Since it appears we’re going to have a referendum on MMP on 2011, it’s time we looked at some of the alternative voting systems that could be offered to us.
And Germany is a good place to look.
Here are a couple of models for us to consider.
The Baden-Württemberg system
This system is used in the German state of Baden-Württemberg to elect members to the state legislature.
The official site of the Baden-Württemberg parliament explains how the system works:
The electoral system is a combination of proportional representation and direct or personality election. The number of seats of the parties in Parliament is determined by the votes they obtain throughout the electoral area (proportional representation). The allocation of seats to the parties’ individual candidates is determined by the number of votes these candidates receive in their respective constituencies (direct election). There are only constituency candidates, that is, each candidate must run for election in one of Baden- Württemberg’s 70 electoral districts. In contrast to federal elections, each voter has one vote under this system, which he casts for a candidate in his district. However, this vote is counted twice, once in order to determine the number of seats going to a party in Parliament, and a second time to determine the candidate of a party to whom these seats will be allocated.
The total number of direct mandates is 70, one from each of the electoral districts. At least 50 more mandates are secondary, allotted to those candidates who, while not winning a direct mandate, obtained the largest number of votes in a district in relation to their party’s other constituency candidates. This results in a minimum number of 120 Members of Parliament. With the so-called “over-hanging” mandates allotted to a party and because of the necessary adjusted compensatory mandates for the other parties, the total number is much higher. Presently there are 139 Members of Parliament in office, each one representing on the average 77,300 inhabitants of this state.
The Schleswig-Holstein method
Everyone gets two votes. Your first vote goes towards your favourite party, while your second can either be used to choose a particular candidate, or can be used at any Shell or BP store to get discounts on fuel.
Your party vote is then counted and put through a random-number generator machine. If the number is 10 or more your vote is discarded. If the number is 5 or less your vote carries over to the following weeks’ draw. If the number is more than 5 but less than 10, your vote is fed back into the machine.
The army then takes over and installs its own puppet PM.
Scharnhorst and Gneisenau approach
Everyone gets a number of votes. The number they receive is determined by a formula.
Other voting systems
Mixed-up Member’s Transferable Post
This is what happens when your NZ post mail redirection goes wrong.
As a result of some mix-up at the post office, you don’t receive your electoral enrolment information, so don’t register to vote and miss out on having your say. Before you know it you’re living in a state of misery, crushed under the jackboot of oppression.
Thanks NZ post.
The Rhythm Method
They tell you this system is foolproof: the best and easiest way to avoid having your life ruined by a noisy tantrum-throwing attention seeker.
Then you find Rodney Hide holds the balance of power.