Voting Systems That Achieve More Party-proportional Representation
Proportional systems emphasize the political agenda by parties, since parties often function at the heart of proportional representation. For example, a party that receives 15% of the votes under such a system receives 15% of the seats for its candidates. However, nations with proportional voting may differ in that some emphasize the individuals within the parties, such as the system in the Netherlands, while other nations only allow voting for parties, such as in the Italian electoral system.
The majority of debate about voting systems is about whether to move to more proportionality. This is because the established parties in current US and UK elections can, and most often do, win formal control of the parliament with support from as little as 20-25% of eligible voters, at the cost of smaller parties. In Canada the situation is arguably more biased, with governments regularly formed by parties with support of under 40% of actual voters holding majority power for full four-year terms. Coupled with turnout levels in the electorate of less than 60%, this can lead to a party obtaining a majority government by convincing as few as one quarter of the electorate to vote for them.
Different methods of achieving proportional representation achieve either greater proportionality or a more determinate outcome.
Party-list proportional representation is one approach, in which each political party presents its list of candidates: voters chose a party list. The open list form allows the voter to influence the election of individual candidates within a party list. The closed list approach does not: the party chooses the order with its highest ranked candidates more likely to be elected.
Another variation is the single transferable vote (STV) which does not depend on political parties. Voters rank candidates in order of preference: if their most preferred candidate receives insufficient votes, the vote is transferred to the second choice and so on. Elections for the Australian Senate use what is referred to as above-the-line voting where candidates for each party are grouped on the ballot, allowing the voter to vote for the group or for a candidate. In elections to the Irish Dáil Éireann, candidates are listed on the ballot in alphabetic order, irrespective of party affiliation.
Other variations include single non-transferable vote (SNTV), cumulative voting and limited voting, all of which offer a form of semi-proportional representation (SPR).
Read more about this topic: Proportional Representation
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