An ELECTORAL SYSTEM is the set of rules that determines how elections and referendums are conducted and how their results are determined. Political electoral systems are organized by governments, while non-political elections may take place in business, non-profit organisations and informal organisations.
Electoral systems consist of sets of rules that govern all aspects of the voting process: when elections occur, who is allowed to vote , who can stand as a candidate, how ballots are marked and cast , how the ballots are counted (electoral method), limits on campaign spending , and other factors that can affect the outcome. Political electoral systems are defined by constitutions and electoral laws, are typically conducted by election commissions , and can use multiple types of elections for different offices.
Some electoral systems elect a single winner to a unique position, such as prime minister, president or governor, while others elect multiple winners, such as members of parliament or boards of directors. There are a large number of variations in electoral systems, but the most common systems are first-past-the-post , the two-round (runoff) system , proportional representation and ranked or preferential voting . Some electoral systems, such as mixed systems , attempt to combine the benefits of non-proportional and proportional systems.
The study of formally defined electoral methods is called social choice theory or voting theory, and this study can take place within the field of political science , economics , or mathematics , and specifically within the subfields of game theory and mechanism design . Impossibility proofs such as Arrow\'s impossibility theorem demonstrate that it is impossible to design a "perfect" electoral method, so academic comparisons of proposed methods typically involve mathematical voting criteria.
* 1 Types of electoral systems
* 1.1 Plurality systems * 1.2 Majoritarian systems * 1.3 Proportional systems * 1.4 Mixed systems * 1.5 Additional features * 1.6 Primary elections * 1.7 Indirect elections * 1.8 Systems used outside of politics
* 2 Rules and regulations
* 3 History
* 3.1 Early democracy * 3.2 Development of new systems * 3.3 Single-winner revival * 3.4 Recent developments
* 4 Comparison of electoral systems * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 External links
TYPES OF ELECTORAL SYSTEMS
Countries using first-past-the-post for legislatures.
Plurality voting is a system in which the candidate(s) with the highest amount of vote wins, with no requirement to get a majority of votes. In cases where there is a single position to be filled, it is known as first-past-the-post ; this is the second most common electoral system for national legislatures, with 58 countries using it to elect their parliaments, the vast majority of which are current or former British or American colonies or territories. It is also the second most common system used for presidential elections, being used in 19 countries.
In cases where there are multiple positions to be elected, most
commonly in cases of multi-member constituencies, plurality voting is
referred to as bloc voting or plurality-at-large. This takes two main
forms; in one form voters have as many votes as there are seats and
can vote for any candidate, regardless of party – this is used in
eight countries. There are variations on this system such as limited
voting , where voters are given fewer votes than there are seats to be
The Dowdall system, a multi-member constituency variation on the Borda count , is used in Nauru for parliamentary elections and sees voters rank the candidates depending on how many seats there are in their constituency. First preference votes are counted as whole numbers; the second preference votes divided by two, third preferences by three; this continues to the lowest possible ranking. The sums achieved by each candidate are then totalled to determine the winner.
Majoritarian voting is a system in which candidates have to receive a majority of the votes to be elected, although in some cases only a plurality is required in the last round of counting if no candidate can achieve a majority. There are two main forms of majoritarian systems, one using a single round of ranked voting and the other using two or more rounds. Both are primarily used for single-member constituencies.
Majoritarian voting can take place in a single round using
instant-runoff voting (IRV), whereby voters rank candidates in order
of preference; this system is used for parliamentary elections in
The other main form of majoritarian system is the two-round system , which is the most common system used for presidential elections around the world, being used in 88 countries. It is also used in 20 countries for electing the legislature. If no candidate achieves a majority of votes in the first round of voting, a second round is held to determine the winner. In most cases the second round is limited to the top two candidates from the first round, although in some elections more than two candidates may choose to contest the second round; in these cases the second round is decided by plurality voting. Some countries use a modified form of the two-round system, such as Ecuador where a candidate in the presidential election is declared the winner if they receive 40% of the vote and is 10% ahead of their nearest rival, or Argentina (45% plus 10% ahead), where the system is known as ballotage .
