American Presidential Election Process Term Paper

Length: 11 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Government Type: Term Paper Paper: #62915458 Related Topics: Election, Presidential Debate, United States Presidential Election, Legislative Process
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Characteristically, each voter is given the alternative of casting votes separately in each tier, which in this study we refer to as nominal vote and the list vote. On the other hand, there are instances wherein the voter gives only a nominal vote. In such instances allotment of assembly-seats in the list-tier is founded on a combined-total of nominal-votes on party-basis (Cain, 1987).

The Nominal Tier

Typically the nominal tier comprises of single-seat districts. In single-seat districts the allotment model is normally "plurality," although in some Nominal Tier systems there is a "runoff," needed in any district wherein there is no majority in the first-round. One can count countries like Albania, Georgia, Hungary, and Lithuania as states where there is a runoff. Similarly, there have been mixed-systems with multiple-seat nominal-tier districts, which include South Korea during the 1987 election and some districts in Venezuela during the 1998 election. The main point here is that for an electoral system to meet the criteria as mixed system, there has got to be a tier wherein nominal votes is the only method with which politicians win seats in this tier (Dunleavy and Margetts, 1999).

Nominal models are normally majoritarian; however, it is not necessary for them to be majoritarian. For case in point, the single-nontransferable-vote is an entirely nominal model. However, it is one that is explained in the literature as semi-proportional due to its inclination to sanction some seats which are gained by comparatively small political groups (Lijphart 1999). The perfect illustration for this is Japan, where the upper house carries on to utilize single-nontransferable-vote in a few districts; for the reason that there is, in addition, an overlying national-list PR tier, this electoral system is considered to be a mixed system. In addition, Taiwan has a mixed system with single-nontransferable-vote in the nominal tier. Although Despite the fact that both of these systems fit in the wider family of mixed systems, the utilization of a semi-proportional instead of a majoritarian model for the nominal tier positions them in a dissimilar part of the family from those that characterize the present "current" of electoral transformation.

The List Tier mixed electoral system has got to, in addition, comprise a tier of members chosen from party lists that overlies the nominal tier. Majority of the list systems utilize a PR model, such as d'Hondt divisors or the simple quota and largest remainders (Lijphart 1999). As noted by Reynolds (1999; pg 90 & 91):

The formula used to calculate the allocation of seats after the votes have been counted can also have a marginal effect. Formulas can be either largest remainder (Hare or Droop) or highest average (D'Hondt or SainteLagu) methods. The D'Hondt formula is the least proportional and often gives a slight bonus to the largest parties. Hare and Sainte-Lagu are the most proportional and lean towards favouring the smaller parties. The results of the Droop system fall somewhere in between. Of more importance to overall PR results are district magnitudes and the threshold for representation. The greater the number of representatives to be elected from a district, and the lower the imposed threshold of representation, the more proportional the electoral system will be and the greater chance small minority parties will have of gaining representation. In Israel, the imposed threshold is 1.5 per cent. In Germany, it is 5 per cent. In the Seychelles, in 1993, a 9 per cent threshold was imposed for the 33 PR seats. and, in Turkey (1983-91), the threshold was 10 per cent. In South Africa in 1994, there was no legal threshold for representation and the African Christian Democratic Party won two seats with only 0.45 per cent of the national vote. Other important choices involve the drawing of district boundaries; how parties constitute their PR lists; the complexity of the ballot paper (i.e. The range of choice given to the voter -- between parties, or between candidates and parties); the size of parliament; and arrangements for electoral, 'vote-pooling', coalitions between parties, known as apparentement."

On the other hand, less recognizable list-majoritarian electoral systems exist. The American Electoral College is a classic model, where every American State works as a multi-seat district. Every candidate has a line up of electorates for each state, and when a contender wins the plurality of the state's vote his entire line up is chosen. There have been a number of instances of mixed electoral systems with list tiers that are partly majoritarian, at least. Cases comprise a number of former systems of South Korea and Mexico, as well as, the present electoral systems of Chad and Cameroon (Massicotte and Blais 1999).

