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Rolling election

no, no, right - hear me out
  [vote for,

Currently, most democratic counties have an election of the entire set of representatives all at once, every few years.
This has a few annoying effects:

1) Discontinuity of government
2) party in power tries to bribe the electorate before the election
3) (usually) the party in power gets to choose when the election is.
and most importantly
4) the whole country goes nuts while the election is held, and can't effectively deal with other issues arising.

I propose that instead, we elect one or a few representatives every week - excluding the time around major holidays.

For example, in the UK we have 650 MPs, and a maximum 5 year between elections. So we could keep the same constituencies, and elect 130 members per year, at a rate of about 3 a week for 44 weeks. This is an approximately fixed rotation.

Every potential MP declares who they would vote as leader (prime minister, president, whatever). This has to be someone already an MP. They can change this as necessary (within reason, there should be a cool-down), but it's public information.
They also do this for the deputy leader.

The term of office for each representative can be set in advance. No more snap elections.
The party in power changes smoothly.
Smaller parties and independents can make a difference.
Making good, long-term policy is favoured continuously.

If someone stands in one place, they're not allowed to stand elsewhere for one term.
Voting records (that is, how the representative voted in parliament) are public knowledge.
The representative steps down from their seat one month before the end of their term.
The deputy leader cannot have their election within two months of the PM. If this will be the case, the earlier election is brought forward.

Loris, Jun 09 2024

Polling data to eyeball https://www.bbc.co....k-politics-68079726
[Loris, Jun 11 2024]


       I liked this, until I thought of the following:
1. Turnout would likely decline;
(a) if elections are permanent background noise, many people will just tune out that noise
(b) if change is only gradual, that will feed into the old story that "voting never changes anything".
This will leave more power in the hands of cranks and fanatics.
2. Related to 1.(b), voters will lose the opportunity of doing cathartic, but entirely figurative, violence to the rulers that they despise. I remember the British general election of 1997; for several previous election cycles, voters had been unconvinced that the opposition was ready to become the government. Then they seem to have decided, collectively "It's time". That was an awesome historical moment to witness. Separately, and much later, I remember one Australian politician, reminiscing about an unpopular decision, "after that, the voters were waiting for us around the corner with baseball bats". The point is, if you take away the figurative baseball bats, you increase the risk that politics will start to involve real baseball bats.
pertinax, Jun 10 2024

       Maybe. But on the other hand, perhaps it would be better.   

       One of the crucial things you need for improvement is continuous feedback.
At the moment, government gets one dollop of feedback every five years. With this proposal, it would get feedback almost immediately.

       If the parliamentary composition was far away from a tipping point, they'd immediately get the message they were doing it right, or wrong.
When they were close, they'd constantly have to justify their position.

       Regarding elections being 'background noise' - that would only be the case nationally. Locally, there would be a campaign period of one month - canvassing would go on, and people would get leaflets through their door.
For the mayoral election we had here recently, we got a thin booklet, in which every candidate had space to set out their position. That was great.
I'd like it even more if, in addition to a statement of intent, they all had a set of questions to respond to. The questions could be decided on by a consortium of people arranged for the purpose.
Loris, Jun 10 2024

       //I'd like it even more if, in addition to a statement of intent, they all had a set of questions to respond to.//   

       How about keeping elections to the "dollop" schedule to preserve national changes of mood that develop over long term periods of decline that [p] espouses, but, perhaps introduce a mixed schedule of rolling and snap audits whereby chosen MPs are legally required to provide truthful answers to a representative accountability panel, consisting perhaps of 12 or so jurors pulled from the electorate, with powers to immediately eject anyone failing to meet public standards (or, perhaps, with a full mandate to decide outside of any specific guidelines, on an open judgement). Any such ejections would generate a by-election in their constituency.
zen_tom, Jun 10 2024

       I know you are talking about General Elections here but just to point out that rolling elections are actually a thing for Local Elections. I am not sure that they make a whole lot of difference, to be honest. Although, maybe, they cause a bit of tension in the local political parties when it comes to policy making (not a bad thing in my book), as some members are standing for election (& have to face the immediate consequences of their actions) whilst others aren't & don't!

Whilst I am neutral on the idea, I would like to dispute your point 4) about the effect of an election on the country. I think you'll find that politicians & the media go nuts but most people are generally disinterested in the election, per se, much beyond having a debate with their friends in the pub. I think, with only anecdotal evidence to back up my assertion, that people have generally made up their minds about how they are going to vote next time based on their experience (or perceived experience) over the course of the previous parliament.

In this particular case I think that, despite their many & various policy failures & political shortcomings (in my eyes at least) the Tories were actually doomed from the moment that they put Liz Truss in a position of power. People have been waiting impatiently for the opportunity to give them the good kicking that they deserve ever since.
DrBob, Jun 10 2024

       I agree - I doubt if very many people change their minds over the course of an election campaign. I’d like to see stats on those people who are ‘undecided’ voters in polls. How many of them are actually firmly ‘decided’ but don’t want to reveal their choice to pollsters, and how many of the genuinely undecided actually bother voting?
hippo, Jun 10 2024

       I think it is absolutely the case that a country is less able to respond to unexpected events during an election. Parliament is dissolved and government activity is limited. The same is true of a premiership election within a party.   

       //People have been waiting impatiently for the opportunity to give them the good kicking that they deserve ever since.//   

       Surely this is evidence in favour of the concept. The conservatives would have lost their absolute majority after about 8 months, if they lost every seat during that period. The DUP would prop them up about another 6 weeks, then they'd be out of power.
Loris, Jun 10 2024

       Well, having just frittered away an unreasonable amount of time on the internet on what is, essentially, a finger in the air exercise, I think not.

Currently polls suggest that the Conservatives will lose around 200+ seats. So, crudely speaking, that's about 40/year. Therefore it would take more than a year for them to lose their majority under the rolling poll system. Liz Truss was still PM just 20 months ago. So, even if we assume that every new non-Conservative MP would always vote against the government, the changeover would take place several months sooner but not dramatically quicker. Especially if we consider that I am using current polling stats where the Conservatives are at a historically low ebb.
DrBob, Jun 10 2024

       Just to address hippo's point. I took a look at the latest YouGov poll. Their poll had 53,000 respondents, which sounds like a lot until you break it down. There are 650 parliamentary constituencies, so that is less than 100 per area. Each area has around 70,000 voters, so that is around 1 in every thousand that is represented in the poll. So I am not sure that delving into the 'undecideds' would have any value.
Historically, I think the exit poll (the one based on what people have just done rather on what they intend to do) is the only one that has any consistent reliability.
DrBob, Jun 11 2024

       Looking at the historical polling data, the last labour/conservative transition point was at the end of 2021, so they'd have started losing seats rather before Truss, if the rolling system was active throughout.   

       The page I'm looking at suggests the Conservative low mark was a spike in October 2022 (hmm, can't think why) with 22% of the vote (current being 23%). They rebounded somewhat, but for about a year they've been gradually losing that share to ReformUK. If they weren't splitting the conservative vote, it would be much closer.
Loris, Jun 11 2024


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