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Proportional Representation by John H. Humphreys

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of selecting the constituencies to which the experiment should be
applied, and in the absence of an agreement between the parties, it
would be difficult, if not impossible, to escape the fatal charge of
partisan selection.

_Proportional representation and democratic principles._

What hinders the adoption of a complete scheme of proportional
representation? Is it not primarily a lack of courage and of trust in
the principle of democracy? But does it need a greater courage, a
greater belief in the value of the democratic principle than the grant
of self-government to the Transvaal and to the Orange River Colony
within a few years of the Boer War? The courage and faith in the latter
case have been abundantly justified, and were statesmen actuated by a
similar courage and belief in democracy to propose a system of
proportional representation there would undoubtedly be a public response
which would astonish them; for reforms which are obviously based upon
justice are quickly and gladly accepted. Democracy cannot be carried to
its highest pitch of perfection if the electoral methods by which
representative institutions are brought into being are fundamentally
defective. "By proportional representation," said Mr. James Gibb, "if
electors were enabled to put more intelligence and conscience into their
votes, the nation would be the gainer. The character of the electorate
is of paramount importance, one outcome of it being the character of the
House of Commons. The electors have not yet had a fair chance of showing
what they can do in the making of a House of Commons. The question put
to them is in such a form that they can hardly give an intelligible
reply. The single-member system seems to imply a belief that the
elector's liberty of choice must be narrow. We have now arrived at a
point when another step is due in the evolution of the people's
liberties, when an individual elector should obtain a greater freedom of
choice and therefore a more intimate relation to national affairs.[13]
Further, the smooth working of democratic institutions requires that no
section of the electors should be permanently divorced from the
governing body. Such separation begets a feeling of hostility towards
the institutions of the country. Thus, Lord Dunraven has referred to
Ireland as a country in the government of which some of its best
citizens are not allowed to take part. Similarly, many British settlers
in the Orange Free State, although resident for several years, never had
any representative in the State Assembly. The natural feeling arose that
the government of the country was a matter which did not concern them,
and they never attended the meetings addressed by the member of the
Assembly for the district. It may be true that minorities must suffer,
but there is no reason why they should suffer needlessly. Here justice
and expediency go hand in hand. It is to the advantage of the country
that all should be associated with the representative body which speaks
in the name of the whole, whether that body be a town council, a county
council, or a House of Commons.

_Constitutional reform._

As pointed out in the opening chapter, the question of electoral reform
is intimately associated with the constitutional problem which has
occupied Parliament since 1906. This problem contains two factors--the
relation between the two Houses of Parliament, and the constitution of
the House of Lords. The House of Commons claims greater power in
legislation on the ground that it is the expression of the national
will. This demand has called forth a movement for reforming the House of
Lords in order that it may fulfil more adequately its duties as a Second
Chamber. The Unionist leaders have proposed that the peers should
delegate their powers to a small number and that the House should be
strengthened by the introduction of nominated and elected elements. With
regard to the suggestion that a certain number of Lords of Parliament
should be nominated by the Crown, all evidence points to the fact that
such nominations invariably become party in character. No Government
can afford to ignore the claims of the party which supports it, or to
miss the opportunity of strengthening its position in one of the Houses
of Parliament. The Canadian Senate, which is a nominated body, fails to
give satisfaction, and there is a strong demand for its reform. At the
conclusion of Sir John Macdonald's long lease of power the Senate
consisted nearly wholly of Conservatives. Now that the Liberal
Government has been in office for a good many years, the Senate is
nearly wholly Liberal. Obviously, the introduction of a nominated
element will not provide a Second Chamber that will command public

The elected element might be chosen indirectly by the County Councils or
by the House of Commons, or the much bolder course of direct popular
election, advocated by Sir Edward Grey, might be adopted. Direct
election is distinctly preferable to indirect election by bodies created
for other purposes. The experience of the United States, France, Sweden,
and all other countries where the Upper House is elected by local
legislatures, provincial councils, or municipalities, show that
elections to the local authorities are fought on questions of national
politics. But whether indirect or direct election is determined upon, it
is already clear that the only possible method of election is that of
proportional representation. The Royal Commission on Electoral Systems
has reported that there is much to be said in favour of the transferable
vote as a method of election for a Second Chamber, and this verdict has
since been endorsed in numerous articles in the press. Thus a writer in
the _Quarterly Review_ says that: "If an elected element is thought to
be necessary for the popularity and effectiveness of a reformed Upper
House, then let a certain number of members be elected in large
constituencies by means of proportional representation."[14] Were the
minimum age qualifying for a vote in such elections raised to
twenty-five or more there would naturally be provided the conservative
tendency to which that House is intended to give expression, and were
peers eligible as candidates doubtless such peers as were interested in
politics would experience little difficulty in securing election.[15]

The principle of election has been adopted for the Senates of Australia
and of South Africa. In the former the majority system with direct
election is used; in the latter, a proportional system with indirect
election. The difference in the results is most striking. In Australia
each of the States is polled as a separate constituency, each elector
having three votes. The result of the election of 1910 was as follows:--


State. Votes Polled. Labour Non-Labour Seats Obtained. Votes. Votes.
Labour. Non-Labour. Victoria 648,889 692,474 3 -- New South Wales
736,666 735,566 3 -- Queensland 244,292 124,048 3 -- South Australia
171,858 148,626 3 -- Western Australia 128,452 109,565 3 -- Tasmania
92,033 75,115 3 -- --------- --------- -- -- 2,021,090 1,997,029[16]
18 --

It will be seen that the Labour Party polled 2,021,090 votes and
obtained 18 seats, whilst their opponents, with a poll of no less than
1,997,029 votes, obtained none. So effectively does the majority system
in the form of the block vote blot out minorities. The Hon. W. Pember
Reeves, in commenting upon these figures,[17] said that: "Such results
give rise to revolutions."

In South Africa each State is represented by eight Senators chosen by
the local Parliaments by means of the single transferable vote. The
first elections gave the following result:--


Seats Obtained. States. Dutch Parties[18] British Parties[18]

Cape Colony South African 6 Progressive 2 Transvaal Het Volk and
Progressive and Nationalist 5 Labour 3 Natal Dutch 1 British 7 Orange
Free State Orangia Unie 6 Constitutionalist 2 -- -- Total 18 Total 14

In the one case minorities are completely suppressed; in the other the
minority in each State obtains representation.

These two illustrations show that if the House of Lords is to be
strengthened by the infusion of an elected element chosen by large
constituencies, a true system of election must be adopted. This is the
conclusion arrived at by Professor Ramsay Muir[19] after a careful
examination of the different methods by which a Second Chamber can be
constituted. All suggestions as to the selection of peers by hereditary
peers, of peers qualified by service, by nomination, by indirect
election, by direct election on a limited franchise, are ruled out and
the direct election of a new Second Chamber by the single transferable
vote is advocated in order that the new House may contain those elements
which fail to secure representation with a system of single-member
constituencies. But if, by the adoption of direct popular election and
proportional representation, the Upper House were made more truly
representative than the Lower, then whatever resolutions were passed
defining the relations between the two Houses there is not much doubt
that power would tend to pass into the hands of the more representative
House. In commenting upon the Royal Commission's report _The Nation_[20]
said: "Perhaps the most pregnant sentence in this whole report is that
in which the Commission suggests that proportional representation might
be a suitable basis for an elective Senate. We have our liberty of
choice, and democracy may find its account in either alternative. We may
prefer to retain an imperfectly representative Lower House. But if we
place above it a really representative Senate the whole balance of the
Constitution might be altered, and the Senate become the more venerable,
the more democratic, and in the end, the more powerful Chamber. We may,
on the other hand, reform the House of Commons, and render any Senate
superfluous. In either event, proportional representation may become the
ultimate key to our constitutional problem."

_Federal Home Rule._

The same question, the method of election, must enter into the
consideration of those larger schemes, Federal Home Rule and Imperial
Federation, which have been mooted in the discussion of the
constitutional relations between the two Houses of the Parliament of the
United Kingdom. A writer in _The Times_,[21] whose series of letters
attracted considerable attention, said that the "central idea of
Federalism appears to be that our present single Imperial Parliament,
which does, or makes an attempt at doing, all the complicated
work--first of the Empire, and second of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Ireland, and third of the various countries which together
make up the United Kingdom--is no longer adequate to the purpose. The
Federalists therefore propose that the Imperial Parliament, while
maintaining its supremacy absolutely intact, shall delegate a large part
of its functions to a number of subordinate national or provincial
Parliaments, who shall manage the domestic affairs of England,
Scotland, Ireland and Wales, or of such other territorial divisions as
may be agreed upon. These national or provincial Parliaments will be
entirely independent one of another, but all will acknowledge the full
and absolute sovereignty of the Imperial Parliament." Mr. Birrell stated
that "Federation beginning here at home, as it is called, is ripening
for a speedy decision. Such a Federation once established would be able
to find room for our Dominions overseas as and when they wished to come
in. We should have then a truly Imperial Parliament, at the door of
which any one of our Dominions could come in, and as it were hang up its
hat and coat in his Mother's House and take part in common Imperial
proceedings, and in the government of this great Empire."[22] These are
great changes, and without entering too deeply into details of how these
new bodies are to be brought into being, it is certain that one of the
conditions of their successful working is that they must be fully
representative. It is inconceivable that a national council can be set
up for Wales, or for Scotland, or for Ireland, without provision for the
adequate representation of minorities. Lord Morley, in instituting the
new Councils in India, was compelled to make provision for the
representation of Muhammedans. Mr. Birrell, in the Irish Council Bill of
1907, proposed that minorities should be represented by members
nominated by the Crown. It is impossible to reconcile this reactionary
proposal with democratic principles, and there can be no possible reason
for its adoption when there is a method of election available which
enables minorities to choose their own representatives.

