Friday, 7 May 2010

Morphing Boundaries

The objective of Proportional Representation is to give seats in proportion to votes. An alternative system would be to change the electoral boundaries so that each seat represented the same number of voters. The problem is that unscrupulous people may manipulate the boundaries to benefit their own party. But there is a solution: the boundary configuration could be morphed automatically.

With an electronic database of voters containing their postcode software could be developed to add or subtract postcodes until the seats had equal numbers of voters. The logic may be something like this:

  1. Sum votes for each seat

  2. Calculate average votes across all seats

  3. If Seat1 has less than average votes, calculate the deficit. If it has more than the average, repeat for the next Seat.

  4. If it has less than the average seat, look to the first adjoining seat. Does it have a surplus? If not repeat for second adjoining seat.

  5. Take surplus to eliminate the deficit by adding the nearest postcode.

  6. Repeat for each seat in turn until all seats equal the average.

This type of system would probably favour the main parties at the expense of the independents and single issue parties, as it is still a First Past the Post system. It would therefore reduce the risk of a hung parliament and increase the chance of a strong government.

The sort of database that this system requires is just what is needed for Interactive Democracy.

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