Direct Party and Representative Voting (DPR)

Voting Systems compared, with special reference to STV.

DPR Voting - simple, practical electoral reform

Direct Party and Representative Voting (DPR Voting) is a simple Proportional Representation voting system intended to replace 'First past the post' (FPTP) for elections to the House of Commons

It is a 'Single Member, Party Proportional' electoral system

Like AMS/MMP, you have one vote for your party to form the Government, and one vote for a person to be your local MP.
Though similar, DPR Voting is different. It has important advantages over AMS, MMP
.
see here

'We have a voting system that engineers artificially large government majorities at the expense of smaller parties.'
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, so if a party wins 30% of the votes in the country, it should win approximately 30% of the votes in the Parliament.

An underlying feature of FPTP is that in an FPTP election you vote for an individual to represent your constituency (local area), not a political party. However candidates are usually also representatives of their political parties. In the election there is only one winner. For convenience it is said that the Party of the MP wins the constituency, but this is only indirectly the case because technically it is the individual who wins. A weakness of such an electoral system is that it cannot be certain whether such a vote is an expression of support for the candidate or the candidate's party.
The overall election result is taken as the sum of the results (expressed as seats won by each party) of all the individual constituency contests. This way of counting the results is not based on the actual votes cast but nevertheless determines which party or parties will form the Government. This has the effect of ignoring all the votes cast for losing candidates.
The system is often called the 'winner takes all'. .

In PR systems such as PR List , AMS / MMP, or DPR Voting, voters cast a vote directly for a party. The votes for each party can be added up to give a total across the country. This is unambiguous. For the prospective voter, every vote counts.
Each system then has different ways of determining who should represent the people in the parliament.

In Closed List PR, there is no vote for the individual cadidates. Representatives are 'elected' from a list of party candidates on a strictly proportional basis,according to the party vote. The voter has no say in which individuals of each party are elected.

In MMP/AMS, and DPR Voting, voters have two votes, one for the party and one to elect a constituency MP. In MMP/AMS the votes for each party are compared with the number of constituency MPs elected and then additional MPs are 'automatically’ elected from a party list to improve the proportionality of the result (so MPs can be elected by two different methods, some have constituencies and some do not.)

In DPR Voting all MPs are elected by the same method and they are all single constituency MPs. DPR Voting does not achieve proportionality by the election of additional party list MPs. Instead the share of the votes each party wins is used to determine how many votes each party should have in the parliament. This total of parliamentary votes is then shared out (equally) between the party's MPs - the winners of individual constituency elections.

Some electoral systems use multimember constituencies and or preferential voting. Some achieve a result that is close to PR. The Single Transferable Vote is the best known of this type of system. The voter votes preferentially to elect individual candidates, not a party. It is not inherently a PR system, but usually produces PR results. The system depends on the election of several candidates in larger multimember constituencies.

Table comparing DPR Voting with other voting systems for electing MPs to the House of Commons
A simple Voting System Comparison
Delivers Proportional Representation Government
Single member Constituency MP
Uses Party List
Wasted Votes
One type of MP
Simple Vote?
Simple Count?
Simple to understand
NO
YES
NO
NO
YES
YES
YES
YES
YES
Single Transferable Vote (STV)
APPROX
NO
NO
YES
NOT MANY
YES
YES
NO
NO
Mixed Member Proportional,
Additional Member System
MMP

AMS
YES
YES
YES
NO
NO
NO
YES
YES
YES
APPROX
Closed Party List
List
PR
YES
NO
YES
YES
NO
YES
YES
YES
YES
The Alternative Vote
AV
NO
YES
NO
NO
NOT MANY
YES
YES
NO
YES
Alternative Vote Plus
AV+
APPROX
YES
YES
NO
NO
NO
YES
YES
YES
Total Representation
TR
APPROX
NO
YES
NO
NOT MANY
NO
YES
NO
NO
Supplementary vote
SV
NO
YES
NO
NO
NOT MANY
YES
YES
YES
YES
The Limited Vote
NO
NO
NO
YES
NOT MANY
YES
YES
YES
YES
Approval voting
NO
YES
NO
NO
NOT MANY
YES
YES
YES
YES
The Borda Count
NO
YES
NO
NO
NOT MANY
YES
YES
YES
NO
DPR Voting
YES
YES
NO
NO
NO
YES
YES
YES
YES
Delivers Proportional Representation Government
Single member Constituency MP
Uses Party List
Uses Multimember Constituencies
Wasted Votes
One type of MP
Simple Vote?
Simple Count?
Simple to Understand
See DPR Voting on YouTube (video made in Canada)
The Single Transferable Vote (STV) is promoted by the Electoral Reform Society and others as a PR system for the UK.
Compare STV with DPR Voting here
AMS/MMP (a mixed member Proportional system) is a voting system used in Scotland and backed by the Green Party.
Compare AMS/MMP with DPR Voting here

