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248er

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #1 
I was wondering where everyone here stands on this issue. It appears to me that it's practically impossible for any third party to be elected into and seated in Congress because ultimately with the way FPTP voting works, you're pretty much forced to vote for one of the two major parties or throw away your vote to a lost cause. Even if a third party were to have a substantial enough voting base to win a Congressional district, that district's seat would be little more than a morale booster for the party because one third party seat can't make a difference in a House of 434 legislators from other parties.

I honestly think the United States needs to adopt mixed-member proportional representation as soon as possible if we expect to escape bi-partisan political deadlock. It seems like the fact of the matter is that until we change our election system, it doesn't matter how much people support third parties. Last election in Kansas' 3rd Libertarian candidate Joel Balam got 31% of the vote, in Louisiana's 4th Libertarian candidate Randall Lord got 25% of the vote, Ben Easton got 20% of the vote in Texas' 17th. It's clear that people in these districts strongly believe in the Libertarian Party policy (as opposed to those who vote for them as a way to refuse to vote for the Dems/Reps) yet their votes are essentially wasted because they don't meet the majority.

While I don't agree with much of the Libertarian platform, they're the third largest party in the country and widely accepted as the "test model" for modern third parties in our election system and currently their numbers in the polls show that it's not possible for a third party to make it to Congress based on support alone. That's simply not okay.

Now for those who don't know, a mixed-member proportional representation system would bring these changes:

1. Districts would consolidate. The concept of mixed-member over single-member districts (what we currently have) is that instead of electing a single representative for your district, you elect at least two, if not more. This means that unless the House of Representatives is enlarged, your congressional district would be merged with at least one other neighboring district.

2. Ballots would change. As stated before, you would elect multiple members in your district on either an open list or closed list basis. On an open list, you select the person you prefer to vote for regardless of their position on the party list; on a closed list, you select the party (or parties) you are voting for. And yes - parties - mixed-member districts allow voters to choose candidates from multiple parties.

3. Party-member ties are strengthened. In a mixed-member system, the party list is usually elected by the registered party members in each district. This is especially important in a closed list system because the decision of who actually gets seated in Congress is dependent on list positions.

The most important part though, is that the actual popular vote of the American people would be properly represented in Congress, which means third parties would have a fighting chance at getting in as well.

Thoughts anyone?
TheForeigner

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Reply with quote  #2 
This would definitively be the ideal system. I'm not too sure about the consolidated districts however. Why is it needed? Couldn't it work with the current constituencies? 

This system will obviously eliminate the useless Electoral College. There are 435 seats in the House of Representatives. Currently, Republicans hold 234 seats (53.79% of seats in total when they received 47.58% of popular vote). On the other hand, Democrats hold 201 seats (46.20% of seats in total when they received 48.74% of popular vote).

In a perfect world of proportional representation and therefore real democracy, the House of Representatives would be as follow:

212 seats for Democrats
207 seats for Republicans
5 seats for Libertarians
1 seat for Greens

In this case, most of the time, Libertarians will probably be in the same side as the Republicans. Therefore it leads with a Republican+Libertarian total seats of 212 against Democrats with also 212 seats. What remains? The 1 seat of the Greens. The Greens would hold the power of majority.
248er

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Reply with quote  #3 
It couldn't work with the current constituencies because they're single-member districts with one representative, unless the house is doubled in size by the addition of a second member to each district, they would have to be consolidated to be multi-member districts.
danc19fr

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Reply with quote  #4 
I think this is a very good idea, and would have the desired effect.  Another idea, which could be used in conjunction with this or separately, is Approval Voting.  Say I was afraid that Obama might lose because of a split vote, but I really supported Anderson.  I would vote for both.  Even if Anderson didn't get elected, he would get a lot of votes that would be a basis for building further support.

The problem with any kind of election reform is that those who are in power oppose it, because they got into power through the system as it is.  I don't see a way around this.
TheForeigner

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #5 
A revolution or the expected collapse of the United States of America.
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