Tentative suggestion for a voting system for electing the parliament of Canada, 5

Warren D. Smith, October 2015

Here is one concrete tentative system suggestion for Canada. I am putting it here (/CanadaSA5.html) just to serve as a reference point for further discussion.

The rules

I will regard voters as "female" and candidates as "male" just to make wording clearer.

1. Each voter rates each candidate in her riding, on an 0-to-9 numerical scale. (Voters also allowed to leave some candidates unrated, if that voter wishes not to express any opinion about that candidate.) Refinement suggested by J.Quinn: "Any voter who did not explicitly rate any candidates at 0 is considered to have given 0 to any candidates they left blank. Any voter who did rate at least one candidate explicitly at 0 is considered to have expressed 'no opinion' about any candidates they left blank. (I think this rule is the safest way to interpret 'intent of the voter'.)"

2. In each riding, the candidate with the highest average score wins its MP seat. Slight optional refinement: each candidate could receive 1000 artificial scores of 2 before voting begins. Then the candidate with the highest average among both his genuine and artificial scores, wins.


In other words, everything is exactly the same for Canada as it used to be, except that now each riding's MP is elected using score voting instead of plurality voting ("first past the post").

This proposal is very simple to do, and very simple to explain, and well understood and heavily analysed and tested, and known to be popular. It is clearly an improvement. Which is good, since the Hippocratic Oath allegedly begins "First, do no harm." (Actually, it doesn't, but it should have.)

This proposal is not proportional, but it should nevertheless better reflect Canadian sentiment, and it is quite possible that Canada will work better (and definitely more simply) under this system than under any PR system. The question of whether PR systems or good-quality single-winner systems are better, has been debated for 100 years and, no matter what anybody tells you, as of year 2015 there is no clear proof one way is better than the other.

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