Multicultural Festival: Election Simulation Results

Ballot for Riding 1

Ballot for Riding 1

On June 21 and 22 the Fair Vote Canada information booth ran a mock election to demonstrate proportional representation in action. Over 130 people voted for their preferred foods using a mixed-member proportional ballot. Here are the results of that election.

In the mixed-member proportional voting (MMPR) system, there are two kinds of seats: riding seats and party seats. To compare first-past-the-post and mixed member proportional systems, we used the riding results to simulate a first-past-the-post election, and used both the riding and party votes to simulate MMPR.

Riding Seats

Riding seats are determined the same way as first-past-the-post. In our election, the Ice Cream Party would have been the big winner here:

  • Riding 1: Hamburger (Beef Party), 35.3% of the riding vote.
  • Riding 2: Watermelon (Fruit Party), 38.9% of the riding vote.
  • Riding 3: Chocolate (Ice Cream Party), 38.5% of the riding vote.
  • Riding 4: Cookie Dough (Ice Cream Party), 39.1% of the riding vote.
  • Riding 5: Pumpkin (Pie Party), 47.8% of the riding vote.
  • Riding 6: Strawberry (Ice Cream Party), 30.1% of the riding vote.

There were 136 riding votes cast. 83 of those votes helped no riding candidate get elected, so 61% of the riding votes were wasted.

Here is a graph of the riding results:

Graph showing First Past the Post Results

First Past the Post Results

This result is less distorted than a usual Canadian election, but we still see that the Ice Cream Party received many more seats than its share of the riding vote, and the Sandwich Party got no representation.

List Seats

The List Seats attempted to even out the results. The winners were as follows:

  • List Seat 1: Pecan (Pie Party)
  • List Seat 2: Pear (Fruit Party)
  • List Seat 3: Cucumber (Sandwich Party)
  • List Seat 4: Meatballs (Beef Party)

Here is a graph of the overall results (including both riding and list seats):

Graph showing Mixed-Member Proportional Results

Mixed-Member Proportional Results

As you can see, the Ice Cream Party gets a share of seats closer to its party vote. Although this result is fairly proportional (and less distorted than the first-past-the-post result above) there are a few reasons this is not more proportional:

  • There are too few seats overall in this election. There are only 6 ridings and 4 list seats, which makes overall proportionality difficult to achieve.
  • The Ice Cream Party won more riding seats than its party vote could account for. This is known as an overhang. Unless you add additional party seats to compensate for overhangs, this makes the overall results less proportional. (Again, the small number of seats makes an overhang more likely.)

You might have noticed that the “% Riding Vote” and “% Party Vote” numbers are different, and that 31% of the riding vote went to the Ice Cream Party while only 25% of the party vote did. This means that more people voted for local Ice Cream candidates than they did for the party overall, which can happen when people vote strategically.

Similarly, you may have noticed that the Ice Cream Party received 50% of the seats in the first-past-the-post election and 33% of the seats in the mixed-member proportional one. This is because there are only six seats in the first-past-the-post election and 10 (six ridings plus four list seats) in the mixed-member proportional one.

Who Gets the List Seats?

The version of MMPR proposed during the 2007 Ontario referendum used closed party lists. Parties would publish these lists before the election (so that you could judge their quality), and then the lists would be used to fill list seats. However, we forgot to print out the party lists for the Multicultural Festival, so we used an alternative way of selecting list members called “list-free MMP”. In this system, candidates are ordered by how well they did in their local riding votes. For example, for the Pie Party, we had the following results:

  • Riding 1: Lemon Meringue, 11.8% of its riding vote
  • Riding 2: Mincemeat, 0% of its riding vote
  • Riding 3: Apple, 7.7% of its riding vote
  • Riding 4: Cherry, 17.4% of its riding vote
  • Riding 5: Pumpkin, 34.5% of its riding vote
  • Riding 6: Pecan, 30.4% of its riding vote

So the “list-free” order would be Pumpkin, Pecan, Cherry, Lemon Meringue, Apple, and finally Mincemeat. Pumpkin Pie already won its riding seat, so the list seat for the Pie Party goes to Pecan Pie.

