Difference between revisions of "Proportional representation"

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{{Copyright|Month=April 30, 2014|Reason= Sections include direct copies from another source.}}{{tnr}}'''Proportional representation''' is an electoral system in which the number of seats held by members of a political party in a legislature (such as a parliament) is determined by the number of votes its candidates receive in an election. It is designed to represent in a legislative body each political group or party in proportion to its actual voting strength in the electorate.<ref>[http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proportional%20representation ''Merriam-Webster.com'', "Proportional representation", accessed March 30, 2014]</ref>
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{{tnr}}'''Proportional representation''' is an electoral system in which the number of seats held by a particular political party in a legislature is directly determined by the number of votes the political party's candidates receive in a given election. The purpose of proportional representation is to fairly represent various political parties in a legislature proportionally to the number of votes it gathers in an election.<ref>[http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proportional%20representation ''Merriam-Webster.com'', "Proportional representation", accessed March 30, 2014]</ref>
 
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Systems of proportional representation have been adopted in many countries, including Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
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==Systems of proportionality==   
 
==Systems of proportionality==   
Various forms of proportional representation exist. Below is a descriptive list of the widely used systems of proportionality:<ref name="brit">[http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/479181/proportional-representation ''Encyclopedia Britannica'', "Proportional representation", accessed March 30, 2014]</ref>
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Various forms of proportional representation exist. Below is a descriptive list of the widely used systems of proportionality:
 
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*In a '''party-list system''', the elector votes not for a single candidate but for a list of candidates. Each list generally is submitted by a different party, though an individual can put forward his own list. The overall proportionality of the system is dependent upon the district magnitude, the number of members per district, with higher district magnitudes associated with more proportional results. Each party gets a share of the seats proportional to its share of the votes. It is important to note that district magnitude varies from country to country.
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*'''Single Transferable Vote (STV)''' has not been widely adopted throughout the world. Under STV, voters rank candidates on the ballot in order of preference and is entirely left up to the voters themselves.
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*In a '''party-list system''', the elector votes for a list of candidates instead of for a single candidate. Each party then will receive a share of the seats proportional to the share of votes it received.<ref name="brit">[http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/479181/proportional-representation ''Encyclopedia Britannica'', "Proportional representation", accessed March 30, 2014]</ref><ref name="mth">[https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/polit/damy/BeginnningReading/PRsystems.htm ''Mount Holyoke.edu: PR Libary'', "Proportional Representation Voting Systems," accessed April 29, 2014]</ref>
  
*An '''additional-member system''' combines proportionality with the geographic link between a citizen and a member of the legislature characteristic of constituency-based systems. Under this system, half of the legislature usually is elected through constituency elections and half through proportional representation. Each person casts two votes, one for a person and one for a party. In most cases, the party vote is generally used as the basis for determining the overall partisan composition of the legislature. It is important to note that the percentage of constituency and proportional representatives varies by country.
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*In a '''Single Transferable Vote (STV)''' system, voters rank their choice of candidates on the ballot instead of voting for just one candidate. It is important to note that this system of proportional representation is not widely practiced throughout the world.<ref name="brit"/><ref name="mth"/>
  
==Debates==
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*In an '''additional-member system''', each elector casts two votes instead of one vote. On a double ballot, the elector chooses a candidate and also their party of choice among those listed.<ref name="brit"/><ref name="mth"/>  
There are a few apparent differences between a proportional representation system and a plurality system:<ref name="brit"/>  
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*Unlike the plurality system, which uses single-member districts, proportional representation systems use multi-member constituencies.
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==Differences between proportionality and plurality==
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There are a few apparent differences between a proportional representation system and a plurality system:
  
*Where majority or plurality systems effectively reward strong parties and penalize weak ones by providing the representation of a whole constituency to a single candidate who may have received fewer than half of the votes cast (like in the United States), proportional representation ensures minority groups a measure of representation proportionate to their electoral support.  
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*Unlike a plurality system, which uses single-member districts, proportional representation systems use multi-member districts.<ref name="brit"/><ref>[https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/polit/damy/articles/redistricting.htm ''Mount Holyoke.edu: PR Libary'', "How Proportional Representation Would Finally Solve Our Redistricting and Gerrymandering Problems," accessed April 29, 2014]</ref>
  
Advocates for proportional representation argue that an election is like a census of opinion as to how the country should be governed, and only if an assembly represents the full diversity of opinion within a country can its decisions be regarded as legitimate. The proportional system also is suggested as a means of redressing the possible anomaly arising under majority or plurality systems whereby a party may win more seats with fewer popular votes than its opponents.<ref name="brit"/>
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*Plurality systems typically reward strong, larger parties while penalizing weak, smaller parties. Also, representation of an entire constituency is for a single candidate who may have received fewer than half of the votes cast. Proportional representation guarantees that smaller parties garner representation that is proportionate to their votes received in an election.<ref name="brit"/>
  
