If New Zealand voters vote to keep their current MMP system in the referendum on 26 November, there will be a review of whether MMP needs “improvement”.1
One of the aspects of the current system up for review would be the threshold for earning party-list seats. Currently it is set at 5% of the party-list vote or one district (electorate) seat won. The case of the Epsom district, in Auckland, shows the strange ways that the one-district clause of the threshold can work. The quotes that follow are from TVNZ. (more…)
Some details and links on the referendum may be found by following the first link in this entry. The question of a review was discussed here previously. [↩]
The campaign for New Zealand’s referendum on the electoral system is heating up. Voters will be able to cast two votes in the referendum: one for or against keeping the current mixed-member proportional (MMP) system, and a second to select from among four options for replacement in the event a majority opts for change. If the majority says change from MMP, another referendum in three years will pit MMP against the winner of the second part of this referendum.
The NZ Herald reports that the first anti-MMP billboards are going up this week “as a group of New Zealand’s richest businessmen launch their bid to turf out proportional voting.” (more…)
We have just had one of the most incredible sixth games of a World Series–or really any baseball game–ever played. Can Game 7 possibly live up to it?
Drawing from two relatively recent World Series (meaning those of which I have vivid memories), with an honorable mention for a third, we can ask: Will this Game 7 be like 2002 or like 1975? (The third example will come from 1986.)
In 2002, I had the distinct honor of being able to attend both the sixth and seventh games. In Game 6, the Angels came back from five runs down in the seventh inning, and won, 6-5. It was, and remains, the biggest late comeback in an elimination game in the history of the World Series (or, I believe, any other postseason series).
Game 7 started off with an unbelievable buzz in the stands. But once the game began, it just seemed like the visiting Giants were shellshocked, and just standing around waiting for something to happen. That “something” would be a double in the third inning by Garret Anderson that cleared the bases and gave the Angels a 4-1 lead that was never challenged. Game 7 had not come close to Game 6 in its excitement. (No complaints: The Angels won the World Series!!!)
In 1975, we also had a fantastic Game 6, with frequent lead changes, dramatic home runs, and extra innings. It was and remains, by all accounts, one of the great baseball games at least of recent decades, if not all time. The Boston Red Sox blew an early 3-run lead, then overcame a 6-3 deficit in the 8th to tie it. They won on the famous “will it fair” home run by Carlton Fisk in the bottom of the 12th.
Game 7 was not too shabby, either, even if is not nearly as well remembered as game 6. The Red Sox took an early 3-0 lead, but never scored again, eventually allowing the Reds to score the go-ahead run in the top of the 9th, so that Cincinnati won the championship. Thus did they miss a chance to win their first World Series since 1918–they would not win till 2004. (The Giants, on the other hand, waited only 8 years to brush off the tough loss of 2002, and finally win their first since their move to San Francisco in 1958.)
Following last night’s unbelievable Game 6 defeat, will the Rangers be more like the shellshocked 2002 Giants, or the quick-recovering 1975 Reds?
We could also add to the conversation 1986, when Game 6 featured the implausible “one pitch away” meltdown of the Red Sox as they were on the verge of clinching that elusive championship in Game 6. They took a 5-3 lead over the NY Mets in the top of the 10th–much like the Rangers last night (who had also blown a 2-run lead in the 9th). Game 7 featured a 3-0 lead for the Red Sox that held from the second inning till the sixth. They never led again, but made things interesting in the 8th. So in 1986 the in-game events of Game 7 bore a bit more in common with 1975. But like 2002, it featured the shocked loser of Game 6 losing again.
There have been some great sixth games, and some great seventh games. Only a few series have been great in both games 6 and 7.1 Here’s hoping that, whatever the outcome, this is one of the latter!
1991 springs to mind. No implausible comebacks in either game, just two spectacular baseball games with it all on the line. [↩]
There have been some great sixth games: 2002, 1991, 1986, 1975 (and those are just the ones I’m old enough to remember). Was this one better yet? Twice down by two runs in a would-be final inning. Twice down to the last strike. Wow.
I’ve never been so nervous watching a game that did not involve the Angels. And the tension kept on coming and coming…
This has been some Series. It had to go seven, and what a way to get there. Wow.
Ireland has its presidential election today. The president is elected by an “instant runoff”–specifically, the same Single Transferable Vote system that is used for the Irish parliament, but given a single seat, the quota for election is 50%+1. Of course, this means it’s the Alterative Vote, electing the first candidate to reach a majority on either first preferences or transferred lower preferences of voters whose higher-preferred candidates have been eliminated from the count.
TODAY, FOR only the second time since 1938, a presidential election will ultimately be determined by the second, third and fourth preferences cast by voters…
This year, unless the polls are seriously wrong, no candidate is likely to be within 10 percentage points of a simple majority on the first count. The election, with seven in the race spread out the way they appear to be, is certain to go to a second, probably a third, and possibly even fourth or fifth counts.
