Direct Party and Representative Voting (DPR)

DPR Voting in practice

HELP MEND OUR DEMOCRACY

A new voting system is central to UK electoral and political reform.
Any new system needs to be better than First Past the Post.

We need a better balance between government, the people, political parties and elected members. We need a form of Proportional Representation.


DPR Voting is a new system. How well will it work?

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One MP in each constituency - for local, personal, accountable politics.
Simple and quick voting and counting that everyone can understand - for transparency and clarity.
Party Proportional voting - for a fairer balance in politics.
Every vote in every constituency counts - for everybody to re-engage with politics.

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Direct Party and Representative Voting (DPR Voting) is a new voting system specifically intended for the election of the House of Commons in the UK. It is similar to AMS - the Additional Member System used in Scotland, and MMP - the Mixed Member Proportional system used in Germany, but has important advantages .

see DPR Voting - a short description (2 page pdf) or as a web page

DPR Voting is a new system that has not yet been used. Until it is introduced, anticipating how effective it will be is a speculative exercise. However there are two reasons why this should not put you off.

Firstly with DPR Voting, the process is little changed from FPTP. Much remains the same. Voting is simple and straightforward. Counting is quick and easy to understand. Every constituency has its own locally elected MP.
The process has clear similarities with AMS/MMP (However no change to Constituency boundaries is needed). AMS and MMP are well established systems, albeit with well established shortcomings.

Secondly nearly every voting system in the world is different. Each country introduces a system modified to meet its own particular needs and thus virtually no two systems are identical.

For these reasons making reasonable theoretical predictions of the system’s likely effectiveness is always done prior to introducing a new voting system.

An advantage of DPR Voting as a replacement for FPTP is that it would be simple and relatively cheap to make the change. It would cause less upheaval than the introduction of any other system. For the same reason it would be simple and relatively cheap to reverse the change.


Can we compare DPR Voting with other electoral systems?

The debate about electoral reform has been blighted by speculation about which party would benefit. A proper PR system does not benefit any one party unduly. It gives every party a number of votes in the House of Commons which proportionately reflect the votes the party wins in the General Election.

However, because we do not currently have a fair proportional system, introducing a PR system would change the balance of votes in the parliament. It would remove the advantage of over representation enjoyed by certain parties, and the disadvantage of those parties that are currently under represented in the parliament. It is important to note that this is not giving an absolute advantage or disadvantage to any party.

It is often said, as an argument for maintaining the 'status quo', that no system is perfect.
This may be true - every system has advantages and disadvantages.
However FPTP is very far from perfection.
Incidentally nearly all electoral systems are adapted to meet local needs, so the system also has to be judged in the context of where it is used. AMS used in Scotland differs significantly from MMP used in Germany.

To make a judgement, firstly look at DPR Voting and compare it firstly with ‘First Past the Post', and then with the ‘Mixed Member' systems such as AMS used in Scotland and MMP used in Germany . Remember, no system is perfect. All these systems would be rejected if any imperfection is considered unacceptable.

Secondly, consider how DPR Voting, if adopted, can be expected to perform.

The details of DPR Voting are set out here.
see also DPR Voting - a short description (2 page pdf)
See also DPR Voting - a full description
(20 page pdf)
See a video made in Canada explaining DPR Voting.
 

How votes in the General Election affect the votes each party has in the parliament

Electoral systems differ in the way they translate national votes into legislative seats. The result of an election depends in part on how people vote, but also in part on how the votes are counted. Majoritarian systems such as First Past the Post (FPTP) may produce an election result with a big difference between the share of the votes each party wins in the election, and the share of votes that each party has in the parliament. Proportional Representation (PR) systems try to reduce the disparity between a party's percentage of the national vote and its share of the parliamentary votes. With a PR Voting system if a party wins 30% of the votes in the country it should win approximately 30% of the votes in the Parliament.

If these votes were cakes, the number of cakes each party gets depends on the electoral system as follows.

FPTP
One MP is elected in each constituency. Each elected MP is given an identical cupcake/vote.
A result is that there is no direct link or proportionality between the number of votes/cupcakes each party has and the number of votes cast for that party in the General Election. There is an unpredictably random contribution to the election result depending on where the votes are cast.