_Imperial federation._

Mr. Birrell's vision of an Imperial Parliament for the British Empire
raises once more the value of a true method of election. An Imperial
Parliament will not accomplish its purpose--the consolidation of the
Empire--if the basis of representation is such as to give undue emphasis
to the separate interests of the constituent States. Further, it would
seem desirable that the establishment of such a Parliament should be
preceded by the more complete unification of the various States, for in
no other Empire are there so many racial divisions, and it is from these
that the greatest of political difficulties spring--in Ireland the
division between north and south; in the United Kingdom between Ireland
and Great Britain; in South Africa between the Dutch and British; in
Canada between the French and British. The majority system of election
brings out these differences in their acutest form. In Canada in 1910 no
representative from the Province of Quebec attended the National
Conference of Canadian Conservatives; of the four Provinces forming the
South African Union it was in the Orange Free State, where in the local
Parliament the minority was almost wholly deprived of representation,
that racial differences gave rise to the keenest feeling. Proportional
representation has proved itself to have been of the greatest value in
bi-racial countries such as Belgium where the representation of
political parties no longer coincides with racial divisions. The
adoption of proportional representation in the United Kingdom, in
Canada, and for all elections in South Africa would complete the
consolidation of these various divisions of the Empire, and even where
racial difficulties do not exist, as in Australia and New Zealand, the
fair representation of all classes of citizens would free questions of
Imperial politics from the dangers of exaggerated party majorities.


Whether it is a question of improving existing institutions, or the
creation of further representative bodies, the method of election is all
important. All other departments or human activity show continuous
improvement, and the substitution of scientific for rule-of-thumb
methods of election is an improvement long overdue. It may even be said
that the continued successful working of representative institutions
demand such an improvement. The accomplishment of other electoral
reforms can be more easily attained by the adoption of a system which
allows of the fair representation of all. The reform of the House of
Lords, whether by the delegation of the powers of existing peers to a
small number, or by the introduction of an elected element, or its
establishment on a completely democratic basis, necessitates the
adequate representation of minorities. Federal Home Rule is
impracticable unless due provision is made for minority representation.
But in the contemplation of newer legislative bodies it must not be
forgotten that it is of the utmost importance that the prestige of the
House of Commons--the mother of parliaments, and, as such, the glory of
English-speaking peoples--should be maintained at the highest level. Yet
its predominance in the Parliament of the United Kingdom can be
permanently secured only if it is made fully and completely
representative. The House of Commons must once more renew itself; it
must establish itself on sounder foundations. Its privileges and powers
have been won by the efforts of past generations. To the present
generation falls the opportunity of perfecting its organization and of
strengthening its foundations by making it in truth the expression of
the national will.

[Footnote 1: Reply to Deputation of Liberal members at House of Commons,
20 May 1908.]

[Footnote 2: "This number might be reduced to eleven, if minor
variations were grouped."--Sir Charles Dilke, National Liberal Club, 10
May 1909.]

[Footnote 3: _The Essentials of Self-Government,_ 1909, p. 62.]

[Footnote 4: Section 41 of the South Africa Act, 1909, reads thus: "As
soon as may be after every quinquennial census the
Governor-General-in-Council shall appoint a commission consisting of
three Judges of the Supreme Court of South Africa to carry out any
redivision which may have become necessary as between the different
electoral divisions in each Province, and to provide for the allocation
of the number of members to which such Province may have become entitled
under the provisions of this Act."]

[Footnote 5: The Town Clerk of Edinburgh, Dr. Hunter, urges a
rearrangement of the Parliamentary Divisions of the city, so as to
assimilate them to the municipal wards. "Confusion and unnecessary
expense are caused by the present arrangement.... The municipal area of
the city is represented in Parliament partly by the four city members,
partly by the member for Leith Burghs, and partly by the member for the
County of Midlothian. The distinction thus existing between the
Municipal and Parliamentary divisions of the city necessitates the
annual making up of separate rolls of voters for municipal and for
Parliamentary purposes respectively, involving heavy additional expense
(amounting to upwards of £1100 per annum), which would be avoided if the
areas for both purposes were assimilated." Assimilation is desirable
"not merely in order to save needless expense, but in the interests of
candidates and electors as well as of the electoral agencies. In the
dual arrangement at present existing the usual organizations for
electoral purposes of all kinds have to be duplicated. Not one of the
Parliamentary wards correspond with any of the municipal wards."--_The
Scotsman_, 9 August 1910.]

[Footnote 6: "The General Election of January 1910, and the Bearing of
the Results on some Problems of Representation." Paper read before the
Royal Statistical Society, 19 April 1910. Mr. Rosenbaum, however,
rejects proportional representation on political grounds. These have
been considered in the two previous chapters.]

[Footnote 7: "Electoral Statistics." Paper read before the Manchester
Statistical Society, 12 December 1906.]

[Footnote 8: Joseph King, M.P., in evidence before the Royal Commission
on Electoral Systems, 1909.]

[Footnote 9: This difficulty would disappear with the adoption of Home

[Footnote 10: _Real Representation for Ireland_, 1908.]

[Footnote 11: Report of Annual Meeting of the Proportional
Representation Society, 21 July 1909.--_Representation,_ vol. ii.
p. 154.]

[Footnote 12: In reply to a deputation of the Manchester Liberal
Federation, 22 May 1909.]

[Footnote 13: _Minutes of Evidence_, Royal Commission on Electoral
Systems, 1910 (Cd. 6352), p. 104.]

[Footnote 14: _Cf._ "Two Chambers or One," _Quarterly Review_, July

[Footnote 15: The indirect election of the United States Senate gives so
little satisfaction that the House of Representatives on 14 April 1911
approved of the proposed amendment to the Constitution providing for
popular election by 296 votes to 6.]

[Footnote 16: Of these, the Fusionists polled 1,830,353 votes.]

[Footnote 17: Address to the London School of Economics, 5 October

[Footnote 18: These broad distinctive titles are here given, although
the author recognizes that the Nationalist and Unionist parties in South
Africa are not exclusively Dutch or British.]

[Footnote 19: _Peers and Bureaucrats_, by Ramsay Muir, Professor of
Modern History at Liverpool University.]

[Footnote 20: 21 May 1910.]

[Footnote 21: "Pacificus," _The Times_, 31 October 1910.]

[Footnote 22: Address to the Eighty Club, 25 July 1910.]



The following memorandum has been written by Mr. Kametaro Hayasbida, the
Chief Secretary of the Japanese House of Representatives, in reply to a
series of questions, the particulars of which are set out in the

_Failure of single member system._

The Original Election Law of our country was promulgated in 1889, the
same year in which took place the promulgation of the Constitution.
Under this law the system of small electoral districts was
single-adopted, and each _Fu_ or _Ken_ (administrative district) was
divided into several electoral districts each of which constituted a
single-member constituency (with the exception of some large districts
which, impossible of further division, had two seats allotted with the
system of _scrutin de liste_). The system was, however, found in
practice to be very unsatisfactory, as it often happened that a minority
of the voters, instead of the majority, in certain _Fu_ or _Ken_
obtained the majority of the members returned, and, on the other hand, a
party with a majority at the polls could not sometimes, as the result of
the grouping of the voters in the small electoral districts, secure any
representation at all. Under such circumstances it was utterly
impossible for each political party to obtain representation in
reasonable proportion to the strength of its voters; or, in other words,
the electors of the country at large had never succeeded in being
properly represented in their legislative body. As the inadequacy of the
system was thus apparently shown I formulated in 1891, by somewhat what
modifying Marshal's cumulative voting system, a system of large
electoral districts combined with that of the single vote, and urged for
a revision of the Election Law.

_Multi-member constituencies. Single vote adopted 1900._

Since then several elections had taken place; and the defects of the
existing law were more strongly pronounced at each successive election.
It was, however, not until the year 1898 that the Government at last
introduced a Bill for a revision of the law with the view of adopting
the system I had the honour of formulating. After heated discussion in
three successive sessions, the Bill was passed in 1900 and sanctioned as
a law. This is our present Election Law. In the revised system the _Fu,
Ken_, and _Shi_ (the administrative districts) constitute at the same
time the electoral districts, and a voter in each district has but one
vote for one candidate, while several seats (according to the
population) are allotted to the district.

The above is a brief historical sketch of our electoral system. I shall
now try to answer your questions in order.

_Equitable results._

As to the first question whether our system secures the representation
of each party in reasonable proportion to its voting strength, I cannot
do better than answer it by pointing out a few instances in the General
Election which took place on the 15 May 1908.


