The gold standard of electoral systems is the single transferable vote form of proportional representation using multi-member electoral districts.
Features of the gold standard include:
- Electoral districts each returning the same number of members, with a district magnitude of 5 or 7
- An odd number of districts
- Electors explicitly mark candidates in their order of preference, as few or as many as they choose
- Each member represents the same number of voters
- Allocation of votes to candidates uses either the Weighted Inclusive Gregory Transfer method or the Meek method
- The chair, president, speaker or mayor has either a deliberative or a casting vote, but not both
- Casual vacancies filled by countback
- Ballot papers printed in multiple different versions, using Robson Rotation
- Entrenchment of the electoral system via referendum
For smaller representative bodies such as local government councils, the district magnitude can also be 3.
Upgrading to the gold standard would deliver:
- a group of representatives (the parliament) that better reflects the views of voters;
- a higher proportion of voters with a representative in their district that they actually voted for;
- more stability for the major parties (a small swing won’t result in a large change in their number of seats); and
- a simple way for the major parties to be non-discriminatory (parties can pre-select both male and female candidates);
- a simple way for the major parties to manage transitions (parties can pre-select both a sitting member and a renewal candidate).
If you are a newcomer to electoral systems, visit our context page, and then progress to our benefits, principles and policies pages. Our library offers booklets, definitions and explanations on a variety of terms. Interested supporters are invited to join.