First Past the Post (FPTP)
‘First past the post' is a simple way of electing a single winner, for example, in an individual constituency. It can also be used in multiple member constituency elections. In a single member election the candidate with the highest number, not necessarily a majority, of votes is elected.

When this method is used to elect MPs to parliament, and thereby elect a Government, the number of MPs elected for each party is unlikely to be proportionate to the number of votes cast nationwide for the different parties. Small parties with thinly spread support may have proportionately fewer MPs elected. Coversely a small party with tightly concentrated support may have proportionately more MPs elected. It is possible for party A to have fewer votes than party B but still have more MPs, and thus be able to form the Government.
FPTP is used in the UK, Canada, and eleswhere. It favours and works best with a two political party system.
see a criticism of FPTP

Single Transferable Vote (STV)
The single transferable vote (STV) gives the voter a choice of candidates in a multimember constituency. This may include a choice of candidates with the same party allegiance. It is a preferential voting system so the voter ranks the candidates on the ballot paper in order of preference. The voter cannot vote directly for a party.
STV is a voting system designed to achieve a (more) proportional result. There are variations of the system. To achieve proportionality the system requires constituencies to be organised as multi member constituencies (MMCs) .
Counting is complex. Each vote is initially allocated to the voter's preferred candidate. Depending on the number of electors and the number of candidates, each candidate needs a minimum number of votes to be elected. Counting is done in stages. A candidate is eliminated at each stage. When a candidate is eliminated, or has enough votes to be elected, surplus votes are transferred to the remaining candidates. There are different methods of doing this.
While not a strictly proportional electoral system, results may be broadly proportional, although this does depend on the interplay between the numbers of parties competing in the election and the size of the multimember constituencies.
Multimember constituencies work best in areas of high population density, and worst in sparsely populated rural areas where geographically the constituency may be very large. Setting the size (number of MPs elected) and geographical boundaries of MMCs can be contentious since there may be a perceived party advantage, and thus scope for gerrymandering.
The system can produce 'unexpected and distorting outcomes' - see Malta 1981, 1987, 1996, 2008
STV is used in Ireland, Australia , and elsewhere.
STV seems well suited to UK local district council elections in the UK because many district wards are already organised as multimember wards. The FPTP system tends to give all the seats to one party eg in a 3 member ward the result is more likely to be 3-0 than 2-1

Additional Member System (Mixed Member Proportional)
Additional Member System - AMS (see also Mixed Member Proportional - MMP) is a voting system designed to achieve a more proportional result. To achieve proportionality there are two ways members can be elected – by election as a constituency MP and by election from a party list. In most models the voter casts two votes: one for a constituency representative and one for a party. The constituency MPs are elected by FPTP within their constituency. The party vote is used to elect Additional Members from the party list in order to achieve a proportional result.
In MMP, but not AMS, if a party wins more constituency seats than justified by its proportion of the total vote, the size of the Parliament is increased so that the overall outcome is proportional to the votes, with other parties receiving additional list seats (Overhang). For this reason AMS is not a fully proportional system.
In MMP, but not AMS, to qualify for additional members from the party list, a party must exceed a predetermined threshold of votes - 5% in Germany.
AMS /MMP is used in Germany (MMP), Scotland(AMS), and elsewhere
See the main differences between MMP and DPR Voting

Party List Proportional Representation
Party-list proportional representation is a voting system designed to achieve proportional representation (PR) In a closed party list system, voters vote directly for the party. Parties make lists of candidates to be elected, and seats get allocated to each party in proportion to the number of votes the party receives. The larger the size of the constituency, the more proportional the result.
There are variations to this system. Party Lists are also incorporated into other electoral systems eg Additional Member System
Party Lists are used in israel, Italy and elsewhere. UK Members of the European Parliament are elected by a closed list system.

