This copy of the Report below by the late Dr George Howatt, which was tabled in the Tasmanian House of Assembly in 1979, was digitized, with hyperlinks added, by the Proportional Representation Society of Australia in 2003, from a copy kindly obtained from the Library of the Parliament of Tasmania by the Honourable Neil Robson - formerly one of the 7 Members for Bass, and a Tasmanian Government Minister.

 


 


VOTING - BY PARTY DIRECTION OR FREE CHOICE?

 


AN INTERIM REPORT ON WHETHER SENATE-STYLE PARTY 

VOTING TICKETS SHOULD BE USED FOR 

TASMANIAN HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

 


BY

GEORGE HOWATT. Ph.D.

(TAS)

 
 
 


324.946 
HOW 
COPY 1


 

FOREWORD

by

J. F. H. Wright, B.Sc.

President, N.S.W. Branch of the Proportional Representation Society of Australia

 

In any system of Parliamentary government, an important criterion of the performance of the electoral method used is the extent to which it succeeds in providing effective representation of the people. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights refers to government by freely chosen representatives as being essential if the right of people to take part in government is to be realized. A consistent feature of elections of the Tasmanian House of Assembly with the Hare-Clark method has been that, with a wide choice of candidates, a very high proportion of voters has seen the election of the candidate they have chosen. The performance of the Hare-Clark method has contrasted strongly with the single-member-district methods in use for Lower House elections in the other Australian States and for election of the Federal House of Representatives. These elections regularly leave almost half of the voters nominally represented by people whom they have rejected. 

With these elections, the practice of parties issuing 'how-to-vote' instructions is firmly established. The combination of this practice with the use of single-member districts has had many unfortunate results, probably the most serious being that candidates and Members of Parliament are strongly encouraged by the system to be concerned about the views of the few people who control party endorsements rather than those of the voters. 

The Provisions for elections of the Federal Senate are much more satisfactory than those for the House of Representatives or for State Lower Houses other than the Tasmanian House of Assembly. Being designed to give proportional representation, the method used in Senate elections at least ensures that parties are represented approximately in proportion to the voting support they receive. 

 

iii

Unfortunately, the practice of parties issuing how-to-vote instructions is also followed in Senate elections. In States other than Tasmania, voters have come to regard this as a normal procedure and most of them follow the instructions of one party or other. The practice has therefore had the effect of limiting the capability of the method to translate the considered choice of the voters into effective representation, and, with some important exceptions, it has operated almost as a party-list method. 

Tasmanians and all of those elsewhere who are interested in strengthening and improving democracy are fortunate to have someone of Dr. Howatt's qualifications and experience to investigate problems in the machinery of elections and representation. Even In this interim report, he has made a significant observation that may be new even to most of those concerned with the operation of electoral systems, at least in the non-Tasmanian States. He has shown that the use of Senate-style voting tickets, in contrast to the free selection of candidates provided for voters under the Tasmanian-pioneered Hare-Clark system, can actually affect adversely the parties that use the tickets. 

Tasmanian voters are fortunate to have the freedom of choice and accurate representation that the Hare-Clark method ensures. Any suggestion of a major departure from existing practice should be scrutinized very carefully to avoid the possibility of loss of any of the special characteristics of the method that has served the voters of Tasmania so well in the past. 

 


 


Sydney, June, 1979. 

 J. F. H. W. 

 

CONTENTS

Foreword


ii

Contents


iv

Author's Preface

- Acknowledgments

v

PART I.

INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE OF REPORT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  1

PART II..

WHY SENATE-STYLE REGIMENTED VOTING DISTORTS THE PROPORTIONALITY OF ELECTION RESULTS, THEREBY PENALIZING THE MAJOR PARTIES THAT PRACTISE IT, RESULTING IN THE OVER-REPRESENTATION OF MINORITY PARTIES OR GROUPS, THUS INEVITABLY WEAKENING THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM AND INCREASING THE LIKELIHOOD OF INSTABILITY IN PARLIAMENT

  6


Figures 1 and 2 - Senate elections



      Fig. 1.   Tasmania, 1961

10


      Fig. 2.   Queensland, 1964

12


Figures 3 - 5:  Tasmanian House of Assembly Elections



      Fig. 3    Franklin,  1972

14


      Fig. 4    Franklin,  1959

16


      Fig. 5    Denison,  1976

18

PART III.

SUBJECTS FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

19

PART IV.

SUMMATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

21

PART V.

APPENDICES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

23


Contents of Appendices

23


Appendix A

24


Appendix B

28


Appendix C

31


Appendix D

34


Appendix E

40

 

AUTHOR'S PREFACE  -   ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

Although the writer will save most of his prefatory remarks for the final report, his appreciation to those noted below is so great that acknowledgment of their invaluable advice and assistance cannot be postponed: 

J.F.H. Wright, B.Sc., President of the N.S.W. Branch of the Proportional Representation of Australia. 

C.G. Ball, Returning Officer for Tasmanian House of Assembly elections and Commonwealth Divisional Returning Officer for Denison 

K. F. Febey, State Chief Electoral Officer of Tasmania. 
 

The writer of course is solely responsible for the views in the report. 

 

George Howatt, 
Special Research Fellow, 
Department of Political Science.

 

The University of Tasmania, 
June, 1979.

 

PART 1. INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE OF REPORT. 

 

To assess the method commonly known as "Senate-style regimented voting". 

 

1. Prefatory note. 

This report is the outgrowth of a recommendation by Mr. Neil Robson, M.H.A., to Premier Lowe that the writer be requested to prepare a report for Parliament analysing and assessing Electoral Bill (No. 2) 1977 (viz., the Robson bill), which provides for the rotational printing of candidates' names on ballot--papers for Tasmanian State elections. Obviously, there are various ways of deciding how names should be placed on ballot-papers - for example, according to the alphabetical order of surnames or by lot; this latter method, now used in Tasmania, superseded the former and was used for House of Assembly elections for the first time in 1976. 

The various alternatives to the Robson bill need to be examined before the bill itself can be assessed properly. One alternative which has been mentioned by some as a possibility is the method used by the major political parties and others for (a) determining the position of candidates' names within groups on the ballot-paper for Senate elections and (b) for directing electoral support to particular candidates. 

2. What is the Senate method

In effect, the method empowers the management of the contesting parties, firstly, to list the names of its candidates on the ballot-paper in whatever order it wishes (irrespective of specific criteria such as alphabetical order or drawing by lot) and then to so advise the electoral authorities. Secondly, party management then issues "how-to-vote cards with specific preference numbers printed beside the names of the various candidates. Party management then appeals to its electoral supporters (through the distribution of these cards at Polling booths and by advertising them in the press and elsewhere) to copy onto their ballot-papers the numbers exactly as they appear on the how-to-vote cards. The parties under this system are in effect saying to their potential supporters "Please take our voting card, but don't think for yourselves; merely copy as we have directed, without any selection on your part, the preference numbers onto your ballot-paper precisely as the numbers appear on our card". 

 

-   2   -

 

These political parties, which are privately controlled organizations not elected by the public (and hence perhaps not even representative of it) do not consult the public in choosing the candidates they endorse - thereby presenting the risk of offering candidates not representative of their supporters. The effect of the inability to consult the public in selecting candidates (obviously not an easy task) could be offset considerably by offering the voters a wide choice of candidates; this idea need not be a dream, but a reality, and in fact is done regularly in Tasmania for electing the House of Assembly and, in a somewhat corresponding way, the Legislative Council. 

However, the political parties in Senate elections (in contrast to the model furnished by Assembly elections in Tasmania) do not offer a wide choice of candidates, but instead restrict the choice to a minimum, namely, to only three candidates even in the case of the major parties, where there are, nevertheless, five vacancies to fill. In effect, the controllers of these parties say to their supporters, "We'll offer you fewer candidates than there are vacancies to fill, thus reducing to the lowest limit the number of choices we make available to you, even though the electoral system readily enables a party to give its supporters a wide choice of candidates". In short, party management in Senate contests is saying to the voters "We don't want you to think for yourselves; instead we only want you to be ciphers for us, in order to copy down numbers according to our directions". (1) 


(1) Voters who have not experienced the opportunity enjoyed by Tasmanians of selecting their own choices from a wide range of candidates offered by their party may not, understandably, realize how extremely restrictive the Senate system is, compared with the Tasmanian-pioneered method, called the "Hare-Clark system", used to elect its lower house, called the House of Assembly. In these Hare-Clark elections the voters mark their own choices freely, as they please, without any direction from the party they support.

 

-   3   -

 

3. Though faulty even for Senate Elections, the regimenting of voters by means of numbered party tickets would be both extremely undesirable and impractical for Hare-Clark elections. 

