Principles of Electoral Reform

By Michael Dummett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 14
The Principles of Electoral Reform

THERE is always a danger in devoting the last chapter of a book to summarizing its whole argument, namely that readers who think their time too valuable to waste on reading the book from cover to cover will content themselves with skimming the final chapter, confident that no author can have anything to tell them that they cannot extract in this economical manner. Such readers usually only half-understand the little that they thus glance at. This chapter cannot serve as a substitute for reading the book; it is meant only as a reminder. Although I have been unable to refrain from expressing personal predilections here and there, I have repeatedly emphasized that my intention has not been to recommend any particular electoral system, but to formulate the principles that ought to govern the way we think about electoral reform: whether it is needed and, if so, how it ought to be carried out. It is then up to the readers to make the resulting decisions. The principles that should guide their thinking, as I see them, can be enumerated as follows:

(1) There are two problems to be solved, not one. That

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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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