The Alternative Vote (AV)
The Alternative Vote also known as Instant-runoff voting (IRV) is a preferential voting system used to elect a single winner. Voters rank candidates in order of preference. Counting is in stages. Votes for the first choice candidate are counted as one vote. If a candidate gets iover 50% of votes cast, that candidate wins. Otherwise, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. The second preferences of the eliminated candidate are counted and added to the candidates remaining on the ballot. This process is repeated until a candidate receives over 50% of the votes, or has more votes than the only remaining candidate.
AV is used in Australia and elsewhere. It is often to elect leaders of groups, and Mayors.
As a system for electing single winners such as Mayors or Police and Crime Commissioners.

The Supplementary Vote (SV)
The Supplementary Vote is used to elect a single winner. Voters mark their first choice and (if they wish) a second preference. All the first choice votes are counted. If no candidate receives over 50%, the top two candidates continue and all other candidates are eliminated. The second preferences from the eliminated votes are then counted and added to the first round totals. The candidate with the most votes is declared the winner.
SV is used for Police and Crime Commissioners and directly elected English mayors such as the Mayor of London. The Supplementary Vote (SV) is a shortened version of the Alternative Vote (AV).
This system strongly favours the two largest parties and can result in the election of a candidate who wins fewer first and second preferences than one of the eliminated candidates would have done.

Alternative Vote Plus (AV+)
The Alternative Vote Plus, is a semi-proportional voting system invented by the 1998 Jenkins Commission.
AV+ is an additional member system. As in the Alternative Vote voting system, candidates are ranked numerically in order of preference. To ensure proportionality, an additional group of members are elected through a regional party lists system. These members are 20% of the whole parliament. Constituency boundaries would need to be redrawn to accommodate a smaller number of constituency MPs.
The system is untried.

Total Representation
Total Representation involves election of Constituency and ‘Party' MPs. Constituency MPs are elected by the FPTP method. Party MPs are elected by pooling all the votes cast for the unsuccessful candidates in all the constituencies and dividing them proportionally among all the parties which fielded candidates in the election.
Constituency boundaries would need to be redrawn to accommodate a smaller number of constituency MPs.
The system is untried.

Direct Party and Representative Voting (DPR Voting)
Voters cast two votes - a 'Party' vote, and a 'Representative' vote. Each vote is a single choice - the voter marks their choice with a single X
The 'Party' vote determines the success of the party. The 'Representative' vote determines which individual becomes the MP for the local constiituency.
The 'party' votes, aggregated nationwide, determine the number of votes each party has in the parliament and therefore which party, or parties, can form the Government.
The candidate who gets the most 'Representative' votes is elected as the MP for the constituency (a simple plurality).
The Party's parliamentary votes are shared out equally amongst the parties MPs.
As a result, each MP has a vote that has a value which may be more or less than one.
On ‘non party political’ issues, each MP has an equal vote.


see comparison between DPR Voting and STV as a direct replacement for FPTP.
DPR Voting is a way of introducing proportionality to our political system while retaining much of the existing familiar electoral system. It addresses the main criticisms of the FPTP and avoids the main criticisms of other proposed systems of electoral reform.
 
Comparison of the features of DPR Voting and STV (The Single Transferable Vote)
STV
DPR Voting
PR
STV – seats in Parliament are approx proportional to overall votes
(but note that STV 'can produce unexpected and distorting outcomes' - Malta 1981, 1987, 1996, 2008
DPR Voting – Party voting strength in Parliament is proportional to votes cast in the election (but small parties may fail to achieve the threshold)
Constituencies
STV is intended for Multimember constituencies
DPR Voting is intended for single member constituencies and would not need constituency sizes to change.
Constituency Boundaries.
Boundaries and constituency size are potentially contentious, and are important to the way the system works
Boundaries and constituency sizes are not important to the way the system works and do not affect the election result.
Party Neutrality
STV favours, or works better with, a three party system
(because, in order to achieve proportionality, MMCs need to be large when 4 or more parties with evenly distibuted support compete.)

