Talk:Additional Member System

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Henrygb, can you please justify this recent change in the definition of AMS? It might be nice if AMS and MMP meant different things, but AFAIK that's simply not true, I have always been under the impression that when someone in Scotland says 'AMS' they are referring to the original definition ie: equivalent to MMP.

Even if the definition of AMS is to be changed, it would be better if the old page was moved to MMP rather than being edited in place, ie: change the title, not the content. As it stands most of its content is still specific to MMP, and the MMP branch has lost its history and much of its content.

Pm67nz 01:00, 18 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Having checked the usual definition with a couple of pages of Google results I've reverted it, but I tried to keep as much of the new content as possible.
Pm67nz 01:25, 24 Jan 2004 (UTC)
The point is that AMS on the face of it means each voter having two votes in elections (using two systems) where the members in the second election are additional to those in the first. That is the position in Scotland, Germany etc. But it is also the position in Russia, Japan etc. Indeed the inclusion of Japan in the list of countries on the AMS page, when it has a parallel system is an indication of the confusion. I do not see that parallel voting systems are any less AMS than mixed member proportional systems are AMS; parallel and MMP should each be seen as subsets of AMS. Google is likely to be biased to the worldwide examples that English speakers are familiar with. That being said, I don't want to get into a revert war, so I have added a paragraph trying to explain the difference. Henrygb 29 Jan 2004
Since the issue may have arisen again (see below) here's my late reply. Unfortunately what AMS or any other term means "on the face of it" doens't matter. Many voting systems have less than ideal names (What does "alternative vote" tell you for example!) but meanings are defined by common usage.
Pm67nz 01:57, 12 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Re Japan and Macedonia. Other wikipedia pages (eg: Table of voting systems by nation) state that Japan uses a parallel voting system, and a quick google suggests the same for Macedonia. Pm67nz 01:30, 12 Apr 2004 (UTC)

But it is clear that several people regard "Additional Member System" as meaning two elections (or at least two counts), one less proportional and one more proportional to provide "additional members". The question of whether it requires the proportional part to take account of the non-proportional part is, in my view open as "common usage". For the sake of clarity, I still think that AMS should be the general term, pointing to "Parallel voting" and "Mixed member proportional voting" as specific terms. Germany and others would still be AMS, but they would also be MMP. --Henrygb 20:25, 12 Apr 2004 (UTC)

In Phil Hunt's Voting Systems FAQ, what is called Mixed Member System is called Parallel voting here. -- Dissident (Talk) 21:39, 11 May 2004 (UTC)

Yes, though it does not explicitly use AMS to describe New Zealand, but instead MMP (even if it does say similar to Germany). And it does use AMS for Norway for what is essentially a regional proportional party list system with a very small national proportional top-up. --Henrygb 14:48, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Treatment of Overhang in NZ[edit]

I've deleted this text: and in New Zealand the other parties get compensatory seats to obtain the proportionality.

It's simply a big lie... uh... mistake. I've read the Electoral Act before (it's online if you want to check it) and the Electoral Commission website confirms my understanding [1]. In New Zealand, you just keep your overhang seats, no compensation for the other parties. I'd love to know where that idea came from though.

There is another quirk in the New Zealand system, the number of seats that are allocated proportionally can be less than 120, if some of the constituency seats have been won by people who were independent or effectively independent (their party didn't stand a list). Say there were 5 independents, then 115 seats would be allocated to parties proportionally. This means that independents do not cause an overhang. You only get overhang if a real party wins more constituency seats that it would have been otherwise entitled to.

This is all academic (so far) because we have never had an independent elected, and never had an overhang, although it's conceivable that the Maori Party may overhang at the election next year.

Another piece of speculation just occurred to me. There's a grubby piece of legislation called the Electoral Integrity Act, whereby a rebellious MP can be kicked out of parliament if they "interfere with the proportionality of Parliament" (or wording to that effect). The idea is if you leave your party you have to continue to vote along with your party or they can have you expelled. Constitutionally dubious, but the drafters of the bill must have known that, because they build a sunset clause into it. Anyway... if a party was in overhang, presumably their rebels would be free to leave, because their party had too many MPs anyway.

Sorry this is way off-topic, I got carried away.

