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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: New Zealand General Election, 2014 on: March 10, 2014, 07:44:51 am
New Zealand Herald report.

New Zealand will go to the polls on September 20.

Prime Minister John Key announced the election date during his post Cabinet press conference this afternoon.

No room left for speculation.
2  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: What would happen after proven Presidential election fraud? on: January 15, 2014, 05:41:38 pm
If Congress had accepted the fraudulently obtained electoral votes and declared the President and Vice President elected because of them, I do not see a constitutional basis to subsequently challenge the result of the election before the Courts. The only remedy would be impeachment by the House and conviction by the Senate. If that did not work, then the election would have been successfully stolen, with whatever damage that might cause to the Republic..

I think US courts would decide the whole issue would be a political question, for the political branches of the government to sort out. The power to count the electoral votes is exclusively vested in Congress and there is no constitutional provision allowing Congress to subsequently alter the official result of the election.
3  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: New UK basemaps (2010 and 2015 parliaments) on: January 15, 2014, 07:59:07 am
In the last boundary review, which was closed down before final proposals were produced, the Boundary Commission for England avoided crossing any regional boundaries. This is a policy of the Commission rather than a statutory requirement.

It will be interesting to see if the Commission adopts the same policy for the next review, due to take place during the next Parliament under current law.

4  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK - 1970 vs 1974 Boundaries on: January 13, 2014, 02:18:55 pm
The British General Election of February 1974, by David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh (The Macmillan Press Ltd, 1974) SBN 333 17297 3, provides more information.

In a statistical appendix, between pages 285 and 307 inclusive, a constituency results table is included. On page 284 some notes explain some of the entries in the table.

In constituencies affected by boundary revision, the increase in turnout, the swing and the increase in the Liberal vote are measured from a recalculation of the 1970 results within the new boundaries. For turnout and the Liberal vote an even distribution was assumed within old constituencies; for the Conservative and Labour votes an estimate was made from local election results for each part of an old constituency going into a different new one. Where the Degree of Identity is 80% or more, these figures can be relied on. In constituencies which were more affected by boundary changes, the notional bases are sometimes uncertain. Swing figures are set in italics in those cases where the uncertainty might involve an error of more than 1%.

Calculations made for the table seems to have similarities to the sort of notional calculations made and published, in more detail, after subsequent boundary changes. However the table does not set out the notional change in individual party votes (except for the Liberal Party).
5  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK - 1970 vs 1974 Boundaries on: January 13, 2014, 01:34:36 pm
I have not located any notional results, but F.W.S. Craig did compile a book called Boundaries of Parliamentary Constituencies 1885-1972 (Parliamentary Reference Publications, Chichester 1972) ISBN 0 900178 09 4.

In the Introductory Notes (page xi), it is stated "of the constituencies existing at the time of the 1970 election, 325 have had major changes and 90 received minor alterations. The number of seats in the House of Commons has been increased to 635".

The book also indicates which seats were unchanged or subject to minor changes, by a symbol next to the constituency name in Part 3 which gives the boundaries of the seats legally approved in 1971 and as it turned out first used in 1974. The information could be used to reduce the number of seats where notional figures might be needed.
6  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International What-ifs / Re: Who Would Have Voted For?-British Edition on: January 13, 2014, 09:34:02 am
Is National Progressive a Peelite/Liberal Conservative in the 1830s and 1840s? Clearly not attracted by Lord George Bentinck and Proctectionist Conservatism.
7  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Italy 2014: Waiting for the Election... on: January 08, 2014, 02:55:30 pm
I really do not understand why Italians want a deliberately disproportional electoral system, designed to manufacture an unjustified Parliamentary majority. It almost guarantees that parties supported by the majority of the electorate will be in opposition and the government would have more power than any truly proportional system would give it. I question if such a system can even be defined as democratic.

It is true that majoritarian systems can also produce disproportionate results. However that is not an automatic result of the systems themselves, just a consequence of a particular vote distribution.
8  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Australia 2013 - Results thread on: November 05, 2013, 12:00:02 pm
The Australian legislation seems to give the Court of Disputed Returns a very wide discretion. It can declare a candidate elected or not validly elected or that the election is absolutely void.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, there is a precedent that some Senators can be validly elected even though another from the same state in the same election had a void election. I do not see why that precedent is not still valid, just because the electoral system now is different from when the precedent was set.

The court has been given an unusually wide discretion in this area, so it may not consider precedent to be as binding as in most areas of law. However, I do see an argument that the court should not declare the election of all six Senators void when certainly three and arguably four of them were indisputably validly elected by the people of Western Australia.

It really comes down to whether the court of disputed returns thinks it appropriate to take account of the likely political consequences of ordering a two seat re-vote (almost certainly electing 1 Labor and 1 Liberal Senator) compared to a six seat re-vote (my guess at the likely result 3 Liberal, 2 Labor and 1 Green/Palmer United/lucky micro party Senator). Either way the result would be different from that if the previous recount had been perfect.
9  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Australia 2013 - Results thread on: October 31, 2013, 07:52:39 am
There seems to be some discussion in Australia about whether the courts might order a re-run of the whole Western Australian Senate election (all 6 seats) or just the 2 seats which are particularly in dispute.

