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date: 13 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Electoral systems matter. They are a crucial link in the chain connecting the preferences of citizens to the policy choices made by governments. They are chosen by political actors and, once in existence, have political consequences for those actors. This chapter argues that electoral system choice is a highly consequential matter for democratic states and offers a comparative overview of the principal means by which electoral systems vary. What are the essential components of real-world electoral systems? The chapter emphasizes the importance of district magnitude, ballot structure (with three main types: categorical, dividual, and ordinal), “levels” of seat allocation, methods of selecting candidates within parties, and devices for limiting proportionality.

Keywords: district magnitude, ballot structure, candidate choice, levels of seat allocation, proportionality, thresholds

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