Direct Party and Representative Voting (DPR)

Updated Jun 2014 |

Direct Party and Representative Voting (DPR Voting)

DPR Voting - simple, practical electoral reform

Direct Party and Representative Voting is an electoral system intended to reform elections to the House of Commons

A simple PR alternative to replace 'First past the post' (FPTP) for electoral reform in the UK.

A form of Proportional Representation combining PR with existing single member constituencies

You vote directly for a party, not a party representative, to form the Government and quite separately, an individual to be your MP.

Direct Party and Representative Voting (DPR Voting) is a form of proportional representation for electing MPs to the House of Commons in the UK

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Simple proportional representation

Each party's votes in the parliament are proportional to the votes they win in the General Election

All MPs are elected in single member constituencies

Voting is simple. Counting is simple and quick

Practical

It requires little change to the familiar First Past the Post (FPTP) system.

No change is needed to the number of MPs, or constituency boundaries

See DPR Voting on YouTube (video made in Canada)
For the Gender balanced variant of the DPR Voting system,
see here
( a gender balanced parliament, without the need for positive descrimination or bias within the electoral system, but with a built in self correcting mechanism)
see also
advantages and disadvantages of First Past the Post - FPTP

In Brief

There is nothing complicated about voting in a DPR Voting election.

Voters cast two votes – one for the political party of their choice - the 'Party' vote, and the other to elect their constituency MP - the 'Representative' vote.
Each vote is a single choice - the voter marks their choice with a single X.

In DPR Voting one MP is elected in each single constituency. The share of the 'Party' votes each party wins is used to determine how many votes each parliamentary party should have in the parliament. How are the votes of the parliamentary party exercised? This total of parliamentary votes is shared out (equally) between the party's MPs - the winners of individual constituency elections.

Principal outcomes:
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• A form of proportional representation (PR) is achieved with minimal change to the voting system.
• The existing system of single member constituencies is retained.
• The existing system of directly elected constituency MPs is retained.
   
• The votes each parliamentary party has are proportional to the votes won in the election.
• This determines which party, or parties, can form the government
• Simplicity of voting and counting is comparable with FPTP.
   
• The election is not decided by the voting in 'marginal' constituencies.
• The system does not encourage numerous small parties.
• The system is resistant to gerrymandering

- Frequent revision to constituency boundaries is not necessary.
   
• There are no safe Party Seats. (The vote for the MP is separate from the vote for the Party)


- It encourages independent and independent minded candidates
- The MP becomes more responsive to his/her constituents but less dependent on the Party.
• Each ('Party') vote in every constituency makes a difference to the result of the election.
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Note:   Voting is not preferential - Multimember constituencies are not used - Party Lists are not used
    For the 'Gender Balance' variant of the system which could produce a gender balanced parliament, without the need for positive descrimination or bias within the electoral system, but with a built in self correcting mechanism see here
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from Arend Lijphart, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of California, San Diego.

Thank you for bringing the DPR Voting system to my attention.  I had not heard of it before.
I agree with you that it represents a big improvement compared with the current FPTP system in the UK, because it is basically a PR instead of a majoritarian system.  My own preference is for straightforward list PR, but the practical advantage of DPR Voting may be that it may be more acceptable to the British public.
Good luck with your proposal! Arend

How does it work?
The 'Party' votes are aggregated nationwide, and this determines proportionately the number of votes each parliamentary party has in the parliament and therefore which party, or parties, can form the Government.

The 'Representative' votes elect an individual in each constituency. The candidate who gets the most Representative votes is elected as the constituency MP.

The voting (and counting) in DPR Voting is as simple as FPTP. It's different because each voter has one vote for the party to form the Government, and another vote for the candidate to be the local MP. This form of voting is more straightforward for those who know which party they support, and gives more options for those for which the relative merits of the candidates are important.

The system combines the focus on electing a local representative which is the basis of 'First past the Post' with a vote for the party which is fundamental to Proportional Representation electoral systems.

DPR Voting requires some changes to the way parliament operates. For the purpose of votes (divisions) in parliament, each party's parliamentary votes are shared out equally amongst its MPs.
Each MP has an equal share of their parliamentary party's votes. Their 'parliamentary vote value' has a value which may be more or less than one.
The exception is for divisions on ‘non party political’ issues (free votes), where each MP has an equal vote value of one.

The Parliamentary Vote Value (PVV), which is used in parliamentary votes on party political issues, is the key to how DPR Voting balances the votes for the various parties with the number of elected MPs in the House of Commons.
If the 2010 General Election in the UK had been held under DPR Voting, because both Conservative and Labour parties are over-represented in the parliament when judged by the numbers of votes each party won and the number of MPs they have, both these parties would have parliamentary vote values less than one, say approx 0.77 and 0.73 respectively. By contrast Lib Dem and SNP parties were underrepresented and would have PVVs of approx 2.6 and 1.8 respectively. The different values of the PVV simply correct the imbalance that results from the 'First Past the Post' system of voting.
For example, Caroline Lucas as the only Green MP would exercise a ‘heavy' vote of between 5 and 6 for the Green Party (on party political issues) which reflects the total vote share for the Green Party in the country. If a party with significant popular support has just oneMP they are likely to get more attention and thus wield more influence than the average Labour or Conservative member of parliament. The PVV system extends this influence to the vote that Caroline Lucas would exercise on behalf of her party in the House. A similar situation could result in the future with a single UKIP MP, or a single MP of any other small party. Alternatively if UKIP got no MPs elected but the popular vote exceeded a predetermined threshold the party would be represented in the House by reason of the 'Automatic election' provision by a single MP with a single vote.
Note: It is not possible to predict how people will vote when a new electoral system is introduced, so that the above projections are simply to illustrate the principle, and are unlikely to be an accurate guide to what will actually happen.
For more on this see Parliamentary divisions and parliamentary vote values.

