- Why does the Local Sovereignty party not support Proportional Representation?
- What method of ranked voting does Local Sovereignty support?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of ranked voting?
- How would a sortition candidate be chosen?
1. Why does the Local Sovereignty party not support Proportional Representation?
This is something which is open to being changed by the party’s members, but our current position is that the traditional dominance of British politics by political parties results from a flaw in the structure of our political institutions. We believe there is a fundamental polarity in the functions of government which the current system fails to reflect and we therefore advocate a reform of Parliament which would allow voters to elect two representatives with different areas of responsibility. Polarised Representation
It’s likely that political parties would play a much less significant role if Parliament was reformed in that way and, at this point, we think it’s important not to further entrench their role in British political life.
2. What method of ranked voting does Local Sovereignty support?
We currently support the Instant-Runoff method (which is generally referred to as the Alternative Vote in the UK), preferably modified so that second choices are taken into account in the elimination stages (to reduce the possibility of the most favoured compromise candidate being eliminated early on). We also advocate that abstentions be treated as a rejection of all the named candidates, with abstainers’ votes going to a sortition candidate, to be chosen by a jury selected at random from the constituency.
2.1. Why do you favour the Instant-Runoff system when it was rejected in the 2011 Alternative Vote referendum by 68% of a 42% turnout?
The reform proposed in the Alternative Vote referendum was rejected in the context of the existing constitution, with all its flaws. Many people regarded it as an inadequate reform which wasn’t worth turning out for because, on its own, it wouldn’t significantly improve British politics. Others voted against it because they favour other forms of electoral reform. We therefore don’t consider that vote to be a rejection of the principle of ranked voting (and, since less than 29% of the electorate voted against it, it certainly wasn’t an endorsement of our current first-past-the-post system).
3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of ranked voting?
The Electoral Reform Society has useful summaries of the advantages and disadvantages of various electoral systems.
However, we think one of the disadvantages they list for the Alternative Vote system (the possibility of the most favoured compromise candidate being eliminated early on) would be removed by the modification we propose above (and another, the possibility of a ‘lowest common denominator’ winner, could equally well be rephrased as ‘best compromise’ and listed as an advantage).
4. How would a sortition candidate be chosen?
In an election where abstentions outnumbered votes cast, the electorate would be considered to have rejected all the named candidates and a jury, chosen at random from the relevant electorate, would be convened to choose one of their number to take up the seat.
This would be voluntary jury service: randomly chosen members of the electorate would be asked if they were willing to serve in the relevant capacity and, if so, they would be invited to join a jury which would choose the new office-holder. The jurors would have some time to assess each other and discuss which of them would best fill the role. This system would have the virtues of random selection, tempered with a deliberative element that often gets lost in competitive elections.
It would also have the advantage that the new office-holder would be stepping up to a responsibility that he or she had not actively sought, and would not be beholden to a party or to other sponsors. (Members of political parties whose nominees had been rejected at the ballot might be considered ineligible for the jury, but this need not necessarily be the case.)