TWO VOTES FOR VOTERS (2votes4voters.org) is an electoral reform campaign that calls on parliamentarians of parliament's that exercise first past the post voting systems (such as in the UK) to support the introduction of MMP (mixed member proportional) voting systems.

How does MMP work?

With MMP voters have two votes: one vote to select a candidate standing in their constituency and one vote for a political party of their choice. With MMP a percentage of the parliamentary seats are constituency seats and a percentage of the parliamentary seats are selected from party lists (each party creates a ranked list of their candidates). In the NZ parliament for example there is something like a 60%/40% breakdown between constituency seats (with constituency MP's) and party list seats (with list MP's). Constituency candidates are chosen according to first past the post and list candidates are selected from party lists according to the national proportion of party votes received by each party. Thresholds have to be met to limit the number of smaller parties claiming party seats (for example, in NZ parties claiming allocations of party seats must either win a constituency seat or at least 5% of the party votes). Formulas are also used so that parties meeting the thresholds are represented in parliament according to their relative party vote percentages (this tends to boost smaller parties that do not win many first past the post constituency seats).

Why is MMP an improvement on first past the post?

MMP still provides each voter with a constituency MP (although constituencies tend to be twice as large). However, the great advantage of MMP is that voters who have contrary political views to their constituency MP have an opportunity to express their contrary political views with their second party vote (that party vote counts and is not wasted if it is for one of the parties allocated seats in parliament). Think of MMP as being part first past the post and part proportional representation. With MMP voters simply receive two votes (one constituency vote and one party vote) so MMP is much easier to understand compared with other more complex voting systems (such as transferable voting where voters are expected to rank candidates they are unfamiliar with).

Examples of MMP voting systems:

  • New Zealand
  • Germany