There is a precedent, more than a century ago when the Senate was elected by the block vote system, where the High Court declared the election of one South Australian Senator void. It left the election of the other two Senators from the state in the half Senate election undisturbed. I do not see why that precedent would not apply, even with the current preferential voting system.

Senators whose election would not have been affected by the recount or the missing ballots should not have to face a re-vote. They have been validly elected and the court of disputed returns (in my totally non expert interpretation of Australian law) does not have power to set aside those undisputed returns.

10  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: New Zealand General Election, 2014 on: October 21, 2013, 07:13:03 am
The New Zealand Parliament, being a lot smaller than the UK Parliament, has more problems with third party diversity in a first past the post system. A major reason why MMP was introduced was that increasing minor party votes produced very disproportionate election outcomes.

What seems to have happened, since MMP started, is that the exact composition of the non major party members can change but there are always too many for one party to get a majority.
11  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK North - South Divide on: October 21, 2013, 07:01:54 am
The observed effect is largely an urban-rural divide. The midlands and north have more urban areas than the south (apart from London). Historic coal mining activity is also more common in the north and midlands, which made some more rural districts more Labour friendly than most less urban areas. The only south eastern English coal mines were in Kent. Superimposed upon the urban-rural divide is a core-periphery division, which has probably grown more pronounced since the 1960s, depressing the Conservative vote somewhat depending upon distance from the capital.

The strongest Conservative region is (and has been since about the mid nineteenth century) the south east. The south west is also distinctive, because Labour is weaker than in the north and midlands, so the Liberals/Liberal Democrats have often benefited from the core-periphery dimension.
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Australia 2013 - Results thread on: September 25, 2013, 02:30:57 pm
There has been a development in the count for the Queensland division of Fisher. The AEC had previously listed the seat as LNP ahead, on the basis of a two party preferred count against the ALP. However the PUP first preference vote, in third place, was not very far behind the ALP vote. Presumably transfers from the other seven candidates have pushed PUP above ALP, so that a full preference count is needed to decide if LNP or PUP have won the seat.

LNP only had 44.46% of the first preference vote, so a victory from the third first preference place might be possible.

13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election 2015 on: May 24, 2013, 04:15:17 pm
Unfortunately after a few weeks in 2010, when there seemed a chance of moving towards proportional representation for the House of Commons, the concrete of the status quo re-solidified. I fear the issue will not be revisited after the next general election.
14  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK local by-elections 2013 on: May 24, 2013, 11:12:22 am
Whitwell Ward by-election result

Mills, Vivienne Patricia (Whitwell Residents Association)   347 (elected)
Raspin, Frank Philip   (Labour Party)                                 256

15  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: EP elections 2014 on: May 06, 2013, 05:30:51 pm
The impression I get is that UKIP want to be the most xenophobic nationalist party they can be, without toppling over into totalitarian and neo-nazi or fascist territory. This is not a mindset that will make it easy to build alliances with groups from other European countries.
16  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Australia - 14 September 2013 on: May 01, 2013, 06:44:13 am
It seems to be the Anti Green Party, abolishing the carbon tax and promoting mining. The objectives do not say anything obvious about taxation, but presumably a billionaire sponsored party will believe in reducing taxes on the rich.

I suspect the new party will not achieve much.
17  General Discussion / History / Re: Rank the UK Prime Ministers since you were born on: April 28, 2013, 01:56:38 pm
I was born about a month before the end of Winston Churchill's last premiership (in 1955). I started taking a personal interest in politics in about 1967. I can therefore cover a longer period, with a bit more perspective, than some posters.

I seem to value the pre-Thatcher Prime Minister's more highly than the post Thatcher ones. As to Mrs Thatcher herself, I would be interested to see the definitive biography, written in about 50 years by someone not yet born. It is a pity I will not live that long, but presumably some of the younger readers will.

Looking at the Prime Ministers from 1955, they seem to be a fairly mediocre bunch. The only true great was Churchill, but that was for 1940-45. His post war premiership was definitely an underwhelming anti climax.

First the politicians of the post war consensus era.
1. Sir Winston Churchill (1940-45 and 1951-55).
2. James Callaghan (1976-79) (he is perhaps generally undervalued, because he was Prime Minister for a relatively short time, in difficult circumstances).
3. Harold Macmillan (1957-63).
4. Sir Alec Douglas-Home (1963-64) (another short term Prime Minister, who may not be highly regarded but he almost won in 1964 and I rate him more highly than either Heath or Wilson).
5. Harold Wilson (1964-70 and 1974-76).
6. Edward Heath (1970-74). I did not think much of him at the time.
7. Sir Anthony Eden (1955-57). Oh dear - the great foreign policy specialist, done in by a foreign policy disaster (Suez).