An exhaustive ballot is not limited to two rounds, but sees the
last-placed candidate eliminated in the round of voting. Due to the
large potential number of rounds, this system is not used in any major
popular elections, but is used to elect the Speakers of parliament in
several countries and members of the
Swiss Federal Council . In some
formats there may be multiple rounds held without any candidates being
removed until a candidate achieves a majority, a system used in the
Countries by type of proportional system
Proportional representation is the most widely used electoral system for national legislatures, with the parliaments of over eighty countries elected by various forms of the system.
Party-list proportional representation is the single most common
electoral system and is used by 80 countries, and involves voters
voting for a list of candidates proposed by a party. In closed list
systems voters do not have any influence over the candidates put
forward by the party, but in open list systems voters are able to both
vote for the party list and influence the order in which candidates
will be assigned seats. In some countries, notably
In addition to the electoral threshold , the minimum percentage of the vote that a party must obtain to win seats, there are several different methods for calculating seat allocation in proportional systems, typically broken down into the two main types; highest average and largest remainder . Highest average systems involve dividing the votes received by each party by a series of divisors, producing figures that determine seat allocation; examples include the d\'Hondt method (of which there are variants including Hagenbach-Bischoff ) or the Webster/Sainte-Laguë method . Under largest remainder systems, party's vote shares are divided by the quota (obtained by dividing the number of votes by the number of seats available). This usually leaves some seats unallocated, which are awarded to parties based on the largest fractions of seats that they have remaining. Examples of largest remainder systems include the Hare quota , Droop quota , the Imperiali quota and the Hagenbach-Bischoff quota .
Single transferable vote (STV) is another form of proportional
representation, but is achieved by voters ranking candidates in a
multi-member constituency by preference rather than voting for a party
list; it is used in
In several countries mixed systems are used to elect the legislature. These include parallel voting and mixed-member proportional representation .
In parallel voting systems, which are used in 20 countries, there are two methods by which members of a legislature are elected; part of the membership is elected by plurality or majority voting in single member constituencies and the other part by proportional representation. The results of the constituency vote has no effect on the outcome of the proportional vote. A form of parallel voting, Scorporo , was used in Italy from 1993 until 2006.
Mixed-member proportional representation, in use in eight countries, also sees the membership of the legislature elected by constituency and proportional methods, but the results of the proportional vote are adjusted to balance the seats won in the constituency vote in order to ensure that parties have a number of seats proportional to their vote share. This may result in overhang seats , where parties win more seats in the constituency system than they would be entitled to based on their vote share. Variations of this include the Additional Member System and Alternative Vote Plus , in which voters rank candidates, and the other from multi-member constituencies elected on a proportional party list basis.
Some electoral systems feature a majority bonus system to either
ensure one party or coalition gains a majority in the legislature, or
to give the party receiving the most votes a clear advantage in terms
of the number of seats. In
Primary elections are a feature of some electoral systems, either as a formal part of the electoral system or informally by choice of individual political parties as a method of selecting candidates, as is the case in Italy . Primary elections limit the risk of vote splitting by ensuring a single party candidate. In Argentina they are a formal part of the electoral system and take place two months before the main elections; any party receiving less than 1.5% of the vote is not permitted to contest the main elections. The United States, there are both partisan and non-partisan primary elections .
Some elections feature an indirect electoral system, whereby there is
either no popular vote, or the popular vote is only one stage of the
election; in these systems the final vote is usually taken by an
electoral college . In several countries, such as
SYSTEMS USED OUTSIDE OF POLITICS
In addition to the various electoral systems in use in the political sphere, there are numerous others, some of which are proposals and some of which have been adopted for usage in business (such as electing corporate board members) or for organisations but not for public elections.
Ranked systems include Bucklin voting , the various Condorcet methods (Copeland\'s , Dodgson\'s , Kemeny-Young , Maximal lotteries , Minimax , Nanson\'s , Ranked pairs , Schulze ), the Coombs\' method and positional voting . There are also several variants of single transferable vote, including CPO-STV , Schulze STV and the Wright system . Dual-member proportional representation is a proposed system with two candidates elected in each constituency, one with the most votes and one to ensure proportionality of the combined results. Biproportional apportionment is a system whereby the total number of votes is used to calculate the number of seats each party is due, followed by a calculation of the constituencies in which the seats should be awarded in order to achieve the total due to them.
