Party List Proportional Elections

Proposed voting method for May 5 convention

The PGP gets a total of 11 delegates to the GPUS presidential nominating convention this year. I propose to assign them proportionally using the party list, largest remainder method, with the simple quota.

Here’s how it works. Once the ballots are in, a quota is calculated for how many votes are worth one delegate. This is simply the number of votes divided by the number of delegates.

q = v/d

For example, if a total of 99 votes are cast, a candidate receives 1 delegate for every 99/11 = 9 votes received.

What about the extra votes?

Of course, many candidates will get vote totals that aren’t an exact multiple of the quota. We call the number of votes over a multiple of the quota (or zero) the remainder. This remainder is used to assign the last few delegates, in order from largest to smallest. Suppose in our example we had five candidates with this result:

Candidate A: 19 = 2*9 + 1
Candidate B: 7 = 0*9 + 7
Candidate C: 28 = 3*9 + 1
Candidate D: 13 = 1*9 + 4
Candidate E: 32 = 3*9 + 5

Candidate A has outright won 2 delegates, B won 0, C won 3, D won 1, and E won 3. That’s 9 delegates awarded so far. Who gets the last 2? Look for the largest remainders: Candidate B has 7, and E has 5. They get the other 2 delegates.

In practice, the quota will likely have a decimal portion, e.g. 8.18 if there were 90 votes. That adds a bit of scribbling to the math but it all works the same.


Ties are possible in the largest-remainder phase. I propose that ties be broken in favor of candidate(s) with fewest delegates, if any. Any further tie between them should be broken randomly.

Why I think this method is appropriate

A delegation should accurately reflect the electorate, which proportional voting does best. The most convenient email voting platform, OpaVote, does offer STV proportional voting. Unfortunately, their STV methods are not designed to award multiple wins (i.e. delegates) to a candidate.

I designed a similar but more complex method used at the 2020 nominating convention. That used ranked choice ballots to transfer votes from candidates who would win no delegates, until all remaining candidates won at least one. While successful, the result was not easily read from the published results.

If we adopt this method, you’ll get a simple result from OpaVote stating how many votes each candidate got, and the total number of votes. It will say one is the “winner,” but think of that as the “winner” of a primary that isn’t winner-take-all. You can figure for yourself how the apportionment will go, except for random tiebreaks. We’ll send out a report based on these results.

More about proportional voting systems

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