Then Thatcher and her heirs.
8. Mrs Thatcher (1979-90). A significant historical figure, but so divisive. I think it was right that British society and economy needed some changes. I am not so sure that the Thatcher changes were the right ones and I am certain that in some respects she went too far.
9. John Major (1990-97).
10. David Cameron (2010-).
11. Tony Blair (1997-2007). He could have been so much more, if he had not thrown away his chance. He did not approve of the most significant achievements of his government (the constitutional changes inherited from his Labour predecessor John Smith - who shares with Hugh Gaitskell the melancholy fate of being a potentially great Prime Minister who died too soon). Instead Blair chased transient headlines and largely pointless administrative "reforms", which will never be more than footnotes in specialist histories. I despair of his foreign policy.
12. Gordon Brown (2007-10). Even more flawed than Blair.
18  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: South Shields by-election, 2013 on: April 06, 2013, 06:57:55 pm
Further research in The Times. Its December 9, 1918 edition gave some details of the candidates. Mr George John Rowe turned out to be the Tyne district delegate of the Boilermakers' Society. It did not mention where he lived or his place of birth.
19  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: South Shields by-election, 2013 on: April 06, 2013, 06:35:33 pm
The first South Shields Labour candidate was G.J. Rowe in 1918. He does not seem to have contested any other Parliamentary elections. The Times prints a list of nominations, in its edition of December 5, 1918. This confirms that Mr Rowe's first name was George.

Mr Rowe does not seem to have achieved any prominence in public life, so I am unable to confirm if he was a local man or a carpetbagger.

20  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Italy 2013: The official thread on: March 29, 2013, 06:06:23 pm
How about PD announcing that, as public spirited Italians wanting to keep Silvio Berlusconi out of power, they will vote to give a Grillo party minority government confidence and supply; without requiring any prior agreement on what the minority government would do.

That way PD can choose the timing of the next general election, by deciding when to withdraw support. The Grillo party should take the major blame for anything that goes wrong whilst they are in government, as well as no longer being a nice shiny anti-system party.

I do not know if this sort of idea would make any sense to Italians. Is there some Italian concept, like the idea in British politics that the Queen's government must be carried on (at least sufficiently to delay the next election for about six months)?
21  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Election Night 1983 : The Anniversary on: March 27, 2013, 11:58:40 am
As I recall, from reading the Nuffield election book about the 1955 election, that was the first general election the BBC broadcast in anything like a modern manner. Before that the corporation restricted itself with absurd rules about avoiding political controversy.
22  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Weimar Germany's presidential election rules on: March 15, 2013, 07:18:16 pm
The Wikipedia article on 'Presidents of Germany (1919-1945)' explains the Presidential election system.

Under the Weimar constitution, the President was directly elected by universal adult suffrage for a term of seven years; reelection was not limited.

The law provided that the presidency was open to all German citizens who had reached 35 years of age. The direct election of the president occurred under a form of the two round system. If no candidate received the support of an absolute majority of votes cast (i.e. more than half) in a first round of voting, a second vote was held at a later date. In this round the candidate who received the support of a plurality of voters was deemed elected. A group could also nominate a substitute candidate in the second round, in place of the candidate it had supported in the first.

The purpose of the second round seems to be that candidates with no chance would (hopefully) withdraw and that similar groups could combine to support the same candidate.

I think that the Germans adopted the second ballot system, as it existed in the French Third Republic. The second ballot system was discussed, in a book published in 1911 (now available through the Project Gutenberg website), Proportional Representation by John H. Humphreys.

The Reports furnished by His Majesty's representatives abroad show that the second ballot, in one form or another, is, or has been, in force in the majority of continental countries. The forms differ in detail, but reference need only be made to the three chief types. In Germany the two candidates highest at the first poll proceed to a second election. It was this form of the second ballot that was introduced into New Zealand in 1908. In France all candidates in the original election and even fresh candidates may stand at the second election. At this second poll a relativeónot an absoluteómajority of votes is sufficient to secure the election of a candidate. As a rule only the two candidates highest at the first election take part in the second ballot, and therefore in practice the German and French methods closely approximate to one another. The third type concerns the application of the second ballot to the scrutin de liste or block vote in multi-member constituencies. It was formerly used in the Belgian parliamentary elections, and is still employed in the election for the Belgian Provincial Councils. The candidates who receive the support of an absolute majority of the electors voting at the first ballot are at once declared elected; the candidates next highest on the poll, but only so many as are equal to double the number of vacancies remaining to be filled, take part in a second ballot.
23  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK local by-elections 2013 on: March 15, 2013, 10:14:33 am
The Aldwick East result is interesting. In southern England the Liberal Democrats often have a significant vote, which tends to get swamped by the Tories support in many contests. If UKIP and the Conservatives are both competitive in a ward, which the Liberal Democrats actively contest, the Lib Dem chances of emerging as the winner increase.

24  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: 2013 Kenyan general elections on: March 09, 2013, 09:02:52 am
That went well ...

What I meant to say was that the BBC report, I just saw, confirmed Mr Odinga was going to challenge the result. He has a week to take the challenge to the Supreme Court, which then has a couple of weeks to rule on it.
25  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: 2013 Kenyan general elections on: March 09, 2013, 08:58:37 am
From the BBC
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