Such a method is highly undesirable even for Senate elections as will be explained in the final report. However, since elections for the Tasmanian House of Assembly are conducted on a far higher plane and in a very different manner from Senate elections, these differences would make Senate-style tickets both impractical and most undesirable for electing Members to the Assembly, as will be detailed in the final report. This final report will further point out how attempts to apply Senate-style regimented voting to Assembly elections also would jeopardize (if not rupture from the start) the continuance of the two-party system in Tasmania, the stable functioning of Parliament, and the control - strong and healthy - (as compared with other States and nations) which the voting public in Tasmania now exercises over its Parliament - a control unique in its excellence. Further, the final report will explain how this precious heritage special to Tasmania - and which could serve, if known, as an urgently needed model for the rest of the world - would be severely damaged, if not destroyed, by the introduction of Senate-style regimented voting for Assembly elections. (2) 


(2) Although examining the subject of Senate-style tickets needs to refer from time to time to certain features of the Hare-Clark method, space does not permit, nor would it be germane, in this paper to attempt an evaluation or appreciation of this special system, which is unique in the manner in which it is applied in Tasmania. 

Readers wishing a few words of assessment of the system, such as can be covered in a brief newspaper article, could refer to Appendix E of this paper. A longer, but still very summarized assessment, may be found in Tasmanian Parliamentary Paper No. 22 of 1958, by the writer entitled Democratic Representation under the Hare-Clark System.

 

 

-   4   -

 

4. Some factors which have contributed to the writer's conclusions. 

The writer is deeply proud to be regarded as a fervent admirer of the Tasmanian-pioneered Hare-Clark system, motivated by his belief that the inherent features of this special method could solve problems of representation in many lands, thereby enabling these States and nations to meet the challenges of change, to respond to the needs of their people, and solve problems which at present seem to be increasing in almost all countries. 

Nevertheless, the writer's admiration and support for the Hare-Clark system has not blinded him from seeing ways in which the application of Hare-Clark principles could be refined and strengthened. Evidence of his wish not only to commend the Hare-Clark system but also to seek improvements in applying its principles could be demonstrated in many ways. One is to note the appearance of the twenty-one articles listed below, published by "The Mercury", all of them written to advocate adoption of some refinement to improve the system; this and other evidence do not show complacent and uncritical admiration of all aspects of the way the Hare-Clark system is at present applied. 

The writer has undertaken various major research projects on electoral systems, including, for example, a Ph.D. thesis for the University of Tasmania focussed on the Hare-Clark system. Years of research and thought on electoral systems and practices leave the writer with no doubt that the use of numbered how-to-vote cards by political parties is unqualifiedly undesirable and would be a most retrograde step, for reasons which the final report will set out. 

 

The following list is confined to articles by the writer which appeared in "The Mercury", usually on the editorial page:- 

1. "Hare-Clark is World's Model System", October l9, 1956. 
2. "Electoral System, with Changes, Will be Model for World", October 30, 1957. 
3 "Display of Accord between People and Parliament", October 31, 1957. 
4. "Parliament More Effective if Membership of Assembly Increased", November 1, 1957. 
5. "Filling Vacancy by Recount Achieves Democratic Result", December 24, 1957. 
6. "If a Deadlock Occurs on Saturday?", April 29, 1959. 
7. "Seven-Seat Electorate Defended", June 4, 1959. 
8. "'Deadlock' Plan Return Would Be Welcomed", July 14, 1960. 
9. "Problem of Unused Remainders in Hare-Clark System", September 3, 1963. 
10. "Ensuring Full Representation of Voters", September 4, 1963. 
11. "Ensuring Majorities in All State Elections", September 5, 1963. 
12. "Overcoming Deadlocks", April 24, 1964. 
13. "Hare-Clark Voting System Has Proved Superiority Over Others in Reflecting People's Choice", June 12, 1969. 
14. "Political Balance of Power Crises Could be Avoided", November 8, 1971. 
15. "Ensuring Workable Majority in Parliament", November 9, 1971. 
16. "Response to Voting Ideas Encouraging", November 23, 1971. 
17. "Now Is Time to Force Pledge for Change to End Deadlocks", March 24, 1972. 
18. "Clear-cut Decision Needed in Forthcoming State Election", April 3, 1972. 
19. "Risk of an Indecisive Election: A Plan for Averting Too-Narrow Margins", April 17, 1972. 
20. "Refinements in Voting System Can Ensure Majority Rule", April 18, 1972. 
21. "Electoral Justice Still Needs to be Safeguarded", April 24, 1972. 
 

-   5   -

(Articles by the writer appearing in other publications or articles merely descriptive of the Hare-Clark system without advocating reform of some kind are not included in the above list). 

 

-   6   - 

 

PART II - WHY SENATE-STYLE REGIMENTED VOTING DISTORTS THE PROPORTIONALITY OF ELECTION RESULTS, THEREBY             PENALIZING THE MAJOR PARTIES THAT PRACTISE IT, RESULTING IN THE OVER-REPRESENTATION OF MINORITY PARTIES OR GROUPS,THUS INEVITABLY WEAKENING THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM AND INCREASING THE LIKELIHOOD OF INSTABILITY IN PARLIAMENT.


Regimented voting, Senate-style reduces the equity of election results by distorting the proportionality of the election outcome; such regimentation can and does result in some parties, namely, the larger ones, receiving fewer seats when on a proportional basis, they are entitled to more seats. Conversely, such regimentation can and does give smaller parties or groups more seats than they would be entitled to on a proportional basis. 

In short, regimented voting, Senate-style can under-represent the parties supported by the greater number of voters and over-represent the parties or groups attracting less support. The fact that such regimentation does under-represent the major parties and over-represent minor ones can be seen clearly from examples cited here in Part II. More will be cited in the final report. 

Under the time-tested Hare-Clark feature of giving the voters a free selection of candidates, the larger parties gain their fair share of the seats while not depriving any eligible minority of their fair share also. If any party or group obtains a full quota, or close enough to a full quota, it will win a seat as it is justly entitled to, under Senate or Hare-Clark conditions. 

However, suppose no party has sufficient votes (in primaries plus possible accumulated preferences) to fill a quota for the last seat to be filled - a common enough situation: who is entitled to that seat when two or more have partial quotas but not full ones? Under usual Hare-Clark conditions this problem is answered easily and naturally enough (as regards the vacancies within an electorate) - namely, by the rule of the order of elimination of candidates. 

In practice, owing to the fact that candidates, in the absence of numbered how-to-vote cards, seek support as individual persons, there is a natural spread of support (in primary votes and preferences) over many candidates. When surplus votes are transferred, as well as the preferences of excluded candidates, the votes normally are distributed - owing to absence of numbered how-to-vote cards - over the range of the continuing candidates. 

 

 -   7   - 

 

As a result the voting support for a given party tends to be spread over several candidates (the number varying of course according to the stage of the scrutiny process). In practice, therefore, under usual Hare-Clark conditions, the size of a party's vote will determine the order of elimination of candidates and thereby the number of quotas filled and seats won. 

Under usual Hare-Clark conditions the final seat in an electorate will be won by the party which shows the highest average no. of votes per candidate at the time of the last exclusion. In other words, when voters are given the opportunity, as provided by existing Hare-Clark conditions, to select candidates freely as they choose, a normal spreading of support for a party's candidates occurs, being reflected in a well-spread primary vote or, as the case may be, during the distribution of surplus votes. 

An equitable criterion for allocating Parliamentary seats is that the members of Parliament should be elected in proportion, as nearly as possible, to the number of votes of their supporters. The Hare-Clark system, which allows a natural spread of support as a result of the free, undirected marking of choices by the voters, normally meets this criterion when filling the vacancies of a given electorate. 

In contrast, the Senate practice of electing candidates, based upon regimenting the vote by means of party how-to-vote cards, has an in-built feature which distorts this criterion. In practice, and conspicuously so in the Mainland States, the No. 1 candidate of each party is elected with a huge, abnormal surplus, which is passed on to the No. 2 candidate who is also elected with a surplus. This means, in the usual 5-vacancy Senate election, that the No. 3 candidate of the party is left with many fewer votes than if his party's vote were more evenly spread over all its candidates. As a consequence, the No. 3 candidate of each or both parties is left in a weaker position. 

As regards major parties, spreading the vote (as occurs in Hare-Clark practice) conserves their voting strength by enabling their candidates to stay in the count longer, thereby increasing their chances of winning more seats, namely, winning -the number which their vote would, on a proportional basis, entitle them to. 

 -    8   - 

 

In contrast, the Senate practice of regimenting the vote, resulting in huge surpluses for candidate No. 1 and No. 2 on the party ticket, leaves its No. 3 candidate in a weakened position "starving" for votes which have been denied to No. 3 because of the effect of the regimented ticket. As a consequence the major parties have frequently lost the last seat to a minor party or Independent candidate even though they had obtained sufficient support for electing all their three candidates if normal Hare-Clark conditions had applied, as illustrated in Figures 1 and 2. In Figures 1 and 2 if the seats had divided, in both examples, 3 to 2 instead of 2-2-l, it would have been a more equitable result since, at the stage of the last exclusion, the average vote for the candidates of both major parties exceeded the total for the minor party or Independent. 

In these cases both major parties were more entitled, on a proportional basis, to the seat, won by the minor party or Independent. In other words, both major parties forfeited an opportunity to win an additional seat by wasting their strength, through regimented voting, with huge surpluses for ?rds of their candidates while the other ?rd was forced, unnecessarily by normal Hare-Clark practice, into elimination. 

Senate-style regimented voting therefore not only deprives, in practice, the elector of a free choice of candidates, it also can, and frequently does, deprive the supporters of major parties of the additional seats to which they would be entitled on a more fairly proportional basis. 