Cardinal electoral systems allow voters to score candidates independently. The complexity ranges from approval voting where voters simply state whether they approve of a candidate or not to range voting , where a candidate is scored from a set range of numbers. Other cardinal systems include Proportional approval voting , sequential proportional approval voting , Satisfaction approval voting and majority judgment .
Historically, weighted voting systems were used in some countries. These allocated a greater weight to the votes of some voters than others, either indirectly by allocating more seats to certain groups (such as the Prussian three-class franchise ), or by weighting the results of the vote. The latter system was used in colonial Rhodesia for the 1962 and 1965 elections . The elections featured two voter rolls (the 'A' roll being largely European and the 'B' roll largely African); the seats of the House Assembly were divided into 50 constituency seats and 15 district seats. Although all voters could vote for both types of seats, 'A roll votes were given greater weight for the constituency seats and 'B' roll votes greater weight for the district seats. Weighted systems are still used in corporate elections, with votes weighted to reflect stock ownership.
RULES AND REGULATIONS
In addition to the specific method of electing candidates, electoral systems are also characterised by their wider rules and regulations, which are usually set out in a country's constitution or electoral law . Participatory rules determine candidate nomination and voter registration , in addition to the location of polling places and the availability of online voting , postal voting , and absentee voting . Other regulations include the selection of voting devices such as paper ballots , machine voting or open ballot systems , and consequently the type of vote counting systems , verification and auditing used. Compulsory voting, enforced. Compulsory voting, not enforced. Compulsory voting, enforced (only men). Compulsory voting, not enforced (only men). Historical: the country had compulsory voting in the past.
Electoral rules place limits on suffrage and candidacy. Most countries's electorates are characterised by universal suffrage , but there are differences on the age at which people are allowed to vote , with the youngest being 16 and the oldest 21 (although voters must be 25 to vote in Senate elections in Italy). People may be disenfranchised for a range of reasons, such as being a serving prisoner, being declared bankrupt, having committed certain crimes or being a serving member of the armed forces. Similar limits are placed on candidacy (also known as passive suffrage), and in many cases the age limit for candidates is higher than the voting age. A total of 21 countries have compulsory voting , although in some there is an upper age limit on enforcement of the law. Many countries also have the none of the above option on their ballot papers.
In systems that use constituencies , apportionment or districting defines the area covered by each constituency. Where constituency boundaries are drawn has a strong influence on the likely outcome of elections in the constituency due to the geographic distribution of voters. Political parties may seek to gain an advantage during redistricting by ensuring their voter base has a majority in as many constituencies as possible, a process known as gerrymandering . Historically rotten and pocket boroughs , constituencies with unusually small populations, were used by wealthy families to gain parliamentary representation.
Some countries have minimum turnout requirements for elections to be
Reserved seats are used in many countries to ensure representation
for ethnic minorities, women, young people or the disabled. These
seats are separate from general seats, and may be elected separately
(such as in Morocco where a separate ballot is used to elect the 60
seats reserved for women and 30 seats reserved for young people in the
House of Representatives), or be allocated to parties based on the
results of the election; in
Voting has been used as a feature of democracy since the 6th century
BC, when democracy was introduced by the
Athenian democracy . However,
in Athenian democracy, voting was seen as the least democratic among
methods used for selecting public officials, and was little used,
because elections were believed to inherently favor the wealthy and
well-known over average citizens. Viewed as more democratic were
assemblies open to all citizens, and selection by lot (known as
sortition ), as well as rotation of office. One of the earliest
recorded elections in Athens was a plurality vote that it was
undesirable to win; in the process called ostracism , voters chose the
citizen they most wanted to exile for ten years. Most elections in the
early history of democracy were held using plurality voting or some
variant, but as an exception, the state of
The Venetians' method for electing the Doge was a particularly
convoluted process, consisting of five rounds of drawing lots
(sortition) and five rounds of approval voting. By drawing lots, a
body of 30 electors was chosen, which was further reduced to nine
electors by drawing lots again. An electoral college of nine members
elected 40 people by approval voting; those 40 were reduced to form a
second electoral college of 12 members by drawing lots again. The
second electoral college elected 25 people by approval voting, which
were reduced to form a third electoral college of nine members by
drawing lots. The third electoral college elected 45 people, which
were reduced to form a fourth electoral college of 11 by drawing lots.