THE CITY OF TOKYO (11 seats)

Seats in Seats
Parties. Votes. Proportion Obtained.
to votes.
Seiyu-Kwai (Liberals) 6,579 2.71 2
Konsei-honto (Progressives) 2,216 0.91 1
Daido-ha (Conservatives) 2,879 1.18 2
Yuko-Kwai (Radicals) 4,656 1.91 2
Churitsu (Independent) 10,414 4.29 4
------ ----- --
Total 26,744 11.00 11

All parties except the Seiyu-kwai and Daido-ha succeeded in obtaining
their representatives in reasonable proportion to their respective
voting strength. The explanation given for the particular case of the
Seiyu-kwai is that the party, unable for some reason or other to limit
the number of candidates, had placed five candidates instead of three or
four, and caused its own defeat by splitting the votes. I take at
random, or rather in the order they come, a few more districts, and the
results obtained are as follows:--


TOKYO-FU (5 seats)

Parties. Number of Seats in Seats
Candidates. Votes. Proportion Obtained
to Votes.
Seiyu-kwai 5 12,794 4.02 4
Kensei-honto - - - -
Daido-ha. 1 13,122 .98 1
Churitsu - - - -
------ ---- -
Total 6 15,916 5.00 5



Parties. Number of Seats in Seats
Candidates. Votes. Proportion Obtained
to Votes.
Seiyu-kwai 1 1,284 0.45 -
Kensei-honto - - - -
Daido-ha - - - -
Yuko-Kwai - - - -
Churitsu 3 7,304 2.55 3
- ----- ---- -
Total 4 8,588 3.00 3


KYOTO-FU (5 seats)

Parties. Number of Seats in Seats
Candidates. Votes. Proportion Obtained.
to Votes.
Seiyu-kwai 5 18,928 4.01 4
Kensei-honto -- -- -- --
Daido-ha -- -- -- --
Yuko-kwai -- -- -- --
Churitsu 1 4,701 0.99 1
Total.... 6 23,629 5.00 5



Parties. Number of Seats in Seats
Candidates. Votes. Proportion Obtained.
to Votes.
Seiyu-kwai 5 8,666 3.32 4
Kensei-honto -- -- -- --
Daido-ha -- -- -- --
Yuko-kwai 1 2,612 1.00 1
Churitsu 2 4,368 1.68 1
Total.... 8 15,646 6.00 6


OSAKU-FU (6 seats)

Parties. Number of Seats in Seats
Candidates. Votes. Proportion Obtained.
to Votes.
Seiyu-kwai 5 15,137 3.57 5
Kensei-honto -- -- -- --
Daido-ha 1 2,199 0.52 --
Yuko-kwai 1 1,304 0.31 --
Churitsu 3 6,786 1.60 1
Total.... 10 25,426 6.00 6

Throughout all electoral districts similar results were obtained. The
Churitsu (_i.e._ those belonging to no party), considered as a group,
had not everywhere been as successful as the other parties, as observe
in Tables V. and VI. Each candidate of this group is quite independent
of the other, and has no political views or propaganda in common, nor
any organization whatever. Therefore, each case is totally different
from the other. Although all independent candidates or voters are in
these tables grouped as Churitsu, it is not proper to consider them in
the same category with the other parties.

Now, judging from the results in the General Election, a few instances
of which are given above, I may say that our present system, if not
fully satisfactory, tolerably secures the representation of each
political party in approximate proportion to its voting capacity.

_The new system and party organization._

As to the first part of your second question, whether, to obtain these
results, the system involves a great deal of calculation on the part of
political organizations as to the exact number of their supporters, I
should say that, as the same system and method of election are uniformly
adopted in the city, county, borough and village elections as well as in
the elections of the Prefectural Assembly, it is not a very difficult
task for all political parties to ascertain from the results of all
these elections their relative strength, and to estimate the number of
their supporters.

As to the second part of the question, whether it is necessary to issue
precise instructions to the electors as to the candidates for whom they
should vote, my answer is this: as every political organization through
its branch in every _Fu_ and _Ken_ and the sub-branches in the cities,
counties, towns and villages, is always in close touch with its
constituents, and is constantly explaining its position and propaganda,
with the view not only to instruct them but also to extend the sphere of
its influence, it is not so difficult as it seems to decide the number
of candidates. When it is once decided efforts are made on the part of
the organization to distribute the votes among the candidates in such a
way that not one of them receives a defeat at the hands of the other
party. To attain this object the methods are not very complicated, for
every elector has but one vote for one candidate; and, moreover, the
stronger candidates, so long as their own position is secured, will
endeavour to distribute a portion of their votes among the weaker
candidates. This being the case, the member returned with the greatest
number of votes may not be the most popular candidate, but the party as
a whole is much more likely to succeed in getting representatives in
proportion to the strength of its voters.

_The position of independents._

As to the third question, whether the system enables men of independent
mind and character to maintain their position in Parliament, I should
emphatically state that the revised system is much better than the old
in this respect. Under the old system even such a prominent man as Mr.
M. Matsuda (the Speaker of the House of Representatives some years ago,
and the Minister of Finance in the present Government) suffered several
defeats. But under the new system it has never happened that the leader
of a party has lost his seat at any election, as he may seek his
election at the safest district. To men of independent mind and
character the new system offers the greater opportunity to maintain
their position in the House, for in the election they may, in spite of
the opposition of parties, draw their votes from all parts within a
large electoral district. It may be said that the larger electoral
district we have, the greater opportunity we afford to independent
candidates. For instance, both Mr. Y. Ozaki, the Mayor of Tokyo, and Mr.
S. Shimada, by being independent candidates, have never lost their seat
in Parliament, and in the last General Election were returned for their
native prefecture or town with a great number of votes.

This brings me to the end of my answers to your inquiries. In conclusion
I may say a few words about the public opinions in our country as to the
Election Laws.

_Public opinion and the new system._

Despite the fact that the new system enables the elector of the country
to be more reasonably represented in the House, still there are some
ambitious politicians urging for their own selfish purpose to restore
the old system. But, as almost all prominent members in both Houses are
fully cognizant of the relative merits and demerits of the two systems,
there is not much chance of our returning to the old system.



A Note on the German General Elections of 1903 and 1907.

The German Reichstag, which consists of 397 members, is elected by a
system of single-member constituencies. Every member, however, must have
obtained a majority of the votes polled, either at a first or second
ballot, in the constituency for which he has been returned. The German
Official Returns furnish very complete details of the elections,
including the figures for the first and second ballots, and the
summaries at the end of the Returns disclose a very striking divergence
between the proportions of seats obtained and votes polled by the
various political parties. These discrepancies have attracted general
attention, and have usually been attributed to the great variation in
the size of German constituencies. As a matter of fact, the effect of
redistribution on the proportionality between seats and votes is not
nearly so large as is generally supposed. Apart from the consequences of
neglecting the votes of the minority or minorities in each constituency,
wherein lies the gravest defect of a single-member system, the second
ballot is a disturbing factor of considerable importance. So far from
diminishing the disproportion between seats and votes polled by the
various parties, the second ballot frequently increases that
disproportion. In order to appreciate the respective effects of unequal
constituencies and of the second ballots it is necessary to consider
these two factors separately. This will be facilitated by making a
comparison between the results which would have been obtained without
second ballots with the results actually obtained. The following
tables, which are based upon the official returns, give the votes polled
and the seats obtained by the five principal groups:--


Parties. Votes. Results without Results with
Second Ballot. Second Ballot.
Social Democrats 3,010,771 122 81
(31.7%) (30.7%) (20.4%)
Centre Party 1,875,273 104 100
(19.7%) (26.2%) (25.2%)
National Liberals 1,317,401 32 51
(13.9%) ( 8.1%) (12.8%)
Conservatives 1,281,852 79 75
(13.6%) (19.9%) (18.9%)
Radical Parties 872,653 11 36
( 9.2%) ( 2.8%) ( 9.1%)


Parties. Votes. Results without Results with
Second Ballot. Second Ballot.
Social Democrats 3,259,029 73 43
(28.9%) (18.4%) (10.8%)
Centre Party 2,179,743 101 105
(19.3%) (26.4%) (26.4%)
National Liberals 1,630,681 47 54
(14.5%) (11.8%) (13.6%)
Conservatives 1,632,072 91 84
(13.6%) (22.9%) (21.2%)
Radical Parties 1,233,933 30 49
(10.9%) ( 7.6%) (12.3%)

_The effect of unequal constituencies on representation_.

The Social Democrats were affected to a greater extent than any other
party by both the factors referred to. In 1903 the Socialists polled
31.7 per cent, of the votes, and, at the first ballots, were at the head
of the poll in 122, or 30.7 per cent, of the constituencies. In other
words, if the system of second ballots had not been in force, the Social
Democrats would have obtained very nearly their fair share of
representation. If, in addition, there had been a redistribution of
seats by which the sizes of constituencies had been equalized, the
Social Democrats would have obtained more than their share of
representation. The strength of the party lay in the large towns, and
if, for example, Berlin had the additional eight seats to which it was
entitled nearly all of them would have fallen to the Social Democrats.
Again the three divisions of the district of Hamburg returned Social
Democrats with overwhelming majorities. Were the representation allotted
to Hamburg doubled, as it should be, all six seats might possibly have
fallen to the Social Democrats.[1] An equalization of the size of
constituencies might have produced in 1903 the phenomenon which has
occurred so often in England. The largest party would have secured a
number of seats far in excess of that to which it was entitled by reason
of its strength. In 1907 the Socialists polled 28.9 of the votes, but
only succeeded in reaching the head of the poll at the first ballot in
73, or 18.4 per cent. of the constituencies. A redistribution of seats
would have added to their representation in the large towns, and the
first ballots would have yielded a result which would have corresponded
more fairly with their polling strength.

_The effect of second ballots_.

In both years the system of second ballots has had the effect of
reducing very considerably the representation of the Social Democrats.
In the year 1903 the Social Democrats won 56 constituencies by absolute
majorities, and were engaged in the second ballots in 118
constituencies. In 66 of these constituencies they were at the head of
the poll, but succeeded in maintaining this position at the second
ballots in 24 only. In the remaining 52 constituencies they were second
on the poll, and at the second ballots they were able to win only _one_
of these seats. In these 118 constituencies the Socialists polled
1,170,000 votes at the first ballots, whilst the other parties polled
1,920,000. As a result of the second ballots the Socialists obtained 25
seats and the remaining parties obtained 93 seats.

The figures of the year 1907 tell a similar tale. At the first ballots
the Social Democrats were at the head of the poll in 73 constituencies.
The second ballots reduced this number to 43. They were engaged in the
second ballots in 90 constituencies; they were at the head of the poll
in the first ballot in 44 of these constituencies, but kept this
position in 11 only; they were second on the poll in the remaining 46
constituencies and won in 3 cases only. In these 90 constituencies the
Social Democrats polled at the first ballot 1,185,000 votes, whilst the
other parties taken together polled 1,888,000 votes; the Socialists
obtained 14 seats, the other parties obtained 76 seats.

In both these elections the second ballots affected very adversely the
representation of the largest party. If this party, without the second
ballot and with a fair distribution of seats, might have obtained more
than its share of representation, then the second ballots would have
acted as a corrective, but not necessarily so. There is no reason why
the second ballots should not have added to the over-representation
already obtained. This will be seen from the figures of the elections in
the Kingdom of Saxony. This division of the German Empire is entitled to
23 representatives in the Reichstag. In 1903 the Socialists won 18 of
these seats with absolute majorities; they were engaged in the second
ballots in the remaining five constituencies; they won four (all those
in which they were at the head of the poll at the first ballots) and
only lost the one constituency in which they were second on the poll.
The Social Democrats, who at the first ballots polled 58.8 per cent, of
the votes, thus obtained 22 seats out of 23, and the second ballots in
this case only confirmed the overwhelming preponderance which the system
of single-member constituencies had conferred upon the larger party.

_Second ballots and the swing of the pendulum_.] It would,
indeed, seem that a system of second ballots rather accentuates those
great changes in representation which are the normal characteristic of a
system of single-member constituencies. In the elections in Saxony in
1907 the Social Democrats were still by far the largest party, obtaining
48.5 per cent. of the votes. They succeeded in obtaining eight seats by
absolute majorities and were engaged at the second ballots in eight
other constituencies. They lost every one of these constituencies,
although at the first ballots they had been at the head of the poll in
five of them. The unfavourable swing of the pendulum reduced their
representation at the first ballots, and the second ballots merely
increased their misfortunes.

Nor would redistribution have lessened the violence of these changes in
the constituencies in which second ballots were necessary. Thus, for
example, Frankfort-On-Main, with an electorate of 77,164, should return
two members instead of one. The constituency was won by the Socialists
in the second ballots of 1903, but was lost at the second ballots in
1907. In both years the Socialist candidate was at the head of the poll
at the first ballots. Similarly the constituency of Elberfeld-Barmen,
with an electorate of 67,241, won by an absolute majority in 1903, was
lost by the Socialists at the second ballots in 1907, although their
candidate had been at the head of the poll at the first ballot. If these
and other constituencies had received additional representatives, the
violence of the changes in the composition of the legislative body would
in all probability have been increased.

_The second ballot and the representation of minorities_.

A study of the statistics of the German General Elections shows that the
representation obtained by the various parties depends very largely upon
their supremacy in certain localities. In these districts the minorities
have been unrepresented for many years, the second ballots having in no
way saved them from practical disfranchisement. Thus the Centre Party is
in the ascendant in the Rhenish Provinces. In the district of Cologne,
Münster, and Aix-la-Chapelle, the Centre Party monopolizes the
representation, returning in 1907 every one of the 15 members to which
the districts were entitled. In the adjoining districts of Dusseldorf,
Coblentz and Treves they returned 16 out of 24. In Bavaria, the
districts of Lower Bavaria, the Upper Palatinate, Lower Franconia and
Schwabia, which are entitled to 23 members, were represented wholly by
members of the Centre Party. Taking the kingdom of Bavaria as a whole,
the Centre Party obtained 34 seats out of 48, although they polled only
44.7 per cent of the votes at the first ballots. There is therefore
reproduced in Germany the conditions which obtain in certain parts of
the United Kingdom--the permanent supremacy of one party which
monopolizes, or nearly so, the representation of the district.


The system of second ballots has therefore had a considerable influence
in creating that divergence between the votes polled and the seats
obtained which has characterized German elections. The representation of
any one party depends, to a very large degree, upon the attitude taken
towards it by other parties. The system in no way acts as a corrective
to the anomalies arising from single-member constituencies, and may even
accentuate the violent changes associated with them. Moreover, the
system does not provide representation for minorities, and therefore
does not ensure a fully representative character to popularly elected
legislative bodies. It may be mentioned that all the criticisms here
directed against the second ballot apply with nearly equal force to the
use of the alternative vote (_see_ p. 95), a thinly disguised form of
the same principle which appears to be meeting with some acceptance in
this country.

[Footnote 1: The minority would, of course, have had a better chance
with six divisions. Dr. Ed. Bernstein, to whom the author submitted this
memorandum, makes the following comment: "I am not so sure that the
equalization of the size of the constituencies would in 1903 have
secured to the Social Democratic party a number of seats far in excess
of its voting strength. But this is a subordinate consideration. The
possibility of an unproportional representation of parties, even if the
seats are equally distributed, is undeniably there, and this ought to
settle the question.]



The principle of proportional representation was first discussed in
Sweden in 1867. The new Danish Constitution of that year provided for
the use of the transferable vote (Andrae's scheme) in the election of
the Upper House, and Herr S. G. Troil proposed in the Swedish Parliament
that the three most important of its committees should be elected by
means of the same system. The motion was not carried, and a similar
motion, made by Professor H. L. Ryön in 1878, was equally unsuccessful.
It was not until 1896 that the next step was taken, when the Government,
in view of the increasing demand for a more democratic franchise,
proposed a proportional system of election. Nothing came of this
proposal immediately, but from this date the agitation for an extension
of the franchise gave rise to the demand for the proportional method of
election in order to ensure the representation of minorities.

_The former constitution of the two chambers_.]

The story of the struggle for reform will best be understood if prefaced
by a statement of the franchise conditions previously existing in
Sweden. The Upper, or First, Chamber of the Riksdag, was elected by
members of the provincial councils and of the councils of the five
largest towns. The other towns sent members to their provincial
councils. The members of provincial councils were elected in two stages;
the primary electors chose electors of the second degree, who in turn
chose the councillors. The primary electors in the country[1] had ten
votes for every 100 kroner of rateable income, subject to a limit of
5000 votes. The electors of the second degree had only one vote in the
election of councillors, and councillors had only one vote in the
election of members of the First Chamber of the Riksdag. Owing to the
great advantage conferred upon primary electors possessed of large
incomes these electors largely controlled not only the composition of
the town and provincial councils, but also the composition of the Upper
Chamber. The election of members of the Lower Chamber of Parliament was
direct; every person of not less than 800 kroner income was entitled to
vote, but no one was entitled to more than one vote.

_The struggle for electoral reform_.

In 1899 M. Branting, the leader of the Socialist Party, proposed the
adoption of proportional representation, coupled with universal and
equal suffrage for the election of town councils. The main object of
this proposal was to place town councils on a more democratic basis, but
as the five largest councils elected representatives to the First
Chamber the proposal would have had some influence upon the composition
of that House. M. Branting's proposal was rejected, and when revived two
years later met a similar fate. In 1902 two Liberals (MM. Hedlund and
Carlsson) proposed that provincial councils should be elected by a
proportional method on the basis of manhood suffrage, whilst a similar
proposition was made in the same year in respect of the elections of the
Lower House of Parliament. Both these motions were rejected, but in
response to a demand from both Houses for an inquiry a Royal Commission
was appointed to consider the problem of electoral reform. The
Commission reported in the following year in favour of a list system of
proportional representation with official ballot papers, and the
Government proposed this system combined with manhood suffrage for the
election of members for the Lower Chamber. This proposal was accepted
in 1904 in the Upper Chamber, but rejected in the Lower Chamber by five
votes. Next year it was again discussed, accepted by the Upper Chamber
but rejected in the Lower by a majority of ten. A change of ministry
took place, and in 1906 M. Staaff, the Liberal Prime Minister, proposed
manhood suffrage with the "majority" system of election. But the
Moderate Party insisted upon a proportional system, and the proposals of
the Liberal ministry were rejected by the Upper Chamber. M. Alfred
Petersson, of Paboda, then proposed manhood suffrage with a proportional
system for the Lower Chamber, and a proportional system for the Upper
Chamber, which, however, was to be elected as before by the provincial
councils. This proposal was rejected by the Lower Chamber but accepted
by the Upper Chamber, and M, Staaff resigned. The Moderates, with M.
Lindman as Prime Minister, then introduced a Bill incorporating M.
Petersson's proposals with the addition of the direct election of
provincial councils and a less plutocratic franchise. This measure,
which was adopted by both Houses in 1907, was confirmed after a General
Election in 1909.

_The Swedish law of 1909_.

Under this law the proportional system is applied to elections for both
Houses of Parliament, all parliamentary committees, town councils and
provincial councils. For the Lower Chamber there is manhood suffrage.
The Upper Chamber is elected still by the provincial councils and by the
town councils of the five largest towns, but the elections of provincial
councils are now direct. But, in order to maintain as much continuity as
possible in the composition of the Upper Chamber, only one-sixth of the
House is renewed every year. The maximum number of votes in the
elections of both provincial and town councils is forty. The first
election under the new system took place in 1909, when the Stockholm
Town Council and several provincial councils were called upon to elect
their proportion of members of the Upper House. In March 1910 the first
elections to the Stockholm Town Council were held, and in the following
May there were elections under the new system for all the provincial
councils. In 1911 the first elections to the Lower House of Parliament
will take place.

In Sweden, even under the new law, there are no official ballot papers
and no nominations of candidates. This arrangement is supposed to
preserve to the electors the fullest possible liberty in voting. In
practice the party organizations print ballot papers containing the
names of the candidates whom they support, and these printed forms are
accepted by the returning officers. Every elector, however, is at
liberty to strike out any of the names on these papers, to substitute
other names, to vary the order in which the names are printed, or to
prepare his own ballot paper.[2]

_The Swedish system of proportional representation_.]