A brief explanation regarding the outcome of the Assembly elections in Denison in 1976:-

In this case the party with the slightly larger vote (the ALP) happened to be disadvantaged because, by chance, the Liberal party voters distributed their support for their candidates more evenly than did Labor supporters, thereby gaining more seats though receiving a smaller vote in Denison than Labor. As the Labor votes were more concentrated (i.e. less well spread over their candidates than the Liberals), they were less effective in winning seats. In effect, Labor, by accident, suffered: the same disadvantage as if it had concentrated and directed its vote by means of Senate-style tickets. This example of 1976 was exceptional to the usual experience under the Hare-Clark system; adoption of regimented voting would convert this fortuitous happening into a regular feature. 

For a variety of reasons., some of them given in the appendices, the functioning of the Senate would be improved incomparably by the adoption of Hare-Clark practice in electing it. Conversely, the use of Senate-style regimented voting would produce disastrous consequences if used for electing the Tasmanian House of Assembly, for reasons noted in this interim report plus those to be covered in the final report.

 

  -    9   - 

 

Owing to the relatively small local electorates used for choosing the House of Assembly, as compared with State-wide voting for the Senate, the encouragement which regimented voting would give to non-major party candidates would be enormous, and could well end the 2-party system in Tasmania in the first election in which it was tried. Firstly, regimented voting would certainly reduce the number of votes which the major parties would receive, and secondly, even the smaller totals would be less effective since observing party tickets (if they could be enforced) would elect with large surpluses those candidates high on the tickets, leaving lower placed candidates in a much weakened position and unable, probably in frequent occurrence, to win the last seat in many, perhaps in all, electorates 

Regimented voting would certainly reduce the vote-attracting ability and, consequently, the vote totals of any major party which attempted to apply Senate-style voting, which, bad enough for State-wide electorates and with restricted nominations, would prove disastrous for any major party which attempted to apply it for State elections - for reasons to be detailed in final report, as they are too numerous for including in this interim report. 

For example, there is no known realistic way (at least none known. to the writer) for determining workable criteria for ranking a preference order for candidates when the number of endorsements (as is the case under Hare-Clark conditions) is roughly twice the number of seats which a party can expect to win. A party ticket under these circumstances (which obviously are quite different from those now in practice for the Senate) would have to declare publicly its recommended order of preferences. If the preferences were intended to be heeded (if not why recommend any), they would, in effect, be saying which 3 of its candidates were assured of seats in Parliament and which 3 should be consigned to defeat. 

Criteria to be workable would have to win the general consent of the party and the community concerned. Hence, the criteria would not only have to be fair, but be seen publicly to be fair. In the absence of fair criteria, what basis for selection could be used - only some form of lobbying and making deals which certainly would rupture internally a party which attempted to put it into effect. Inevitably such internal disruption would spread disaffection among the voters, and cripple any major party experiencing such internal trauma, as will be explained in the final report. 

 
   

TASMANIAN SENATE ELECTIONS 1961




FIG. 1-A. REGIMENTED VOTING CAUSES A LESS PROPORTIONAL RESULT.




THIS FIGURE SHOWS THE ACTUAL RESULT UNDER THE EXISTING SYSTEM OF SENATE-STYLE REGIMENTED VOTING: NAMELY, A 2-2-1 DIVISION OF SEATS (2 LIB, 2 ALP, 1 INDEPENDENT)

Click here to compare to 1-B.


Quota = 26,641

ChartObject THE VOTES FOR THE RESPECTIVE CANDIDATES BEFORE THE LAST EXCLUSION OF CANDIDATES WERE:

BECAUSE OF  
REGIMENTED VOTING  
EACH MAJOR PARTY  
ELECTED  
2 CANDIDATES EACH  
WITH FULL QUOTAS,  
THUS LEAVING THEIR  
THIRD CANDIDATES  
WITH FEWER VOTES  
THAN IF THE PARTY  
VOTE HAD BEEN SPREAD OVER  
ITS 3 CANDIDATES.

(EACH COLUMN REPRESENTS THE NO. OF VOTES RECEIVED BY THE RESPECTIVE CANDIDATES)


 


AS THE THIRD CANDIDATE OF THE ALP GROUP (MR. DEVITT) HAD THE LEAST NUMBER OF VOTES, HE WAS EXCLUDED, AND HIS PREFERENCES ELECTED THE INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE, DR. TURNBULL.

Report to Tasmanian Parliament by

Dr George Howatt,

Hobart, 1979



 This Figure 1-A was digitized by the Proportional Representation Society of Australia in 2003, from Dr Howatt's Report, from a copy kindly obtained from the Library of the Parliament of Tasmania by Hon. Neil Robson.

 

 

 

TASMANIAN SENATE ELECTIONS 1961




FIG. 1-B. AN EVENLY SPREAD VOTE WOULD HAVE RESULTED IN A MORE PROPORTIONAL DIVISION OF SEATS.




THIS FIGURE SHOWS THE RESULT IF THE VOTES FOR THE MAJOR PARTIES WERE EVENLY SPREAD AMONG THEIR CANDIDATES: NAMELY, 3 TO 2 (3 ALP AND 2 LIB)

Click here to compare to 1-A. 

 

Quota = 26,641

ChartObject THE VOTES FOR THE RESPECTIVE CANDIDATES BEFORE THE LAST EXCLUSION OF CANDIDATES WERE:

IF THE VOTE OF A PARTY WERE SPREAD EVENLY OVER ITS 3 CANDIDATES, ALL WOULD BE AHEAD OF THE INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE.

(EACH COLUMN REPRESENTS THE NO. OF VOTES RECEIVED BY THE RESPECTIVE CANDIDATES)


 


AS THE CANDIDATE WITH THE LEAST VOTES, IS NOW THE INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE, DR. TURNBULL, HE WOULD BE EXCLUDED, HIS PREFERENCES THEN DECIDING THE 5TH SEAT. (SEE TEXT FOR FURTHER EXPLANATION AND FOR REASONS WHY, IN THIS EXAMPLE, A 3-2 DIVISION OF SEATS WOULD BE MORE EQUITABLE THAN A 2-2-1 RESULT).

Report to Tasmanian Parliament by

Dr George Howatt,

Hobart, 1979



This Figure 1-B was digitized by the Proportional Representation Society of Australia in 2003, from Dr Howatt's Report, from a copy kindly obtained from the Library of the Parliament of Tasmania by Hon. Neil Robson.

 

 

 

 

QUEENSLAND SENATE ELECTIONS 1964




FIG. 2-A. REGIMENTED VOTING CAUSES A LESS  PROPORTIONAL RESULT.




THIS FIGURE SHOWS THE ACTUAL RESULT UNDER THE EXISTING SYSTEM OF SENATE-STYLE REGIMENTED VOTING: NAMELY, A 2-2-1 DIVISION OF SEATS (2 LCP, 2 ALP, 1 DLP)

 Click here to compare to 2-B.

 

Quota = 125,232


(EACH COLUMN REPRESENTS THE NO. OF VOTES RECEIVED BY THE RESPECTIVE CANDIDATES)


 


AS THE THIRD CANDIDATE OF THE LCP GROUP HAD THE LEAST NUMBER OF VOTES, HE WAS EXCLUDED, AND HIS PREFERENCES ELECTED THE DLP CANDIDATE, MR. GAIR

Report to Tasmanian Parliament by

Dr George Howatt,

Hobart, 1979

 


This Figure 2-A was digitized by the Proportional Representation Society of Australia in 2003, from Dr Howatt's Report, from a copy kindly obtained from the Library of the Parliament of Tasmania by Hon. Neil Robson.

 

QUEENSLAND SENATE ELECTIONS 1964




FIG. 2-B.  AN EVENLY SPREAD VOTE WOULD HAVE RESULTED IN A MORE PROPORTIONAL DIVISION OF SEATS.




THIS FIGURE SHOWS THE RESULT IF THE VOTES FOR THE MAJOR PARTIES WERE EVENLY SPREAD AMONG THEIR CANDIDATES: NAMELY, 3 TO 2 (3 LCP AND 2 ALP)

 Click here to compare to 2-A.

 

Quota = 125,232

IF THE VOTES OF THE MAJOR  PARTIES WERE SPREAD EVENLY OVER THEIR CANDIDATES, ALL OF THEM WOULD BE AHEAD OF THE DLP CANDIDATE.

(EACH COLUMN REPRESENTS THE NO. OF VOTES RECEIVED BY THE RESPECTIVE CANDIDATES)


 


AS THE CANDIDATE WITH THE LEAST VOTES IS NOW THE DLP CANDIDATE, MR. GAIR, HE WOULD BE EXCLUDED, HIS PREFERENCES THEN DETERMINING WHICH PARTY WOULD WIN THE 5TH SEAT. (SEE TEXT FOR FURTHER DETAIL AND FOR REASONS WHY, IN THIS EXAMPLE, A 3-2 DIVISION OF SEATS WOULD BE MORE EQUITABLE THAN A 2-2-1 RESULT).

Report to Tasmanian Parliament by

Dr George Howatt,

Hobart, 1979

 


This Figure 2-B was digitized by the Proportional Representation Society of Australia in 2003, from Dr Howatt's Report, from a copy kindly obtained from the Library of the Parliament of Tasmania by Hon. Neil Robson.