The Irish presidency is weak, within a premier-presidential system that is almost parliamentary. Yet I wonder if the current political upheaval could lead to a president asserting more influence for the office.
There are still many districts not reported, and some missing data in those districts that are reported. However, the pattern is clear. Out of a total of 217 seats, 145 have been allocated as of my check. The Ennahda has 60 of these, which is 41%. The next largest parties, Congress for the Republic (CPR) and Aridha Chaabia (Popular Petition) have 21 and 20, respectively. Then Ettakatol with 13 and PDP with 6. No other party currently has more than 4. Thirteen parties are currently on one seat apiece.
The picture is thus one of a single dominant, but likely not majority, party, and a fragmented rest of the field.
At the district level, the expected pattern for the simple (Hare) quota and largest remainders (SQLR) system can be observed. This system is well known among electoral-systems specialists for its tendency to benefit small parties. Seats are much “cheaper” in terms of votes required to win, via remainders than via quotas.
The way SQLR works is that a quota is defined as 1/M of the votes, where M is the magnitude of the district (the number of seats available). In the first state of seat allocation, a party wins seats according to how many of these full quotas it has. Whatever number of seats are not yet allocated after seats by quota are determined are then allocated via largest remainders. In this stage of allocation, the parties’ remainders are ordered from largest to smallest, and a seat–at most one per party–is assigned to each in descending order until all are filled.1
A party’s seats in each district are thus the sum of its quotas earned, plus a remainder seat, if any. Under SQLR a large party will use up most of its votes on quotas, and then be eligible for at most one remainder seat. Smaller parties, on the other hand, often will have their full vote totals in the district as their remainder, and hence the last seats allocated in a district often require a much smaller number of votes to win than did the first (quota) seats that were assigned.
The process, and its impact on the cost of a seat, can be demonstrated by reference to a couple of the declared district results.
In the district of Gabes, M=7, Ennahda won 4 seats, and three other parties have one each. All three seats allocated to parties other than Ennahda were remainder seats. Total votes were 138,375. Ennahda had 73,416, or 53.5%. So it is only slightly over-represented, with 57.5% of the district’s seats. Its cost per seat is 18,354 (73,416/4). Each of the three other parties that won a seat has fewer votes than this, and the smallest of them paid only 7,351 votes (5.3% of the total) for its one seat, or 40% of what Ennahda paid for each of its four seats, three of which it won via quotas, and one by remainder.
A second, very striking, case shows how SQLR can sometimes under-represent the largest party. In Jendouba, M=8, Ennahda won 2 seats, and six other parties won a single seat apiece. Ennahda’s votes were 33,136 out of 118,376, or 28%. Yet it won only 25% of the district’s seats. The quota is 118.376/8=14,797. Thus both of Ennahda’s seats were won via quota, and it paid 16,568 votes for each of these. The other parties that won a seat each had vote totals ranging from 12,433 to 3,599. So the smallest party won a seat at a cost that was a mere 21.7% of Ennahda’s per-seat cost. Ennahda missed winning a third seat by 57 votes, as its remainder was 33,136-(2*14,797)=3,542. One party winning a seat on 3% of the votes cast, while another wins 2 seats on 28% is an odd result, but one that is inherent to the formula used, SQLR.
Tunisia Live does not seem to have a running total of national-level votes, so it not possible to tell the vote percentage upon which the preliminary 41% of seats for Ennahda is based. As the two district results discussed here show, SQLR can either over-represent or under-represent the largest party, depending on whether the precise vote totals allow the largest party to win one of the remainder seats or not, and of course on the district magnitude.
It is possible that Ennahda has won a bit more than 41% of the votes. It is also possible that it has less than 40%. Even the latter would imply a lesser degree of over-representation than most “proportional representation” systems would provide the largest party.
With one party so dominating the rest of the field, and smaller parties earning seats much more cheaply than the dominant party, we might anticipate that SQLR will not be the electoral system that this Constituent Assembly adopts for the next election.
It is this incorrect to call systems like this a “largest remainder” system, as is often said, because that term describes only the stage of allocation that takes place after quota seats are assigned. There are several different quotas (for instance, 1/(M+1) instead of 1/M), and the definition of quota that is used will have a significant effect on the remainders that parties have left over once quotas are assigned. [↩]
These provisions would mean an average district magnitude of 7.8 7.4, not including the seats for overseas Tunisians.
The simple (Hare) quota with largest remainders tends to favor small parties (for a given magnitude), especially given the large number of parties running lists. Thus, despite a laudable gender-balance provision, many party-district contingents will be of just one (male) legislator–a good case of the inter-party dimension affecting the intra-party dimension.
