Scotland Holds Proportional Voting Elections

Scotland on May 3 held local and national elections under two methods of proportional voting. Voters used choice voting (called “single transferable” in Scotland) to elect local councils and a mixed-member proportional system to elect the Scottish Parliament.

Hosted by Britain's Electoral Reform Society, FairVote organized a team of two-dozen election monitors including members of the democracy community, state and local election administrators and elected officials and FairVote board and staff. FairVote director Rob Richie's comments on the elections were reported widely.

The election drew controversy due to a ballot design flaw in the parliamentary elections that led to a tenfold increase in invalid ballots, but proportional voting worked exceptionally well. Had the Parliament been elected under winner-take-all, Labour would have won an absolute majority of seats despite winning fewer votes than the Scottish National Party and only 29% of the list vote. Choice voting was a big success in bringing fair representation to local government and had a far lower rate of invalid ballots.

[ FairVote on proportional voting in Scotland ]
[ Rob Richie in the Scotsman ]
[ Scotsman on the successful use of choice voting ]
[ More on choice voting ]
[ More on mixed-member systems (see "Districts plus") ]
[ Blog post ]