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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 systems women and elections

Electoral SystemsWomen and Elections

The National Democratic Institute

slide2

INTRODUCTIONS/

GROUND RULES

  • Introductions
  • Ground rules
  • Ice breaker exercise

Photo: NDI

slide3

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
slide4

ELECTORAL SYSTEMS TOPICS

  • Electoral Systems:
    • Proportional Representation
    • Majoritarian
    • Mixed

Photo: Kathy Gest

slide5

KEY TERMS

  • Electoral System
  • Proportional Representation
  • Majoritarian System
  • Open/Closed Party List
  • Gender Quota

Photo: NDI

what do they do
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

proportional representation
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 representation list pr
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
slide10

BALLOT EXAMPLE

Photo: ACE Project

proportional representation list pr1
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 representation single transferable vote stv
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 representation single transferable vote stv1
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
MAJORITARIAN
  • Also known as “plurality system”
  • Whoever wins the most votes, wins the election.

Photo: Marie-Eve_NDI-Pakistan

majoritarian types
MAJORITARIAN TYPES
  • First Past the Post
  • Two-Round System
  • Block Vote
  • Party Block Vote
  • Alternate Vote
majoritarian first past the post fptp
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
majoritarian first past the post
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)
majoritarian two round system
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
majoritarian two round system1
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
majoritarian block vote
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
majoritarian block vote1
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
majoritarian party block vote
MAJORITARIANParty Block Vote
  • Multi-member districts
  • Parties build lists of candidates
  • Voters choose party list not an individual
  • Party list gets elected
slide23
Advantages

Simple

Encourages strong parties

Can facilitate minority representation

Criticisms

Suffers from problems of FPTP, particularly disproportionality

MAJORITARIAN

Party Block Vote

slide24

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
slide25

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
slide26

BALLOT EXAMPLE

  Photo: ACE Project, International IDEA Handbook (2005)

electoral system dimensions
ELECTORAL SYSTEM DIMENSIONS
  • District Size
  • District Magnitude
  • Threshold
  • Party vs. Candidate
  • Quotas

Photo: Kathy Gest

district size and magnitude
DISTRICT SIZE AND MAGNITUDE
  • Single or multiple districts?
  • Number of representatives elected per district (district magnitude)

Photo: Megan Doherty, NDI

party lists and threshold
PARTY LISTS AND THRESHOLD
  • Open vs. Closed Lists
  • Higher thresholds tend to result in more women elected
other electoral system dimensions
OTHER ELECTORAL SYSTEM DIMENSIONS
  • Party vs. Candidate
  • Quotas

  Photo: lrobinsonNDI

slide31

EXERCISE

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

slide32

ELECTORAL SYSTEMS REVIEW

  • Electoral Systems:
    • Proportional Representation
    • Majoritarian
    • Mixed
  • Electoral System Dimensions
  • Questions?
  • Feedback?
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