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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 53

Case of Several Vacancies

page 44

Case of Several Vacancies.

Hitherto we have supposed that there is only one vacancy to be filled. If there be more than one vacancy we have to settle a most important question before we can consider what method of election is to be adopted. This question is as follows:—Is the majority of the electors to fill the whole of the vacancies, or are the successful candidates supposed to represent the different sections of the electoral body? The first case is that of the selection by a board of governors of officers to fill various offices. No question of representation is involved, but simply the selection of those persons most fit, in the opinion of the whole electoral body, to fill the different offices. The second case is that of the selection of representatives by a large electoral body. In the first case the "whole electoral body has to decide for itself once for all, and the majority must rule. In the second case the electoral body has to select representatives, who are to decide and act for it in a variety of matters; and in order that the decision may be as far as possible in accordance with the views of the electoral body, it is necessary that all the different sections thereof should, as far as possible, be represented.

In the first case there is only one method of arriving at the correct result, and the method is to fill each vacancy separately. Thus one person must be elected by the method described above; then by means of the same set of voting papers we must proceed to a second election for the next vacancy, and so on till all the vacancies are filled. After each vacancy is filled we must of course suppose the name of the successful candidate erased from all the voting papers.

The second case—that of the selection of representatives —has been considered by Hare, Andræ, and other writers. It is not proposed here to discuss this question beyond pointing out that it follows from the principles which have been established in this paper that the process of "elimination" which has been adopted by all the exponents of Hare's system is not satisfactory.

Mason, Firth & M'Cutcheon, Printers, Melbourne.