List Creation methods

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    Robert Jarman

    There are a lot of different ways to imagine a party list being created under mixed member proportional. Some countries don’t have rules for this for the most part and leave it up to each individual party to decide for themselves. Some parties use direct nomination. The Greens in New Zealand have a system where a nominations committee proposes the list and the party members ratify the list in a yes/no vote.

    In Canada, because of the influence of riding associations and the desire to keep things decentralized and accountable, here is one possible option.

    Canada is divided into 202 ridings with a single MP each, elected through a ranked ballot until someone gets a majority. They are grouped together in bunches, between 3 and 10 ridings, to form regions which will have an additional number of MPs assigned by party list, where the single member ridings will be 60% of the total and the list will be 40%.

    Each of these ridings will have each party nominate a candidate. This candidate at each annual general meeting of the party and shortly before the election (say 10 weeks) will be subject to a vote among their party to ask if they want to hold a new nomination contest. If a majority say yes, they hold a new ballot to elect a new nominee with a ranked ballot. A new ballot to elect a nominee also occurs whenever the incumbent dies, becomes ineligible to stand as a candidate, leaves the party, or resigns or retires.

    All of the nominated candidates are also entered onto the party list ex officio, and using an open list, there is no ordering of the candidates on the party list except through what the voters directly decide. The electoral commission uses a randomized process to state the order of the list in each region on the ballot paper, but this has no bearing on the math of the list.

    Provided that there is no leader veto system, that the party can’t just insert a candidate of their choice over the heads of the riding association, that there are some rules to follow in the event that there is no nominated candidate such as getting the consent of the chair of the local association, and that exclusions and party vetoes over nomination contests take place with some kind of supermajority among a group disinterested from the party leadership, for things like ethics problems, this makes it impossible to stack the list from the centre of the party.

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