Ben Arnold 14:43, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

if that's true, the examples in the "how to deal with" list in the overhang seat-article has to be changed. --Braunbaer 19:11, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)
It is known as an underhang, and probably deserves its own page, indeed I'll start one up at underhang seat. --Gregstephens 08:43, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Decoy lists[edit]

I cut out most of "It needs be considered that this problem has never occurred in most countries using AMS, where the candidates must generally be part of a readily identifiable party. In theory, it would be possible by setting up two separate parties, one to run a list and one to run in electorates, but as these parties would have to be incorporated separately, there is strong potential that divisions between the two parties could prevent any fruitful cooperation. Alternatively, the electorates could be run by indepedent candidates, 'appointed' by the party with the list, however yet again the party will have no control over the indepedent electoral candidates. Both concepts also risk alienating voters." and replaced it with "Decoy lists are not used in most countries using AMS, where most voters vote for candidates from parties with long-standing names." The rest is in my view a POV apologetic analysis. If there is evidence of an attempt to do this elsewhere which went wrong then it should be included. Other speculation as what might happen if ... is unencyclopedic. One maight as well say that only Italian voters are clever enough to respond to decoy lists. What is interesting is that the Italian version of AMS required the list candidates to be defeated constituency candidates with the same party label - i.e. a protection against decoy lists, but it did not work. --Henrygb 00:06, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

And now I have cut out "Most other countries using AMS have stricter laws regarding party membership and/or the formation of political groups. In Germany, for example, neither membership in different parties at the same time nor open lists (i.e. voting lists open to members of different parties or groups that intend to form a political alliance) are legal. These measures also serve to keep small parties from circumventing the 5% threshold. Thus decoy lists are virtually impossible.". Presumably this is really trying to say that you cannot be a constituency candidate for one party and a list candidate for another party; but that is also true in Italy. I would like to see evidence of any AMS country where the state prohibits simple membership of more than one party if the parties allow it. The articles on Left Party (Germany) and Labour and Social Justice Party suggest that alliances are possible. Events in the New Zealand general election, 2005 where the Maori Party campaigned primarily for constituency votes show how easy decoy lists are to operate. The only way to stop them is to unify the constituency and the party vote into a single vote (in effect also requiring each party to stand in each constituency). --Henrygb 21:51, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

Moving this article?[edit]

I just fixed the capitalization in section headings of phrases that were not capitalized when use in the sections themselves, thereby conforming to Wikipedia:Manual of Style. My inclination is to move this page to additional-member system, with lower-case initial letters. On Wikipedia, on does not normally use capitals merely because a word is in an article title. Comments? Michael Hardy 30 June 2005 21:29 (UTC)

There should also be consideration to moving it to Additional Member Systems (systems instead of system). This article is really describing two rather different electoral systems. One is proportional representation, the other is semi-proportional. The difference is quite substantial in how it affects the outcome of elections even though the difference in how they operate is quite small. --LeftyG 09:28, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

How to count AMS[edit]

If AMS is restricted to cases where "the aim is for the party's total number of representatives, including constituency representatives, to be proportional to its percentage of the party vote" then the UK needs to be removed from the list of places using AMS. The article states:

On the district or national level (i.e. above the constituency level), the total number of seats in the assembly are allocated to parties proportionally to the number of votes the party received in the party portion of the ballot. Subtracted from each party's allocation is the number of constituency seats that party won. The number of seats remaining allocated to that party are filled using the party's list.

That is not AMS in the UK, which reverses the counts and is more like:

On the constituency level seat are elected on a single winner basis. On the district or national level (i.e. above the constituency level), the additional seats in the assembly are allocated to parties proportionally to the number of votes the party received in the party portion of the ballot, taking into account the seats already won in the constituencies; for example a highest averages method is used in the proportional part, the sries of divisors starts at a higher point.