The mechanism of the proportional system adopted has had regard to the
practice mentioned in the preceding paragraph. The first proposal, that
of M. Petersson, of Paboda, was only a crude approximation towards a
proportional system. His scheme, in brief, was (1) that the number of
votes recorded for each candidate should be ascertained; (2) that the
candidate with the highest number of votes should be declared elected;
(3) that a further count should then take place, the papers on which the
successful candidate's name appeared being treated as of the value of
one-half. The remaining candidates whose names appeared on these papers
would be credited with half a vote in respect of each such paper. The
non-elected candidates would then be arranged according to the number of
votes obtained, the highest being declared elected. As soon as any two
names on any ballot paper had been declared successful a fresh count
would take place, such papers being treated as of the value of
one-third. This process of reducing the value of the paper as soon as a
further candidate appearing thereon was elected was to be continued
until all the seats were allotted. The principle underlying this
distribution of seats is the same as that contained in the d'Hondt rule
of the Belgian system. A group of electors which was more than twice as
numerous as any other group would obtain two seats before any was
allotted to a smaller group. If the group was more than three times as
large as any other it would obtain three seats before the smaller group
received one, and so on. It was at once recognized that this scheme
would tell considerably in favour of well-organized parties--parties
whose supporters would accept the ballot papers printed for them without
question. An example will make this clear. If, taking an extreme case,
in an election for three members 8000 voters placed the names of two
candidates, P and Q, on each of their ballot papers, whilst a more
loosely organized group of 13,000 voters spread its support over four
candidates, T, S, V and W, different sections voting for these
candidates independently, the following result might take place:--

P Q . . 8,000 | T . . . 4,000
| S . . . 3,500
| V . . . 3,000
| W . . . 2,500

Candidate P, being the first in order on the 8000 ballot papers of the
first group, would be declared elected, and Q, the remaining name on
these ballot papers, would be credited with 4000 votes--half the
original value of the papers. Q and T, having 4000 votes each, would
then be declared elected. Thus one group, with 8000 votes, would carry
two seats, and the other, with 13,000 votes, would only obtain one--a
result due to a lack of combination.

_The allotment of seats to parties_.

The plan finally adopted is based on M. Petersson's proposal, but
provides, as in the Belgian scheme, for the official recognition of
parties. Electors may write at the head of their ballot papers the name
or motto of a party. The papers bearing the same name or motto are then
grouped together, the numbers in each group ascertained, and the seats
available are allotted to these groups in accordance with the d'Hondt
rule, irrespective of the number of votes obtained by individual
candidates. Thus, in the example given, if electors of the second group
had all headed their ballot papers with the same party name or motto the
particular way in which they had distributed their votes among the
candidates would not have affected the number of seats obtained by the
group as a whole. The first group would have obtained one, and the
second two seats.

_The selection of the successful candidates_.

The position of the candidates on each list is determined in accordance
with the original proposal of M. Petersson. The candidate receiving the
highest number of votes is declared elected, the papers on which his
name appears are then marked down to the value of one-half, the relative
position of the remaining candidates ascertained afresh, and the highest
of these declared elected, and so on. This procedure, called the
reduction rule, is however subordinate to a further rule (the rule of
the order of preference), which is as follows. If more than one-half of
the supporters of a party list have placed the same candidate at the
head of their ballot papers, the first seat apportioned to the list is
allotted to this candidate; if more than two-thirds have placed the same
two candidates in the same order at the head of the ballot papers, these
two candidates have the first claim to the seats apportioned to the
party; if more than three-fourths have placed the same three candidates
in the same order at the head of the list, these are given the first,
second, and third seats, and so on. The selection of the successful
candidates is determined in accordance with this rule so far as
possible, but as soon as the application of the rule breaks down the
relative claims of the non-elected candidates on the list are determined
in accordance with the reduction rule. But if, say, three candidates
have been declared elected in accordance with the rule of the order of
preference, and it is necessary to choose others by the reduction rule,
the papers containing these three names are treated as of the value of
one-fourth in determining the relative position of the remaining
candidates of the group.

_Free voters and double candidatures._

In order to complete the description of the Swedish system two
subsidiary features, which will seldom come into play in actual
elections, must be mentioned. Provision is made for those electors who
owe no party allegiance, and who therefore do not wish to place any
party name or motto at the head of their list. Such voters are called
"free voters," and the votes recorded for their candidates are
ascertained. These candidates are placed in a group by themselves,
called the free group, but the number of votes recorded for each
individual candidate in this group, and not the total number of votes
recorded for all the candidates, forms the basis of comparison with the
totals of the party lists in the allotment of seats. The second feature
provides for the improbable case of two groups of electors or parties
having placed the same candidate upon their list. In the event of such
candidate being so favourably placed in two lists as to be elected by
both parties, then, for the purpose of ascertaining the new value of the
papers on which his name appears, each list is debited with half a seat.
When, as already explained, one seat has been allotted to a list, the
list total is divided by two in accordance with the d'Hondt rule for the
purpose of the fresh comparison of totals; but if this candidate has
already been elected on another list the total would be divided by one
and a half instead of by two. A fresh total would be ascertained for
each of the lists containing the candidate's name.

_An election at Carlskrona._

The author was permitted by the courtesy of the Burgomaster of
Carlskrona to watch the election of provincial councillors on 24 May
1910, to represent the city in the Bleking provincial council, and a
description of this election will show how the system works in practice.
Carlskrona is entitled to nine members. For the purpose of the election
the town was divided into two parts, but the polling place in each
division was at the town hall. The register was prepared fourteen days
before the election, and stated in addition to the name, address, and
occupation of the elector, the amount of his (or her) rateable income
and the number of votes to which he (or she) was entitled. The conduct
of the election was in the hands of the Burgomaster, assisted by the
magistrates of the town. As already explained, there were no official
ballot papers and no nominations of candidates. Each elector voted for
such candidates as he pleased, provided they possessed the necessary
qualifications--those of an ordinary elector. Three parties--the
Moderate, Liberal, and Labour--contested the election. Each party
printed ballot papers containing the names of the candidates adopted by
the party organization and with the name of the party at the head of the
ballot paper. The ballot paper issued by the Moderate party was in the
following form:--

_De Moderata_

_Borgmästaren_--O. Holmdahl.
_Grosshandlaren_--N. P. Nordström.
_Lasarettsläkaren_--R. Lundmark.
_Disponenten_--H. Berggren.
_Kommendören_--G. Lagercrantz.
_Rådmannen_--C. G. Ewerlof.
_Chefsintendenten_--I. Neuendorff.
_Kaptenen, friherre_--F. E. von Otter.
_Underofficeren af 2: dra graden_--O. W. Strömberg.
_Folkskolläraren_--H. E. Mattsson.
_Byggmästaren_--K. J. A. Johansson.
_Handlanden_--Aug. Andrén.

_The Poll._

The ballot papers could be obtained at the committee rooms on, or prior
to, the day of election, and also on the day of election from party
agents at the doors of the polling stations. Each elector took his
ballot paper folded to the Burgomaster, or presiding magistrate, who
endorsed the back with the number of votes to which the elector was
entitled. The presiding magistrate was assisted by two others who
checked the accuracy of the proceedings. The poll opened at 10 A.M.,
the proceedings were adjourned for lunch at 1 P.M., the poll was again
opened during the afternoon and closed about 8 P.M. The counting took
place next day when, as comparatively few electors took advantage of
their right to vary the order of the names as printed on the ballot
papers, the number of votes recorded for each candidate was easily
ascertained. Nor did the varying values of the ballot papers present any
great difficulty. A calculating machine made the necessary additions
both quickly and accurately. In this election only one paper was
spoiled,[3] and it was very obvious that the provision of printed ballot
papers by the party organizations made the act of voting a very simple
one. The votes recorded for the different parties were as follows:--

Moderate . . . . . 20,334
Liberal . . . . . 8,732
Labour . . . . . 3,617

_The allotment of seats to parties.

There were nine seats to be distributed among the three parties. The
distribution was carried out in accordance the d'Hondt rule, but the
method of applying this rule differed from that employed in Belgium. In
Belgium the party totals would have been divided by the numerals 1, 2,
3, &c., and the quotients ranged in order of magnitude, the ninth in
order being termed the "electoral quotient." Each party would have
received as many seats as its total contained this quotient. The Swedish
method provides for the allotment of one seat at a time, and it does so
because of the possibility of the same candidate being elected by more
than one party. Save in the rare case mentioned, the arithmetical
operations, though differently presented, are identical with those of
the Belgian system. Thus, at Carlskrona the first seat was given to the
Moderates--that party having received the highest number of votes.
Before the next seat was allotted the value of the Moderate total was
reduced by one-half, and the new total was then compared with the
original totals of the other parties. The totals to be considered in
the allotment of the second seat were, therefore, as follows:--

Moderate. . . . . 10,167
Liberal . . . . . 8,732
Labour . . . . . 3,617

The Moderate party being still credited with the highest total received
the second seat, and their original total, 20,334, was then divided by
three in order to ascertain to whom the third seat should be allotted.
The totals at this stage were as follows:--

Moderate . . . . . 6,778
Liberal . . . . . 8,732
Labour . . . . . 3,617

The Liberal total being now the highest, this party received the third
seat, and in order to ascertain to whom the fourth seat should be given
the Liberal total was reduced in value by one-half, the totals of the
other parties remaining as at the previous allotment. The totals for
comparison were now:--

Moderate . . . . . 6,778
Liberal . . . . . 4,366
Labour . . . . . 3,617

The Moderate total was again the highest, and the party received the
fourth seat. The process of reducing the totals in succession according
to the foregoing rule was continued until all the nine seats were
allotted. In this election the Moderates obtained six seats, the
Liberals two, and Labour one.

