THE NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT SET UP A ROYAL COMMISSION TO CONSIDER THE COUNTRY'S ELECTORAL SYSTEM. IT PRODUCED AN UNEXPECTEDLY RADICAL REPORT, CHALLENGING SOME OF THE BASIC ASSUMPTIONS OF THE WESTMINSTER SYSTEM UNDER WHICH NEW ZEALAND HAS BEEN GOVERNED FOR 100 YEARS. THIS ARTICLE CONSIDERS THE WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE REPORT, CRITICIZING SOME OF ITS ASSUMPTIONS, BUT ACCEPTING ITS BASIC ANALYSIS--A GENERAL PHILOSOPHICAL DISLIKE OF THE PRINCIPLE OF CONCENTRATING POWER IN THE HANDS OF THE MAJORITY. IT ALSO EXPLORES THE REPORT'S TREATMENT OF ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION.
The report of the Kennedy Commission on Registration & Voter Participation, the 1964 Current Pop Survey of the Census Bur, & other data indicate a number of facts about US voter participation. People tend to 'overstate' their participation to elections. AIen vote more than women, the middle-aged more than the young & the elderly, whites more than Negroes. The curve of voter turnout parallels those of edue & income. Turnout is generally greater in elections for higher gov levels & greater in general than in primary elections. One group of nonvoters is deterred by such major legal- administration obstacles as citizenship, registration, & absentee voting requirements, racial & religious disabilities, & admin'ive regulations for voting times & locations. A 2nd group of nonvoters are those who meet legaladmin'ive requirements but exhibit 'lack of involvement.' Age, sex, & SES affect lack of involvement. So do importance & closeness of elections & competitiveness of the pol'al atmosphere. Total voter participation in elections is a dubious goal. Perhaps the goal should rather be to increase access to the polls by eliminating or altering legal & admin'ive barriers to voluntary voting. IIA.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS PAPER IS TO MAKE EXPLICIT CERTAIN ASPECTS OF THE REDISTRIBUTION PROCEDURE IN THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM. THE AUTHORS ATTEMPT TO ACHIEVE THIS END BY TAKING A VERY BROAD PERSPECTIVE SO THAT THE OPERATION OF THE PARLIAMENTARY BOUNDARY COMMISSION IS SEEN ALONGSIDE SIMILAR WORK CARRIED OUT IN OTHER COUNTRIES WHICH ALSO ELECT REPRESENTATIVES FROM SINGLE MEMBER CONSTITUENCIES.
Since 1964, federal electoral boundary readjustments have been the responsibility of independent commissions—one for each province and one for the Northwest Territories. The three redistributions completed to date under the new arrangements suggest that the commissions have increasingly accepted a substantial measure of intraprovincial population equality as the standard by which to define electoral boundaries. At the same time Parliament, in its debates and amendments to the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, has urged commissions to move in the opposite direction by creating more, rather than fewer, electoral districts of unequal populations. These contrary positions derive from different views of what counts in determining electoral boundaries—territory or population. Drawing on American experience since Baker v. Carr (1962), Canadian courts may eventually be called upon to resolve the issue.
Recent efforts at estimating bias and responsiveness in electoral systems typically proceed by assigning observations to subsamples according to which party controlled the redistricting process. We show this traditional procedure to introduce selection bias into the resulting estimates of bias and responsiveness and present an alternative strategy for estimating these parameters. Using data from the state legislatures, and employing two different measures of partisan control of redistricting, we obtain results that modestly differ from those obtained with the traditional approach. Measures of control of redistricting utilizing information about the partisan intent of redistricting commissions and tribunals are exogenous to the seats-votes relationship.