MMP/Additional Member System
As with FPTP, constituency MPs are elected and each is given one cupcake/vote. To achieve near proportionality ie make this result fairer, and depending on the 'Party' vote, additional MPs are drafted from a Party List and also given one cupcake even though they don’t have a constituency, so that the total numbers of MPs (and their cupcakes) is more nearly proportional to the votes cast for each party in the General Election.

DPR Voting
The Party vote determines the size of each party’s cake, so this is accurately proportional and fair.
At the same time Constituency MPs are elected in each constituency.
Each party’s cake is divided and shared out equally among its elected MPs. Dividing the cake doesn’t change the overall size of the cake so the system remains fair and proportional.

In all cases MPs can have their cake/vote and use it as they see fit.

Link to Voting Systems Comparison

Comparison with AMS / MMP

DPR Voting is similar to AMS, the Additional Member System used in Scotland, or the Mixed Member Proportional System used in Germany. Voters have one vote for the party and one vote to elect the constituency representative. This voting method is well established.

DPR Voting is similar, but different. It is not a ‘Mixed Member’ system. It is a ‘Single Member Party Proportional’ system. It has important advantages over Mixed Member systems because it addresses the key weaknesses of these systems while retaining their key advantages

The disadvantages of Mixed Member systems include

1 Two kinds of MP
With MMP there are two types of MP, those elected as constituency MPs and those elected from the Party List. Election from the List is by an agreed formula. This is seen to be democratically anomalous that two MPs can be elected by very different methods. Party List elections are disliked because they place a great deal of power and patronage in the hands of the party organisation who can appoint their favoured candidates to parliament by placing them at the top of the Party List. In effect the process of candidate choice by-passes the electorate.

With DPR voting, all MPs are directly elected as constituency MPs *. Thus they are the local peoples choice. There are no Party List MPs.

2 Re-drawing boundaries
When changing from FPTP, MMP requires either fewer larger constituencies or a larger number of MPs in the parliament (to accommodate the Party List MPs who do not have a constituency). Re-drawing constituency boundaries is a long contentious process and is susceptible to efforts to gerrymander the outcome (to seek unfair advantage from fixing precisely where the boundaries are replaced). That boundaries have to be re-drawn can also act as a barrier to the process of electoral reform.

DPR does not require constituencies to be redrawn. The system works with the same constituency boundaries and the same number of MPs. This makes the system easier to introduce and thus removes two significant barriers to electoral reform.

3 Overhang
With MMP you may have an ‘overhang' This is a potential mathematical problem which may occur depending on the outcome of the election. One way the likelihood that this will occur can be reduced is to increase the proportion of Party List MPs, but this is not a satisfactory solution for the reasons in 1 above. Alternatively this situation may be managed by increasing the number of MPs by a variable number depending on the election outcome. This means that the number of MPs in the parliament will differ depending on the outcome of the election. If no correction is made the degree of proportionality is reduced.

With DPR Voting, the equal sharing of the Parliamentary Party votes amongst the elected members (resulting in a decimal vote value for each MP) compensates for this effect. No extra MPs are necessary. *

* except in the case of ‘Automatic election', where a party does not get any constituency MPs elected but still manages to get enough Party votes to exceed the agreed threshold. In this case, the party concerned qualifies for one MP (the Party Leader) to be elected to the parliament as an MP without constituency

4 Campaigning
With MMP a medium sized party can have considerable representation in the parliament without winning any constituencies. (unless the allocation of list seats to a party is made conditional on winning a constituency). This is seen by some as anomalous and can have a significant influence on how different parties campaign in the election. A party expecting to win no constituencies could decide not to campaign in constituencies at all and simply plan a centralised media campaign where its candidates (and policies) may not get the same degree of scrutiny. All its MPs would be Party List MPs.

With DPR Voting there is an imperative for every party to win at least one constituency in order to exercise its full Parliamentary Votes. If a party does not win a constituency but does exceed the voting threshold it is limited to one MP with a single vote (Automatic election).

5 Parliamentary Makeup
With MMP, the makeup of the parliament is a combination of constituency MPs and Party List MPs, the whole broadly reflecting the party political balance in the country.

