Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Europe could save 100's of Millions of Dollars adopting preferential voting

European countries including Russia and Ukraine could each save 100's of Millions of Dollars if they adopted a preferential voting system and abandon their two-round presidential voting system.

The two-round system of voting is designed to ensure that the elected candidate has the majority support. It costs 100's of Millions of dollars to conduct a single round of national voting. The second round is money totally wasted. If in a first round of voting no single candidate has an absolute majority of votes (50% or more) a second round of voting is held with between the two highest polling candidates.

It is pretty clear that the choice will between two main candidates. As if the electorate has not already decided who they want to support. Holding two-round of ballots places financial pressure on the political parties and causes significant economic uncertainty as the country is forced into a second round ballot.

The most stupid thing about the two round voting system, apart from the excessive costs involved, is that it is totally unnecessary.

A single alternative is to hold a preferential ballot. One round one vote same result. Voters are asked to rank each candidate in order of preference. If no single candidate has 50% or more votes than the candidate with the least number of votes is excluded and their votes redistributed according to the voters nominated order of preference. The process of exclusion and distribution continues until a single candidate has 50% or more votes.

It's simple, easy to count, and much less costly to run then the two round voting system.

France, Russia and the USA are scheduled to hold their presidential elections in 2012. France and Russia use the two round ballot system. In the USA they only have a single round, first-past-the-post, winner takes all ballot. Under the USA system it is possible that the winning candidate will have less then 40% support.

1 comment:

The Gentleman said...

Preferential voting has flaws does it not? What if one candidate may have gotten first place between the first choice votes but if all the last place candidates votes are recounted, the outcome may change. This would lead the original first place candidate to argue for elimination of all other candidates below a certain amount or for another election between the top two candidates, which ultimately will still lead to something like a general election or two round system.

This leads me to my second observation, which is that isn't the US somewhat tangled in this double election as well, with the primary elections of each party and the subsequent general election? I do agree, election reform would save money, but what the US saves by a single election it re-spends in campaign advertising, get out the vote efforts, and two year long campaign trails. Although Europe may be able to save 100's of millions of dollars, the political parties would use the excess monies to campaign, spending possibly even more unless Europe has stricter campaign finance laws which I am unknowledgeable of.

Overall great post and I am happy to be a follower of a blog dedicated to political thoughts and democracy. Thank you,

The Gentleman