_The selection of the successful candidates._

The returning officer had then to determine which candidates on each
list should be declared successful. In the Carlskrona election this task
was extremely simple, for the large majority of the voters had accepted
the ballot papers provided for them by their parties. No less than
19,756 votes out of a total of 20,334 had been received for the Moderate
list as printed by the party organization. The totals for each
candidate were quickly ascertained. Moreover, it was possible to select
all the successful candidates by the rule of the order of preference.
More than six-sevenths of the Moderate votes having been recorded for
the list as printed, the first six names on the list were declared
elected. Of the Liberal votes, 8118 out of a total of 8732 were recorded
for the party list as printed, and as this number constituted more than
two-thirds of the total, the first two names on the list were declared
elected. With regard to the Labour party, 3580 out of a total of 3617
votes had been recorded for the party list, and the first candidate on
the list was therefore declared elected.

_The election of suppléants.

In common with all continental systems, supplementary members
(suppléants) were chosen for the purpose of taking the place of an
elected member who might die or retire before the council had run its
course. The method adopted in Sweden is peculiar to itself. In Belgium
the same rules serve for the election of the suppléants as for the
election of members, and they are called upon to serve in the order in
which they stand at the declaration of the poll. In Sweden it is held
that each elected member must have a suppléant, or deputy, special to
himself. The method of selection may be illustrated from the Carlskrona
election. The candidate who was to be regarded as suppléant to
Burgomaster Holmdahl (the first on the Moderate list) was chosen as
follows: Holmdahl had received 20,334 votes, his name having appeared on
every ballot paper of the Moderate party; the votes recorded for the
unelected candidates on these papers were ascertained, the
result being:--

Neuendorfs . . . . . 20,334
von Otter . . . . . 20,242
Strömberg . . . . . 19,913
Mattsson . . . . . 20,119
Johansson . . . . . 20,237
Andrén . . . . . . 20,170

Neuendorff being the candidate who had received the highest number of
votes on these papers, was declared elected as suppléant to Holmdahl. A
suppléant for Nordström, the second elected member, was then chosen from
among the remaining five non-elected members. Nordström's votes were
20,235, and the votes recorded for the non-elected members on the same
papers were:--

von Otter 20,143
Strömberg 19,913
Mattsson 20,055
Johansson 20,195
Andrén 20,071

Johansson, being highest with 20,195 votes, was declared suppléant to

This method of choosing the suppléant seems to be unsatisfactory. The
party as such does not determine who shall be called upon to fill a
vacancy in its ranks; whether a non-elected member succeeds to a vacancy
as a suppléant depends very largely on accident. A good illustration
occurred in the selection of a suppléant from the Labour list. The
party's candidates were as follows:--


The first candidate on the list had been declared elected, and
obviously, in the opinion of the party, the next favourite was Karlsson,
and had there been a second seat awarded to the list Karlsson would have
been declared elected. In determining, however, whether he should be
declared elected as a suppléant, his position on the list did not count,
and as the party list had been voted for without alteration by most of
the Labour voters, five of the non-elected candidates were credited with
the same number of votes. The choice of the suppléant was made by lot,
and fell in this case upon Johansson, the sixth name on the list. It
may be said that there is; considerable dissatisfaction with the method
of electing suppléant candidates, and the Stockholm _Dagblad_, in its
issue of the 29 May 1910, stated that the choice of suppléant, although
there might have been many thousand votes given to every candidate,
depended upon so small a difference in the totals received by each that
even one ballot paper might determine the result. This is a detail in
the system that can easily be remedied, and steps are already being
taken to bring the election of suppléants into agreement with the
election of ordinary members.

_Comparison with Belgian system._

It will be of interest to compare the Swedish with the Belgian system.
It has been shown that the method of allotting seats to different groups
is identical in principle in both countries. This method, the d'Hondt
rule, favours the largest parties, and this explains why, in the smaller
Belgian constituencies, cartels or combinations of parties take place.
The Swedish system enables such combined action to take place with
greater facility. It enables two parties to make use of the same motto
without presenting a common list of candidates. No inter-party
negotiations are required, as in Belgium, with reference to the order in
which the names of candidates shall appear upon the list. In Sweden each
group can put forward its own list of candidates, and so long as the
electors make use of the same motto at the head of the ballot paper the
combination gains the additional representation which may fall to it as
a result of being treated as one party, whilst the share falling to each
section is determined by the number of votes recorded for their
respective candidates.

The Swedish method of choosing the successful candidates from the
various lists differs materially from that used in Belgium. In Sweden
the d'Hondt rule is used not only for the allotment of seats to parties,
but also in the selection of the successful candidates. In Belgium the
use of the d'Hondt rule is restricted to the former purpose, and when
once the electoral quotient is ascertained the rule is discarded. The
difference in the two methods can be illustrated from the Stockholm
municipal election of 1910. In the fifth ward the ballot paper of the
Moderate party was as follows:--

von Rosen.

The line in the ballot paper divides the eight candidates for election
as members from those who were standing for election as suppléants only.
The votes recorded for the Moderate party numbered 118,483, of which
86,851 were given for the party ticket as printed. The number of votes
accepting the party order of the first three candidates was about
93,000. This latter number was more than three-fourths, but less than
four-fifths of the total, and therefore only the first three candidates
on the ballot paper could be declared elected in accordance with the
rule of the order of preference. The remaining four members had to be
chosen by the reduction rule; the votes recorded for the five
non-elected candidates were ascertained, the papers containing the names
of the three elected candidates being treated for this purpose as of the
value of one-fourth.

Some of the supporters of the eighth and sixth candidates had struck out
the names of the fourth and other candidates. This manoeuvre had the
result of placing these two candidates in the order named at the head of
the poll at the fourth and fifth counts, and they were accordingly
elected. Other candidates had received exclusive support, and it should
be pointed out that it is the total amount of exclusive support
recorded for all candidates which determines how soon the application of
the rule of the order of preference breaks down. As soon as this takes
place the election of any one candidate may depend, as in the election
of the suppléants, upon the action of a comparatively small number of
voters. Thus, some supporters of the fifth candidate, a Miss Palmgren,
had struck out the names of all candidates save hers. Those papers which
contained her name alone were treated as of full value, and although the
votes of these supporters only numbered 1100, or less than 1 per cent.
of the whole, they were sufficient to turn the scale in her favour. As,
however, 86,851 votes out of a total of 118,453, had been recorded for
the list as printed, showing that this proportion of voters preferred
the fourth candidate to those that succeeded him, it would certainly
seem that the result was not fair to this candidate. In Belgium if seven
seats were won by a party which polled 118,453 votes, the electoral
quotient would not be more than one-seventh of this total, and the
election of the first candidate, instead of absorbing one-half the value
of the votes, would consume only one-seventh. The election of the first
two candidates would absorb two-sevenths instead of two-thirds, the
election of three candidates would consume three-sevenths instead of
three-fourths, and the election of four candidates would consume
four-sevenths instead of four-fifths. In the Stockholm election more
than five-sevenths of the voters had supported the party list as it was
printed, and according to the Belgian system the first five candidates
would have been declared elected.

_The system and party organization_.

The Swedish rule of selecting successful candidates is defended on the
ground that it confers great power upon the electors. These can if
necessary more effectively express their disapproval of the list put
forward by the party organization, and as it is thought that a large
number of voters too readily accept the party lead, a counterpoise is
considered desirable. Recent experience in Belgium, however, would tend
to show that a greater knowledge of their power has induced more and
more electors to make use of the opportunity which that system allows of
expressing individual preferences. If we regard a party as consisting of
two groups--those that follow the party lead, and those which, whilst
supporting the party, desire to assert their own preferences--then as
between these two groups the Belgian system is strictly fair. If a party
wins seven seats and four-sevenths of the party support the official
list, this group would obtain four out of the seven seats; but in
Sweden, as has been shown, at least four-fifths must support the
official list before the first four candidates can be sure of election.
The Swedish system discriminates in favour of the dissentients within a
party, and this discrimination may have unexpected effects on party
organization. The Belgian method has induced parties to welcome the
support of all sections, knowing that such sections will not obtain more
than their fair share of influence. In Sweden the tendency may be for
party organizers to regard the support of various sections with
suspicion, because, whilst these sections will obtain the full advantage
of the party vote, their independent action may result in the gain of
the section at the expense of the party as a whole. As a result of the
Stockholm election referred to, the opinion was expressed by party
organizers that it would be necessary to limit the number of candidates
on a list to the number which the party knew it could carry. This would
be an undesirable outcome of a rule designed to secure greater freedom
for the elector, for it would tend to make party discipline more strict
and parties exclusive rather than inclusive, as is the case in Belgium.
It should, however, be added that in the large majority of the
provincial council elections the selection of candidates was made in
accordance with the rule of the order of preference. It would,
therefore, seem that party organizers, as a rule, took care to present
lists of candidates acceptable to the party as a whole.

_The great improvement effected by the Swedish system_.

The new Swedish electoral system, like all proportional systems,
constitutes a striking advance upon the previous electoral conditions.
The extent of the improvement will, of course, be seen from a comparison
of some of its results with those of former years. For example,
Stockholm used to be represented in the Lower Chamber by twenty-two
members chosen by the "block" system, or _scrutin de liste_. The party
in the majority monopolized the representation, and the absurdity of the
system was well illustrated by an incident in the election of 1882,
which was preceded by a severe struggle between the advocates of free
trade and protection. At this election Stockholm returned twenty-two
free traders, but as one of the elected members had not paid his taxes,
all the voting papers containing his name were declared to be invalid.
In consequence the twenty-two free traders were unseated and the
twenty-two protectionist candidates were declared elected in their
place. An attempt was made to ameliorate the evils of this system by
dividing the town into five parliamentary districts, but, although so
divided, Stockholm in 1908 returned twenty-one members, all of whom were
either Liberals or Socialists, the large minority of Moderates being
unrepresented. When the proportional system was applied in March 1910 to
the election of the municipal council, each party obtained its fair
share of representation in each of the six wards of the city, and the
total result shows how large an improvement is effected by the
new method:--

Parties. Votes Seats Seats in
Obtained. Obtained. Proportion
to Votes.
Moderate 281,743 22 24
Liberal 142,639 12 12
Socialist 160,607 16 14
584,989 50 50

In the election of the provincial council of Bleking the result was as

Parties. Votes Seats Seats in
Obtained. Obtained. Proportion
to Votes.
------------------------ -----------------------
Moderate 54,465 22 22.4
Liberal 36,595 10 15.1
Socialist 3,617 1 1.5
94,677 39 39

The general fairness of these results is all the more remarkable,
because in Stockholm there was a very considerable variation in the
value of a vote in the different wards, whilst many of the
constituencies in the province of Bleking returned only a few members,
and these did not give full play to the proportional system. The figures
confirm the experience of all other countries, that a proportional
system, even when applied to comparatively small constituencies, yields
results which approximate very closely to the ideal aimed at, the true
representation of the electors.