 

 

 

TASMANIAN HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS - FRANKLIN 1972




FIG. 3-A.  A FREE SELECTION OF CANDIDATES LEADS TO A FAIRER, MORE  PROPORTIONAL RESULT.




THIS GRAPH SHOWS THE ACTUAL RESULT UNDER EXISTING HARE-CLARK FEATURES:  
NAMELY, A 4-3 DIVISION OF SEATS (4 ALP, 3 LIB)

Click here to compare to 3-B.


Quota = 4,840

CANDIDATES:-  
LIB. 1 - BEATTIE 
        2 - CLARK 
        3 - PEARSALL 
UTG  -  BROWN 
ALP 1 - BARNARD 
         2 - DAVIDSON  
         3 - FROST 
         4 - LOWE 
         5 - NEILSON

(EACH COLUMN REPRESENTS THE NO. OF VOTES RECEIVED BY EACH CANDIDATE)


 


AS THE UTG (UNITED TASMANIA GROUP) CANDIDATE, DR. BOB BROWN, HAD THE LEAST NUMBER OF VOTES HE WAS EXCLUDED AND HIS PREFERENCES, WHICH STRONGLY FAVOURED THE LIBERAL PARTY, LED TO THE ELECTION OF 3 LIB. CANDIDATES.

Report to Tasmanian Parliament by

Dr George Howatt,

Hobart, 1979

 


This Figure 3-A was digitized by the Proportional Representation Society of Australia in 2003, from Dr Howatt's Report, from a copy kindly obtained from the Library of the Parliament of Tasmania by Hon. Neil Robson.

 

 

TASMANIAN HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS - FRANKLIN, 1972




FIG. 3-B.  SENATE-STYLE REGIMENTED VOTING WOULD HAVE CAUSED A  
LESS PROPORTIONAL, LESS FAIR RESULT.


 


THIS GRAPH SHOWS HOW, IF A SENATE-STYLE TICKET HAD BEEN FOLLOWED, THE ACTUAL RESULT OF 4-3 WOULD HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO 4-2-1 (4 ALP, 2 LIB + 1 UTG)

 Click here to compare to 3-A.

 

Quota = 4,840

CANDIDATES:-  
LIB. 1 - BEATTIE 
        2 - CLARK 
        3 - PEARSALL 
UTG  -  BROWN 
ALP 1 - BARNARD 
        2 - DAVIDSON 
         3 - FROST 
         4 - LOWE 
         5 - NEILSON

EACH COLUMN SHOWS THE NO. OF VOTES FOR THE RESPECTIVE CANDIDATES.


 


UNDER SENATE-STYLE REGIMENTED VOTING THE CONCENTRATION OF PRIMARY VOTES ON THE FIRST-LISTED LIB. CANDIDATE, WITH A CONCENTRATION OF PREFERENCES FLOWING TO THE 2ND. LIB. WOULD LEAVE FEWER VOTES FOR THE THIRD LIB. THE 3RD. LIB WOULD THEN HAVE FEWER VOTES THAT THE UTG (UNITED TASMANIA GROUP) CANDIDATE. (SEE TEXT FOR FURTHER EXPLANATIONS AND FOR REASONS WHY A 4-3 DIVISION, AS IN FACT OCCURRED UNDER NON-REGIMENTED VOTING, IS A MORE EQUITABLE RESULT THAN 3-3-1.)

Report to Tasmanian Parliament by

Dr George Howatt,

Hobart, 1979

 


This Figure 3-B was digitized by the Proportional Representation Society of Australia in 2003, from Dr Howatt's Report, from a copy kindly obtained from the Library of the Parliament of Tasmania by Hon. Neil Robson.

 

 

 

TASMANIAN HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS - FRANKLIN 1959




FIG. 4-A.  A FREE SELECTION OF CANDIDATES LEADS TO A FAIRER, MORE  PROPORTIONAL RESULT.




THIS GRAPH SHOWS THE ACTUAL RESULT UNDER EXISTING HARE-CLARK FEATURES:  
NAMELY, A 4-3 DIVISION OF SEATS (4 LIB, AND 3 ALP)

Click here to compare to 4-B.


Quota = 4,014

CANDIDATES:- 
ALP 1 - BARNARD 
        2 - BROOKER 
        3 - DWYER 
     
4 - NEILSON 
LIB. 1 - JACKSON 
         2 - MILLER 
         3 - PEARSALL 
        4 - YOUNG

(EACH COLUMN REPRESENTS THE NO. OF VOTES RECEIVED BY EACH CANDIDATE)


 


AS THE DLP CANDIDATE HAD THE LEAST NUMBER OF VOTES HE WAS EXCLUDED, AND HIS PREFERENCES, WHICH STRONGLY FAVOURED THE LIBERALS, ENABLED THEM (BY WINNING THE LAST SEAT NARROWLY) TO GAIN 4 SEATS TO LABOR'S 3).

Report to Tasmanian Parliament by

Dr George Howatt,

Hobart, 1979

 


This Figure 4-A was digitized by the Proportional Representation Society of Australia in 2003, from Dr Howatt's Report, from a copy kindly obtained from the Library of the Parliament of Tasmania by Hon. Neil Robson.

 

 

TASMANIAN HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS - FRANKLIN, 1959


 


FIG. 4-B.  SENATE-STYLE REGIMENTED VOTING WOULD HAVE CAUSED A LESS PROPORTIONAL, LESS FAIR RESULT.


 


THIS GRAPH SHOWS HOW, IF A SENATE-STYLE TICKET HAD BEEN FOLLOWED, THE ACTUAL RESULT OF 4-3 WOULD HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO 3-3-1 (LIB. AND ALP 3 SEATS EACH + 1 DLP)

 Click here to compare to 4-A.

 

 

THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE CANDIDATES CONCERNED IS SET OUT BELOW, WITH THE VOTES ALLOCATED AS THEY WOULD BE IF SENATE-STYLE TICKETS HAD BEEN FOLLOWED:-

Quota = 4,014


(EACH COLUMN SHOWS THE NO. OF VOTES FOR THE RESPECTIVE CANDIDATES)


 


IN THE ACTUAL ELECTION, WHEN NUMBERED CARDS WERE NOT USED AND AS A RESULT THE VOTE WAS NOT REGIMENTED, THE DLP CANDIDATE BECOMES LOWEST IN VOTES AND IS EXCLUDED AS SEEN IN FIG. 4-A. HOWEVER, IF THE VOTE IS CONCENTRATED, AS NECESSARILY HAPPENS IF SENATE-STYLE TICKETS ARE USED, THE FIRST 2 LIB. CANDIDATES ARE ELECTED WITH FULL QUOTAS, AS SEEN ABOVE, THUS NECESSARILY LEAVING FEWER VOTES FOR THE 4TH. LIB. CANDIDATE, WHOSE VOTE FALLS BELOW THAT OF THE DLP CANDIDATE. THE LIB. CANDIDATE IS THEREFORE EXCLUDED, AND HIS PREFERENCES WOULD ELECT THE DLP CANDIDATE, PRODUCING A 3-3-1 OUTCOME. (SEE TEXT FOR FURTHER PARTICULARS AND FOR REASONS WHY A 4-3 DIVISION OF SEATS IS A MORE EQUITABLE REFLECTION OF THE POLLING THAN A 3-3-1 RESULT.)

Report to Tasmanian Parliament by

Dr George Howatt,

Hobart, 1979

 


This Figure 4-B was digitized by the Proportional Representation Society of Australia in 2003, from Dr Howatt's Report, from a copy kindly obtained from the Library of the Parliament of Tasmania by Hon. Neil Robson.

 

 

TASMANIAN HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS - DENISON 1976

 



FIG. 5.  EXAMPLE OF A PARTY WITH FEWER VOTES WINNING MORE SEATS  
BECAUSE ITS VOTE WAS MORE EVENLY SPREAD THAN ITS RIVAL.

 



THE VOTES FOR THE RESPECTIVE CANDIDATES AT THE END OF THE SCRUTINY WERE AS FOLLOWS:


GROUP A  
LIB.  
GROUP TOTAL 22,716

GROUP C  
ALP  
GROUP TOTAL 22,804

Quota = 5,854

CANDIDATES:- 
LIB. 1 - BINGHAM 
        2 - ROBINSON 
        3 - MATHER 
      
4 - BAKER  
ALP 1 - BATT 
         2 - GASCOIGNE 
         3 - AMOS  
         4 - GREEN

 




THE ALP WAS DISADVANTAGED BECAUSE ITS VOTE WAS MORE CONCENTRATED THAN THE LIBERALS! THOUGH PARTY TOTALS WERE ONLY MARGINALLY DIFFERENT, A SLIGHTLY GREATER CONCENTRATION IN THE ALP VOTE WAS ENOUGH FOR IT NOT TO WIN THE SEVENTH SEAT. WITH SENTATE-TYPE TICKETS, THE CONCENTRATION OF VOTES BY THE PARTY USING THEM WOULD BE MASSIVE, IN COMPARISON WITH THIS, AND WOULD BE A REGULAR, INEVITABLE OCCURRENCE, NOT AN EXCEPTIONAL INCIDENT, AS IN THIS EXAMPLE. (SEE TEXT FOR FURTHER EXPLANATION.)