In DPR voting the party political balance in parliament is achieved at the Parliamentary Party level. The number of votes each Parliamentary party has in the parliament is determined by the first of the votes cast by each elector, the Party vote.
MPs are elected personally by the second vote cast by each elector, the representative vote. This allows the elector to choose the best candidate based on personal merit without sacrificing the chance to vote for the party they most want to govern the country.

Because they are elected by their local electorate the balance of their loyalties and responsibilities between their local electorate and their Party is shifted towards their local electorate. This is a difference, rather than a clear advantage for one system over the other.
In this respect DPR Voting is similar to FPTP. All MPs are locally elected constituency MPs and they have a responsibility to represent all their constituents, regardless of how they voted. The difference is that the elector is not faced with the dilemma of voting for a bad candidate for fear of not voting for the party they want to win the election.
With FPTP, in a General Election a good local MP may lose their constituency because of the national swing against that MP's party, regardless of the personal merit and exemplary track record of the MP, because people decide to vote on a 'party' basis.
Also in FPTP, to vote against a lazy or corrupt MP (think of the expenses scandal) the voters who support the incumbent's political party are forced to ignore the party loyalty and policies, and vote for the candidate of a different party and policies they may not agree with.

see also Parliamentary Committees.


If we replaced 'First Past The Post' with DPR Voting for UK General Elections, what differences would it make?

The main properties of the new system would be:
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PR, Proportional Representation in parliament - the Party vote

A form of proportional representation is achieved with minimal change to the voting system.
The votes each party has in parliament are proportional to the votes won in the election.
This determines which party, or parties, can form the government
Any rationale for (party based) tactical voting is virtually non-existent
There are no 'marginal' constituencies - all Party votes are equal
There are no safe seats
The system works with the existing constituencies
The system is not sensitive to demographic changes or boundary changes
Fair representation for small parties that get at least one MP elected
Single MP representation for other small parties who pass a threshold level of votes
The system is resistant to gerrymandering
As with any PR system there is a greater chance of coalition government than under FPTP.
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The election of the Constituency MP - the Representative vote

The election of the constituency MP is identical to the existing plurality system
Representative votes cast do not affect the number of party votes in the Parliament
The election of the MP is not conflated with support for the political party
This confers some independence from party bosses
Party Bosses have reduced freedom to 'parachute' a candidate into a constituency
The accountability of the MP to their constituents is increased
The election will allow comparison of the votes cast for the Party, and the Party's candidate
Candidates from smaller parties have a better chance of being elected than with FPTP
Strong Independent candidates have a better chance of being elected.
 

The election process

No major change to the existing FPTP election process would be required
Few changes would be required to local electoral administration arrangements
Voting is simple and intuitive
Counting is quick and straightforward.
The outcome of the election expressed as percentages for each party is easy to understand.
The system would be easy to introduce because very little change is required.

A closer look at various topics

1 Proportional Representation

7 MPs and parliamentary vote values rather than ‘One MP one Vote

17 Issues that do not divide along party lines

18 Conflicting interests between constituencies

.  
1 . Proportional Representation
DPR Voting in practice

DPR Voting is a form of proportional representation. In Parliament, the number of votes that the MPs of each party can exercise, not the number of MPs, is proportional to the number of votes each party wins in the election.

All MPs are locally elected constituency MPs. Proportional voting in Parliament is achieved by assigning each MP a parliamentary vote value.

In a DPR Voting election, voters have two votes.
One vote (the Party vote) determines the number of votes of each party in the Parliament, and therefore which party (or parties) is in a position to form the government.
The other vote (The Representative vote) elects the MP for the constituency, by a plurality - the candidate with the most votes wins.

The Party votes are counted and aggregated nationwide, and therefore all votes count equally in determining the result of this part of the election.

For more about parliamentary divisions and parliamentary vote values see section 6

2 . Constituency Boundary revisions
DPR Voting in practice
Because the party vote, which determines the total number of parliamentary votes for each party, is totalled across the country, the relative size of the individual constituencies does not influence the result of the contest between the parties. Thus the fairness of the system is independent of the number of MPs, and the sizes of the individual constituencies, or where the constituency boundaries are drawn.

