In designing a system of public funding for political parties, I want part of this funding to reward electoral performance. In order to avoid fairly reward each party, the amount of funding is based not on the number of elected officials, but on the number of votes (to avoid losing votes for parties whose candidates are not elected).
However, I still need to find a way to fairly split the funding going to a multi-party list of candidates. Let's consider a little scenario.
For the upcoming election, small but growing centrist Party A teams up with large but slightly declining center-right Party B; the two political parties will present a single list (AB) of candidates.
Following the election, parties A and B have received votes and, therefore, a number of representatives. Ahead of the next financial year, public funding is to be allocated based on the number of votes received. How do we know how many received by the list AB were actually for Party A or Party B?
Here are a few options and comments:
- Votes are split 50-50 between parties A and B. This feels fair at first, but is likely to lead large parties to refrain from alliances with noticeably smaller parties, since they would lose out quite a bit on post-electoral funding.
- Votes are allocated to each party based on their number of elected representatives. Here we assume that each candidate is affiliated to one of the parties. This leads to problems where few candidates are elected: it does not give a solution if no candidates are elected, and would jump straight to a 100%-0% distribution if a single candidate is elected.
- Votes are allocated to each party based on their number of candidates on the list. This is likely to lead both parties to force as many candidates on the list just to pump up their numbers. This is probably just part of the coalition deal; but it normally does not have major consequences when the extra candidates are not in eligible positions. This would seriously increase the stakes.
- Votes are allocated based on parties' own agreement on a percentage. This allows parties to use objective references they trust (this or that poll) to assess their relative strength and makes funding a consequence of the coalition deal-making. However, it opens the door to arbitrary decisions, and probably shady deals and quid pro quos.
That's about it for my reflection so far. Any ideas?
Thanks in advance!
PS: I have left out, on purpose, scenarios where these questions would be internalised in the electoral system, for instance by asking voters which party they support within the list (by choice, ranking, or any other method). For complex reasons, this is not an option.