Sunday, March 18, 2007

War of the Alternative Voting Methods

I used to say that if Kurt Cobain took on Trent Reznor in a slap fight, no one would win. (This was back when I thought "Hurt" was the most wimpy and ridiculous song imaginable - in other words, before Johnny Cash covered it.)

But now I wonder what would happen if Krist Novoselic (proponent for Instant Runoff Voting) took on Jyrki Kasvi (who participates in a proportional representation system).

Douglas J. Amy thinks that the Klingon-speaking, freedom-loving Kasvi would obliterate the grunge-speaking Novoselic.

Unfortunately...some politicians and election reformers have also proposed that [instant runoff voting] IRV be used for legislative elections, instead of other electoral reforms like proportional representation (PR). The idea would be to keep single-member districts, but use IRV instead of plurality voting to fill the seats in the legislatures. But using IRV for city councils, state legislatures, or even Congress is a bad idea – for several reasons....

[A]s one veteran electoral scholar, professor Wilma Rule, has observed, there are several important things that IRV does not do – but PR does. “[IRV] is a majority system which leaves out the political minority especially women and ethnic minorities, and third and other small parties.” Thus IRV does nothing to help solve our voting rights problems, or aid in the election of more women. Nor does it ensure fair and accurate representation for all parties, including minor parties, as PR would. IRV slightly reduces but does not eliminate most of the enormous numbers of wasted votes in plurality elections. It also does not produce multiparty legislatures that truly reflect the variety of political views in the electorate. Finally, unlike PR, IRV eliminates none of the problems associated with redistricting, such as uncompetitive districts and partisan gerrymandering. In short, in legislative elections, IRV is not much better than plurality elections; and as a winner-take-all system, it remains grossly inferior to PR. Adopting proportional representation elections would bring a number of badly needed changes to American elections and American politics – adopting IRV would not.

Incidentally, if I'm reading the results correctly, Kasvi was re-elected to the Finnish Parliament. Here's what is said about the Green candidates in Uusimaa. The first number for each candidate is the "comparative index" (used by the d'Hondt Method), the second the vote total.

Vihreä liitto r.p. / Gröna förbundet r.p.
Hautala Heidi Helsinki 50555,000 12899
Kasvi Jyrki Espoo 25277,500 4880
Karimäki Johanna Espoo 16851,667 2659
Forsius Merikukka Vihti 12638,750 2472
Juurikkala Timo Vantaa 10111,000 2104


Sphere: Related Content