Saturday, June 16, 2007

Why MMP is Wrong for Ontario pt. 5

There is a claim by fair vote that all voters are equal under the new system. This is blatantly false to anyone who believes in the idea of 'wasted votes'. Under the new system everyone votes twice: once for the party and once for the local candidate. The vote for the candidate may or may not be a wasted vote. This depends on the definition of a wasted vote. Under fair vote's definition the same percentage of local votes will be wasted under the old system as under the new system. The party votes are more complicated. As I said earlier the parties are rewarded with list seats only after their local seats have been taken out. This means that parties that do well in local races will get few if no seats. Let's take the following scenario:

Party A: 40% province wide; 65 local seats
Party B: 30% Province wide; 15 local seats
Party C: 20% Province wide; 10 local seats
Party D: 10% province wide; 0 local seats

The list distribution would breakdown as follows:

Party A 0 seats
Party B ca 19 seats
Party C ca 9 seats
Party D ca 11 seats

With the overhang I'm not exactly sure how the allocation for the three losing parties would go but the estimate is close. Party A would certainly receive no seats. 40% of the list votes would be wasted. So dramatically wasted that while 60% of the people got to vote twice; 40% voted only once. In other words every vote is not equal. Now, people have said that if you voted for party A on the list you should be happy because your party won. I would be just as happy if the election were done by lottery and my party won. It would have about as much to do with my vote. I don't necessarily buy into the wasted vote argument. I understand the idea of every vote for a losing candidate making it necessary for the winner to have more votes. I understand the idea of the list percentage determining the number of seats a party is 'supposed' to win. However, the argument for change revolves around the idea of wasted votes. If that is your reason for voting for MMP, you should be worried about the problems noted above.


hswerdfe said...

Either you don't understand how the process works, or you are deliberately focusing misleading numbers that "prove" your point.
In any voting System you are transferring the power you have to somebody else, usually a person or party. under FPTP (current system) it is designed to transfer power to a person, but the realities of modern politics show the the person (local rep) you are passing your power to is almost exclusively under the control of a party. So you are effectively in the vast majority of situations transferring power to the party. However, the vote to party transfer is done very poorly under FPTP and we get situations where party representation (effective power) is not reflective of votes cast.
MMP is a Proportionality first system, the most important vote is the party vote, it ensures that the representation of each party is reflective of the votes cast for that party. put another way that the views of parliament are reflective of the people that voted for them.
The second vote, or local Rep Vote. takes care of who your think is your best local rep, it does not look overall makeup of the parliament.
So if we look at it that way everybody gets exactly one vote to decide what the power distribution in parliament will be. and exactly one vote to decide who will speak for you on local issues.

Note : MMP is not my favorite system of government, and there are problems with it, but I firmly believe that it is worlds better then the current FPTP system.
I will be voting "Yes" to MMP over FPTP.

Freddie Sirmans said...

Just browsing the internet, you have a beautiful and very interesting blog.

Matt said...

I agree with the first comment. Your argument that people who vote for the winning party somehow have a wasted vote is one of the most sophomoric arguments I've read on this subject. A wasted vote is a vote for the Harper Tories in 416 Toronto, they'll never elect anybody and are never represented. The same goes for Liberal votes in most of Alberta. The same goes for NDP votes in most places, and Green votes everywhere. Under MMP, if you vote for the winning party, your vote is not wasted, it is well-represented both in the riding results, as well as the allocation under lists.

All views expressed in this blog are those of the author and the author alone. They do not represent the views of any organization, regardless of the author's involvement in any organizations.

All comments are the views of the individual writer. The administrator reserves the right to remove commentary which is offensive.

The author is not responsible for nor does he support any of the advertisements displayed on the page