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Mixed-Member Proportional Voting. As we said on the previous page, this system allows both geographical and point-of-view representation. You cast a double ballot, with a list of individual candidates on one side and a list of parties on the other. The first chooses the representative for the district. In most systems, half of the legislature will be filled this way. The second allows proportional representation by party.

There are many different ways to structure such a system. The party lists could be open rather than closed. There are a number of different formula to determine the exact number of seats allotted to each party. The voting for the district representative does not need to be plurality. It could be instant run-off or some other system. For more information check out either Amy's Behind the Ballot Box or his website.

Single Transferable Vote (STV). This is a fairly complex voting system, although it is not difficult for the voters. Candidates are ranked in order of preference. There is a threshold number that determines the candidates who win outright. The threshold number is the number of first-rank votes a candidate needs to win automatically. If all the available seats are not filled this way, then the least popular candidate is eliminated and his votes are distributed to other candidates. This process continues until all of the available seats are filled. If minority voters vote as a block this ensures that they have some representation on the group/council/whatever. The actual process is somewhat complicated. See the Accurate Democracy website.

Cumulative Voting. Each voter gets a fixed number of votes to distribute among all of the possible choices. They may be distributed however the voter see fit, but all must be used. If (say) each voter has ten votes and there are four candidates, you could give all ten to A, or five to A, two to B, two to C, and one to D. The total must be ten (in this case—however many votes you have, you must cast them all). The candidates with the most votes win. This system is used to elect members of political bodies like city councils or legislatures. Say there are ten members of the town council. One hundred candidates are running and each voter has ten (or more)votes. Those votes allow each citizen to better show who they like and how much they like them. In practice, voting tends to follow party lines, with the party leaders telling voters how to vote. Like other forms of proportional representation, however, it allows minor parties a voice in the process.

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