The unequal treatment of voters under a single transferable vote
AbstractThe method of Single Transferable Voting (STV) underpins electionsin several countries. The advantages claimed for STV are that, firstly, it allows each voter to express his/her preferences over all the candidates and, secondly, it takes account of each voter’s range of preferences in determing the electoral outcome. A disquieting feature of STV - and one that has hardly been commented upon - is that the second point is not true: some voters have more than just their first preference taken account of; for other voters, it is only their first preference votes which are counted, their remaining preferences being ignored. This creates two classes of voters - termed in this paper as ‘further-preference’ and ‘first-preference only’ voters. Applying these concepts to the (STV based) Northern Ireland Assembly elections of 2003, this paper shows that over half of all voters were ‘first-preference only’ voters. Moreover, the different parties had different endowments of voters from these groups: in particular, the Unionist parties had a disproprtionately larger share of ‘further-preference’ voters compared to the Nationalist parties. This might go some way to explaining why, even though the vote share of the Democratic Unionist Party was only slightly higher - and the vote share of the Ulster Unionist Party was actually lower - than that of Sinn Féin, both parties had disproportionately more seats in the Assembly. The paper proceeds to argue that, if society is averse to inter-voter inequality, it might prefer a voting method which treated all voters equally - even though it allowed them a more limited expression of preferences over candidates - to the STV method.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 19834.
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Elections; Single Transferable Vote; Inequality;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
You can help add them by filling out this form.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.