Preferential vote

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In a proportional representation system, a preferred vote is a further vote of the voter which, in addition to the vote for a party, can be cast for a candidate from this party. This candidate will be ranked first (“brought forward”) under specified criteria when assigning mandates. Preferential votes can be found in Austria in elections to the National Council , in Japan in elections to part of the Upper House, in the Netherlands in elections to the Second Chamber of Parliament , in Hamburg and Bremen in citizenship elections and in several EU states in European elections ( ie the election to the European Parliament ).

The systems differ according to the level of the relevance threshold above which a preferred vote is even considered. Despite exceeding this threshold, a candidate cannot receive a mandate if the party does not receive sufficient mandates. Conversely, it may be the case that a candidate is entitled to a mandate due to the number of preferential votes, but this is of no relevance, since he would also receive this based on the ranking of his list position. If the threshold is very high, as in Austria, candidates rarely get a chance and therefore usually run a preferential vote campaign. If there is no or very low threshold, if practically all candidates exceed it, it is not the party list that decides, but only the preferential vote on the assignment of mandates to candidates.

Situation in Austria

In elections to the Austrian National Council or the European Parliament in Austria, every voter has the option of voting for a party in addition to his or her vote. The name of the person is handwritten under the elected political party or, if the list is printed on the ballot paper, this person is marked with a cross. Only people who are on the party list of the elected party for the respective constituency are eligible . The purpose of this scheme is

  • the possibility of reallocating the selected party list and
  • strengthening personal ties between constituencies and MPs .

With the help of a preferential vote election campaign , candidates in hopeless places on the list can make the leap into parliament. This was achieved in 1983 by the activist and later club chairman Josef Cap, who belonged to the left wing of the SPÖ, and by the right-wing nationalist Andreas Mölzer for the FPÖ in the 2004 European elections . In order to avoid embarrassment, top candidates and other candidates also often run preferential voting campaigns in promising places, so that an actual realignment occurs very rarely.

Since the election to the National Council in 2013, preference votes can be given independently of one another at the three levels - regional constituency, state constituency, federal election nomination. A candidate is included in the federal election proposal and can also run in a state constituency and / or in a regional constituency. The relevance thresholds are different on the levels:

level Relevance threshold annotation
Regional constituencies at least 14% of the valid votes for the candidate's party in that regional constituency Allocation of mandates to the regional applicants of the regional party lists according to the preference votes, ranking of the unelected regional applicants, §98 (3)
State constituencies at least 10% of the valid votes cast for the party of the candidate in this provincial constituency
or as many as the choice number match
Allocation of the mandates to the applicants of the state party lists according to the preference votes, ranking of the applicants not elected, §102 (3)
Federal territory at least 7% of the valid votes for the candidate's party Assignment to applicants, minutes, pronouncement, §108 (2)

The following applies to all three levels:

  • The party must have received sufficient mandates in the respective constituency.
  • If there are several candidates who have reached or exceeded the relevance threshold, they are first ranked according to the number of preferential votes and then according to their position on the party list of the respective constituency.

In regional constituencies with few seats it is more difficult or even impossible to get a preferential vote. For example, the regional constituency of East Tyrol has only been assigned a basic mandate that has not yet been won by any party since the introduction of this regional constituency.

Differing preferential voting systems due to internal regulations

In deviation from the legal regulations, there is sometimes the practice of implementing stricter preferential voting systems on the basis of party-internal regulations - concrete civil law agreements between the candidates. For example, preferential voting systems without any relevance threshold ("absolute preferential voting system") or with deviating regulations, such as halving the legal requirements, are used. The fundamental legal enforceability of deviating agreements on preferential votes seems legally uncertain and is questioned. Nevertheless, systems of this type are used repeatedly - not least because of a suspected mobilization effect.

One of the criticisms surrounding such preferential voting models is the fact that such election campaigns are more focused on the already established own electorate and that candidates usually have to pay for the preferential voting campaign themselves, which leads to financial competition and also a shifting of part of the campaign costs leads to candidates. The high effort involved in the counting and the problem of long-term damage to the organization through repeated direct competition between numerous candidates are also criticized.

Voorkeurstem in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands , too, candidates on the lower list have the option of being elected to parliament; this is done by the so-called Voorkeurstemmen . The election of the second chamber takes place as a list election with elements of personality selection. The parties draw up lists in the run-up to the election, the voters give their vote to a candidate and thus choose the appropriate party. As a rule, the top candidate ( Lijsttrekker ), who embodies his party in the election campaign , receives by far the largest number of votes. All votes cast for other candidates are referred to as pre-cursory votes ; they apply not only to the party, but also to the person who may represent certain groups or who have special qualities. The parliamentary seats are nevertheless distributed to the parties in the order of the list places. The Vororkeurstemmen only have an influence on the composition of the parliamentary group if the following conditions are met:

  • someone collects more votes than someone in the list places normally eligible for the seat allocation,
  • At the same time, this person receives a number of votes that makes up at least 25% of the so-called Kiesdelers , d. H. the minimum number of votes required for a seat (number of total valid votes divided by the number of seats to be allocated - currently 150).

Until 1998 there was even a minimum requirement of 50% of the Kiesdelers . So far, only twelve applicants have managed to get into parliament from an unfavorable place in this way.

Proportional representation in the Japanese House of Lords

In the Sangiin ("Council Chamber"), the upper house of the Japanese national parliament, 96 of the total of 242 members are elected by proportional representation introduced in 1983. A preferential vote has existed since the 2001 Sangiin election : Instead of a party name, a voter can write the name of a single proportional representation candidate on the ballot. The vote then counts both for the party in the distribution of the proportional representation mandates as a whole and for the candidate in determining the order on the party list. The number of preferential votes alone decides without a quorum on the order of the list candidates of a party including potential successors .

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. National Council election regulations 1992 , version dated July 11, 2013
  2. Press release on an internal party absolute, threshold-free preferred vote system from 2017
  3. Newspaper report on an internally agreed halving of the preferential voting threshold from 2017
  4. Article on different preferential voting regulations in Austria
  5. Article on financial competition by preferential voting
  6. Article on criticism of the counting effort of preferential vote systems