Critics of proportional representation contend that in an election a country is making a decision, and the function of the electoral system is to achieve a consensus rather than a census of opinion. Opponents argue further that, by making it possible for small parties to be represented, proportional representation encourages the formation of splinter parties that can result in weak and unstable government.<ref name="brit"/>
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In totality, advocates for proportional representation argue that an election is like a census of opinion as to how the country should be governed and by whom, and critics of proportional representation contend that the purpose of an election is to find a consensus and not a consensus of opinion.<ref name="brit"/>
  
==History==
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==United States==
Proportional representation was devised in Europe in the mid-19th century by Victor D'Hondt of Belgium to guarantee minority groups more representation than was possible under the majority or plurality systems. Today, proportional representation systems are actually more widely used and by more nations than plurality voting systems.<ref name="brit"/>
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===Europe===
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Proportional representation is also used in many European countries with party-based systems and a parliamentary form of government. Belgium was the first country to adopt list proportional representation for the 1900 elections to its national parliament. Similar systems were implemented in many European countries during or after World War I. Moreover, all of the members of the European Parliament, or Member of the European Parliament, including those elected from constituencies in Britain, are elected by proportional representation.<ref name="brit"/> 
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===United States===
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::''See also: [[Article I, United States Constitution|Section 2, Article I, United States Constitution]] and [[Amendment XIV, United States Constitution]]
 
::''See also: [[Article I, United States Constitution|Section 2, Article I, United States Constitution]] and [[Amendment XIV, United States Constitution]]
  
The [[United States Constitution]] provides for proportional representation in the [[U.S. House of Representatives]]. The seats in the House are apportioned based on state population according to the constitutionally mandated Census. Representation based on population in the House was one of the most important components of the Federal Constitutional Convention of 1787.<ref>[http://history.house.gov/Institution/Origins-Development/Proportional-Representation/ ''U.S. House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives'', "Proportional Representation", accessed March 30, 2014]</ref>
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The [[United States Constitution]] stipulates proportional representation in the [[U.S. House of Representatives]]. According to the United States Constitution, the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are apportioned and based on state population records according to the U.S. Census, which is recorded every ten years.<ref>[http://history.house.gov/Institution/Origins-Development/Proportional-Representation/ ''U.S. House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives'', "Proportional Representation", accessed March 30, 2014]</ref>
  
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
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{{submit a link}}
 
{{submit a link}}
 
* [http://www.rangevoting.org/PropRep.html ''Range Voting.org'', "Proportional Representation"]
 
* [http://www.rangevoting.org/PropRep.html ''Range Voting.org'', "Proportional Representation"]
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* [http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/kingch/Electoral_Systems.htm ''Georgetown University'', "Electoral Systems"]
  
 
==Additional reading==
 
==Additional reading==

Revision as of 15:29, 30 April 2014

Proportional representation is an electoral system in which the number of seats held by a particular political party in a legislature is directly determined by the number of votes the political party's candidates receive in a given election. The purpose of proportional representation is to fairly represent various political parties in a legislature proportionally to the number of votes it gathers in an election.[1]

Systems of proportionality

Various forms of proportional representation exist. Below is a descriptive list of the widely used systems of proportionality:

  • In a party-list system, the elector votes for a list of candidates instead of for a single candidate. Each party then will receive a share of the seats proportional to the share of votes it received.[2][3]
  • In a Single Transferable Vote (STV) system, voters rank their choice of candidates on the ballot instead of voting for just one candidate. It is important to note that this system of proportional representation is not widely practiced throughout the world.[2][3]
  • In an additional-member system, each elector casts two votes instead of one vote. On a double ballot, the elector chooses a candidate and also their party of choice among those listed.[2][3]

Differences between proportionality and plurality

There are a few apparent differences between a proportional representation system and a plurality system:

  • Unlike a plurality system, which uses single-member districts, proportional representation systems use multi-member districts.[2][4]
  • Plurality systems typically reward strong, larger parties while penalizing weak, smaller parties. Also, representation of an entire constituency is for a single candidate who may have received fewer than half of the votes cast. Proportional representation guarantees that smaller parties garner representation that is proportionate to their votes received in an election.[2]

In totality, advocates for proportional representation argue that an election is like a census of opinion as to how the country should be governed and by whom, and critics of proportional representation contend that the purpose of an election is to find a consensus and not a consensus of opinion.[2]

United States

See also: Section 2, Article I, United States Constitution and Amendment XIV, United States Constitution

The United States Constitution stipulates proportional representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. According to the United States Constitution, the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are apportioned and based on state population records according to the U.S. Census, which is recorded every ten years.[5]

See also

External links

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