The Proposed Electoral System for United States

We propose that United States should utilize a PR list tier next to a majoritarian nominal tier. Also we propose that the United States...


The opinion of the voters is not considered in the process of choosing the candidates for general election. While this system will take away the power of the people to vote for candidates who will then run for elections, it will remove a lot of bias currently existent in the voting of candidates. Furthermore, we propose that the minority and women are given a fair representation in the candidates who are chosen to run for elections. This will help minimize the inequality, which is currently overshadowing the American Electoral College.

As mentioned above, mixed systems comprise "majoritarian principles," as well as, "proportional principles" in one electoral system. On the other hand, despite the combination of principles, majority of the mixed systems lean in the direction of either majoritarian-principle or proportional-principle in their overall results. Therefore, one has to recognize two wide-ranging subtypes, which we will refer to as mixed-majoritarian (MM) and mixed proportional (MP). Here the primary variable in mixed electoral systems that disconnects MM and MP systems is either the presence or absence of a "connection" between tiers. In the case of disconnected tiers, then the characteristic majoritarian advancement gained by a big party in the nominal-tier is unlikely to be rubbed out by proportional allotment from the list-tier. Therefore, the standards behind majoritarian systems, providing a clear-cut advantage to a large party, remains in the MM systems. Alternatively, MP systems give a great deal of priority to the list-PR tier, such that big parties do not gain unfair advantage in overall seat allotment, or gain a smaller one than they would have gained in an MM system (Massicotte and Blais, 1999).

Connection" signifies whether votes are being reallocated from the nominal-tier to the list-tier, or whether the proportion of list seats a party gets is founded on the number of nominal-tier seats it has gained. At one end, both these tiers are considered to be similar; that is to say, there is no connection amid tiers in the allotment of seats to parties. Therefore, list-votes, as well as, seats of the parties are not attuned on the votes casted or seats gained in the nominal-tier. A party in a similar mixed system merely acquires its seats in the nominal-tier and includes in them whatever seats it gains in the list tier (Massicotte and Blais, 1999). Political parties representing the American people should be given the opportunity to contest for elections in the aforementioned "connection" model between Nominal and List Tiers.


Cain, B.E., Ferejohn, J.A., and Fiorina, M.P. The Personal Vote: Constituency Service and Electoral Independence. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987.

Dulio, D.A. Why the Electoral College Is Bad for America. The Historian. 67. 4, 2005.

Dunleavy, P. And Margetts, H. Mixed Electoral Systems in Britain and the Jenkins Commission on Electoral Reform. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 1: 12-38, 1999.

Farrell, D. Comparing Electoral Systems. Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall, 1997.

Farrell, D. Electoral Systems. Palgrave Macmillan, 2001.

Held, D. Models of Democracy. Stanford University Press, 1997.

Johnpoll, B.K, Rule, W, Zimmerman, W.J. Electoral Systems in Comparative Perspective: Their Impact on Women and Minorities. Greenwood Press. Westport, CT, 1994.

Kuroda, T. The Origins of the Twelfth Amendment: The Electoral College in the Early Republic, 1787-1804. Greenwood Press. Westport, CT, 1994.

Lijphart, a. Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-six Countries. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Mandle, J and Mandle, J. Elections as a Public Good. Challenge. 42, 5, 1999.

Massicotte and Blais, a. Mixed Electoral Systems: A Conceptual and Empirical Survey. Electoral Studies, 18: 341-66, 1999.

Nohlen, D Two Incompatible Principles of Representation." In a. Lijphart and B. Grofman (eds.), Choosing…

Sources Used in Documents:

Schiemann, J.W. Risk, Radicalism, and Regime Change: Institutional Choice in Hungary, 1989." Ph.D. thesis, Columbia University, 1999.

Taagepera, R., and Shugart, M.S. Seats and Votes: The Effects and Determinants of Electoral Systems. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989.

2008 Election

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