Political Theory and Thoughts Content
Other Methods of Election
There are other methods of election which provide opportunity for minority representation. Such as Proportional Representation.
- In a really equal democracy, says J.S. Mill, “Every and any section would be represented not disproportionately but proportionately.”
- There are two varieties of proportional representations. They are:
- 1. The Hare Scheme of Single Transferable Vote
- 2. The List System
The Hare Scheme of Single Transferable Vote
- This system is associated with the name of Thomas Hare who formulated the system in 1857 and then elaborated it in his book named The Machinery of Representation.
- In the Hare’s system, the surplus of votes of the candidates who are declared elected transferred to other candidates whom it can help.
- It is called preferential system also because of the preferences which a voter is required to give to different candidates on the list of the ballot papers on the preference—first, second, third, … , etc. The voter can vote for as many candidates by denoting his preference as there are seats to be filled from particular constituency or other institutions, etc. the candidate in order to be elected requires a certain quota of voters.
- Different methods are followed to determine the quota but the simplest is to divide the number of votes cast by the number of seats to be filled from the constituency or institutions and the quotient is taken as the quota or the number of votes necessary to elect a candidate.
- The first preferences or choices are counted first and a candidate securing the required quota is declared elected.
- His/her surplus votes, if any are passed on to candidates not yet elected, in the order expressed in the preferences. The process of transferring surplus votes from both sides (votes of already elected candidates and candidates securing very few votes) to the next preferences continues down the least until the necessary number of representatives have been elected. The idea denotes that no vote is to be lost. (weight of votes).
- Though it helps for minority representation, it is complex scheme and is unintelligible to the ordinary voters as well as the probability of mistakes to occur in counting and recounting the votes but are in vogue in the small constituency of the modern period.
According to this system, each of the parties and groups present a list of candidates or only a list up to the number of seats to be filled for each constituency or institution. The voter then casts his vote for those lists on the basis of preference. It means voters vote for the list not for the candidates.
Then the seats are divided among the parties in proportion to the number of votes each list has secured. It is simple, the electorate has noting to determine and decide. The list system is employed in voting for the Indian Chamber of Deputies, The Knesset (Parliament) of Israel, the Swiss National and the Legislature in Finland, etc.
In some systems, the voter can alter the content, the order or both of the list. So it is known as the ‘free list’.
The other is the bound list which cannot be changed by the voters.
Proportional representation encourages the growth of numerous small parties and their aspirations. It has been condemned by Prof. Esmine that it is to render cabinet unstable, destroy their homogeneity and make parliamentary government impossible but the system has now been incorporated in some of the modern Constitutions.
It has become a convincing proof that proportional representation does attempt to remedy some of the evils of election process from which the body politic (state) suffers.