To be clear, this not a “mixed proportional system” as one blog covering the election states. It is a pure list system, with all seats (again, leaving aside those for expatriates) being allocated via PR.1
The big question, of course, is how well the Islamist party, en-Nahda, will do.
I am not sure when we can expect results. Al Jazeera is running a live blog on the election.
Of course, around here we are delighted that this vote was made possible by the actions of a fruit vendor, even if we take no delight in self-immolation, per se.
Many–in fact, most–PR systems use multiple districts; very few allocate all seats in one nationwide district. I point this out because the cited blog appeared to be referring to the presence of districts when calling the system “mixed”. This is simply not correct terminology. [↩]
Voters in Switzerland today elected a new parliament.
The SVP [Swiss People's Party] lost some 2.1 percentage points from the last election in 2007 but was still on track to be the biggest party with 26.8 per cent of the vote, according to a projection by Swiss television yesterday based on partial results. [Irish Times]
Not much change, but the story indicates that some smaller parties, rather than other major parties, have picked up the difference.
(Apparently this is my first-ever planting on Switzerland, so it goes in the generic “Euro-Mediterranean” block.)
Nearly 40 percent of the votes Sunday were cast for ruling center-right presidential candidate Rosen Plevneliev against about 30 percent for socialist contender Ivailo Kalfin, according to results from an exit poll conducted by the Alpha Research agency. [WashPost]
There will be a runoff on 30 October.
Bulgaria has a premier-presidential system, with a fairly weak presidency.
Congratulations to New Zealand, winners of the 2011 Rugby World Cup! It was not exactly convincing, but as with majoritarian elections (like NZ used to have), a win is a win, no matter the margin. The score of the final match was 8-7.
Such a close final could not have been predicted from each team’s performance in prior games of the tournament. The average score for New Zealand’s previous matches was 48.8-10.8. That’s dominance. For France, it was only 25.3-19.3.
France had squeaked by in its semi-final, 9-8 over Wales. NZ had trounced Australia in its semi-final, 20-6, although that was “close” compared to the All Blacks’ previous games, such as 79-15 over Canada and 83-7 over Japan. Or even the previous meeting with France, 37-17.
Meanwhile, the USA was outscored in pool play, 28-122 (including a humiliating 67-5 at the hands of the Australian side). It occurs to me that the US should be better at this game, but its potential rugby talent is being put to other use. Unfortunately, if you ask me. It is hard for me to imagine that rugby would not be popular here, and this country would not be a power in the sport, if not for the development of the game known today as American “football” instead. Path dependency, dear readers. Path dependency!
Social science and pomocultural perspectives on Jewish ritual objects for Sukkot, the Feast of Booths (Leviticus 23:33 Deuternonomy 16:13) or the Feast of the Ingathering (Exodus 23:16 & 34:22).
Can you imagine needing a product that is produced far away, especially if you care about the process by which it is produced, perhaps for ethical reasons, and where you are uncertain whether the producers share your standards for proper processing? Of course you can, as nowadays you can buy tuna that is “dolphin safe” and lumber that is certified as not coming from rainforests, and of course, foods that are organic, gluten free, non-GMO, etc. The modern production and transportation chain of kosher foods also offers an obvious example.
One of the earliest examples of certification of production processes for a product traded from far away is the etrog for Sukkot. The etrog, a type of citrus fruit, can be grown only in very mild climates, such as those around the Mediterranean. Yet as centers of Jewish population moved northward in Europe, communities faced the challenge of ensuring that the etrogim they were purchasing met ritual standards.
Chief among the standards, as set by Ashkenazi rabbis, was that the fruit not come from grafted trees. Grafting was seen as a violation of the ban in Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy 22:9 on sowing one’s vineyard with a second kind of seed. (Sephardic rabbis have traditionally been less concerned about grafting.) When a fruit tree is grafted, a small branch from a tree that produces a desired variety of fruit is inserted into the stem of a different but closely related “rootstock”. Grafting thereby ensures that the fruit to be produced by the grafted tree is an exact genetic replica, preserving standards of quality and consistency from tree to tree. Almost all of our commercially available fruit, as well as the great majority of backyard fruit, come from grafted trees.
However, if one wants fruit of an ungrafted tree for ritual reasons, one faces a problem: it is impossible to look at the fruit and tell whether it came from a grafted or ungrafted tree. One can identify a grafted tree if one journeys to the orchard, but the fruit carries no evidence of its parent tree having been grafted. Therefore, by about the 14th century, there arose a process of supervision and certification of citron groves. (more…)
If by my laws you walk, and my commands you keep, and observe them,
then I will give-forth your rains in their set-time,
so that the earth gives-forth its yield
and the trees of the field give-forth their fruit.
--Vayikra 26: 3-4