Voting Systems 2

LCER guide to Electoral Systems continued...

Alternative Vote (AV)

Like FPTP this system uses single-member constituencies, but instead of voting with an ‘X’, voters rank candidates in order of preference, 1, 2, 3 … . If no candidate has more than 50 per cent of the votes, the candidate with fewest votes is eliminated and their votes transferred to the voters’ second preferences. The process continues until someone has an outright majority, 50 per cent plus 1. Used in Australian Lower House elections and internal Labour Party elections, often in the form of eliminating ballot. It was the alternative system offered in the 2011 AV referendum. Not a form of proportional representation.


Additional Member System (AMS)

There are a variety of hybrid AMS top up systems.  In most cases, voters have two votes – one to elect a constituency member in a FPTP election and the other for a party. Parties nominate lists of candidates (generally in regions) and ‘additional’ or ‘top-up’ seats are awarded to candidates on these lists to compensate for the disproportionality of the FPTP election.  The top up can be minimal as suggested in Mixed Member System for the Plant Commission or half of the seats as in Germany and New Zealand and any proportion in between.


It is the system of post-war Germany, imposed by the Allies, and is used for the Scottish Parliament, the Assembly for Wales and the London Assembly as well as in New Zealand (where they call it Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) and other countries.  A form of AMS was supported by the reform members of the Plant Commission (MMS), the Jenkins Commission (AV+), and the Hansard Society, the Institute for Public Policy Research and the New Zealand Constitutional Convention.  



Mixed Member System (MMS)

This is a minimalist AMS specifically designed to overcome most of the objections to reform from Labour FPTP supporters.  With 500 single member constituencies and 150 regional members.  To gain additional members a party has to win one constituency.