A New Website on Electoral Systems

(Photo: Keith Bacongco)

Joshua Tucker of the Monkey Cage points to a new website designed to collect information on voter behavior in various electoral systems and educate the public about different systems. Here’s the rundown, from University of Montreal political scientist André Blais:

A team of scientists has launched the website voteforpope.net. The website has two objectives: inform the public about the various electoral systems that exist in the world to elect state leaders, and collect data on voters’ behaviour under these systems.  We provide information about four electoral systems: one round plurality, two round runoff, alternative vote, and approval vote. The electoral system that is used for the election of the Pope is also described. The visitor is invited to imagine how he/she would vote if the pope was elected under each of these four electoral systems. The study is part of a larger international project designed to better understand the functioning of electoral democracy (Making Electoral Democracy Work). For an example of how such data can help us understand how electoral rules affect vote choice, see Blais et al. 2012. “Assessing the psychological and mechanical impact of electoral rules : A quasi-experiment.” Electoral Studies 31 :829-837.

Mark Russell

I always thought the US should use an Instant Runoff voting system, whereby people rank their candidates, rather than just vote for one. I think it would encourage voter participation because people could vote for a fringe candidate who most accurately reflects their beliefs, but then when that person doesn't win a plurality of number 1 votes, they can still vote for the mainstream candidate they can live with by ranking them number 2.

Drew L

Just took a quick look at the website mentioned, and I can't understand why a website created in part to "inform the public about the various electoral systems that exist in the world to elect state leaders" would use the name "voteforpope.com." As someone who is areligious, I find the domain to be a bit of a deterrent; if I wished to learn about the various electoral systems and etc., I sure as hell wouldn’t pick voteforpope.com out of google’s query.