Elections and Democracy January 29 th. Last Day: “Please Vote for Meâ€‌ As an experiment in holding a democratic election, was it a success? – What are

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  • Elections and DemocracyJanuary 29th

  • Last Day: Please Vote for MeAs an experiment in holding a democratic election, was it a success?What are your criteria for judging?

  • Democratic Idealspolitical equalitymajority rule popular sovereignty political liberty (rights and freedoms) minority rights political competition rule of law

    How do we design Democracy to achieve these ideals?? How do we embed these ideals in institutions and processes?

  • Elections are critical!Popular sovereigntycitizens must be able to throw the rascals outFair political competitionkey to even the most minimalist versions of democracy, (i.e., democratic elitism)Achieving political equalitycitizens should have equal voiceOrganizing majority ruleif each vote is to be counted equally, the decision of the majority must be acceptedRepresenting minoritiesminorities must achieve equality

  • Fair Political CompetitionWhat constitutes fairwho chooses the candidates?http://www.canada.com/news/Conservatives+ignoring+democracy+blocking+nomination+Guergis/2993452/story.htmlhow much money may they spend?http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadavotes2011/story/2011/03/31/cv-election-spending-limits-914.html#how does debate take place?http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario-liberal-leadership-hopeful-alleges-his-own-party-playing-too-safe/article6221012/

  • What, then, are the prospects for achieving Political Equality?

  • Organizing majority rule and minority representation also complicateddepends on electoral system!Single-Member Plurality Systemsvs.Proportional Representation Systems

  • Canadian National Election Results, 2011

  • Canadian National Election Results, 2011

  • http://elections.ca/res/cir/maps/images/Canada_large.pdf

  • Canadian National Election Results, 2011

  • Single Member Plurality System (SMPS)One representative per geographic area (riding, constituency, district)First-past-the-post, winner-take-all system

  • SMPS and the Democratic IdealsMajority government but not necessarily majority ruleMinority rights?what prospects for minor national parties?Political equality?does every vote seem to count?Popular sovereigntydirect representative-citizen link

  • Alternative Systems: Proportional RepresentationRepresentation (# of seats) directly proportional to share of popular vote received (# of votes)Mechanics:party listssingle-transferable vote

  • PR and the Democratic IdealsMajority government unlikelyMinorities better representedPolitical equality?every vote seems to countPopular sovereigntyno direct representative-citizen linkMore political competition more choice!more representative of public opinion, minorities, diverse interests

  • Hypothetical Results Under Different Electoral Systems - 2011 Can. Election

  • Other Alternative SystemsGerman HybridModelmixed member proportional system2 votes: candidate, party list5% rule

  • PR and the Democratic IdealsMajority rule but perhaps not majority government Minority representation easierPolitical equalityevery vote seems to count?Popular sovereigntyno direct representative-citizen link