They in turn elected a final electoral body of 41 members, who
ultimately elected the Doge. Despite its complexity, the method had
certain desirable properties such as being hard to game and ensuring
that the winner reflected the opinions of both majority and minority
factions. This process, with slight modifications, was central to the
politics of the Republic of
DEVELOPMENT OF NEW SYSTEMS
Jean-Charles de Borda proposed the
Borda count in 1770 as a method
for electing members to the
French Academy of Sciences . His method
was opposed by the
Marquis de Condorcet
Later in the 18th century, apportionment methods came to prominence
due to the
The single transferable vote (STV) method was devised by Carl Andræ
Perhaps influenced by the rapid development of multiple-winner
electoral systems, theorists began to publish new findings about
single-winner methods in the late 19th century. This began around
William Robert Ware proposed applying STV to single-winner
elections, yielding instant-runoff voting (IRV). Soon, mathematicians
began to revisit Condorcet's ideas and invent new methods for
Edward J. Nanson combined the newly described
instant runoff voting with the
Borda count to yield a new Condorcet
method called Nanson\'s method . Charles Dodgson, better known as
Ranked voting electoral systems eventually gathered enough support to
be adopted for use in government elections. In
Main article: Electoral reform
The use of game theory to analyze electoral systems led to discoveries about the effects of certain methods; research led Steven Brams and Peter Fishburn to formally define and promote the use of approval voting in 1977. Political scientists of the 20th century published many studies on the effects that the electoral systems have on voters' choices and political parties, and on political stability. A few scholars also studied which effects caused a nation to switch to a particular electoral system. One prominent current voting theorist is Nicolaus Tideman , who formalized concepts such as strategic nomination and the spoiler effect in the independence of clones criterion . Tideman also devised the ranked pairs method, a Condorcet method that is not susceptible to clones .
The study of electoral systems influenced a new push for electoral
reform beginning around the 1990s, with proposals being made to
replace plurality voting in governmental elections with other methods.
In other countries there were calls for the restoration of plurality
or majoritarian systems or their establishment where they have never
been used; a referendum was held in
COMPARISON OF ELECTORAL SYSTEMS
Main article: Comparison of electoral systems
Electoral systems can be compared by different means. Attitudes towards systems are highly influenced by the systems' impact on groups that one supports or opposes, which can make the objective comparison of voting systems difficult. There are several ways to address this problem:
Criteria can be defined mathematically, such that any electoral system either passes or fails. This gives perfectly objective results, but their practical relevance is still arguable.
Another approach is to define ideal criteria that no electoral system passes perfectly, and then see how often or how close to passing various methods are over a large sample of simulated elections. This gives results which are practically relevant, but the method of generating the sample of simulated elections can still be arguably biased.
A final approach is to create imprecisely defined criteria, and then assign a neutral body to evaluate each method according to these criteria. This approach can look at aspects of electoral systems which the other two approaches miss, but both the definitions of these criteria and the evaluations of the methods are still inevitably subjective.
Arrow\'s and Gibbard\'s theorems prove that no system using ranked voting, as opposed to cardinal voting, can meet all such criteria simultaneously. Instead of debating the importance of different criteria, another method is to simulate many elections with different electoral systems, and estimate the typical overall happiness of the population with the results, their vulnerability to strategic voting, their likelihood of electing the candidate closest to the average voter, etc.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ _I_ _J_ Table of Electoral
Systems Worldwide IDEA
Electoral system IPU
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Glossary of Terms IDEA
* ^ Sri Lanka: