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Comparative Politics 2300 Week 8 Notes

by: Jillian Marks

Comparative Politics 2300 Week 8 Notes POLC2300-06

Marketplace > Tulane University > Political Science > POLC2300-06 > Comparative Politics 2300 Week 8 Notes
Jillian Marks
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About this Document

These notes cover the three main types of electoral systems and their characteristics.
Comparative Politics
Oliveros, Virginia
Class Notes
Comparative Politics




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jillian Marks on Saturday February 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLC2300-06 at Tulane University taught by Oliveros, Virginia in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 43 views. For similar materials see Comparative Politics in Political Science at Tulane University.

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Date Created: 02/20/16
Political Participation, Parties, and Elections I. Electoral System  A set of laws that regulate electoral competition between and within parties  3 main types 1. Majoritarian 2. Proportional 3. Mixed II. Characterizing Electoral Systems 1. District Magnitude - The number of seats filled by each electoral district 2. Electoral Formula - The formula for translating votes into seats 3. Ballot Structure - The number and type of choices on the ballot 4. Threshold - The minimum number of votes a party needs to obtain a seat III. Majoritarian – Plurality Rule  Individuals cast a single vote for a candidate in a single-member district - Candidate with the most votes wins  District Magnitude: one  Electoral formula: plurality (most votes wins)  Ballot structure: voters cast a vote for a single candidate  No need for threshold  Examples: United States, UK, India  Tends to manufacture majority control of the legislature - Favor governability  Why do these systems tend to have two parties? - Over time third parties get less and less votes - If minority parties were condensed they would win districts and get seats ex. India IV. Majoritarian – Majority Rule  Potential for two rounds of elections because need majority votes to win (1 more than 50%) - Often occurs when you have 3 or more parties  District magnitude: one  Electoral formula: - Candidates/parties automatically elected if win more than 50% in first round - Rules about which candidates advance to second round vary - Candidate with most second round votes wins  Ballot structure: voters cast single vote for a single candidate each round  Examples: France, presidential systems with a lot of parties (to avoid having a president without popular support)  Tends to manufacture majority control of the legislature V. Proportional (PR) Systems  Goal is to have distribution of seats match distribution of seats - Never exactly the same  List PR systems are most common  Favor representativeness  PR electoral systems have great variation on all dimensions  PR District Magnitude - Key variable in determining proportionality of system - Has to be more than one seat - Greater the district magnitude the more proportional the system - Average size of district varies a lot  PR Electoral Formula - How do votes get translated into seats? - Quota system – indicates the number of votes that guarantees a party a seat in a particular electoral district - Divisor system – divides the total number of votes won by each party by a series of divisors (number of seats)  PR Ballot Structure - PR systems differ on whether voters can choose between candidates and parties - Closed List – order of candidates elected is determined by party (fixed) and seats are allocated according to order of party list - Open List – voters can choose their favorite candidate within party and seats are allocated according to whichever candidate wins most votes  PR Threshold - Minimum % of votes a party needs to gain representation - When thresholds are high, electoral system proportionality is lower - Reduce legislative fragmentation VI. Mixed Electoral Systems  Voters elect representatives through two different systems – majoritarian and proportional  Individuals have two votes - One for representative at district level (candidate vote) - One for party list (party vote)  Examples: Germany


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