Glossary
Additional Member System - Another term for a mixed member proportional system.

Alternative Vote (AV) - Another term for instant runoff voting.?

?Apparentement - A device used in some list proportional representation systems which enables separate parties to declare themselves linked for the purpose of seat allocation.?

?Ballot structure - The way in which electoral choices are presented on the ballot paper. Ballots can be either ordinal or categorical.?

?Bi-cameral Parliament - A legislature comprised of two houses, usually known as an upper house and a lower house.?

?Block Vote - A plurality-majority system used in multi-member districtsin which electors have as many votes as there are candidates to be elected. Voting can be either candidate-centered or party-centered. Counting is identical to a winner-system, with the candidates with the highest vote totals winning the seats. Also known as the Bloc Vote.?

?Candidate-centered Ballot - A form of ballot in which an elector chooses between candidates.?

?Categorical Ballot - A form of ballot in which only a single choice for a candidate or party can be made.?

?Choice voting - A proportional voting system in which voters rank the candidates on the ballot, putting a 1 next to their first choice, a 2 next to their second choice, and so on. Candidates receiving votes beyond the threshold needed to win are elected. Voters ballots are re-allocated to their next preferences when their first candidate is eliminated or when there are surplus votes for an elected candidate. Also known as preference voting and the single transferable vote.?

?Closed List - A form of list proportional representation in which electors are restricted to voting for a party only, and cannot express a preference for any candidate within a party list.?

?Communal Roll - A register of voters in which descriptive criteria such as race or ethnicity determine which electors can enroll to vote, and which candidates can be elected, within the wider electoral contest.?

?Compensatory Seats - The party list seats in a mixed member proportional system which are awarded to parties on the basis of their proportion of the national vote and designed to correct any disproportionality in the results of the elections held in plurality-majority district seats.?

?Constituency - A synonym for district, used predominantly in Anglophone countries outside of the United States.?

?Contiguous districts - Districts comprised of areas which are geographically adjoined or touching.?

?Cross Cutting Cleavages - Political allegiances of voters which cut across societal cleavages of ethnicity, religion, or class.?

?Cumulative Vote - A system that uses multimember districts in which voters have the same number of votes as there are seats up for election. Voters may allocate their votes among the candidates in any way they see fit—including giving more than one vote to a particular candidate. In a 3 seat district, a voter may give two votes to one candidate and one vote to another; or one vote to each three candidates; or all three votes to a single candidate.?

?d'Hondt Formula - Is a largest-average formula, for allocating seats proportionally in a list system. The available seats are awarded one at a time to the party with the largest average number of votes as determined by dividing the number of votes won by the party by the number of seats the party has been awarded plus one. Each time a party wins a seat, the divisor for that party increases by one, which thus reduces its chances of winning the next seat. The first seat is awarded to the party with the largest absolute number of votes, since, no seats having been allocated, the average vote total as determined by the formula will be largest for this party.

Democratic Consolidation - The process by which a nation's political institutions and democratic procedures become legitimized and broadly accepted by both political actors and the wider population.

Distribution Requirements - The requirement that to win election a candidate must not merely win a specified proportion of the vote nationally but also a specified degree of support from different regions.?

?District - The geographical regions into which a city, state, or country is divided for election purposes. Single member districts elect one member of the legislature whereas multimember districts elect two or more.?

?District Magnitude - The number of members to be elected in each district.?

?Droop Quota - Used in highest average list and choice electoral systems to determine the number of votes necessary to win a seat. The threshold is intended to be the lowest vote total that only the winning number of candidates can get. The quota is ascertained by the following formula: total vote divided by the number of seats plus one, then one is added to the product. [Note: If, however, choice voting with fractional transfers is used, the quota is ascertained by the following formula: total vote divided by the number of seats plus one, then a pre-determined small fraction of a whole vote is added to the product (ie: .01 or .001 votes). The addition of this small fraction is intended to ensure that only the desired number of can reach the treshold, while using a whole number would raise the treshold too high. The additional fraction to be used should be determined in advance of the election.] ?

?Electoral Formula - That part of the electoral system dealing specifically with the translation of votes into seats.?

?Electoral Law - The constitutional and legal provisions governing all aspects of the electoral process.?

