d'Hondt

I get slight cross when the method of allocating seats for the European Parliament Elections is referred to as complicated.  So long as you can divide by 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9 its really easy.

Lets look at the last European Result in Scotland in 2014.  Scotland has 6 MEPs to elect.

2014 Election
Party SNP Lab Con UKIP Green LibDem Brit1st BNP NO2EU Total
Votes 389,503 346,219 231,330 140,534 108,305 95,319 13,639 10,316 6,418 1,341,583
Stage 2 194,752 346,219 231,330 140,534 108,305 95,319 13,639 10,316 6,418 1,341,583
Stage 3 194,752 173,110 231,330 140,534 108,305 95,319 13,639 10,316 6,418 1,341,583
Stage 4 194,752 173,110 115,665 140,534 108,305 95,319 13,639 10,316 6,418 1,341,583
Stage 5 129,834 173,110 115,665 140,534 108,305 95,319 13,639 10,316 6,418 1,341,583
Stage 6  129,834 115,406 115,665 140,534 108,305 95,319 13,639 10,316 6,418 1,341,583


The SNP has the largest number of votes, 389,503 so they get a seat (red).  But for them to get a second that pool of votes would need to be shared between 2 MEPs so their vote is divided into 2 for Stage 2.  

In Stage 2, Labour has the highest number so they get an MEP and their vote is divided by 2.

In Stage 3, The Tories get a seat and their vote is divided by 2.  

In Stage 4, the SNP get a second seat.  Now if the SNP were to get a third seat, their vote would need to be shared between 3, so their original vote is now divided by 3. 

In Stage 5,  Labour get a second seat and like the SNP in Stage 4, their original vote is not divided by 3.  

In Stage 6, UKIP has the highest number and therefore takes the final seat.  


You'll notice a few things here : the parties will very low number of votes - Brit1st,BNP, No2EU didn't get a look in.    But neither did Greens or LibDems.  Greens would have needed some 32,000 more votes to overtake UKIP - an increase of some 30% on their performance.  For Greens to have won, they would have needed to find nearly 1 extra voter for every 2 they had.  That's a big hill.  The hill for the LibDems was even steeper.

The SNP was the numerical runner up.  But for them to reach 140k they too would need  to find another 32,000 voter (32,100 to be exact).  That's because the 129,834 figures is a third of their original vote.  However, it is perhaps easier to envisage the SNP finding an extra 8%.   

However you wish to cut it however, UKIP with 140k votes won despite there being nearly 450k unused votes between SNP, Labour, Greens and LibDems and I'm hoping very few of those voters would be happy with the thought that their votes sat in a useless pile while UKIP got elected.  

And that's the weakness of d'Hondt : it's the second dumbest electoral system after first past the post as it doesn't allow transfers between parties.   And of course, parties get to decide the order of candidates on the list and there is nothing voters can do about this.

If you'd like that explained a different way, watch this video

You Tube https://youtu.be/6CU3F3ToIIg

If you've read this far and want to know how my preferred system of proportional system works see https://www.debrastorr.org/2017/04/stv-its-not-hard.html


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