The size of individual constituencies, or the position of their boundaries only has implications for each individual constituency and the work load of the elected MP. Frequent boundary revisions would not be necessary to maintain the fairness of the electoral system. Occasional boundary revisions might be implemented, but on a far less frequent basis, to maintain reasonably equitable work loads for the different MPs or to take account of the changes to the boundaries of natural communities or local Government areas.
3 . General Election Campaigns
DPR Voting in practice
A General Election Campaign decided by DPR voting would differ from existing campaigns

Parties would have two targets - firstly to win as many votes as possible across the country, and secondly to get as many representatives elected.

Marginal Constituencies: There would be no marginal constituencies because party votes are aggregated into a national total which determines the number of votes the party has in the parliament.
All votes would have an equal significance. This would mean parties would have little incentive to focus their resources and campaigning effort on just a few constituencies.

Safe Seats While a seat might return a majority of Party A votes, it does not follow that the representative of Party A will be elected.
Voters support their party by voting in the Party Vote. This support is not affected if they then vote for an alternative candidate to be the local MP.
Lazy, ineffective or dishonest candidates would not be able to rely on the popularity of their party for their re-election.

Campaigning strategies
Campaigning would be both national and local.
Local campaigns would be more likely to focus on the merits of the individual candidates and local issues.
4 . Electoral administration and counting
DPR Voting in practice

Electoral Administration and counting would be similar to the existing system, with a single vote cast for the candidate on one ballot paper, and a single vote cast for the party on the other.

Parties on the ballot paper -
There would be a qualification process for political parties to appear on the ballot paper. This might be a national or regional qualification process.

Candidates on the ballot paper
- No change necessary to the existing system. The only description for Independent candidates would be 'Independent'

The ballot papers - There would be two ballot papers. Voters would have one vote in each ballot paper.
The Party ballot paper would list the qualifying parties, and the Representative ballot paper would list the Candidates. Each Candidate would have a descriptor being either one of the parties in the party section that had adopted the candidate, or 'Independent' .

The vote
- No change in administration to the existing system is required.

The count - The two ballot papers would be counted separately. The count involves simply counting how many votes are cast for each party (in the party vote) and each candidate (in the Representative vote) - the same process as the current counting system.
The count of the Party vote would be of interest locally, but would only have practical significance when aggregated with all the other votes to reach a national total. Percentage results could also be published relatively quickly.
The representative ballot count would determine the election of the MP. This could be done quickly and easily, and results in some constituencies could be available, as at present, on the night.

5 . Government
DPR Voting in practice
The national vote determines which party (or parties) forms the Government. If no single party is able to command a majority, Government is formed by a coalition of parties, or by a party as a minority Government. In this respect it is similar to other PR systems. Government programmes would only be passed that commanded a majority in the house. However that majority would be determined by the total of votes for and against, not the number of MPs.
Other issues such as fixed term parliaments could be considered independently.
6 . Parliamentary Divisions and Parliamentary Vote Values.
DPR Voting in practice

In DPR Voting, MPs are elected for each constituency by a simple plurality (The Representative Vote). The candidate that gets the most votes wins. But the number of MPs elected for each party does not determine how many votes each party will have in the parliament. This is determined by the Party vote.

A distinctive feature of DPR Voting is the parliamentary vote value that each MP has. When each MP votes on ‘party' issues in parliamentary divisions, the value of the vote they cast is the parliamentary vote value. The use of the parliamentary vote value ensures that the total of votes the MPs of each party have collectively in parliament is proportional to the votes the party won in the General Election.
The Parliamentary Vote Value is not used when an issue is agreed to be non party political, of which more later.

The Parliamentary voting process

Each MP has a parliamentary vote value. The value of this vote is easy to calculate.

Example 1 A Parliament with two major parties, where all the MPs are party MPs (ie there are no independents)
There are currently 650 seats in the House of Commons.