?Electoral System - That part of the electoral rules which determines electoral outcomes; chiefly, the electoral formula, the ballot structure, and district magnitude. In other words, a set of procedures that determine how people are elected to office, including how the ballot is structured, how people cast their votes, how those votes are counted, and how the winners are determined. ?

?First Past the Post (FPTP) - Another name for winner-take-all, single-member districts.?

?Free List - A form of list system which provides for apparentement orcumulative voting.?

?Full Representation  - Any system which consciously attempts to reduce the disparity between a party's share of the national vote and its share of the parliamentary seats. For example, if a party wins 40 per cent of the votes, it should win approximately 40 per cent of the seats. Also called proportional representation (PR).?

?Gerrymandering - The manipulation of district boundary lines in order to unfairly advantage or disadvantage a candidate or political group. Typically used to create a district that is favorable to an incumbent, or a series of districts that allows a particular party or political group to receive more seats than it deserves based in its proportion of the vote.?

?Hagenbach-Bischoff Formula - Another term for the Droop Quota.?

?Hare Quota - Used in largest remainder full representation systems to determine how many votes are needed to win a seat. The quota is ascertained by the following formula: total vote divided by the number of seats.?

?Heterogeneous - Diverse and/or inter-mixed.?

?Highest Average Method - A family formulae used with list full representation systems to translate votes into seats, including the d'Hondt formula and the Sainte-Lagu formula. Party vote totals are divided by a series of devisors, which differ according to which system is used. After each stage the party with the highest average wins the seat. The count continues with party vote totals being divided by sequential numbers until all seats are filled.?

?Homogeneous - Similar and/or uniform.?

?Imperiali Quota - Sometimes used in largest remainder full representation systems to determine how many votes are necessary to win a seat. The quota is ascertained by the following formula: total vote divided by the number of seats plus two.?

?Index of Disproportionality - A figure which illustrates the collective disparity between the votes cast for parties in an election and the seats in a legislature they win.?

?Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) - Instant runoff voting is a winner-take-all, constitutionally protected, voting system that ensures a winning candidate will receive an absolute majority of votes rather than a simple plurality.  IRV eliminates the need for runoff elections by allowing voters to rank their candidates in order of preference.  Voters mark their preferences on the ballot by putting a 1 next to their first choice, a 2 next to their second choice, and so on. A candidate who receives over 50% of the first preference votes will be declared the winner. Otherwise, the weakest candidate is eliminated and their votes are reallocated to the voters’ second choices. Reallocation process continues until one candidate receives a majority of the votes. Also known as the Alternative Vote (AV)?

?Invalid Votes - Ballots which, due to accidental or deliberate errors of marking on the part of voters, are unable to be included in the count.

?Largest Remainder Method - The Hare, Droop and Imperiali calculation methods which translate votes into seats within list full representation systems. There are two stages to the count. First, parties are awarded seats in proportion to the number of quotas they fulfill (quotas vary depending on which of the three systems are used). Second, remaining seats are awarded to parties on the basis of the leftover votes they possess after the 'quota' stage of the count. Largest remainder seats are allocated in order of vote size.?

?Lemas - A form of apparentement used predominantly in Latin America.?

?Limited Vote - A plurality-majority system used in multi-member district in which electors have more than one vote but fewer votes than there are candidates to be elected. Counting is identical to a first past the post system, with the candidates with the highest vote totals winning the seats. When voters have only one vote, it is also known as the one-vote system or the single non-transferable vote (SNTV).?

?List Systems (Also known as List PR) - In its most simple form list systems involve each party presenting a list of candidates to the electorate, voters voting for a party, and parties receiving seats in proportion to their overall share of the national vote. Winning candidates are taken from the lists. Lists can be open, closed, or free.?

?Lower House - The first, and usually most important, chamber in a bicameral parliament.?

?Malapportionment - The uneven distribution of voters between electoral districts.?

?Majority-Plurality (Two-Round System) - In French Two-Round elections any candidate who has received the votes of over 12.5 per cent of the registered electorate in the first round can stand in the second round. Whoever wins the highest numbers of votes in the second round is then declared elected, regardless of whether they have won an absolute majority or not. We therefore refer to it as the majority-plurality variant of the two-round system.?

?Majority-Runoff (Two-Round System) - The most common method for the second round of voting in a Two-Round System is a straight 'run-off" contest between the two highest vote-winners from the first round - this we term a majority-runoff system.?

