Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Wright System

Advocating change that counts

The current electoral system that is used to elect representatives to the Australian Senate and the Victorian Upper-house is outdated and contains some serious flaws in the way the vote is counted.

The system was designed to facilitate a manual count and in the trade-off has inbuilt distortions in the election process that have the potential to effect the overall outcome.

With the coming November Municipal poll where many councils will for the first time also be adopting the system used to elect the Senate and Victorian Upper-house the potential for the results of the election to be effected by the flaws in the system are increased exponentially

The Western Australian Government has realised the impact of this error and has acted partially to correct the mistakes in adopting a system for its upper-house elections, but the Victorian and Federal Government are yet to follow in the WA steps.

WA has made one step forward but there are more steps that should be taken to improve the system and ensure that the outcome of the election reflects the voters' intentions.

To try and address the shortcomings of the system in place we have made a submission to both the State and Federal Parliament advocating change. Change that would see the implementation of what we have named The Wright System. (Named after the late Jack Wright author of "Mirror of a Nations Mind" and past President of the Proportional Representation Society of Australia.)

The Wright System advocates the use of a formula used in the calculation and distribution of a Candidates Surplus in a proportional representation count based on the value of the vote as opposed to the number of ballot papers .

The system also recommends the adoption of a reiterative count process where the count is restarted and recounted following any exclusion of any unsuccessful candidates whose votes are to be redistributed.

Copies of the submission and rules of the proposed count can be found on our sister site http://melbcity.topcities.com/


Name Withheld said...

Clearly this addresses the "captured surpluses" issue of the 2007 Senate
Election here in Victoria, but wouldn't you improve the system even further
in a computerised count if you recalculated the quota each time a candidate
was eliminated and did a complete recount from the start as it would more
accurately reflect the distribution of both preferences (i.e. a voter is
effectively denied the choice of effectively voting for an elected
candidate if the voter's 2nd preference is only distributed after their 2nd
choice has been declared elected!). This would also help address the
current problem in the NSW Upper House in particular, but also in Tasmania
and the ACT where the last elected person(s) often come in with an
effective quota well below those earlier elected

MelbCity said...

This is exactly what the "Wright System" is trying to do. It uses a reiterative count that is reset and restarted following every exclusion. And yes a voter should have the chance to cast a second preference vote for a candidate that has already provisionally been elected.

With the use of computer based counting system a reiterative counting process is feasible and more accurate in reflecting the intentions of the voter. It is Proportional Representation at its purest.

There are two main problems identified with the current system

1. The calculation of the Surplus Transfer Value

2. The Segmentation distribution of excluded candidates

Both of these issues are addressed in the proposed Wright System

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