If party A got 40% of the votes in the ‘Party' vote but 50% of the MPs in the Representative Vote, each of their MPs would have a vote value 0.8 .ie 40% (the share of the vote) divided by 50% (the share of the number of MPs)
Party A would have a total of 260 (= 650 x 40%) votes shared equally amongst 325 (=650 x 50%) MPs.
If a party got 40% support in the ‘Party' vote but 30% of the MPs, each of their MPs would have a vote value 1.333 ie 260 votes shared equally amongst 195 (=650 x 30%) MPs

Example 2 where most MPs are party MPs but there are some independents.
If 10 Independent MPs are elected, there will be 640 ‘party' MPs.

If party ‘A' got 40% support in the ‘Party' vote but 50% of the ‘party' MPs, each of their MPs would have a vote value of 40/50 = 0.8
40% of the 640 votes is 256 votes (shared equally amongst the 320 party ‘A' MPs that were elected.)

If party ‘B' got 40% support in the ‘Party' vote but 30% of the party MPs, each of their MPs would have a vote value of 40/30 = 1.333
40% of the 640 votes is 256 votes (shared equally amongst the 192 party ‘B' MPs that were elected.)

Example 3 With several parties and some independents:

Party

votes

MPs

% of votes

% of Party MPs

% of party votes

Parliamentary vote value

Total votes

 

A

8,800,000

335

35.20%

51.78%

36.67%

0.708

237.2

 

B

7,500,000

255

30.00%

39.41%

31.25%

0.793

202.2

 

C

5,000,000

45

20.00%

6.96%

20.83%

2.995

134.8

 

D

1,000,000

10

4.00%

1.55%

4.17%

2.696

27.0

 

E

650,000

1

2.60%

0.15%

2.71%

17.523

17.5

 

F

650,000

1

2.60%

0.15%

2.71%

1.000

1

One MP by Automatic Election

G

400,000

0

1.60%

0.00%

1.67%

0

 

Ind

1,000,000

4

4.00%

1.000

4

 

 

Total

25,000,000

651

100%

100%

100%

623.7

 

 

Excl Inds

24,000,000

647

 

The threshold level of votes had been set at 2.5% (For the purposes of this example)

Points to note include
In an FPTP election, Party A, with 335 MPs would have a clear majority over all the other parties combined, and thus would be the single party of government, despite the fact that they only won 35.2% of the popular vote, and almost 2/3 of voters voted for other parties.

If the same votes were cast in a DPR Voting election each party who gets at least one constituency MP elected has parliamentary votes relative to their share of the General Election vote.
The result would probably be a coalition government (a minority government is a theoretical possibility.)

The small parties:
The system largely maintains the imperative for small parties to get at least one MP elected as a constituency MP.

Party E got one constituency MP elected and thus has a ‘heavy' p.v.v. The MP exercises the heavy vote on behalf of party E which is proportional to the party E share of the popular vote (when it is a party political issue).

Party F got the same number of votes as Party E but failed to get a constituency MP elected. Party F did exceed the threshold level for automatic representation (which had been set at 2.5%) and so has one MP (the Party Leader) elected without constituency with a single vote.

Party G failed to get any constituency MPs elected and failed to exceed the vote threshold for automatic election, and so has no representation in the parliament.

Parliamentary Vote values only apply to divisions on ‘party political' issues, although most issues are treated as ‘party political'. Unanimous agreement by all parties is required before an issue can be treated as non party political, and invoke ‘one MP, one vote' voting. Parliamentary Vote values is effectively the default method of voting.

As far as the mechanics of a parliamentary vote are concerned, the process would benefit from some form of electronic voting card (similar to a credit card) which identified the MP and the value of the MP's vote so that voting results could be swiftly returned, and voting records kept in an electronic form. (see House of Commons Briefing report on the Electronic recording of Divisions)

Independents have a vote value of one in every parliamentary division. No ‘Party' votes are cast for independent candidates. They have no party sponsorship, and, being independent, all issues are non party political.

7. MPs and the parliamentary vote value rather than ‘One MP one Vote'

The Parliamentary Vote Value (PVV), which is used in the counting of 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.

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. Caroline Lucas, as the only Green Party MP, does get more attention and thus wields more influence than the average Labour or Conservative foot soldier. The PVV system extends this influence to the vote that Caroline Lucas would exercise on behalf of her party in the House.
The different values of the PVV simply correct the imbalance that results from the FPTP system of voting.