[Footnote 1: The town councils were elected in one stage; each elector
had one vote for every 100 kroner income, subject to a limit of 100
votes. The members of the town council, when electing members of the
provincial councils, had only one vote each.]

[Footnote 2: A ballot paper is not declared invalid even if it contains
the names of more candidates than there are members to be elected
(except at the elections of parliamentary committees). The names in
excess are regarded as suppléant candidates (see _Election of
Suppléants_) to the number of two in the elections for the Riksdag and
the town councils, and to a number equal to the number of members at the
election for the provincial councils. Any additional names on a ballot
paper are regarded as non-existent.]

[Footnote 3: This paper bore the signature of the elector.]



_The influence of the Belgian system._

The system of proportional representation introduced into Finland by the
electoral law of 1906, while it presents little or no difficulty to the
voter, is, in its method of counting the votes, perhaps the most
complicated of the systems at present in force. It has for its basis the
Belgian List system and the d'Hondt rule, but the variations which were
introduced with the object of safeguarding the rights of the electors
against the possible tyranny of party managers are so important that at
the first glance its resemblance to the parent system is not easily
recognized. The Belgian model is followed more closely in the method of
distributing the seats to the various parties than in the manner in
which the successful candidates are chosen from the party lists. In its
internal party arrangement the Finnish system shows boldness,
originality, and, it must be added, no little complexity of procedure.

_Schedules and "compacts" in place of lists._

Finland is divided into sixteen electoral districts returning from six
to twenty-three members, with the one exception of Lapland, which is a
single-member constituency. In each constituency any group of not less
than fifty electors can put forward a schedule of not more than three
candidates, however many may be the total number of members to be
elected. Each of these schedules may be headed with the name of a party
or some political motto. The persons responsible for these schedules
may, and commonly do, combine them in groups known as "compacts," and
it is these compacts, and not the original schedules, which correspond
roughly to the party "lists" of the Belgian system, the only limit to
this power of combination being that the combined schedules must not
contain the names of more candidates than there are vacancies to be
filled. But as the names of the same candidates may, and constantly do,
occur in many different schedules within a single compact, a first
glance at a Finnish polling paper would seem to show in each combination
the names of more candidates than there are vacancies. The compact bears
the name of the political party to which it belongs. Combination into
compacts is, of course, optional, and a certain number of schedules are
put forward independently. A vacant corner is reserved on the ballot
paper where any elector who is not content with any of the schedules
submitted may make his own schedule.

_An election in Nyland_.

The system may be more fully understood from some details of the
election of 1907 in the Nyland division. In this division, the largest
in Finland, returning twenty-three members, no less than seventy-two
schedules were presented, or which all except five were combined into
compacts. The five remained isolated. Of the combined schedules
seventeen were included in the compact of the Swedish party, but the
individual candidates in these seventeen schedules numbered only
twenty-three, the legal limit, the same names being repeated in several
schedules. The old Finnish compact contained thirteen schedules, the
Young Finns seventeen, the Social Democrats eight, the "Christian"
compact seven, the "Free Christian" compact three, and the Radicals two.

As already stated, the voter's task is not difficult. He, or she, simply
marks the schedule of his, or her, choice. The voter can also, if he
wishes, alter the order of the names in a schedule. The effect of doing
this will be apparent in a moment. That the task is simple is
conclusively shown by the fact that the percentage of spoilt votes was
in the Nyland division only 0.58 per cent. For the whole country the
percentage was only 0.93, and this with universal adult suffrage and a
poll of 899,347, or 70.7 per cent, of the electorate.

_The returning officer's task_.

The task of the returning officer is twofold. He has to ascertain (1)
the relative positions of candidates within each compact (or independent
schedule), and (2) their position relatively to the candidates of other
compacts in the final allotment of seats. He proceeds as follows. He
first counts the votes on each schedule, reckoning a full vote to the
first name, a half vote to the second, and a third of a vote to the
third (the effect of an alteration of the order of names in a schedule
by the voter is now apparent). Thus if schedule No. 1 (in the specimen
ballot paper on page 323), containing the names Schybergson, Neovius,
and Soderholm, receives the support of 6000 voters in all, of whom 3000
have placed Schybergson as No. 1, 2000 as No. 2, and 1000 as No. 3,
Schybergson will have a total of 3000 + 2000/2 + 1000/3 = 4333.
Similarly, if Neovius obtains the support of 2000 as No. 1, 2000 as No.
2, and 2000 as No. 3, his total will be 2000 + 2000/2 + 2000/3 = 3666;
Soderholm, the third candidate, would receive 1000 votes as No. 1, 2000
as No. 2, and 3000 as No. 3, and his total would be 1000 + 2000/2 +
3000/3 = 3000. But these individual totals of 4333, 3666, and 3000 are
used merely to determine the order of the candidates within the schedule
itself, and having performed that function, they are not taken further
into account. In the example given (as would usually be the case in
practice) the order within the schedule has not been disturbed, and the
candidates are credited, the first (Schybergson) with the full number of
the voters who supported the schedule--6000; the second (Neovius) with
one-half that number--3000; the third (Soderholm) with one-third of that
number--2000. These last figures are called "numbers of comparison," a
phrase intended to throw light upon their function. The same process is
gone through with all the other schedules in the same compact. The
returning officer then adds up all the numbers of comparison which each
candidate has obtained in all the schedules within the compact where his
name appears, and arranges candidates within the compact in the order of
these totals. Thus, in the actual election of 1907, in the Nyland
division, Schybergson headed the Swedish party compact with 9192 as the
total of his "numbers of comparison," Soderholm coming next with 6837.

_The allotment of seats_.

When the candidates in each compact have thus been arranged in order
(and the votes given in writing by independent voters have also been
counted), the returning officer proceeds to the second stage of his
duties--the determination of the position of candidates with reference
to their competitors in other compacts; and it is on this position that
the actual allotment of seats depends. For this purpose he primarily
takes into account, not the "numbers of comparison" of individual
candidates, but the total number of voters who have supported each
compact; he credits this total to the candidate who has the highest
"number of comparison" within the compact; credits the next candidate
with one-half this total, the third candidate with one-third, and so on,
finally arranging the whole of the candidates in order. Thus far this
stage of the process is identical in substance with the Belgian method,
though the appearance is different. For, obviously, if List (or compact)
A, of which the candidates are G, H, I, in that order receives 12,000
votes, while List B, with candidates P, Q, R, receives 10,000, and List
C, with candidates X, Y, Z, receives 8000, it is all one whether the
returning officer applies the d'Hondt rule and assigns two seats to List
A (thus seating G and H), two seats to List B (thus seating P and Q),
and one seat to List C (thus seating X), or whether he tabulates the
result of the polling thus:

G 12,000 \
P 10,000 |
X 8,000 > Elected.
H 12,000/2 i.e. 6,000 |
Q 10,000/2 i.e. 5,000 /
Y 8,000/2 i.e. 4,000 Not elected, and so on.

But at this point a characteristic feature of the Finnish system comes
into play. Candidates' names may occur in more than one compact, and may
be found in isolated schedules, or on the written papers of independent
voters as well. Consequently their final order cannot be determined by
this simple application of the Belgian method. The returning officer
must[1] add to the number of votes credited to a candidate of any one
compact such additional votes as he may have obtained either as a member
of another compact or from independent voters. Thus, in the Nyland
elections, Miss Sohlberg, whose name will be found at the head of
Schedule 48 within the Swedish compact, obtained the eleventh place
within that compact. The total number of voters supporting this compact
was 44,544, and Miss Sohlberg was therefore credited with an eleventh of
this total, or 4049 votes. But Miss Sohlberg's name also occurred in
Schedules 62 and 63 in the "Free Christian" compact and Schedule 21 in
the "Christian" compact, and as her share of the votes of these compacts
she received 153 and 325 respectively. She also received four votes in
writing. Thus her final total was 4049 + 153 + 325 + 4, or 4531 in all,
and it was this number which determined her position on the poll.

