While electoral threshold is quite common within party-list PR system, I'm curious whether it is possible to implement something similar within single-transferable vote (STV) system.

The problem is of course that STV has several rounds of vote counting, which raises the question which round do you use as benchmark to measure whether it has crossed the electoral threshold?

Moreover, while you can arguably implement an electoral threshold for candidates in STV, is it even possible to implement a threshold for political parties under this system?

Would be helpful if we can look at real-life examples.

  • Well, you could implement a rule like "If any party ends with fewer than 4 seats, eliminate all of its candidates and recount the ballots." But that goes against the natural "non-partisan" nature of STV, so I'd be surprised if it were implemented in real life instead of a simpler party-list system.
    – dan04
    Oct 14, 2022 at 4:17
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    Note that even Germany, a country with a high electoral threshold, does not apply that threshold to direct votes. If you win your constituency, you become a member of the Bundestag. And if a party wins 3 constituencies, the threshold does not apply (see Die Linke in 2021).
    – xyldke
    Oct 14, 2022 at 6:18
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    @dan04 you'd probably want to be ,slightly more subtle (at the end of counting, if the least winning party has less than 4 seats, their candidates are eliminated and countng restarts) otherwise there's a case where nobody wins.
    – origimbo
    Oct 14, 2022 at 9:25

1 Answer 1


Yes; it's called the Modified d'Hondt electoral system.

Modified d'Hondt electoral system is a variant of single transferable voting, where an electoral threshold for parties is applied. The difference to single transferable voting is, that any votes for parties below the electoral threshold are transferred to other parties according to the ranking on the ballot across party lines. The parties below electoral threshold are determined by first preference counts. The use of the electoral threshold could reduce the fragmentation of the parliament. This electoral system is a type of open list party-list proportional representation, where the preference of candidates within a party-list is indicated by ranking.

This electoral system was first used in 1989 Australian Capital Territory general election, with an electoral threshold of 5%. Here ranking only parties without ranking candidates was possible by voting above the line. A similar preferential party system is the spare vote electoral system, which ranks political parties.

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