There is a (possibly) new idea which had a fair bit of support in the preliminaries of the BC Referendum. It did not make it into the final 3 but a part of it is interesting and might be worth incorporating into other systems. This is the concept of local district clusters instead of Multi-member districts. The traditional Multi-member districts just take the single member districts and combine them. Lets take 5 for example. All single member districts are combined into clusters of 5 with 5 seats up for grabs and most major parties running 5 candidates. What the difference is in this “Local” system is that each candidate would be elected to a specific single member district inside the cluster of 5. So the first winner would eliminate all other candidates running in the district they won. To the best of my knowledge this was the idea of Byron Becker for his Local PR system (http://localpr.ca/basics/overview/).
- Each elected person is responsible for a smaller area and can focus on the specific issues of that region
- Each citizen from that district has a specific representative for local issues who can be held to account. ie issues with traffic/schools/hospitals can’t have the buck passed by blaming other representative. For partisan issues they would go to the representative in their cluster who is most likely to agree with them like in STV.
- All the best candidates may be running in one district so when it is won they don’t compete in other races. The parties would have to decide who to run in what riding but I think this gets done already. I would favour a system where representative have to at least have a mailing address in the riding they hope to represent. In the last Canadian federal election an MP won a district without having a mailing address in Canada. So I am not sure this is really a con per se.