What are the options?
On the surface, there would seem to be only three options; 'First Past The Post', 'Ranked (Preferential) Ballots' or 'Proportional Representation'. But by looking closely at those three it is easily discovered that there are numerous permutations for two out of the three. Only 'First Past The Post', has only one permutation. That is what makes it simple and that is what makes it the most obviously unfair of the options.
After reviewing many, many electoral systems in use around the world today, as well as some no longer in use, we concluded that the four systems being proposed in the Prince Edward Island referendum scheduled for November, 2016 represent a reasonable cross section of those many systems. Although functional details differ in the implementation of these systems around the world, all but one are being used in one form or another today. This website examines two forms of proportional representation, one of which, Dual Member Representation' is very new, developed in 2014 by Canadian Sean Graham. The ranked or preferential ballot is examined in some detail, although specific versions of it are not directly compared due to the wide variety of variations possible. 'First Past The Post' is examined primarily for its inability to provide an accurate representation of the wishes of voters in any election other than one which has only two candidates and one constituency.
It should be pointed out that this is an objective examination of the properties of these four systems. As a result of our evaluation of these and other electoral systems, we at fairelections.xyz are convinced that neither 'First Past The Post' or 'Ranked (Preferential) Ballots' produce a fair and accurate representation of the wishes of the voters. Both of them produce undeserved majorities resulting from a wide variety of factors as well as being susceptible to regional divisions, voter manipulation, strategic voting,the 'spoiler*' effect and on and on and on. Furthermore, we are convinced that only a form of proportional representation would produce a fair representation of the wishes of the Canadian voter in a provincial or general election.
The only real question in our minds is: which version of proportional representation would be the most appropriate for Canada and would produce the most accurate representation of voter wishes, determined by the percentage of popular vote given to each of the participating parties, including independents. Either of the two forms of PR examined here would be adequate. Selecting one over the other would depend primarily on whether party lists or constituency selection is preferred for assigning 'correction factor*' seats.
* The spoiler effect is the effect of vote splitting between candidates with similar ideologies. One spoiler candidate's presence in the election draws votes from a major candidate with similar politics thereby causing a strong opponent of both or several to win. The minor candidate causing this effect is referred to as a spoiler.
* Correction factor seats are those assigned to achieve seat percentages as close as possible to the percent of the popular vote gained by a party or independent candidate.
- Compare the systems:
- Mixed Member Proportional
- Dual Member Proportional
- Ranked Ballots
- First Past The Post