Report to Tasmanian Parliament by

Dr George Howatt,

Hobart, 1979


 




This Figure 5 was digitized by the Proportional Representation Society of Australia in 2003, from Dr Howatt's Report, from a copy kindly obtained from the Library of the Parliament of Tasmania by Hon. Neil Robson.


 

 

 

 

-   19   -

 


 PART III                                   -                          SUBJECTS FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION 

 


  1. 
 
 
 

  2. 
 

  3. 
 

 4. 
 5. 

 6. 

Why the problems of deciding an order for recommending candidates are insuperable. For example, what would be the criteria? - preference for Ministers because of their administrative knowledge? preference to those who have served longest in Parliament, in recognition of this experience? - a position high enough on the party list to guarantee the election of a woman member? or a new member? or the representative of an ethnic group? or one to represent a specific geographic area? etc. The list of possible criteria and considerations is endless, and can be solved best only by the way, it is decided now - by the free choice of the voters. 
Why the problems of applying how-to-vote cards in Senate and House of Assembly elections are quite dissimilar. As one example, in a Senate election the three candidates for the major parties can perhaps justifiably see the possibility or hope of winning all 3 seats. In a Hare-Clark election however, with many more endorsements, a how-to-vote card, if followed, would ensure victory for some and certain defeat for others. 
Possible reactions of members of Parliament in a closely balanced house if they were placed low on a how-to-vote card. Would they be so disillusioned as to contemplate forcing a premature election? Would some prominent members with popular support outside their political party be urged by their friends to stand as Independents rather hold a losing position on a party ticket? And by doing so perhaps even hold the balance of power after the ensuing election? 
Would how-to-vote cards create internal factions within the political parties resulting in less unified strength? 
Would numbered tickets be viewed as weakening the public accountability of Members of Parliament? Now, though pre-selected by private organizations all members owe their election to a free vote of the people, not to a favoured place on the ballot-paper. 
What effect would the use of numbered how-to-vote cards have on the activities of candidates and political parties in their campaigns, e.g., it remove the incentive of those placed low on the how-to-vote cards to work vigorously?

 

 

-   20   -

 


7. 

8. 
 

9. 
 
 

10. 

11. 
 
 

12. 

Would there be adverse criticism of the method by which some candidates were placed higher on the how-to-vote card than others? - Could a high position be counter-productive if the electors in general thought the selection was not justified? 
Would many Tasmanian electors see the attempt to introduce numbered tickets as a manoeuvre to take an important right of choice away from the people and to transfer it to privately controlled, unelected political party organizations? The present system encourages electors to think for themselves. Would they passively accept the loss of this encouragement? 
Under the present system the party organization pre-selects a panel of candidates and the voters select whom they want in Parliament. With how-to-vote cards the party would both pre-select and, in effect, select, thereby greatly reducing the role of the elector. Would the confidence which people hold in the present parties be diminished or lost if the people saw their traditional practice of choosing candidates impaired by the use of numbered tickets? 
In general, it is difficult to withdraw rights once they have been given and have become established practice. What would be the effect of efforts which could be seen to be an attempt to remove the electors' present rights to choose candidates? 
Effect on informality? Is there a danger in increasing the amount of informality? Remembering that Tasmanian voters have been accustomed to making their own selections, would the use of how-to-vote cards and the resulting endeavour by some voters to perform the dual task of combining free selection with an attempt to follow to some extent a party how-to-vote card cause increased informality through duplication and/or omission of numbers 
Possibility of a late withdrawal of nomination. Could a candidate after receiving a low position on a party how-to-vote card become sufficiently disillusioned as to decide at the last moment before close of nominations to withdraw his nomination and submit another as an Independent. If this event occurred, many repercussions could ensue. 

As the reader will realize, the above is only a small sample of considerations yet to be analysed and weighed. These subjects and a further examination of some of the material in this interim report will be dealt with in the final report.

 

-   21   -

 

          PART IV                                     -                                         SUMMATION 

 

If the ideal of government by the consent of the governed is the goal of advocates of democracy, the ideal criterion must be the test that the judgment of the people should be the guiding factor and the best safeguard for obtaining government responsive to the needs of the people. 

Hence, what is required is machinery for ascertaining the people's judgment, and already the Hare-Clark system does this better than any other method in the world, despite the need for certain refinements in applying the Hare-Clark principles. 

A key necessity for gaining a reliable indication of the judgment of the voters is to give them a choice both between political parties (to identify their broad policy preferences) and between individual candidates within that party (so that they, the voters, can select on the basis of the differing personal qualities between individuals of the same party philosophy). Of all electoral methods the Hare-Clark system provides these 2 vital requirements. 

Alone of all electoral systems, the Hare-Clark method allows the voter to make separate judgements both on the party policy and on a range of candidates within that party; in other words, the unique, Tasmanian-pioneered Hare-Clark system provides the means for enabling voters to judge effectively both measures and men, both policies and people. 

Under the single-member system, with only one candidate per electorate per party, an elector may be forced to vote for a candidate whom he does not favour personally because this candidate's opponent belongs to a party whose policies he finds unacceptable. Under most list systems of proportional representation the voter is given either a restricted choice or no choice between candidates of his preferred party (in any case, no range of choice comparable to the unique range offered by the Hare-Clark system); hence, the possibility which is an essential ingredient for expressing an adequate judgment, namely, an opportunity to choose between a range of candidates with the same general party philosophy, is denied under both the single-member system and, the list systems of proportional representation. 

Most fortunately, this opportunity does flourish under the Hare-Clark system as it now operates, by assuring the electors a free and unfettered choice between parties and, between individual candidates within parties. Senate-type regimented voting would (if used as applied federally) eliminate restrict, or lessen this choice - hence one of the most precious criteria for assessing the basis of representation and for determining the quality of government, would be impaired, if not destroyed, by use of Senate-style voting tickets. 

-   22   -

To recapitulate: before any party candidate can be elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly, he must pass two tests, first approval by his party pre-selectors for nomination as a candidate of his party. Next, he must win the approval of the people expressing themselves through free choice. This double test is unique to Tasmania and is an invaluable heritage which needs to be passed on to other countries. But this heritage would be destroyed if the pre-selectors were given both the power to endorse and, thereby in effect, the power to elect through control of the placement of names on the party ticket and/or ballot papers.

 

-   23   -

 

PART V   -     APPENDICES

 

Appendices A to D are reprints of articles by the writer which comment on the undesirability of Senate-type voting tickets and also note, within the confines of brief press space, some of the reasons why the Hare-Clark system as it now operates is superior to the Senate system. 

APPENDIX A. - from "The Mercury", Hobart, December 17, 1956, entitled 
                            "Hare-Clark Remedy for Defects in Senate Voting". 
APPENDIX B - from "The Herald", Melbourne, December 17, 1958, entitled 
                           "Senate how-to-vote cards boomerang VOTE-TO-ORDER DOESN'T PAY" 
APPENDIX C - from Brian Fitzpatrick's LABOR NEWS LETTER, March, 1959, entitled 
                           "The Bad Luck of Mr. Little". 
APPENDIX D - from "The Mercury", Hobart, February 27, 1962, entitled 
                           "Weakness in Senate Poll" 
                            from "The Examiner", Launceston, March 6, 1962, entitled 
                            "Solution to Senate Voting Faults". 
APPENDIX E - from "The Mercury", Hobart, December 20, 1976, entitled 
                            "Hare-Clark Proved Again", is included to provide a resumé, 
                            however brief, of some of the merits unique to the Hare-Clark system. 

 

-   24   -

 

APPENDIX A

Prefatory note regarding article below from 'The Mercury", December 17, 1958:-

 

When the number of members per House of Assembly electorate was increased from six to seven in 1958, (which change meant that the parties would need to consider increasing the number of endorsements from six, the usual number then, to seven or eight candidates per electorate), there was some talk in a few circles that Tasmania should follow the regimented voting style used for Senate elections. 

For various reasons (some of them given in the article which follows) the writer considered the suggestion of following this Senate practice a very retrograde idea, and wrote this article in the hope of showing that instead of adopting Senate practice for Hare-Clark elections, the practice of regimenting the voters should be dropped and replaced, instead, by the Hare-Clark method of allowing the voters to select candidates as they pleased, without the use of numbered tickets. 

The writer showed the draft of the article to recently retired Premier Cosgrove, who read it and said he had no alterations to suggest. Re the idea of using regimented tickets for Hare-Clark elections [which of course are quite different from Senate contests in that considerably more candidates need to be endorsed by a party for Hare-Clark elections than it can hope to elect] Sir Robert Cosgrove rejected it emphatically and without hesitation said, 

"With Senate-style regimented voting the first three candidates on a ticket wouldn't need to work [since they would be elected anyway, if the ticket were followed] and the last three or four candidates (depending on whether seven or eight were endorsed by the party) wouldn't have any real incentive to work, since they would have no chance of being elected. Besides, the rivalry among candidates and their supporters for a winnable place on the ticket would result in such in-fighting within the party both before and after the nominations that the whole idea of using numbered cards was a sure way to put the cat among the pigeons". 

(The complete statement by former Premier Cosgrove will be included in the final report). 