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.

High PVVs are only likely to happen when a party has one or a very small number of MPs but an appreciable percentage of the vote.

So you are worried about an MP in a small party having a ‘heavy' vote. Let's take the extreme case where a party has one MP. That MP will be the sole representative of the party in the parliament. If that MP can be the sole voice speaking up for, representing, the party in the parliament when there is a party political debate, why cannot that MP vote on behalf of the party, and why should that vote not reflect the full weight of votes determined by the votes cast by the electorate in the General Election?


In most electoral systems the vote for the individual is conflated with the vote for the party.

In a multi party representative democracy where the voting is conflated in this way, votes are cast as much for the party as the individual (and you can't separate the two.) Many MPs owe their election, and therefore their vote in parliament, to the popularity of their party rather than their individual qualities.

In DPR Voting the two votes are not conflated.
The Representatives are elected as individuals, and therefore are equal when voting on 'non party' issues.
However when 'party' issues are voted on, the voting strength of the party takes primacy. The voting strength of the party derives from the Party vote. Rather than exercising a block vote, the party vote is shared out equally amongst the representatives of the party in the chamber. In every other respect the MPs in the chamber are equal.

To put it another way, the Party vote vests the voting power for party political issues in the parliamentary party, not directly to the party sponsored MP. The number of votes is precisely proportional to the votes cast in the election. In order to exercise this power, the parliamentary party distributes (shares out equally) this voting power to its MPs. Divide the Parliamentary Party voting power by the number of party sponsored MPs and mathematics dictate that each MP will probably have a vote with a value not equal to one when voting on Party political issues.

8. Parliamentary Composition
DPR Voting in practice

DPR Voting does not necessarily result in a parliament which is a microcosm of British Society. It does not necessarily result in a Parliament that consists of balanced proportions of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc.
However 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 MPs that are elected will be the local choices. It will encourage the election of the best. Now this may well, in time, result in the election of a parliament of balanced proportions, but it is not inherent in the system, nor should it be. Each MP who is elected should be the local choice, elected on individual merit, not because he or she sports the right party credentials.

Parliamentary Committees

The current situation is that Committees have approx a dozen members made up to reflect the current party political balance of the lower house. The Chairman of each committee is elected by the whole lower house. The individual parties put forward their committee members. There are Joint Committees with members from both Houses.
Under DPR Voting, this would not change, except in that the Party Political balance would be determined by the Party votes cast in the election. The other difference would be that parties could put forward members of the second chamber to stand on Committees. You could say that all Committees would be Joint Committees, but they would always be chaired by a member of the lower House.

There are many members of the Upper House who have long experience and perhaps specialist knowledge of relevant topics so the addition of these members would help to improve the effectiveness of these Committees.
Voting on Committees would not change. That is, each member would have one vote. The DPR Voting system that makes votes in parliament 'party proportional' does not apply to Committees.
The proportionality has been dealt with by making the Committee reflect the overall party balance.


At present not every party is represented on every committee, when there may be only 12 members, and this would not change whether DPR Voting or any other electoral system is used to elect the lower House.

9. Voting Behaviour
DPR Voting in practice
It is speculation to guess at changes in voter behaviour that will result from the introduction of DPR voting. However it seems reasonable to draw some conclusions.

Firstly every party vote will make a difference to the result of the election, and voters can vote for their party even when there is no local candidate, so higher election turnouts might be expected.

In DPR Voting every party vote makes a difference to the result regardless of where it is cast because each vote affects the value of the total vote of each party.
It is the total value of the votes cast for the different parties that determines the number of parliamentary votes for each party and therefore which party or parties can form the Government, or which bills are passed.

Number of votes
Number of votes
Party
case 1
case 2
A
18
36.00%  
19
37.25%
B
7
14.00%  
7
13.73%
C
5
10.00%  
5
9.80%
D
20
40.00%  
20
39.22%
Total votes
50
51

In the above simplistic example, in case 2, one extra voter goes out to vote.
All the percentages change.
It is a small but real difference. In this case, now Party A and B have a majority for their coalition.


