Electoral system for national legislature - Nauru

Country: 
Nauru
Question: 
Electoral system for national legislature
Answer: 
Modified BC
Comments: 

In 1971, Nauru changed its electoral system to a reinvented Borda Count, an electoral system unique to the world.

Unlike the original Borda Count, which “featured equal intervals between each preference vote, the weighting of each preference vote relative to others in Nauru is dependent on its place in the total preference ordering. Instead of being equally spaced, the weighting of votes is set at shifting intervals between 0 and 1 which are proportionate to the inverse value of the preference assigned, rather than the whole and equally spaced integers of a classic Borda count. For example, in a ten-candidate field, the classic Borda count would register the following preference score for each ballot numbered in order of preference from most to least-favoured: 1, 0.9, 0.8, 0.7 . . . 0.1. The Nauru count, by contrast, would register the same preference orderings at the following values: 1, 0.5, 0.3., 0.25 . . . 0.1.”

This criterion has implications: “It assumes that voters care more about their higher-order choices than their lower-order ones. Each preference vote is accorded an exponentially smaller weight than its predecessor, and the “distance” between each preference vote is thus much greater for higher-order preferences than lower-order ones.” This overcomes the critique many have for preference voting systems, where equality of preference ordering is assumed.

For a more detailed explanation and rundown on the workings of the Modified Borda Count, the following source is recommended:

Source: Benjamin Reilly. Social Choice in the South Seas: Electoral Innovation and the Borda Count in the Pacific Island Countries. 2002

Source: 

Republic of Nauru, Electoral Act, No. 15 of 2016 (currently in force), accessed 18 July 2019

74. Casting of vote

A voter must cast his or her vote by placing in the squares respectively opposite the names of the candidates so as to indicate the order of preference for them, the numbers:

(a) 1 and 2 where there are two candidates;

(b) 1, 2 and 3 where there are three candidates;

(c)  1, 2, 3 and 4 where there are four candidates; and

(d) so on as the case requires.

85. Determination of result of election

(1) In a constituency returning 2 members, the 2 candidates receiving the highest total value of votes calculated under section 84 are elected.

(2) In a constituency returning 3 members, the 3 candidates receiving the highest total value of votes calculated in accordance with section 84 are elected.

(3) In a constituency returning 4 members, the 4 candidates receiving the highest total value of votes calculated in accordance with section 84 are elected.

(4) If 2 or more candidates receive an equal value of votes and one or more of the candidates must be excluded, the Electoral Commissioner must determine under section 87 the candidate or candidates to be excluded.

87. Determination of exclusion of candidate

(1) In this section: ‘relevant candidate’ means a candidate who may be excluded as a result of the Electoral Commissioner’s determination.

(2) If the Electoral Commissioner is required, under section 85(4) or 86(4), to determine a candidate or candidates to be excluded, the Electoral Commissioner must:

(a) in relation to each relevant candidate, deduct from the total value of the votes received by the candidate the value that was derived from last preference votes; and

(b) identify which of the relevant candidates has the highest remaining value of votes after making the deduction; and

(c)  exclude each other relevant candidate.

(3) If, after making the deduction, the remaining value of votes for each of the relevant candidates remains equal, the Electoral Commissioner must repeat the procedure of deduction in respect of second-last preference votes, third-last preference votes, and so on, until it is possible to identify one candidate with the highest remaining value of votes and to exclude the other relevant candidate or candidates.

(4) If it is not possible to exclude any candidate under subsection (2) or (3) because the preference votes received by each of the relevant candidates are equal in every respect, the Electoral Commissioner must determine by lot a candidate or candidates to be excluded, using a random method of selection such as:

(a) tossing a coin; or

(b) drawing the names out of a container in such matter that the Electoral Commissioner cannot see which names he or she is drawing.

(5) A determination by lot under subsection (4) must be made in the presence of each of the relevant candidates and a police officer.