We did not make up this “list-free” method. The German province of Baden-Württemberg uses it to choose list seat winners in its elections.

Further Exploration

If you would like, you can see a PDF of the election calculations, or even download the calculation spreadsheet so you can play with the numbers yourself.

We attempted to run the mixed-member proportional election according to the same rules that were proposed during the 2007 Ontario referendum on electoral reform. (We were not completely successful at this, however, because we forgot to publish the party lists.)

Also available: 2014-06-21-multicultural-festival-winner-charts.ods (Open Document Spreadsheet, 38 kBytes)

The Election Simulation was prepared, run and results were calculated by Paul Nijjar. Spreadsheets, documents and graphs are released under a CC-BY-SACC-BY-SA license, attribution should be made to Fair Vote Canada

Pictures from Open Streets Waterloo

Bob Jonkman, Angela Salewsky and her Mom

Bob Jonkman, Angela Salewsky, GPO candidate, and her Mom at Open Streets Waterloo

It was a beautiful day for Open Streets Waterloo on Sunday, 15 June 2014. The Fair Vote Canada information booth was visited by politicians, candidates, Fair Vote Canada members, and many other voters and visitors concerned about the unrepresentative results of the Ontario Provincial election held a week earlier.

The Fair Vote Waterloo information booth

The Fair Vote Waterloo information booth

Laurel L. Russwurm, photographer, writes:

The Fair Vote Canada booth was busy yesterday, as many Ontario residents are upset to discover their votes didn’t count in the provincial election.  The Liberal Party of Ontario won a crushing provincial majority with the votes of just 19% of eligible voters.   

Under the Ontario winner-take-all electoral system, the absolute worst possible outcome for voters is a majority, since it effectively gifts the governing party with a time limited dictatorship.   

Once again the status quo has been propped up by fear based strategic voting.  🙁

Open Streets Waterloo

Fair Vote Waterloo info booth in the distance at Open Streets Waterloo

Pictures by Laurel L. Russwurm used under a used under a Creative Commons LicenseCC-BY license.

Our AGM is tomorrow, 19 June 2014

Hello Friends of Fair Voting,

A reminder that tomorrow night, Thursday June 19 at 7pm we are holding our Annual General Meeting at Ricky’s on Victoria at Westmount in Kitchener. Map Everyone is welcome whether or not you are a current member.

There is an excellent opinion piece in The Record by Byron Weber Becker on PR: Election results underscore the need for proportional representation.

Hope you can join us tomorrow night!

Kind regards,

for FVC -WR

Politics On The Patio, 7-10pm, Friday, 6 June 2014

People at a patio table discussing politics

Politics on the Patio

Hello Waterloo Fair Voters! On behalf of the Fair Vote Waterloo Region Chapter I would like to invite you to meet the Ontario provincial candidates from across Waterloo Region at our Politics On The Patio event.

We’ve invited the candidates from all four Waterloo Region ridings to meet and greet their constituents, and discuss in person the issues that are important to you. While we’ll have some discussion idea cards at the tables, unlike the formal All Candidate Meetings and television debates, this is an unscripted, grassroots, heart-to-heart conversation between candidates and voters.

The Sole’ Restaurant and Wine Bar at 83 Erb Street in Waterloo is especially accommodating. They’re waiving the minimum charge for the use of their Wine Cellar Room — the hostess said it is important for citizens to meet their candidates.

What: Politics On The Patio
Date: Friday, 6 June 2014, 7:00pm to 10:00pm iCal
Venue: Solé Restaurant and Wine Bar, Wine Cellar Room
Location: 83 Erb Street, Waterloo, Ontario Map

See you on Friday!

— Bob Jonkman
Fair Vote Waterloo Patiomaster

Picture by Laurel L. Russwurm from Whoa! Canada: Democracy Week ~ Waterloo Region used under a used under a Creative Commons LicenseCC-BY license.