Secondly, although the Representative vote purely elects the MP and does not contribute to the strength of the party directly, many voters may still vote for the representative of their preferred party. But where there is an outstanding candidate from another party, and an energetic campaign, such a candidate will have a real chance of getting elected.

Similarly where an MP proves to be a poor constituency MP, lazy, ineffective or even corrupt, voters will cast their representative vote elsewhere, and this could easily result in the representative of a party being elected as the MP when that party does not have the most voter support in the constituency.

In addition, this could act as a deterrent to Party organisations 'parachuting' a candidate into a constituency.

It will be possible to compare the votes cast for each candidate with the votes cast for each party, so that the relative unpopularity of an MP would be plain for all to see as judged by a lower share of the poll than his party. Similarly a popular constituency MP would be able to point to a share of the vote in excess of the party vote for the constituency.
10. MPs, their parties, and their constituents.
DPR Voting in practice
DPR Voting makes Parliament more ‘party proportional’ in its voting and thus changes the relationship between the Government and the other parties, but also changes the relationship between parties and their MPs, and between MPs and their constituents. It gives MPs more independence from their parties, but also makes them more accountable to their constituents.
MPs' link with the constituency will be closer because the election will be much more about personal qualities and record in public life, and an MP will not be able to rely on the party label to be elected. This will give them a measure of independence since a popular MP will no longer necessarily be voted out when his or her party suffers an electoral setback. Of course the converse is also true.
In Parliament, the whips are likely to have less influence, so MPs will have more independence when it comes to voting.
A change to DPR voting would not require a change to the Single Member constituency system, or to the constituencies or their boundaries. Electoral campaigns could continue in the same geographical areas. However there would be more freedom for boundaries to follow natural communities or local government areas.
11. MPs and Accountability
DPR Voting in practice
DPR Voting has some special features that make elected MPs specially accountable to their constituents.
An MP standing as a candidate at the General election can be held accountable because the MP cannot depend on his or her party allegiance for re-election
The voter freely chooses the best person for the job. It is a local contest where personal qualities and record in public life of the candidates make the difference. The local nature of the election means that the voter has a better chance of knowing about, or having some first hand experience of the candidates. An MP who is perceived by the constituents to have a poor record as an MP can be voted out without the voters compromising on their own party allegiance.
12. Small Parties
DPR Voting in practice
How easy or difficult it is for small parties to be present on the ballot paper and have at least one elected member in the parliament depends on factors which are not inherent to the system and can be determined quite separately.
1) the conditions for qualifying to be on the Ballot Paper.
2) A threshold level for automatic representation.

How does a Party qualify to be present on the ballot paper?
The Party would have to qualify to get on the ballot paper. The conditions for Party qualification is not inherent to the system and would be a matter for separate debate. The process of qualification could be regional or national and might, for example, require a number of signatures to be obtained across a number of different constituencies.
What happens if a Party fails to qualify?
If a party failed to qualify, its candidates could still stand as independents.

Could a small Party get no representative to exercise a parliamentary vote?
Yes, but this is less likely to happen than under FPTP.
It could happen where a party has a low level of support spread widely, has no outstanding candidate capable of being elected on personal merit, and does not get enough votes to exceed the threshold level.

A small party has a better chance of getting one MP elected because of the nature of the representative vote. Most small parties who win even a small share of the national vote have at least one outstanding individual who might well be elected on their personal qualities, public profile etc. With DPR voting the voter can both support his/her preferred party, and then freely choose the best person to represent the constituency.

Secondly in the event that a party had no representative elected it would still be possible for one MP to be elected by automatic representation.

Automatic Representation
In the event that a party fails to get a single constituency MP elected, but nevertheless achieves a level of support in the Party vote which exceeds a predetermined threshold (for example 1%), there is provision for the automatic election of a single MP (the party leader).
If no candidate from a party was elected in the Representative ballot but the party won enough votes to exceed the chosen threshold percentage, the leader of the party would automatically be elected as an MP. In this way the party would be represented in the Parliament. However the MP would not be able to exercise the appropriately ‘heavy' vote. Such an MP would have no constituency link, but this would be an exceptional circumstance.

