Electoral systems women and elections
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Electoral Systems Women and Elections. The National Democratic Institute. INTRODUCTIONS/ GROUND RULES. Introductions Ground rules Ice breaker exercise. Photo: NDI. ELECTORAL SYSTEMS OBJECTIVES. To understand the different types of electoral systems

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Electoral SystemsWomen and Elections

The National Democratic Institute


INTRODUCTIONS/

GROUND RULES

  • Introductions

  • Ground rules

  • Ice breaker exercise

Photo: NDI


ELECTORAL SYSTEMS OBJECTIVES

  • To understand the different types of electoral systems

  • To increase awareness of the potential advantages and disadvantages to these systems from a gender perspective


ELECTORAL SYSTEMS TOPICS

  • Electoral Systems:

    • Proportional Representation

    • Majoritarian

    • Mixed

Photo: Kathy Gest


KEY TERMS

  • Electoral System

  • Proportional Representation

  • Majoritarian System

  • Open/Closed Party List

  • Gender Quota

Photo: NDI


What Do They Do?

At the most basic level, electoral systems translate the votes cast in a general election into seats won by parties and candidates.

~ IDEA Electoral System Design Handbook


TYPES OF ELECTORAL SYSTEMS

Parallel

MMP


PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

  • Disadvantages

  • Coalition governments,

  • which can be unstable

  • Small parties have

  • disproportionate power

  • Accountability

  • Advantages

  • Proportionality

  • Encourage formation of

  • parties

  • Facilitate diverse

  • representation

  • Candidates need to get

  • votes from all over, not

  • just from a particular

  • region


PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATIONList PR

  • Multi-member districts

  • Parties create candidate lists

  • Voters select a party

  • Parties are allocated seats based on percentage of vote received

  • “Open” or “closed” lists

  • Thresholds very important


BALLOT EXAMPLE

Photo: ACE Project


PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATIONList PR

  • Criticisms

  • Need more developed

  • parties

  • Requires greater

  • coordination by parties,

  • concentrates power in

  • hands of central party

  • organization

  • Weakens link between parties

  • and constituents

  • Advantages

  • Reflects proportionality

  • Allows smaller parties to

  • compete

  • Minority and women’s

  • quotas are easier to

  • implement

  • Encourages developed

  • parties


PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATIONSingle Transferable Vote (STV)

  • Multi-member districts

  • Results through series of vote counts

  • If no one gets quota, candidate with lowest total votes is eliminated and votes redistributed

  • Continues until all seats are filled


PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATIONSingle Transferable Vote (STV)

  • Advantages

  • Voters choose individuals

  • and parties

  • Fairly proportional

  • results

  • Strengthens party-

  • constituent connection

  • Criticisms

  • Complex/requires higher

  • literacy

  • Party members compete

  • against each other

  • Party with a plurality of

  • votes can end up getting

  • fewer seats


MAJORITARIAN

  • Also known as “plurality system”

  • Whoever wins the most votes, wins the election.

Photo: Marie-Eve_NDI-Pakistan


MAJORITARIAN TYPES

  • First Past the Post

  • Two-Round System

  • Block Vote

  • Party Block Vote

  • Alternate Vote


MAJORITARIANFirst Past the Post (FPTP)

  • Citizens divided into districts cast a single vote for their candidate

  • Whoever gets the most votes, wins

  • More typical of countries where a single individual represents a geographic area


MAJORITARIANFirst Past the Post

  • Advantages

  • Simple

  • Clear choices between candidates

  • Encourages links between constituents and MPs

  • Can foster more broad-based politics where there is not a majority ethnic group

  • Criticisms

  • Excludes smaller parties

  • Can lead to exclusion of ethnic minorities

  • Dependent on electoral boundaries (gerrymandering)


MAJORITARIANTwo-Round System

  • Similar to FPTP; Candidates require absolute majority

  • First round of FPTP voting. If someone gets a majority, s/he wins

  • If not, some candidates may be eliminated and a second vote takes place


MAJORITARIANTwo-Round System

  • Advantages

  • Gives voters a second

  • chance

  • Encourages bargains and

  • tradeoffs

  • Minimizes vote-splitting

  • Criticisms

  • Expensive

  • Similar disadvantages to

  • FPTP

  • Can trigger conflict


MAJORITARIANBlock Vote

  • Multi-member districts

  • Voters get as many votes as there are candidates—can use all, some or none

  • “X” number of candidates with highest vote totals elected


MAJORITARIANBlock Vote

  • Advantages

  • Voters can pick

  • individuals

  • Parties can have a more

  • active role than in FPTP

  • Rewards organized

  • parties

  • Criticisms

  • Can exaggerate FPTP

  • problems

  • Can fragment parties

  • Candidate selection must produce a strategic number of candidates with broad appeal


MAJORITARIANParty Block Vote

  • Multi-member districts

  • Parties build lists of candidates

  • Voters choose party list not an individual

  • Party list gets elected


Advantages

Simple

Encourages strong parties

Can facilitate minority representation

Criticisms

Suffers from problems of FPTP, particularly disproportionality

MAJORITARIAN

Party Block Vote


MAJORITARIAN

Alternative Vote

  • Single-member districts

  • Voters rank candidate preferences

  • If candidate secures an absolute majority of first choice votes, s/he is elected

  • If not, candidate with the lowest votes is eliminated, and votes reallocated


MAJORITARIAN

Alternative Vote

  • Criticisms

  • Complex/ requires higher level of literacy

  • Centrist outcomes depend more on political context than electoral system

  • Doesn’t work well with larger, multi-member districts

  • Advantages

  • Candidates must seek “first” and “second” votes of voters

  • Can encourage compromise

  • Avoids “tactical voting” in FPTP


BALLOT EXAMPLE

  Photo: ACE Project, International IDEA Handbook (2005)


ELECTORAL SYSTEM DIMENSIONS

  • District Size

  • District Magnitude

  • Threshold

  • Party vs. Candidate

  • Quotas

Photo: Kathy Gest


DISTRICT SIZE AND MAGNITUDE

  • Single or multiple districts?

  • Number of representatives elected per district (district magnitude)

Photo: Megan Doherty, NDI


PARTY LISTS AND THRESHOLD

  • Open vs. Closed Lists

  • Higher thresholds tend to result in more women elected


OTHER ELECTORAL SYSTEM DIMENSIONS

  • Party vs. Candidate

  • Quotas

  Photo: lrobinsonNDI


EXERCISE

In small groups, discuss the pros and cons of your current electoral system.


ELECTORAL SYSTEMS REVIEW

  • Electoral Systems:

    • Proportional Representation

    • Majoritarian

    • Mixed

  • Electoral System Dimensions

  • Questions?

  • Feedback?


  • Login