Direct Party and Representative Voting
v1.5
(pdf file)
(word doc)
See DPR Voting on YouTube (made in Canada)


Comment:

DPR Voting is a way of introducing proportionality to the UK multi party parliamentary democracy while retaining much of the existing familiar electoral system.
It addresses some aspects of First Past the Post widely perceived as disadvantages, and avoids aspects of other proposed systems of electoral reform which attract the most criticism. It achieves this by changing the way parliament conducts votes (divisions).
DPR Voting results in a parliament of directly elected constituency representatives.
Each MP who is elected is the local choice, elected on individual merit.
The Gender Balance variant of the system could achieve a better balance of male and female MPs without electoral bias, but with a built in self correcting mechanism.

The Change to PR
Unchanged constituency boundaries would offer political continuity locally.
MPs previously elected under FPTP would not be forced to find a new constituency.
Keeping much of the existing electoral system would make the administrative process of changing over to the new system easier. The cost of introducing the new system would be relatively low. It would be straightforward to reverse the change.
 
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….there are so many different types of Proportional Representation....,
"Choose a PR system that is simple and straightforward!
Don't be too much of a PR 'perfectionist' "

Part of the advice Arend Lijphart gave to the Workshop of Electoral Systems Experts, in Berlin, (Oct 2011) that looked at PR as a replacement for FPTP in India. Arend Lijphart is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of California, San Diego.

. .
 
Why has electoral reform failed so far?

People have campaigned against First Past the Post for the House of Commons for many years without success.
This is not because of the lack of advantages of other electoral systems such as STV, MMP, or List PR when compared to FPTP. The problem is that they all have perceived disadvantages.
Many supporters of FPTP consider that key features of FPTP - simple voting and counting, and the election of local MPs in single member constituencies - are red line issues for our democracy, and thus key reasons for rejecting PR systems that do not have these features.

There are some who support FPTP because it is likely to produce governments that have disproportionate party strength in the parliament, and thus do not need to consult or compromise in order to push through their programme. Whether this form of Government is better than Coalition Government is debatable, but It is difficult to see how this can be considered the most democratic election outcome. Those holding this opinion are unlikely to vote for any form of truly proportional representation.
 

Why is DPR Voting a different, fairer and better alternative?

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    It's simple - a form of Proportional Representation but with all MPs elected in single member constituencies, with simple voting, and simple and quick counting.
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  The Gender Balance variant of the system could produce a gender balanced parliament, without the need for positive descrimination or bias within the electoral system, but with a built in self correcting mechanism.

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  A DPR Voting Election will tend to elect more MPs able to win their constituency election on their own merits rather than on the back of a party label.
The overall calibre of MPs in the Parliament increases. Their democratic credentials are strengthened.

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    When considering a straightforward PR replacement for FPTP, DPR Voting involves less change to the election process, offers more advantages and fewer disadvantages than any other PR system.
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    In DPR Voting, every voter makes a difference to the election result.
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Compare DPR Voting to :

FPTP, First Past the Post (also known as SMP, Single Member Plurality)

MMP, Mixed Member Proportional system, (also known as AMS, the Additional Member system)

STV (Single Transferable Vote)

     

DPR Voting - the electoral system to replace FPTP

The introduction of DPR Voting would involve only the smallest change to the current UK electoral system. It would preserve the relationship between MPs and their constituents on the basis of a method of constituency election which is familiar.
DPR Voting would achieve greater equality for the voter, greater voter choice, and a form of proportional representation at minimum cost and with minimum disruption. It could be simply and powerfully presented to the electorate as a fairer electoral system for Westminster.

 
 
Upheaval for administrators?
The introduction of DPR Voting to replace the existing FPTP system for election to the House of Commons would require less upheaval than the change to any other PR system. This is because no changes are necessary to the number of MPs, the number of constituencies, or the constituency boundaries. The process of voting and counting is very similar and simple.
 

If you would like to comment about DPR Voting, please email the editor.

see also DPR in practice
see also Constituency boundaries and fair elections
see also MPs and parliamentary vote values rather than ‘One MP one Vote'
see also Small Party representation

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The special case of the convention concerning the Election of the Speaker

It is the convention that the Speaker is returned unopposed.
Under FPTP this means the Speaker's constituents are, in effect, disenfranchised.
(Under DPR Voting the electorate still gets the chance to vote in the Speaker's constituency)

 
You vote for the party you want to form the Government. You vote for the representive you want to be your MP.
You vote simply, directly, not indirectly.

DPR Voting - simple, practical electoral reform


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