Would DPR Voting mean there were lots of small parties in the Parliament?
It depends on
How easy the conditions to qualify are, and
How high the threshold level is set for automatic representation

Would DPR Voting encourage schisms within the larger parties?
No. There would be no particular benefit or incentive from the system, and the disincentive that applies to small parties would apply to new breakaway parties.
13. Independent Candidates
DPR Voting in practice
Independent Candidates, that is candidates not adopted by one of the parties in the party section of the ballot paper, will be identified on the ballot paper as Independent. An outstanding Independent candidate will have a better chance of being elected under DPR because at present the lack of a party label acts as a handicap. This handicap will no longer be as significant. The campaign will be more concerned with personal qualities and the candidate's record in public life. Independent Candidates elected as MPs will exercise a vote value of one in all parliamentary votes.
14. By-elections, defections, and other issues
DPR Voting in practice
What happens in the event of the defection of an MP from party A to Party B?
In normal circumstances an MP retains the vote value until the next General Election. An MP who resigns the whip between elections would retain the same value vote or a vote value of one, whichever is the lower, for the remainder of the Parliament.
What vote value does an MP elected at a by-election have?
An MP elected at a by-election has a vote value of 1
What stops an MP with a 'heavy' vote defecting to another party?
Nothing stops an MP from defecting, but an MP who resigned the whip would retain the same value vote or a vote value of one, whichever is the lower, for the remainder of the Parliament. Thus an MP with a 'heavy' vote cannot defect and take this 'heavy' vote to another party. There is no redistribution of votes.

Can you vote for a party even if there is no candidate from that party standing in the constituency?
Yes. (in the Party vote)
This means that each party would receive their total potential vote, unqualified by a shortage of candidates.
In the constituency of the Speaker of the House of Commons where, by convention, the major parties don't contest the election, the electorate would still be able to vote for the preferred party even if the Speaker was the only candidate standing.
15. Election of the Speaker
DPR Voting in practice

The convention is that the speaker is returned to Parliament unopposed. If convention is followed, there is no competition, and thus the constituents of the Speaker's constituency do not have the chance to vote for the party of their choice. With DPR Voting this problem would not arise. The election would take place with electors completing the Party Ballot section only (assuming there were no candidates standing to oppose the Speaker). Accordingly their votes would still count as much as every other vote in the election. In this respect DPR Voting is unique amongst voting systems.

16. Abuse of the system - attempts to cheat or exploit the system
DPR Voting in practice

Generally DPR Voting is not influenced by party electoral tactics or tactical voting. But, in an extreme case, there is one potential loophole that should be blocked by legal sanction.
This could occur where party A has a large majority in a constituency. If party A decides not to field a candidate but instead supports an independent who, once elected, defects to or always votes with Party A, that party would gain one parliamentary vote more than would be the case if Party A had fielded a winning candidate.
For this reason, for a party not to field a candidate in a constituency where it wins the highest share of the party vote, would be a contravention of electoral law.
It would not be possible to hide this tactic, and so it should be straightforward to make a legal challenge and for a court to impose some sort of penalty, either financial, or electoral, or both, on the party.
This tactic would only be worthwhile, if at all, where concerted action was taken in a number of constituencies, and the penalty could be graduated accordingly.

17. Issues that do not divide along party lines
DPR Voting in practice

Some issues are not 'party political'. Opinion is not divided along party lines. In such cases would it be right for some MPs to have a heavier vote than others?

‘Party political’ divisions and the related system of MPs vote values is the default system for deciding divisions in parliament. If Parliament votes on a matter agreed as a ‘non party political’ vote, where no party has a policy on the matter, the system of MPs party vote values does not apply.
Specifically a particular vote is deemed a ‘non party political’ vote if all political parties agree as much and inform the speaker accordingly.
In this situation each MP has a vote with a value of one.

18. Conflicting interests between constituencies
DPR Voting in practice
Could there be a problem when a matter came before Parliament where there was a division between two constituencies. Would it be right for the weight value of the constituencies' respective MPs to differ?

Either this is a party political matter, in which case the decision of parliament would be determined by the decisons of the individual political parties. If it were not a party political matter, (agreed by all parties) under the rules of DPR Voting each constituency MP would have a vote value of one.

DPR Voting - simple, practical electoral reform

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