Principles of Electoral Reform

By Michael Dummett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Majority Preferences

IN the last chapter we first examined the case of a constituency election with three candidates in which, under the plurality system, B won, with some electors voting tactically, but in which, if all the electors had voted for the candidate of their first choice, C would have won. We asked which was the fairer outcome: which of these two candidates was the truest representative of the constituency? We answered by considering which of the two was preferred to the other by a majority of the electors: in other words, what the outcome would have been if the third candidate, A, had dropped out or been disqualified before the election. We then considered a second case, in which, had all voted sincerely, C would again have won, but in which, with some very judicious tactical voting, A might have won. We asked whether, in this second case, A or C ought to have been the winner; and we once more answered by considering which of the two was preferred to the other by a majority of the electors.

This appears reasonable. If, after the election, the voters had learned that a majority of them would have preferred another candidate, they would have been strongly disposed to judge that the result was unfair: that one of the defeated

-47-

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Principles of Electoral Reform
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • To Maurice Salles v
  • Preface vii
  • Abbreviations x
  • Contents xi
  • Chapter 1 - The Dual Purpose Of Elections 1
  • Chapter 2 - How to Think About Electoral Systems 6
  • Chapter 3 - Pr and The Alternative to It 18
  • Chapter 4 - The Dual-Vote Device 28
  • Chapter 5 - Who Will Win? Who Ought to Win? 36
  • Chapter 6 - Majority Preferences 47
  • Chapter 7 - Rival Criteria 58
  • Chapter 8 - Systems Based on Criteria 75
  • Chapter 9 - The Alternative Vote 89
  • Chapter 10 - The Wasted Vote 109
  • Chapter 11 - Multi-Member Constituencies 121
  • Chapter 12 - How to Do Better Than Stv 138
  • Chapter 13 - Proportional Representation 158
  • Chapter 14 - The Principles of Electoral Reform 174
  • Further Reading 187
  • Index 191
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