The article entitled "HARE-CLARK REMEDY FOR DEFECTS IN SENATE VOTING" follows:- 

 

 -   25   -

 

The Senate elections have again revealed, especially on the Mainland, serious defects in an otherwise excellent electoral system. These could be remedied by adopting features from the Tasmanian-pioneered Hare-Clark model. 

Although the method for electing the Senate has many points of similarity with the Hare-Clark system, it falls short of the Hare-Clark standard in several important ways 

These defects in the Senate system include the compulsory marking of preferences for all candidates. This, a carry-over from the former, non-proportional method of preferential block voting is not necessary. It is a senseless provision serving no good whatever. 

It results in an excessive amount of informal voting. Under Hare-Clark voting, informality averages around 4 per cent in contrast to an average of around 11 per cent for Senate elections in Tasmania. 

Many Tasmanians, who know that marking three preferences is sufficient for a valid vote in State elections, follow this habit when voting in Senate elections, thus making their votes informal. 

Marking every square is an unreasonable burden. 

The requirement of compulsory numbering of all candidates is offensive psychologically because it compels the elector to express preferences for opponents to his own party or for candidates whom he may despise. 

An elector should be free to vote for as few or as many candidates as wishes. To force an elector to vote for candidates he does not want, in order to support the candidates he prefers, is a serious infringement of voting freedom. This infringement may sometimes alter election results. 

Each elector is given, in effect, a single vote. Once this vote helps to elect a candidate, it is unnecessary thereafter to examine or consider it. Most ballot papers are never examined beyond the second preference. 

Roughly speaking, fewer than 15 per cent of the votes are examined beyond the third preference in most elections. Hence, marking a number in every square on the voting paper is a futile effort. 

 

-   26   -

 

Compulsory preference numbering of all candidates means enforced cross voting, and could produce results not desired by the electors. The decision of an electorate made under conditions of compulsory numbering of all candidates could be different from that expressed when electors may choose for themselves how many preferences they wish to register. 

Compare, for example, the experience revealed by the Hare-Clark system, which requires a minimum marking of only three preferences. In practice, most electors under Hare-Clark vote for the candidates of their own party, and then stop. 

One effect is that independent and minority party candidates in Hare-Clark elections must poll almost a quota of primary votes to win elections. 

If voters were required against their will, to number all candidates, the effect in past elections would have been to elect some independents who were not, in fact, able to reach quotas under existing conditions. 

If supporters of minority party candidates are numerous enough to elect a senator, they are justly entitled to the seat. But if the seat is won by preferences obtained compulsorily from major parties, the minority party obtains more representation than it should. 

A second defect in Senate voting, especially as seen in Mainland elections, is the practice of the political parties in advising their supporters to vote in a regimented 1-2-3, down-the-ticket fashion. 

Under Hare-Clark elections it is interesting to note in contrast that Tasmanian parties do not endeavour to dragoon their supporters into voting in a prescribed order. Consequently, Tasmanians exercise their judgment and choose between candidates in State elections. 

Candidates owe their election, therefore, to the support they receive from the electors, not to their position on the ballot paper. 

Elections under Hare-Clark conditions are consequently more healthy and real, resulting in better representation of the voters and higher prestige for elected members. In the party-regimented Senate elections of the Mainland, electors become conditioned to party tickets, and the individuality of Senate candidates is largely lost. 

 

-   27   -

 

The parties on the Mainland (and sometimes in Tasmanian Senate elections) advise their supporters to follow the very practice which can hurt their party's interest the most. 

Instead of permitting the electors to spread their primary votes naturally over several candidates, as under Hare-Clark elections, they do their best to concentrate votes on the No.1 candidate and thus give him an abnormal surplus. 

This practice of regimenting the vote would have resulted in the election of Mr. Little, DLP candidate for the Senate in Victoria, if there had been five vacancies to fill instead of six. 

A party's best interest is served by keeping as many of its candidates in the count as long as possible. Under unregimented conditions this occurs as a result of the natural spreading of support by the voters. 

In contrast, under the prevailing regimented conditions, a party wastes its voting strength by electing its No. 1 and No. 2 candidates with full quotas early in the count. This leaves fewer votes for their No. 3 candidate, who therefore could be forced into elimination unnecessarily. 

The basic features of the Senate PR system are splendid and yield representative results incomparably superior to the lopsided, "all or none" results of the old Senate system which preceded it. But despite its general excellence, the present method requires further reforms, for which fortunately, the Hare-Clark system can serve as a guide.

 

-   28   -

 

APPENDIX 'B'

 

Note regarding article below from "The Herald", Melbourne, December 17, 1958:- 

When the writer mentioned to the editor the point that numbered how-to-vote cards when combined with regimented voting (the practice then as now) could actually cause major parties to LOSE seats which they could otherwise win, he seemed quite interested and accepted the article for publishing.  He supplied the heading "Senate how-to-vote cards boomerang -- VOTE-TO-ORDER DOESN'T PAY", for the article, which follows:-

 

There are two major faults in the way the proportional representation system is applied in Senate elections. 

The first is due to the party regimentation of voters through how-to-vote cards. The big parties can actually hurt their chances by such cards, because in a normal five-vacancy poll, concentration on a No. 1 candidate can distort the total vote and help a minority party. 

The second fault is the compulsion on the voter to fill in a preference for every candidate. This is unnecessary and mainly futile. 

Basically, the proportional representation system is sound and fair. It has eliminated the grossly lop sided, violently-fluctuating "all or none'' of the former preferential block system. 

That system once produced a lone Labor Senator and 35 non-Labor members. And in 1946, 33 Labor Senators were returned with an Opposition of only three. 

In the last election the compulsory marking of all preferences made the informal vote shockingly high in all States. 

Once again, the parties regimented the electors with numbered how-to-vote cards. 

In Victoria, the election showed that such regimentation could distort the electors' wishes. 

For example, although the DLP did not win any of the six Senate seats, Mr. Little, DLP candidate, would have been elected if there had been only the usual five vacancies. 

 

-   29   -

 

Some constitutional provisions, like staggered Senate elections every three years, increase the likelihood of deadlocks with the lower House, but much improvement in other directions can be achieved without constitutional amendments. 

It would be a major advance to abolish compulsory numbering of preferences for all candidates. This compulsion serves no good and produces a crop of evils. 

1. It causes excessive informal voting. Informality in Senate elections often runs to 10 per cent and sometimes higher. 

Ireland has used a similar PR system since 1923. But informality is around 1 per cent - mainly because an Irishman need mark only one preference. In Tasmania a system and ballot-paper largely similar to the Senate method are used for electing the State's House of Assembly. Voters have to mark a minimum of three preferences. Informality is gene rally around 4 per cent or 1ess. 

2. Compulsory numbering of all candidates is offensive psychologically. It compels the elector to express preferences even for candidates he may despise. 

To force an elector to vote for candidates he doesn't want in order to support those he favours is a deplorable infringement of voting freedom. When an elector can vote for as many or as few candidates as he pleases, voting becomes a meaningful selective process, not a mathematical exercise. 

In counting, most ballot-papers are never examined beyond the second preference, and fewer than 15 per cent are examined beyond the third preference in most 5-vacancy elections. Hence, fully marking a ballot-paper is largely futile. 

3. Compulsory numbering of all candidates means enforced cross-party voting and could produce results not desired by the electors. Most Tasmanians in their State elections vote for the candidates of their own party and then stop. 

So Independent and minority party candidates pick up very few preference from supporters of the major parties. If voters had had to number all candidates some Independents not able to reach quotas under existing conditions would have been elected. 

If supporters of minority party candidates are numerous enough to elect a Senator, he is justly entitled to the seat. 

 

-   30   -

 

But if the seat is won by preferences obtained compulsorily from major parties, the minority party obtains more representation than the electors really wish. 

Regimentation can operate against the interests of the party imposing it on its supporters. 

In the absence of regimentation, so long as the supporters of a party keep their votes within the party ticket, the party can expect to obtain maximum success. PROVIDED it does NOT advise its supporters to concentrate their No. 1 vote on a specified candidate and then number the preferences in a uniform order. 

Under PR elections a party's best interest is served by keeping as many as possible of its candidates in the count for as long as possible. 

This occurs as a result of the natural spreading of votes over several candidates as seen in State elections in Tasmania, where the party doesn't tell its supporters to vote 1-2-3 down the ticket. 

But if it does regiment a party wastes votes by electing its No. 1 and No. 2 candidates with full quotas early in the count. 

This leaves fewer votes for their No. 3, who could be forced into elimination. 

For example, in a 5-vacancy election with its larger quota, Senator Sandford, ALP, would have been lowest towards the end of the count and eliminated, thus electing Mr. Little. 

But if the main parties did not regiment their vote, but let it spread naturally their No. 3 candidate could have enough votes to stay ahead of Mr. Little, who consequently, would be eliminated, as can be seen by the figures applied to a 5-vacancy count. 

O'I'HER MAJOR REFORMS ARE STRONGLY NEEDED IN THE METHOD OF FILLING CASUAL VACANCIES AND IN CONDUCTING DOUBLE DISSOLUTION ELECTIONS.