DPR Voting can accommodate any number of parties but small party representation depends on where the threshold is set.
Simplicity
STV is a preferential voting system. Ease of voting depends on the size of the constituency and the number of candidates.
Counting is a complex process.
The electoral system is difficult to explain.
Voting and counting are simple, quick and familiar.
The basics of the system are easy to explain
It would require some changes to the way MPs vote in parliament
Wasted Votes
A few. Some voters will still find that their first preference candidate never gets elected.
There are no wasted votes. Every 'Party' vote cast makes a (small) difference to the result of the election.
Safe Seats
There are no safe seats in either system
Tactical Voting
With STV, there is some scope for tactical voting.
With DPR Voting, (party) tactical voting is redundant.
‘Marginals'
The significance of Marginal Constituencies is much reduced.
There are no Marginal constituencies
Voter Choice
STV – the voter may have a choice of candidates from within one party from which to choose.
DPR Voting – the voter has two votes, one for their choice of party, and one for their choice of MP. The voter can vote for the party of choice and the candidate of choice without the one compromising the other.
Party Lists
Neither system uses a Party list.
In Parliament
STV - Parliament would be populated with MPs from different parties in numbers broadly proportional to the votes cast for the parties.
DPR Voting – Parliament would be populated with MPs elected as the local choice. It is not possible to say if this would reflect the present plurality system or whether the mix would in time reflect overall voting trends.
Small Party Representation.
STV would increase small party representation.
With DPR Voting there is an imperative for every party to win at least one constituency in order to exercise its full party vote value. 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).
Independent MPs
It is hard for Independent MPs to be elected because many votes will still be cast for a party label. In addition the candidate has a much larger constituency to campaign over.
DPR Voting – Party labels would be less of a handicap to the Independent Candidates and the smaller constituency would make campaigning easier and cheaper for independents.
Psephology
STV - interpreting voting results is complex.
DPR Voting – Results would be much simpler to interpret than STV or FPTP.

Multimember constituencies (MMCs) have disadvantages compared to single member constituencies (SMCs)

Single Member constituencies (SMCs)

  • SMCs are smaller geographically, and have smaller numbers of constituents
  • Being smaller they encourage personal and local involvement in politics.
  • The MP can be better aware of, and responsive to, the concerns of constituents.
  • Individual candidates can be known locally, even if they are not nationally prominent.
  • Election campaigns can be conducted by small organisations at lower cost per candidate.
  • Smaller constituencies encourage local involvement in campaigns rather than central control.
  • Personal contact between MPs, candidates, and constituents is easier, and thus more likely.

Multi Member constituencies (MMCs)

  • MMCs typically have 5 members and are therefore 5 times bigger (size of total electorate, but also geographically) than single member constituencies
  • Having several MPs elected for your constituency means the constituent has a choice of MP to contact. (but each MP has a very much larger constituency to cover.)
  • Having several MPs elected for your constituency means the direct line of responsibility between MP and elector is blurred
  • Larger MMCs disadvantage Independent candidates who may have limited campaigning resources.
  • An MP may have to do much more travelling in a larger constituency
  • In an inner city MMC the geographical size of the constituency may be manageable, but in rural areas the sheer size of a 5 member MMC may make it impractical for constituents to visit their MP, or vice versa, so MMCs are reduced to, eg, 3 member constituencies
  • The degree of proportionality of the system depends on the interraction of the size of the MMC and the number of political parties contesting the election.

How is DPR Voting different from MMP?
(MMP - The Mixed Member Proportional system is also known as AMS, the Additional Member system.)

MMP/AMS are known as Mixed Member electoral systems. Some MPs are directly elected as constituency MPs, some are elected by the party list method.
DPR Voting is a 'Single Member, Party Proportional' electoral system. All MPs are directly elected as constituency MPs

In both systems electors vote for the party they want to form the government (The Party vote).

In AMS , MMP the Party vote is used to elect additional 'List' MPs according to a formula to ensure the overall voting balance of the parliament reflects the votes cast in the election.
In DPR Voting the 'Party Votes' cast in the election determine the number of votes in the parliament each Parliamentary Party controls. This number of votes is shared out equally amongst the MPs, the elected members of the Parliamentary Party .


The main differences between the two systems are

1 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.

With DPR voting, all MPs are directly elected as constituency MPs *. There are no Party List MPs.

2 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).

DPR does not require constituencies to be redrawn. The system works with the same constituency boundaries and the same number of MPs.

3 With MMP you may have an ‘overhang' which may be managed by increasing the number of MPs.

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.
*

4 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)

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 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 is achieved for votes in parliament because MPs have an equal share of their Parliamentary Party's votes. Similarly to FPTP, all MPs are locally elected constituency MPs and they have a responsibility to represent all their constituents equally on apolitical issues.

* 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.

 



 

Direct Party and Representative Voting is a form of Proportional representation (PR) which has the simplicity of the existing 'First past the post' system, maintains the single member constituency, and requires little change to the existing voting system
 

DPR Voting - simple, practical electoral reform

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