Mixed Member

Voting Systems

There are several methods of voting. Each system can produce a different winner. Voting experts group electoral systems into three general categories. They are proportional representation voting systems, mixed member voting systems and plurality voting systems. Follow My Vote plans to implement all methods of voting in our verifiable voting software. These features will be added in order as we listen to our customers and gauge popular demand.

Mixed Member Voting Systems

A mixed member voting system is a hybrid voting system that fuses elements of proportional voting and first-past-the-post to ensure minority parties have some representation. In other words, the popular vote, or first-past-the-post, is countered to ensure that one party does not control 100 percent of the seats at any given time. This means that there are multiple winners in mixed member elections, which paints a more accurate picture of the entire electorate’s preference at the polls. This can be done by a few different methods: Mixed Member Proportional, Alternative Vote Plus, Additional Member System, and Majority Bonus System.

Each method offers a slight variation to suit an organization or election’s various needs. This page details each method below.

Proportional Representation Voting Systems

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Mixed Member Systems accurately mirror the overall electorate.
  • Mixed Member Systems challenge the traditional two-party system.
  • Mixed Member Systems can potentially prevent gerrymandering and minority rule.
  • Mixed Member Systems stop the “spoiler effect” of first-past-the-post.

Cons

  • Mixed Member Systems can give political parties more control over their members.

Types of Mixed Member Voting Systems

Mixed Member Proportional

The mixed member proportional voting system, or MMP, is used to represent the overall proportion of votes received. There are two defining factors that MMP uses to ensure more equal representation. The first, is allowing each voter to cast two votes; one for the popular vote, and the second for their favorite political party. This means that the number of representatives is doubled to reflect the popular vote and minority representation. This can be done by using the largest remainder method or the highest averages method.

How does this more accurately mirror the overall electorate? Think of a two-party system, like Republican and Democrat. These two parties will dominate an election’s popular vote, and leaves virtually no chance to any third-party candidate. In first-past-the-post, anyone who favors the third-party candidate, but does not want their vote to go to waste, would essentially be stuck with picking between the two major parties’ candidates. MMP allows someone who favors the third-party candidate to vote for them meaningfully, and also give their second vote to the that candidate’s political party. This severely undercuts the two-party system by giving each voter a fair chance to affect overall representation.

 

Alternative Vote Plus

Alternative Vote Plus, or AV+, offers the voter a chance to rank their candidates by preference, rather than choosing one in a popular vote. Like MMP, AV+ undercuts the traditional two-party system by essentially eliminating strategic voting by voters who favor a third-party candidate, but know that they will never win in a general election.

So if a voter has to rank his choices, how are the votes counted? AV+ uses “runoff” by eliminating the least popular candidate, and siphoning that percentage of votes to whoever the second choice was on the ballot. AV+ goes through eliminating the least popular candidate through multiple rounds, until one candidate earns a majority of the votes. In theory, AV+ elects a candidate that a larger majority of the electorate can agree on, and helps give third-party candidates a chance.

Additional Member System

The additional member system offers a more proportional system than traditional first-past-the-post, by making the group of elected officials more closely resemble all political parties. Much like MMP, additional member systems give each voter two separate votes. Calculations are done through the D’Hondt method. The first vote is called a “constituency vote,” and the election is held in traditional first-past-the-post format where the most popular candidate wins. However, the second vote is called a “regional vote,” where an entire party is voted on to elect multiple representatives to multiple seats. The regional vote is where proportionality comes into play, and intends to better reflect the overall electorate.

Majority Bonus System

The majority bonus system offers semi-proportional representation, which gives a bonus amount of seats to the party that wins the majority of the votes. In theory, this system is aimed at providing government stability by never giving a large enough majority to any one political party to affect severe change. Typically, the D’Hondt method is used to calculate the votes.