Voting in Democracies: A Study of Majority and Proportional Electoral Systems

Voting in Democracies: A Study of Majority and Proportional Electoral Systems

Voting in Democracies: A Study of Majority and Proportional Electoral Systems

Voting in Democracies: A Study of Majority and Proportional Electoral Systems

Excerpt

The discussion of electoral problems is apt to be much hindered, and its effectiveness seriously impaired, by the importation into it of three disturbing influences: party prejudice, confusion between ends and means, and sneer ignorance. These are all, of course, closely related, and they aid and abet each other's mischief-making.

There can be scarcely any area of political discussion in which the introduction of party prejudices and the pushing of sectional interests are more out of place than in the field of electoral method. Systems of voting and of counting votes are the mechanism by means of which the country records and measures its reactions to the political issues of the day. As with all recording and measuring devices, therefore, it is important that these systems should be as accurate, as reliable, and as impartial as we can make them. To tamper with them--or to tolerate the continuance of their known defects--in the interests of a particular party or policy should be regarded as one of the things that are simply not done: it is on a par with using false weights and measures.

Here in this country we have been fortunate enough to escape the grosser forms of rigging to which the electoral systems of some of our friends overseas have been subjected; but we suffer much from the subtler derelictions of those who-- perhaps hardly realizing what they are about--maintain and defend electoral abuses, under the influence of a mistaken political philosophy, or to serve the vested interests of established party organizations. There is great need of a more widespread sense of responsibility in this matter.

Confusion between ends and means is, of course, a common defect of political controversy; but it is more than usually pernicious in relation to electoral problems, since here the ends involve matters of high principle, while the means are stubbornly technical. Until there is a fair measure of agreement on ends, therefore, it is futile to try to settle means. Unfortunately . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.