The second of these is actually closer the the word "additional", and means that overhang seats are no longer a meaningful issue - a party which wins "too many" constituencies simply wins no proportional seats, and so cannot be taking away seats from anyone else. Part of the philosophical difference is shown in the reversal of UK and NZ ballot papers. --Henrygb 16:42, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Decoy Lists?[edit]

Can someone rewrite the subject lists segment to make more sense to us idiots out here reading it. Thankz

We could try, but you need to explain the problem more clearly --Henrygb 09:07, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Definition of AMS[edit]

It is discussed (inconclusively) above but I have to bring this subject up again. I've been reading about electoral systems for many years and have never heard AMS defined as anything other than another name for 'mixed member proportional'. In fact IMHO, with the exception of New Zealand, AMS is the more commonly used name than MMP. Reading the comments above the current definition used in this article seems to be based solely on a mistake made by some Wikipedians on the table of votings systems articles and an overly literal reading of the name AMS. As Pm67nz says, many electoral systems are poorly named. I think this article should redirect to Mixed member proportional representation and any unique material be merged with that article and parallel voting. Iota 19:38, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

I did not make the move splitting AMS from MMP, but (to repeat my comments above) I think it was probably the right thing to do --Henrygb 00:10, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
My sense is that MMP is far more common in the literature as the English-language term for the Bundestag-style system than AMS, and that Scotland/Wales are the exceptions rather than the rule. The Tom 21:39, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
(to repeat my comments above) I think it was probably the right thing to do

I've read those comments and have been trying to respond to them. Correct me if I'm missing something, but the current definition seems to have been justified on only two grounds:

  1. The fact that some Wikipedians used the term in a certain way on the voting systems table, from which it has been inferred that the current definition is part of common use.
  2. One possible interpretation of the literal meaning of "Additional Member System".

The acid test, surely, is not what some Wikipedians have done, or the personal interpretation that Wikipedians give the literal meaning of a term, but what the literature says. So has anyone ever read anything that uses the same definition that this article does? I'm not asking for specific citations at this point, I'd just like to know, in a general way, if other peoples' actual experiences of the use of this term contradict my own. Iota 14:41, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

proposed merger[edit]

The proposed merger (which has had the tag for quite a while) should not occur. The term "Additional Member System" can be used (and is) to refer to both MMP and SM. They are both related electoral systems, and are related as they both have some form of additional members. This page servers as a useful disamb and explains the differences between the two. If there is no comment within the next few days, I will remove the tag. --Midnighttonight 10:00, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

24 hours is not exactly "the next few days". I don't think anyone has yet responded to my points above in any kind of substantive way. In particular let me pose one question again: has anyone ever actually read anything in the literature that uses the same definition that this article currently does? Iota 15:32, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
After review literature, here is my proposal: rename this page "Mixed Electoral Systems" and have Additional Member System redirect here. I have come across AMS for both MMP and SM, but not the name as a over-riding description of the two. But "Mixed Electoral Systems" is used as an over-arching description of the two. --Midnighttonight 23:52, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
The problem is that Iota could regard any quote as an example of an error. Take for example the UK parliament, which says AMS is used in Japan [2]. So too does the Hutchinson Encyclopedia [3]. These are not just errors: the European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation uses "AMS" exclusively for parallel voting as in Russia and Japan, and sees MMP as something different (see d and e at the end of part one of [4]). --Henrygb 00:20, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
There is a terminology problem in this area, hence this page is a glorified disamb page to point people to which of the two AMS they use. The problem is, the term AMS is not used as an over-riding term for both, but exclusively for one or the other. So, my proposal is for AMS to redirect to Mixed Electoral Systems (which is used for to refer to both). --Midnighttonight 00:27, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Iota - what are your thoughts at the moment on the above? --Midnighttonight 07:31, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
It is now gone. -- 03:07, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Hello Midnight,

I agree. There should be a page for Mixed Electoral Systems, and a merger for AMS and MMP, as AMS is simply the UK term for MMP.[1]Ontario Teacher BFA BEd (talk) 01:36, 21 December 2015 (UTC)


Wilfred Day's clarifications[edit]

begin by changing the first sentence of "Criticisms" to its opposite. It would help to clarify further if the passage would say a larger/smaller number of seats than what. —Tamfang (talk) 02:57, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Proposed Move[edit]

I think things would be clearer if this page was renamed something along the lines of Mixed member systems. Then Additional Member System could either redirect here or go to a disambiguation page that notes AMS could either mean any Mixed member system or, in the UK, specifically MMP. Thoughts? Mattlore (talk) 21:56, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Hello Mattlore, There is a lot of disputed content here with little or no sources. The only nation that has used the term AMS is the UK, and this term specifically refers to MMP.[1]Ontario Teacher BFA BEd (talk) 01:33, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