 

-   31   -

 

APPENDIX 'C'

Note regarding article below, from Brian Fitzpatrick's LABOR NEWS LETTER, March 1959:- 

When Brian Fitzpatrick read "The Herald" article of December 17, 1958, he asked the writer for further information on the claim regarding the effect of regimenting the vote in Senate elections.  The writer supplied the explanation given on p. 4 of the March 1959 issue; Brian Fitzpatrick wrote an introduction to the explanation which he entitled "The Bad Luck of Mr. Little". 

The introduction, by Brian Fitzpatrick, from p.3, is as follows:-

 

Showing an extraordinary quirk of the Commonwealth Senate voting-counting system, and incidentally supplying political party managers with headachey future problems in advising voters about the most effective order of preference, this article is the work of Mr. George Howatt. 

He is an American student of Australian electoral methods, a former Fulbright Scholar working at present in the University of Tasmania. 

In the recent federal election there happened to be an extra Senate vacancy to be filled for Victoria. This meant that six places were to be filled, instead of the customary five. 

The upshot was that the ALP won three seats, the LCP the other three, and DLP candidate, Mr. Little, not running into a place. 

But had the situation been as usual, with only five candidates to be elected, Mr. Little, instead of running seventh and failing to get one of the six seats, could have run fifth, and won one of the five seats'. 

However, as Mr. Howatt shows in his second illustration, a different distribution of ALP first preferences - spreading them over the three candidates, instead of concentrating them on Labor's top candidate - could still have kept Mr. Little out. 

At first sight, it is hard to swallow the likelihood of a candidate's vote standing him in better stead when there are fewer seats to be won. But in Tasmania, electoral experts have special knowledge of the vagaries of the Hare-Clark system of Proportional Representation, as used in federal elections for the Senate since the Chifley Labor Government introduced the system in 1949. 

 

-   32   -

 

For the Hare-Clark PR system has been used in state elections there for more than half a century. Mr. Howatt submitted his curious analysis to two top men in the electoral business, both of whom agreed that it was wholly correct. 

The explanation, provided briefly by the writer is as follows:-

 

These figures below show how Mr. Little, in the November 1958 federal election DLP Senate candidate in Victoria, would in fact have been elected if five Senators instead of six had been chosen in that State. 

In the examples it is sufficient to illustrate by showing only the last stage of the count, when the percentages of votes received by the various parties after the distribution of preferences would be approximately as follows: ALP, 43.0 per cent; DLP, 12.9 per cent; and LCP, 44.1 per cent. In the example, these percentages are expressed as whole numbers to facilitate understanding. The five-seat quota of 16.7 per cent, becomes 167 votes. 

In Illustration A, therefore, the ALP with 430 votes (i.e. 43.0 per cent would fill two quotas of 167 votes (16.7 per cent) and have a remainder of 96 votes resting with its third candidate, Senator Sandford. The LCP with 441 votes (44.1 per cent) would fill two quotas and have a remainder of 107 votes to the credit of Senator Hannan. As Mr. Little of the DLP would have 129 votes (12.9 per cent) he would be ahead of the ALP candidate and win election, as shown below. 

Illustration A: Mr. Little is elected - because the major parties regiment their supporters into concentrating their primaries by voting 1, 2, 3, down their respective party tickets. Thus:- 

ALP,  430 votes                                                                            DLP,  129 votes                            LCP,  441 votes  
(167)    +     (167)     +       96                                                        129                                               (167)     +     (167)      +        107  
quota          quota               votes                                                   votes                                             quota            quota                votes 
for              for                   for                                                       for                                                  for                 for                    for  
Kennelly    Hendrickson   Sandford                                             Little                                              Gorton          Wedgwood       Hannan

As both Sandford, ALP; and Hannan, LCP; would have fewer votes than Little, DLP; either Sandford or Hannan (in this case, Sandford) would be eliminated, and Mr Little would receive the preferences and be elected. On the other hand, if the ALP and LCP do not waste their vote by concentrating it on their No. 1 and No. 2 candidates, Mr Little becomes lowest on the poll and is eliminated, his preferences electing Senator Hannan, LCP; on the basis of illustrative figures shown. 

 

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Illustration B: Mr Little is not elected - because in this example the primary vote of the major parties is spread over several candidates, as normally could be the case under unregimented conditions. Election results with the same party vote totals as above, but under the unregimented conditions illustrated, are as follows:- 

ALP,  430 votes                                                                            DLP,  129 votes                                        LCP,  441 votes  
150      +     143        +       137                                                     129                                                            152     +     147         +         142  
votes           votes               votes                                                   votes                                                         votes          votes                   votes  
for               for                   for                                                      for                                                             for              for                      for  
Kennelly     Hendrickson   Sandford                                             Little                                                        Gorton       Wedgwood         Hannan 

As spreading the vote conserves the strength of the major parties, Mr Little becomes lowest on the poll, resulting in his elimination and the transfer of his preferences, which elect Hannan, LCP. In the absence of regimentation of voters, as seen in State elections in Tasmania and other places using a system similar to the Senate PR. method, a natural spreading of the No. 1 vote and preferences takes place. In Illustration B the variations in the spreading could be considerably greater than shown without the lowest major party candidate falling below Mr Little. 

In this election (Nov. 22, 1958) both the ALP and LCP placed the DLP next in preference after their own candidates. 

 
 

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APPENDIX 'D'

 

Note regarding articles below, from "The Mercury", February 27, 1962, and "The Examiner", March 6, 1962:- 

Once again the subject of using numbered how-to-vote cards became the point of some public discussion.  In response, the writer prepared these two articles to point out why Senate-style regimented voting not only was undesirable for choosing the House of Assembly but also could prevent the achievement of fairer results in Senate elections. 

"The Mercury" article, entitled "Weakness in Senate Poll", is as follows:-

 

Weaknesses in Senate voting methods are again brought to mind by the recent release of final election figures for all States. Most of these weaknesses would be corrected by the application of certain features from the Tasmanian Hare-Clark system. 

First, the compulsory marking of all preferences again resulted in excessively high informality, averaging 10.6 per cent nationally. Informality was greatest in NSW with a State average of 12.8 per cent. In Tasmania informal votes accounted for 10 per cent in contrast to an average of around 4 per cent under Hare-Clark voting in State elections, for which a ballot paper is valid if marked correctly for a minimum of only three choices. 

Second, compulsory numbering of all candidates is offensive psychologically to many electors, who resent having to give preferences to candidates they disfavour or despise. 

Third, compelling an elector to extend preferences to all candidates not only delays greatly the counting process but also can misrepresent the intention of electors. For examples when Mr Devitt (the third ALP Senate candidate was excluded, all his 15,507 ballot papers had to show a preference for either Mr Orchard (Lib.) or Dr Turnbull (Ind.). 

Studies show that most electors in past Hare-Clark elections express choices for their party ticket and stop - an understandable course. But in the recent Senate contest supporters of Mr Devitt were compelled to show preference for either their chief traditional opponents or for a former Labor Minister now competing against their party. Forcing electors to choose between candidates, none of whom they may like, gravely infringes voting freedom and potentially can alter the results intended by the electors. 

 

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LIKE SHEEP 

This potential misrepresentation becomes more serious when combined with the unfortunate practice by political parties of endeavouring to regiment their supporters into voting, in sheep-like fashion, 1-2-3 down the paper. Though practised universally in Mainland Senate elections, regimented voting has scarcely occurred in Tasmanian Hare-Clark contests. 

Under Hare-Clark voting, candidates therefore owe their election to the support they win from the electors, not to the order in which they are listed on the ballot-paper. 

Many evils come from regimented voting, but for the moment let us consider how it could, in fact, change what election results otherwise might be. The possibility of obtaining different election results from the same election figures arises in cases when no party (or independent candidate) has enough votes of its own to fill the last quota in a multi-member electorate. 

One of several such illustrations from the last Senate election occurred in Tasmania, where the fifth Senate seat (and 20 per cent of Tasmania's available Senate representation) was won by a candidate who polled only 11.6 per cent of the total primary vote. In this contest, after four seats were filled, Mr. Devitt ( ALP) had 15,507 votes to his credit, Mr. Orchard (Lib.) 16,326, and Dr. Turnbull (Ind.) 21,448. As Mr. Devitt was recorded as having the smallest vote, he was excluded and his papers divided between Orchard and Turnbull according to the preferences compulsorily indicated on them. 

Yet at the stage before Devitt's exclusion the Labor group had a total of 68,189 votes, the Liberals 69,608, and Turnbull 21,448. Suppose the party totals had been divided equally between the three candidates of each party then each Labor candidate would have had 22,929 votes and each Liberal candidate 23,202. Under these conditions, Dr. Turnbull, having only 21,448 votes would have been the lowest candidate and therefore eliminated, his preferences deciding the fifth seat. An exact spreading of the vote among the major party candidates would not have been needed in order to keep them ahead of Dr. Turnbull during the cut-up, provided the spread was sufficient to keep each of their candidates ahead of Turnbull's total. 

STRENGTH WASTED 

Under unregimented Hare-Clark voting the electors freely distribute both their primaries and preferences, over a wide choice of candidates. As a result, a natural spreading of primaries and preferences generally occurs. This also incidentally helps the major parties to retain their electoral strength during the cut-up, as can be seen from past Hare-Clark elections. 

