Analysis of the October 2012 Municipal polls shows that the Lord Mayor’s Robert Doyle’s “Team Doyle” was disenfranchised by distortions in the electoral system. Over 8% of the electorate had no say in who represents them. Team Doyle polled 38% of the vote yet only managed to elect three Councillors disproportionate to their support.
The problem arises in the way the City Counts the vote. The method of calculating of the quota used in the election is is not proportional. With nine vacancies the quota used to determine the outcome of the election is calculated by dividing the total number of votes recorded by (the number of positions vacant plus one – referred to as Droop Quota). In the City of Melbourne’s case the total vote was divided by 10 … not 9. The quota instead of being 11.1% is reduced to 10% with up to 10% of the electorate denied representation.
By comparison the Greens, who polled just 15.5% (Less than half of that polled by Team Doyle), managed to increase their representation disproportionally, elected two Councillors – not based on merit but only due to a distortion in the proportionality and method used in counting the vote.
The reason why the method used to calculate the quota was adopted was to facilitate a manual counting process. It allowed the outcome of the election to be decided early without having to fully count all ballot papers.
Plea for pure democracy
With the use of computer based technology in counting the vote there is no justification or merit in disenfranchising voters. The system should be pure proportional, not semi proportional, with the quota equaling the total number of votes divided by the number of positions (i.e. x/9 in the case of the City of Melbourne)
Team Doyle’s surplus of 8% should have been counted and their supporters should have had a say in who represents them. This is an issue that the Lord Mayor should take up and call for a review of the current electoral procedures in 2013.