and Democracy, "Proportional representation (PR) is based on the principle that any group of like-minded voters should win legislative seats in proportion to its share of the popular vote.  Whereas the winner-take-all principle awards 100% of the representation to a 50.1% majority, PR allows voters in a minority to win their fair share of representation.  There is a broad range of PR systems.  Some are based on voting for political parties, others for candidates…. 1,2  What is Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)?  "IRV is a reform that allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference, so that in cases where there is no initial majority winner, a runoff recount can be conducted without a new election to determine which candidate is actually preferred by a majority of voters." 3

Center For Voting and Democracy, What is Proportional Representation? http://fairvote.org/pr/index.html

There is not the space to indulge a full description of each type of PR system -- the reader is encouraged to go to the sources.  In a nutshell however, the more predominant methods can be described thusly:

  • List System -- A party receives the number of seats in a legislature according to the percentage of the vote it received.  Thresholds can be established, based on percentage of the vote, before seats are granted to the party.

  • Mixed Member System -- Half the legislature is elected from single seat "winner-take-all" districts, the other half from the List System.

  • Choice Voting -- Voters rank candidates in order of preference.  "Once a voter's first choice is elected or eliminated, excess votes are "transferred" to subsequent preferences until all positions are filled.  Voters can vote for their favorite candidate(s), knowing that if their candidate doesn't receive enough votes their vote will "transfer" to their next preference.  With choice voting, every vote counts and very few votes are wasted.  Choice voting is ideal for non-partisan elections like city councils.  This method is also called "Single Transferable Vote" or "STV"."  http://www.fairvote.org/pr/q_and_a.htm (Author's note: Their site notes that Choice Voting PR was tried earlier in the twentieth century and caused minorities to win representation.  Choice Voting PR is not common -- isolated to some city councils and school boards, and interestingly, finalists for the Academy Awards.)

Instant Runoff Voting http://www.instantrunoff.com/irv.html

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Copyright © Copyright © 2020, 2003, 2004 by Michael A. Wallace & America's Voices, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Michael A. Wallace is a registered Republican, a former Eagle Scout, a Lifetime Member of the National Rifle Association, a strong believer in Second Amendment rights, a retired Marine officer, and a pro-life advocate –- all things liberals seem to dislike.  In addition to his affiliation with America's Voices, Mike is a founding member of ConservaVets, a conservative veteran's organization (which has since become Rally4America).  Mike uses thorough constitutional and historical research to analyze and explain key moral and political issues of the day.  He particularly enjoys debunking the myths and lies perpetrated by the many liberal groups who claim to speak for most Americans and by those who misrepresent Constitutional principles to further their own agendas.  E-mail Mike at mwallace@americasvoices.org.

 

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