 

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For example, in 1928 in Denison, Mr. Mahoney, Ind. Labor candidate, polled 75.3 per cent of a quota in primaries but was not elected because the votes of the major parties (which polled respectively 40.9 and 40.4 per cent of the primary vote) were well spread, and because Mr. Mahoney did not pick up many preferences. 

In the recent Senate election, because of different voting and vote-counting conditions Dr. Turnbull was able to win a seat though obtaining only 69.4 per cent of a quota of first preferences (i.e. 11.6 per cent of the total vote). 

Under regimented voting, a party wastes its voting strength by electing its No. 1 and No. 2 candidates with full quotas early in the count. This leaves fewer votes for their No. 3 candidate, who therefore could be forced into elimination unnecessarily in instances when his party lacks three full- quotas. 

The basic principles of the Senate PR system are excellent and result in incomparably more representative Senates than the previous "one in, all in", system which not only denied minority representation but grossly distorted the representation of the major parties. Nevertheless some corrections in applying the basic principles are needed. 
 

"The Examiner" article, entitled "A Solution to Senate Voting Faults", is as follows:-

Adoption of certain Hare-Clark voting features could remove faults in Senate voting noted by ''The Examiner" Canberra correspondent, who wrote on Saturday week: "The anomalies of the present Senate voting system have reached the proportions of near absurdity". 

He observed that Dr. Turnbull "made the grade into the Senate on his not very impressive primary poll" of 11.6 per cent, but that Senator McManus "knocking on the door of a theoretical quota" by obtaining 14.1 per cent of the primary vote in Victoria is defeated. 

In NSW, however, the D.L.P. with merely 7.9 per cent of the primary vote, almost won a seat, the correspondent reported. 

Two features of the Tasmanian Hare-Clark voting could remove these anomalies, as illustrated by the Senate election in Tasmania. 

First, under the Hare-Clark conditions the extension of preferences beyond a minimum of three is voluntary, not compulsory. 

 

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If applied to Senate voting, optional extension would reduce informality, shorten greatly the counting process, and spare many electors the resentment they feel in having to give preferences to candidates they may disfavour or despise. 

The present requirement to mark all preferences in Senate elections can also misrepresent the intention of electors. 

OFFENSIVE 

For example, when Mr. Devitt (the third ALP candidate) was excluded, his supporters were compelled to show a preference either for their chief political rivals, the Liberals, or for a former Labor Minister now competing against their party. 

Forcing electors to choose between candidates, none of whom they may like, offends against voting freedom, and, in addition, can potentially alter the election results intended by the voters. 

This potential misrepresentation is sharply increased if the major parties try to regiment their supporters into voting sheep-like, 1-2-3 down the ballot-paper. 

This unfortunate practice in Senate elections is the rule on the mainland and is frequent in Tasmania. 

Since regimentation does not occur under Hare-Clark voting, the electors vote freely, picking and choosing candidates in the order they want. 

FAIRER 

This free selection by the voters in Hare-Clark elections results in a natural spreading of primaries and preferences over all of a party's candidates, as seen in past elections. 

Spreading the vote also incidentally helps the major parties to maintain their electoral strength. during the cut-up, thus giving a fairer reflection of public opinion and reducing the likelihood of the anomalies noted by the Canberra, correspondent. 

Let us consider how unregimented voting and the resultant spreading of the vote could produce different election results from the same election figures.

 

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An illustration is given by the Senate results in Tasmania, where the fifth seat (and 20 per cent. of the State's representation) was won by a candidate polling only 11.6 per cent of the total primary vote. 

DIFFERENCE 

In this election, after four seats were filled, Mr. Devitt (ALP) had 15,507 votes to his credit, Mr. Orchard (Lib.) 16,326, and Dr. Turnbull (Ind.) 21,448. 

As Mr. Devitt was recorded as having the smallest vote, he was excluded, and his papers divided between Orchard and Turnbull, according to the preferences compulsorily indicated on them. 

Yet at the stage before Devitt's exclusion the Labor group had a total of 68,789 votes, the Liberals 69,608, and Turnbull 21,448. 

Suppose the party totals had been divided equally between the three candidates of each party -then each Labor candidate would have had 22,929 votes and each Liberal candidate 23,202. 

Under these conditions Dr. Turnbull, having only 21,448 would have been the lowest candidate and therefore eliminated, his preferences deciding the fifth seat. 

An exact spreading of the vote among the major party candidates would not have been needed to keep them ahead of Dr. Turnbull during the cut-up, provided the spread was sufficient to keep all other candidates ahead of Turnbull's total. 

Under regimented voting a party wastes its voting strength by electing its No. 1. and No. 2 candidates with full quotas early in the count. 

This leaves fewer votes for their No. 3 candidate, who therefore could be forced into elimination unnecessarily in cases when his party lacks three full quotas. 

An example illustrating the effect of spreading the vote can be seen in Denison in the State elections of 1928. Then Mr. Mahoney, Ind. Labor candidate, polled 75.3 per cent of a quota in primaries but was not elected because the votes for the major parties (40.9 and 40.4 per cent respectively) were widely spread and because Mr. Mahoney did not pick up many preferences. 

 

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CHANGES NEEDED 

In the recent Senate election as a result of different voting and vote-counting conditions, Dr. Turnbull was able to win a seat through obtaining only 69.4 per cent of a quota of first preferences (11.6 per cent of the total vote). 

The basic principles of voting by proportional representation for the Senate are sound and desirable, and far superior to the previous "all or none" system of preferential, block voting. 

But if complaints about anomalies such as those cited by the Canberra correspondent are to be eliminated, some corrections in applying the basic principles are needed.

 

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APPENDIX 'E'

This article from "The Mercury", December 20, 1976, entitled "Hare-Clark Proved Again" is included to provide a summary, however brief, of some of the merits unique to the Hare-Clark system:-

 

Once again the demonstrated advantages of the Hare-Clark system can make Tasmanians feel proud that their State pioneered the adoption of this special electoral method. 

Comparing the Tasmanian model with other methods reveals its many superiorities. First, a uniquely wide choice of candidates: 

No other electoral system in the world provides the voter with such a broad selection of candidates. 

In the recent election each voter was offered eight or nine candidates to choose from in each major party, not to mention smaller parties or independents. 

This wide range thus gave the Tasmanian elector not only a choice of parties, but also a choice of candidates within parties. 

Unless given this selection within parties, voters may not be able to express their true judgment, as seen in the single-member electorates used generally in the other States, where normally only one candidate is allowed to stand for each competing party. 

There, in the absence of the many choices available to Tasmanians, the elector must accept, whether to his liking or not, this sole pre-selected choice of his party's organization, or else vote for a candidate of another party with whose policies he may not agree. 

With only one endorsement per electorate, a party can hardly expect to satisfy a wide range of opinion within it, especially where, in a two-party system, each party attempts to represent a broad spectrum of views. 

This invidious situation, inherent to single-member electorates, is further compounded if those empowered to pre-select for their party are not well representative of the whole of a party's supporters. 

By contrast, since multiple endorsements are essential to the Hare-Clark system, party pre-selection authorities have little excuse for not offering their supporters a balanced selection of candidates. 

 

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Second, minority representation: 

The possibility under the Hare-Clark system for presenting balanced teams of candidates is likely to supply the electors with satisfying representation within a two-party framework. 

Nevertheless, for those voters who may want different representation, the Hare-Clark system provides ready opportunity for minority representation, by ensuring that any group of electors as large as a quota of votes, namely, a fraction as small as 12.5 per cent of the electorate, may win a seat. 

By contrast, the single-member system, by restricting the selection of candidates, creates the need for more satisfying representation yet prevents it from being achieved, since the system provides only one vacancy per electorate, not seven. 

Third, a strong Opposition: 

Election by quota guarantees that a party must receive one seat for each 12.5 per cent of the vote which it receives. 

Hence, a party polling as low as 37.5 per cent of the vote will obtain three seats in a seven-member electorate. 

In a House of 35 members an Opposition is therefore not likely to fall below about 15 seats in a two-party situation. 

By contrast, since the single-member system does not ensure any necessary relationship between votes received and seats won, an Opposition party may be reduced to far below its fair share of the seats on a proportionate basis, as seen at present in the Queensland Parliament and the Federal House of Representatives. 

Fourth, assurance of majority rule: 

The Hare-Clark system as now applied guarantees a close relationship between votes received and seats won, because members are elected on equal quotas from multi-member electorates. 

This high degree of accuracy is likely to result in a party with a majority at the polls receiving a majority in Parliament. 

This likelihood could be made a certainty by the adoption of a few refinements in the counting procedure. 

 

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These refinements, summarized by the writer in a series of articles on these pages before the 1972 State elections, would guarantee that a party with a State-wide majority would invariably receive a majority in Parliament, and usually one of workable size. 

The single-member system, by contrast, may result in a party with a minority of votes receiving a majority of seats or in the governing party holding onto office by razor-thin majorities, as illustrated as present by the Parliaments of South Australia, New South Wales, and Great Britain. 

Fifth, other advantages: 

Too numerous to list here are a multitude of other advantages which the Hare-Clark system can provide, for instance, eliminating safe seats and uncontested elections and reducing greatly the dangers of gerrymandering. 

 

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