_Successful candidates in the Nyland election._ This
explanation will perhaps be more comprehensible if the actual result of
the polling in the Nyland division, so far as the first 25 candidates
are concerned, is given in a tabular form:--

Final Names of Party. Number of Additional Final
Order Candidates. Votes resulting Votes. Total.
of from Place of
Poll. Candidates on
1 Schybergson Swedish 44,544 2.33 44,546.33
2 Häninan Social Dem. 40,951 6.5 40,957.5
3 Soderholm Swedish 22,272 0.33 22,272.33
4 Sillanpää Social Dem. 20,475.5 8.83 20,484.33
5 Käkikoski Old Finn 20,402 9.33 20,411.33
6 Oljemark Swedish 14,848 -- 14,848
7 Sirén Social Dem. 16,650.33 2.33 16,652.66
8 Rosenquist (G.) Swedish 8,908.8 2,932.83[2] 11,841.63
9 Rosenquist (V.) Swedish 11,136 4.33 11,140.33
10 Helle Social Dem. 10,237.75 3 10,240.75
11 Palmén Old Finn 10,201 8.83 10,209.83
12 Pertillä (E.) Social Dem. 8,190.2 4.67 8,194.87
13 Ahlroos Swedish 7,424 1 7,425
14 Pertillä (V.) Social Dem. 6,725.17 1.5 6,726.67
15 Reima Old Finn 6,800.67 5.67 6,806.34
16 Erkko Young Finn 6,521 6.32 6,527.32
17 Ehrnrooth Swedish 6,363.43 75.83 6,439.26
18 Laine (M.) Social Dem. 5,850.14 4 5,854.14
19 Wasastjerna Swedish 5,568 -- 5,568
20 Ingman Social Dem. 5,118.88 3.5 5,122.38
21 Laine (O.) Old Finn 5,100.5 -- 5,100.5
22 von Alfthan Swedish 4,949.33 -- 4,949.33
23 Johansson Social Dem. 4,550.11 1.33 4,551.44
(All the above were elected.)
24 Sohlberg Swedish 4,049.45 482.45[3] 4,531.9
25 Gustaffsson Swedish 4,454.4 4.5 4,458.9
&c. &c.

_Equitable results._

It will to some extent be gathered from the foregoing table that the
total number of the supporters of the various compacts or parties in the
Nyland division and the number of seats won were as follows:

Seats Seats in
Parties. Votes. Actually Proportion
Won. to Votes.
Swedish 44,544 9 8.7
Social Democrat 40,951 9 8.0
Old Finn 20,402 4 4.0
Young Finn 6,521 1 1.3
"Christian" compact 2,932 - .6
"Free Christian" 458 - .1
Radical 168 - -
Isolated schedules 1,356 - .3

Total 117,332 23 23.0

The result is thus in reasonable correspondence with the demands of a
strictly proportionate allotment of seats; this statement is also true
of the results for the whole of Finland, as the following table
will show:--

Seats Seats in
Parties. Votes. Actually Proportion
Won. to Votes.
Social Democrat 329,946 80 74.1
Old Finn. 243,573 59 54.7
Young Finn 121,604 26 27.3
Swedish 112,267 24 25.2
Agrarian 51,242 9 11.5
Christian Labourer 13,790 2 3.1
Minor groups 18,568 - 4.1

Total 890,990 200 200.0

An exactly mathematical distribution is, of course, not to be expected
from this, any more than from any other method which does not adopt the
system of treating a whole country as a single constituency. As to the
mechanism of the system it only remains to add that the process of
counting was found to be very lengthy. In the Nyland division, where the
results were ascertained sooner than in any other case, the elections
were held on 15 and 16 March, but the result was not announced until
the 2 April. To people accustomed to the greater rapidity of ordinary
electoral methods this will seem a serious drawback. Possibly improved
arrangements may shorten this long interval between the elections and
the announcement of the result.

It would obviously be premature to attempt to estimate the political
effects of the Finnish system as compared with other systems of
proportional representation.

_Elector's freedom of choice._

The Finnish system has been in operation since 1907, and the whole
political circumstances of Finland have undergone so many striking
changes, and so many new factors are at work that to disentangle
particular causes and effects is an impossibility. But plainly the
Finnish machinery gives a greater freedom to the elector than the
Belgian system. The Finnish system in fact encourages the electors to
arrange the candidates of a party in the order preferred by the electors
themselves, and not in the order dictated by the party managers. There
is no "party ticket" for which the elector can vote blindfold. He must
choose the schedule that he prefers; he can even rearrange that
schedule, or, if he chooses, can make one of his own. No doubt the
schedule itself is ready made for him, but it contains three names only,
and is not the equivalent of the Belgian "list." On the other hand, the
elector who chooses to vote for a schedule within a compact adds,
whether he likes it or not, to the total votes of the compact, and so
may help to return not the candidate of his choice, but the candidates
preferred by the majority of the party with which he is in sympathy. An
illustration of this fact may be taken from the Nyland poll. The old
Finnish party were alive to the possibilities of the situation, and
combined their lists with great skill so as to attract votes. They
placed their favourite candidates in nearly every schedule, but not at
the head of the schedule. At the head of the schedule they placed some
man of local popularity, usually a peasant proprietor, whose name was
not repeated in many, if any, other schedules. Thus the local favourite
attracted votes to the schedule, but in the race for the highest numbers
of comparison the candidates whose names appeared on few schedules were
left behind those whose names appeared on many schedules even in the
lower places.

A portion of the official ballot paper showing the compact put forward
by the Swedish People's Party is printed on the opposite page. In one
corner of the ballot paper was a blank schedule in the following form.

THE ELECTOR who does not approve of any of the preceding lists should
write here the names of his candidates in the order in which he wishes
them to be elected.



_Profession or Occupation_................................



_Profession or Occupation_................................



_Profession or Occupation_................................



Part of Ballot Paper--Nyland Division.

The Voters' Compact of the Swedish People's Party.

Experienced Members of the Diet:--
--Schybergson, E. K.
--Neovius, A. W.
--Soderholm, K. G.

Justice and Progress:--
--Rosenquist, G. G.
--Stromberg, J.
--Ehrnrooth, L.

The Welfare of the Rural Population;--
--Topelius, G. L.
--Alfthau, K. von
--Rosenquist, B. T.

The Welfare of the Rural Population:--
--Wasastjerna, O.
--Schybergson, E.
--Soderholin, K.

The Welfare ol the Rural Population:--
--Nordberg, G.
--Ehrnrooth, L.
--Oljemark, K. T.

The Welfare of the Rural Population. Law and Justice:--
--Oljemark, K. T.
--Schybergson, E.
--Soderholm, K.

Knowledge and Experience:--
--Runeberg, J. W.
--Bjorkenheim, G.
--Rosenquist, G. G.

Sound Development of the Community;--
--Westermarck, Helena.
--Rosenquist, B. T.
--Bjorkenheim, G.

Law and Justice:--
--Sorterholm, K.
--Alfthan, K. von
--Westermarck, Helena,

Legality and Progress:--
--Westermarck, Helena.
--Neovius, A.
--Ehrnrooth, L.

Swedish Culture:--
--Rosenqnist, B. T.
--Gustafsson, F. prof.
--Soderholm, K.

Friends of Labour and of the People:--
--Alfthan, K. von
--Gustafsson, F. prof.
--Gronroos, F.

Experience and Practical Knowledge:--
--Runeberg, J. W.
--Schybergson, E.
--Neovius, A.

The Labourers' Welfare:--
--Ahlroos, F.
--Holmberg, W.
--Ehrnrooth, L.

Commerce and Industry:
--Heimburger, W. F.
--Bjorkenheim, G.
--Schybergson, E.

Navigation and Fisheries:--
--Hjelt, Th.
--Renter, O.
--Alfthan, K.

Temperance, Morality and Popular Education:--
--Sohlberg, H.
--Ahlroos, F.
--Rosenquist, G. G.

[Footnote 1: This right of addition is subject to a limit. The
reinforcements must not raise a candidate's total above what he might
obtain if the votes given to all compacts or lists, where his name
occurs, were divided by the figure which indicates his order within the
compact from which he derives his principal strength.]

[Footnote 2: This large reinforcement of votes came from the Christian
compact, where this candidate's name appeared as well as in the
Swedish compact.]

[Footnote 3: See reference to Miss Sohlberg in preceding paragraph.]



The following tables are taken, with permission, from a paper read on 12
December 1906, by Mr. J. Rooke Corbett, M.A., before the Manchester
Statistical Society, of which a second and revised edition was published
in April 1910 by the Proportional Representation Society.

In these tables the totals for England, Wales, and Monmouth, Scotland
and Ireland are shown separately, and the figures for England have been
further subdivided according to the ten divisions into which the kingdom
is divided by the Registrar General for the purpose of his work.

These ten subdivisions are as follows:

South East--
South Midland--
West Midland--
North Midland--
West Riding.
East Riding (with York).
North Riding.
Northern Division--

The first three columns, A, B and C, show the number of members allotted
to these several divisions, the number of registered electors, and the
number of members to which each division would be entitled if the 670
members of which the House of Commons is composed were divided among the
several divisions in proportion to their electorates.

In taking the electorate as the basis of a proportionate redistribution
of seats it is not intended to prejudge the question whether population
or electorate is the better standard. The electorate has been taken
because the figures are available for the very year in which the
election takes place, whereas the population is only enumerated once in
ten years.

The columns D and E show in two groups the number of members elected for
these divisions, Liberal, Labour, and Irish members being gathered
together in one column, Conservatives alone occupying the other.

It is one of the disadvantages of our present system of representation
that it makes it quite impossible to ascertain the relative strength of
the several parties into which the voters are divided. In the great
majority of contests there is a Liberal, Labour, or Irish Nationalist
candidate on one side, and a Unionist candidate on the other, and there
is practically no evidence as to how many of the supporters of either
candidate belong to each of the parties concerned. Any estimate of the
relative strength of the Liberal and Labour parties or of the Unionist
Free Traders, and Tariff Reformers must be largely a matter of
guesswork. All that is possible, therefore, is to divide the voters into
two groups, as has been done in these tables.

The columns F and G show the total electorate of the constituencies held
respectively by the two groups of members shown in columns D and E.

The figures in these two columns are of value in showing the probable
result of a scheme of redistribution. The South-Eastern counties may be
taken as an example. These are at present represented by 48 members. The
Liberals held three constituencies in January 1910 containing an
electorate of 31,221 (columns D and F); the Conservatives held 45
constituencies containing an electorate of 604,887 (columns E and G). If
a redistribution of seats was made on the basis of equal electorates,
the South-Eastern counties would be entitled to 55 members (column C).
It may be assumed that in any rearrangement of constituencies the
parties would retain their predominance in the areas which they now

Book of the day: