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think it is necessary to rely upon this defence, for I question the truth of Bagebot's argument. In the first place, I am not aware that the experience of the several countries where proportional representation has been tried tends to give any support to Bagehot's fears. In the second place, it must be remembered that a wide choice of candidates means a choice between those who express approved views but are extremists, and those who, while 'sound' on some one or other vital point, are known to be generally moderate and respected. Which class of candidates would be likely to secure most first preferences? I have sufficient confidence in the popular character to answer this question favourably. I cannot believe that the reputation of our race for sound common sense is so far misplaced, that a provision for the faithful representation of the people would end in an immoderate Legislature. For although the Hare System is not perfect, it does undoubtedy afford an opportunity for an absolutely fair representation. Of course the opportunity would be abused by some; but to argue that the abuse would be general, or if at all general would long continue, is to argue that the people would prove themselves unworthy of the opportunity offered. The advocate of the Hare System, or indeed of any method of proportional representation, believes that the opportunity should be given. The Tasmanian modification in favour of six-membered constituencies affords an occasion for making the experiment in a tentative manner, and under conditions which reduce the possibilities of evil to a minimum.
A perusal of the instructions to Tasmanian voters, already stated, (a) Three suggests a further peculiarity in the Tasmanian Act. The industry dates to of the elector must be equal to the task of placing in an order of be placed. merit not less than three candidates. The number may be raised when experience of the system forbids the excuse of novelty. The elector whose capacity or whose interest is unequal to the nomination of several candidates, fails to influence the election if those for whom he votes have a quota without his assistance: or, indeed, if their need be so extreme that his support still leaves them in a hopeless minority. The elector who pleads a fastidious taste as an excuse for a limited selection, must remember that it is possible to classify candidates in an order of aversion as well as in an order of preference. An entirely different line of argument was taken by one opponent of the Tasmanian Bill. 'Compel an elector to vote for three candidates, and it will often end in his choosing as second and third preferences candidates who cannot be raised up as rivals to his first preference. This must prove fatal to the success of the bill. The statement is only quoted as illustrating the character of the opposition to which the bill was
occasionally subjected. It would be difficult to suggest a more felicitous illustration of unreasoning aversion. Second and third preferences can never be employed for the purposes of defeating a first preference: until the fate of the latter has been determined,
no reference to the former is possible. (3) Sur
The distribution of the surplus votes is a subject of great imporpluses.
tance, and one which remains for consideration. The method adopted in the Tasmanian Bill constitutes its chief claim to the consideration of home and foreign statesmen. One may only judge of the value of the means which have been employed by appreciating the difficulties which have been overcome. If a candidate obtain 2,000 votes when the quota is fixed at 1,000, 1,000 ballot papers are available for distribution among the candidates whose names are marked 2. The result of the distribution varies according to the principle which determines the appropriation of the papers of the favoured candidate. If an analysis of second preferences yield 1,000 for Y and a like number for 2, it would lie within the power of the returning officer to effect the election of whichever candidate he preferred. This element of chance has been declared the only really formidable obstacle to the practical application of Mr. Hare's scheme?' How has the obstacle been overcome in the Tasmanian Act? Mr. Clark, to whom the honour of the Act belongs, has suggested certain rules at once simple and just. Let us take the least difficult case. As a result of a first count, I has a surplus; how is it to be distributed ? Not indiscriminately, nor according to the caprice of the Returning Officer, but in a proportion determined by the second preferences on the whole of X’s papers (or, as was at first suggested, on the whole of the electorate). For the purposes of this calculation a candidate marked 3 is regarded as a second preference if the candidate marked
3 2 has obtained his quota before the distribution in question has been commenced. In the case already suggested, Y and Z alike secure 500 votes out of X's surplus of 1,000. The plan involves a slight departure from the scheme of Mr. Hare, who proposed to confine the influence of the elector to a single transferable vote. In the case we have considered, X's constituents not only return their chosen candidate, but also have a voice in the distribution of his surplus votes. Such a voice might almost be described as the fraction of a vote. While it is difficult to see any serious objection to this departure, its merit is clear. For all practical purposes the
element of chance ceases to exist. Later sur- So far we have only considered the case of a surplus arising from pluses. the first count and without the aid of votes transferred from other
Essays and Lectures, H. and M. G. Fawcett, 1872.
candidates. After every surplus of this kind has been distributed, it may be found that fresh surpluses have been created. How are these to be distributed? We have supposed a case in which, as a result of the distribution of X's surplus, 500 voting papers go to 1. If Y only requires 400 to complete his quota, what is to be done with the excess ? Is the Returning Officer to take the 100 papers which chance to be on the top of Y's lot, either before or after the whole 500 papers have been shuffled, and distribute them according to third preferences ? To such a course there is a very obvious objection where close contests are possible. Accordingly the Act, in pursuance of a principle already illustrated, requires the distribution of the ico excess votes in a proportion determined by the third preferences on the whole of the papers previously transferred to bim. Thus if on 300 of the XY papers, MI ranks as a third preference, and on 200 of the XY papers N ranks as a third preference, 60 of the surplus of 100 go to M and the remainder to N.
If as the results of the foregoing counts an insufficient number of Examinacandidates have obtained a quota, the candidate who has secured tion of the lowest number of votes is excluded from the poll. His ballot dates. papers are then transferred to the candidates whom the electors have chosen in substitution. Whenever the next preference of the voter is a candidate already elected, the name is of course cancelled, and the papers are passed on to a lower preference. If as a result of this distribution any candidate gain a surplus, it is to be redistributed in a proportion determined by the next preferences on the whole of the ballot papers previously transferred to him. The process of elimination, occasionally alternated with the distribution of a surplus, is continued until the number of candidates does not exceed the number of vacancies.
The principles underlying the Tasmanian Electoral Act have the been explained with studious brevity. The courtesy of the reader Hobart may excuse, if bis curiosity does not invite, an account of the election held under its provisions. It will be sufficient to speak of the district of Hobart. Consistently with the anticipations of the Legislature, the occasion was honoured by a display of unusual interest ; for ten hours the crowd barred the approaches to the polling booth. The proceedings were enlivened by the usual humours of the election day : such phrases as · Rabid on the Hare System,' suggested alluring opportunities for distinction. The mode of distributing the surplus afforded endless occasion for discussion and misunderstanding, and for that humour which, as it was unconscious, we may perhaps impute to genius. “It all comes to this,' said one elector, 'when Clark has all the votes he needs, any other vote for him goes to the next man on the list who needs it most.'
In one dialogue I must confess a peculiar interest. • The practical common-sense men tell me the old system is the best.'
• But I expect the practical common-sense men of whom you speak do not understand the Hare System. That's so, they said as much. But still they are practical common-sense men, and that is sufficient for me.' Such remarks illustrate, with admirable felicity, the character of the most serious opposition which the advocate of the Hare System must encounter : they further illustrate the folly of efforts to instruct the electors in the minutiae of a bill with whose general principles they are unfamiliar. As Mr. Hare remarked in his treatise, a passenger is satisfied to travel by the express, although he knows nothing of the details of the steam engine. The justice of the parallel is admirable, and it is a matter for regret that more attention had not been paid to it by Tasmanian leaders. Instead of instruction in the broad principles of proportional representation, its general fairness and distinctive merits, the elector had been perplexed by the processes involved in the distribution of a surplus. For this reason, among others, the list of informal votes was large. Even the prophets fell: a candidate for parliamentary honours, deeply versed in the lore of proportional distribution, rendered his vote informal by scoring out the names of opposing candidates. His
success at the election may be taken to prove the indulgence of fate. The
At 6.30 p.m., soon after the prescribed time for closing the poll, counting the process of counting the votes began. The ballot boxes were
brought to the Returning Officer : the ballot papers were removed, unfolded, and taken to the scrutineers, who began to sort them for the first count. Attached to each of the scrutineers' tables there
a box with several compartments-one for each candidate, one for doubtful, and one for invalid papers. The work of the scrutineers consisted in taking the papers one by one, and calling out the name of the candidate marked 1, and placing them in the compartments appropriated to the respective candidates. Two clerks registered the vote on their recording sheets. Finally, these recording sheets were tabulated and banded to Mr. Johnston, the Government Statistician and presiding genius of the election. When the various numbers had been totalled, the result of the first or primary votes became known. The totals of Mr. Johnston were checked by a Returning Officer, who had previously settled the destination of doubtful papers. It was found that the total number of valid votes was 2,745.
As there were six seats, the quota was fixed at 457. Only one of the candidates, Sir Philip Fysh, obtained a quota as the result of the first count. As the primary votes of this candidate amounted to 501, there was a surplus of 44 for distribution among remaining candidates. After the whole 501 ballot
of the votes.
papers had been given to the scrutineers for the purpose of estimating second preferences, it was found that Bradley claimed 41, Clark 304, Cox 2, Crisp 38, Dillon 9, Fulton 1, Hiddlestone 30, Mulcahy 42, Page 19, Paton 4, and St. Hill 10. A sum in simple proportion followed. If Bradley be entitled to 41 votes out of 501,
44 X 41 to how many is he entitled out of a surplus of 44 ?
501 or, getting rid of the fraction, 4. The Returning Officer had then to take froin Fysh's box any four ballot papers on which Bradley was marked 2, and to place them in Bradley's box. In this manner, but by the aid of Fuller's spiral slide rule, the whole surplus of 4+ votes was instantly distributed among the unelected candidates. This completed the second count. Had any candidate secured a surplus as the result of this count, that surplus must have been distributed in a proportion determined by the third preferences on the whole of the ballot papers he had received from Sir Philip Fysh. As a matter of fact no additional candidate had secured & quota, and it remained to begin the process of excluding lowest candidates. The first victim was Mr. Cox, whose 33 votes were now distributed among second preferences: where Sir Philip Fysh was marked 2, the candidate marked 3 ranked as a second prefer
No candidate gained a surplus as a result of this count. Mr. Fulton, who was lowest on the poll at this stage, was then excluded, and his 122 papers were distributed among the candidates whose fate yet remained uncertain. The result of this distribution was to raise Mr. Bradley's total to 483. As this involved a surplus of 26, that surplus had to be distributed in a proportion determined by reference to the next preferences on the whole votes transferred to Bradley from other candidates, i. e. from Fysh, Cox, or Fulton. The process of elimination, varied by the occasional distribution of a surplus, was continued until only six candidates remained. These were then declared elected. Only four were successful in obtaining A quota.
The results of the election were not regarded with universal Review of satisfaction. But the invectives of unsuccessful candidates were repeated with a very diminished vehemence by their sympathisers, because almost every voter had secured a representative. Some dissatisfaction was expressed at the order in which fortunate candidates appeared on the declaration of the poll. Indeed one of the chief lessons of the election was the danger of voters trusting too much to others for the return of popular candidates. It will take several elections before this lesson has been duly learnt. By far the most general cause of complaint arose out of a circumstance which really reflected the greatest credit on the experiment. Five-sixths