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Democratising democracy: votes-weighted representation

Major, Guy ORCID: and Preminger, Jonathan ORCID: 2023. Democratising democracy: votes-weighted representation. JeDEM 15 (1) , pp. 191-218. 10.29379/jedem.v15i1.778

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Democracy is in retreat around the world. To reduce the UK’s own democratic deficit, support is growing for some kind of proportional representation. We propose that existing versions of PR can be greatly simplified and improved on by giving each representative voting power in the assembly proportional to the number of votes they have been given by the electorate: “Votes-Weighted Representation”. Under VWR a country/region is divided into multi-member constituencies. Each voter has a single vote. Ballot papers list the candidates (each party can field several), whom voters then rank. The candidate with the fewest votes (top preferences) is eliminated, and their votes are transferred to next preferences, repeating until the number of candidates remaining equals the number to elect. Optionally, given sufficiently secure and accessible voting software, every voter can also have a 'dynamic' second vote, which they can arbitrarily split and delegate to any representatives from any constituencies, for however long and on whichever issues they wish; delegated votes are added to representatives’ vote weights. Any voter can override the delegation of their second vote on any issue, and remotely vote on it in the assembly themselves, directly. Compared with existing systems, these proposals will allow more accountable, more responsive and finer-grained coverage of the inherently multi-dimensional political space, including between elections. Fewer votes will be wasted, and better proportionality of voting power in the assembly should be achievable than under comparable Single Transferable Vote (STV) and highest averages or highest remainders methods for apportioning representatives. Also, fewer votes will be wasted compared with using electoral thresholds without vote transfers from eliminated candidates. Political fragmentation should be largely avoidable by using 6- or 7-member constituencies, without unduly compromising proportionality for bigger parties, or the diversity of elected representatives. Our proposals should help democratise democracy and reverse its global retreat.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: weighted voting, proportional representation, political fragmentation, electronic voting, dynamic delegation, single transferable vote, direct democracy, democratisation
ISSN: 2075-9517
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 September 2023
Date of Acceptance: 2023
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2023 23:08

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