Voting systems

I’m afraid Martin D Stern is wrong again (Letters, 7 March) when he suggests single transferable vote (STV) is not really a form of proportional representation.

In my letter (6 March) I referred specifically to STV-PR, that is, preferential voting in multi-member constituencies. STV-PR does deliver proportional representation.

Mr Stern has confused STV-PR with STV in single-member constituencies (usually called the alternative vote) which would not give PR.

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It is not just in a small country like Malta that STV-PR works. It also works well in the Republic of Ireland, in Northern Ireland and for federal senate elections in Australia.

I referred to Malta only to make the point that STV-PR there has for the past 40 years elected MPs of only two parties although the 11 elections have been contested by three, four, five, six or seven parties, contrary to Mr Stern’s assertion, but that comment was cut by the editor to fit the space.

Whatever “true PR” may be, it is certainly not the closed-list party-list voting system used in Israel.

That gives PR only of the
registered parties with no local representation.

In contrast, the multi-member constituencies of STV-PR provide both local representation and proportional representation as decided by the voters in each constituency.

With STV-PR nearly every vote counts in contrast to the negative and anti-democratic “None of the above”.

STV-PR is the positive way to address voter apathy and political disengagement.

James Gilmour

East Parkside

Edinburgh