?Manufactured Majority - Where a single party wins less than 50 per cent of the valid votes, but an absolute majority of the legislative seats.?

?Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) - Systems in which a proportion of the parliament (usually half) is elected from plurality-majority districts, while the remaining members are chosen from party lists. Under MMP the list seats compensate for any disproportionality produced by the district seat results.?

?Multi-Member District - A district from which more than one member is elected.?

?Open List - A form of list system in which electors can express a preference for a candidate within a party list, as well as voting for the party.?

?Ordinal Ballot - A form of ballot in which a voter's choice can be rank-ordered (as for full representation systems), changed between one round of voting and the next (as for two- round systems) or split between two or more parties or candidates (as for Block and panachage list systems).?

?Panachage - A device used in some list systems which enables an elector to vote for more than one candidate across different party lists.?

?Parallel System - A system in which full representation is used in conjunction with a plurality-majority system but where, unlike MMP, the full representation seats do not compensate for any disproportionality arising from elections to the plurality- majority seats.?

?Party Block Vote (PB) - A form of the Block Vote in which electors choose between parties rather than candidates. The successful party will typically win every seat in the district.?

?Party-centered Ballot - A form of ballot in which an elector chooses between parties.?

?Plurality-Majority Systems - The distinguishing feature of plurality-majority systems is that they almost always use single-member districts. In a winner-take-all system, the winner is the candidate with a plurality of votes, but not necessarily an absolute majority of the votes. When this system is used in multi-member districts it becomes the block vote. Majority systems, such as the Australian Alternative Vote and the French two-round system, try to ensure that the winning candidate receives an absolute majority of votes cast.?

?Preferential Voting - Electoral systems in which voters can rank-order candidates on the ballot paper in order of their choice. Instant runoff voting, choice voting and the system used to elect the Sri Lankan president are all examples of preferential voting.  ?

?Proportional Representation (PR) - See below.?

Proportional Voting Systems (also called Proportional Representation or Full Representation) - A group of voting systems whose major goal is to ensure that parties and political groups are allocated seats in legislative bodies in proportion to their share of the vote. For example, a party receiving 30% of the national vote should receive approximately 30% of the seats in the national legislature.

?Quota - The threshold for winning a seat in full representation systems.?

?Regional Fiefdom - A situation in which one party wins all, or nearly all, of the seats in a particular geographic region.?

?Reserved Seats - Seats in which some descriptive criterion such as religion, ethnicity, language, gender etc. is a requirement for election.?

?Sainte-Lague Formula-  A largest-average formula, for allocating seats proportionally in a list system. The available seats are awarded one at a time to the party with the largest average number of votes as determined by dividing the number of votes won by the party by the number of seats the party has been awarded plus one. Each time a party wins a seat, the divisor for that party increases by two, which thus reduces its chances of winning the next seat. The first seat is awarded to the party with the largest absolute number of votes, since, no seats having been allocated, the average vote total as determined by the formula will be largest for this party.?

?Semi-Proportional Systems  - Those electoral systems which provide, on average, results which fall some way in between the proportionality of full representation systems and the disproportionality of plurality-majority systems. They include cumulative voting and limited voting.

Sincere Voting - When voters cast their votes for their most preferred candidate.?

?Single-Member District - A district from which only one member is elected.?

?Single Non-Transferable Vote (SNTV) - See limited voting.

??Single Transferable Vote (STV) - See choice voting.

Spoiler - A phenomenon of plurality/majority voting systems where an independent or third party candidate takes enough votes away from one major party candidate to ensure the victory of the other major party candidate, who would not have won otherwise.

??Threshold - In a proportional representation system, the minimum portion of the vote needed to receive any seats in the legislature. Known technically as the threshold of exclusion because if a party reaches this threshold it cannot be excluded from winning a seat.

??Two-Tier Districting - Where seats are awarded to parties from both single member districts and national lists, or both regional and national lists.

??Two-Round System (TRS) - A plurality-majority system in which a second election is held if no candidate achieves an absolute majority of votes in the first election.

??Upper House - The second, and usually less important chamber of a bicameral parliament.?

?Wasted Votes - Those votes which did not ultimately count towards the election of a particular candidate or party.

Winner-take-all System (also called Plurality or Majority System) - Voting system that produces one winner in each district.