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Predicting Party SizesThe Logic of Simple Electoral Systems$
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Rein Taagepera

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199287741

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199287741.001.0001

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Electoral Systems—Simple and Complex

Electoral Systems—Simple and Complex

(p.23) 3 Electoral Systems—Simple and Complex
Predicting Party Sizes

Rein Taagepera (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

To allocate seats to candidates or parties, even a simple electoral system must specify at least the following: the total number of seats in the assembly (assembly size); the number of seats allocated in each electoral district (district magnitude); how these seats are allocated (seat allocation formula); and how a voter can express her/his preferences (ballot structure). The simplest seat allocation formulas are d'Hondt and Sainte-Laguë divisors, and Hare quota plus largest remainders. For single-seat districts, these proportional representation formulas are reduced to First-Past-The-Post, where the candidate with the most votes wins. Complex electoral systems may offer advantages, but the ability to predict the number of parties and the average proportionality of seats to votes is lost.

Keywords:   simple electoral system, assembly size, district magnitude, seat allocation formula, First-Past-The-Post, d'Hondt, Sainte-Laguë, Hare quota, proportional representation

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