While AMS is similar to MMP, it's not quite the same due to the fixed number of top-up seats. —ajf (talk) 15:04, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
Oh what the hell? Since I last looked at it, someone's been making Mixed-member proportional representation into a frankenstein page that simultaneously considers AMS to not be MMP and also be MMP. Ugh. I'm going to clean it up. —ajf (talk) 15:06, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
Or maybe not. I'm too conflicted and can't be bothered. I think it's cleaner to keep MMP and AMS separate though, so you avoid explaining how AMS differs every single time you talk about the UK. —ajf (talk) 15:07, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

AMS vs MMP[edit]

See Talk:Mixed-member proportional representation#AMS vs MMP. Nil Einne (talk) 00:56, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

The article doesn't actually say what AMS is or how it works[edit]

So I came here to learn about AMS as it's being proposed as an alternative to STV in a debate I'm involved in and I hadn't heard of it. This page doesn't have a section on "How AMS works" as in how do you vote and what does each vote mean. It probably should describe its topic. SPACKlick (talk) 15:25, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

You're right actually. It covers the calculation methodology, but not how to actually vote. I'll add a section for it. —ajf (talk) 15:27, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
I added a section on how voting works. It certainly needs improvement, but it's a start. —ajf (talk) 15:48, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

Since AMS is very similar to Mixed-member proportional representation, arguably just a variant of it, should we merge the two pages? It is doubtful whether "AMS", the term, should really apply to any country outside the UK? There have been previous discussions on whether to merge it. Personally, I think it's better to keep them separate, because AMS is a bit different from MMP and it makes both articles cleaner. @Ontario Teacher BFA BEd: thoughts? —ajf (talk) 19:35, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

Hello User talk:Ajfweb, "AMS is a hybrid voting system, part First Past The Post and part closed party list, the party list element added on to make the result more proportional. Outside the UK it is more commonly referred to as Mixed Member Proportional (MMP).[2] I agree with the numerous previous proposals on both talk pages to merge this page with the Mixed Member Proportional page as it is simply a synonym used regionally.Ontario Teacher BFA BEd (talk) 20:46, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

Are they the same, though? They're quite similar, but AMS has a fixed number of top-up seats. This means MMP is a proportional system, whereas AMS is only semi-proportional. That's the only real difference, though, but it might be significant. —ajf (talk) 20:52, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
Hello ajf,
Do you have any sources to back up this claim? There are none on the WP article, and I have not seen any anywhere else. There are, however, numerous sources which state that AMS is identical to MMP, and that AMS/MMP can either be proportional or semi-proportional depending on numerous factors such as the ratio of FPTP seats to List-PR seats. The term AMS is used in the UK, while MMP is used everywhere else. Perhaps you are thinking of parallel voting also known as Mixed Member Majoritarian (MMM). Parallel voting/MMM have already been merged into one article. AMS/MMP has had several editors over the years suggest a merger, and for good reason.
Roger Scully, a Professor of Political Science from Cardiff University, has argued that the proportionality of MMP varies from country to country, and it can be either proportional or semi-proportional depending on a number of factors such as the ratio of FPTP seats to List-PR seats, "The Additional Member System (AMS, or Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) as it is known in much of the world) has been used since 1999 in elections for the devolved Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales. But AMS is not used in identical form in the two nations. The division between constituency and list members in the two institutions is as follows:
Scottish Parliament: 73 constituency MSPs, 56 regional list MSPs
National Assembly for Wales: 40 constituency AMs, 20 regional list AMs
Not only is the total number of elected representatives much greater in Scotland than Wales; so also is the proportion elected from the regional list (43.4% against 33.4%). This difference is more than just an arithmetical detail. With a smaller explicitly proportional element the Welsh variant of AMS is far more likely to produce disproportional results... The system deployed in Wales can more accurately be described as semi-proportional representation. What would be needed for similar levels of proportionality in Wales as in Scotland? A 70-member Assembly, with 10 additional regional AMs, would produce a situation where List members comprised almost the same proportion (42.8% of the total) as they do in Scotland." [3] Ontario Teacher BFA BEd (talk) 00:50, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
Actually, MMP and Parallel Voting are two special cases of AMS. (talk) 19:57, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Hello IP and ajf,
MMP/AMS and Parallel Voting/MMM are two types of Mixed-Member Systems. AMS is the UK term for MMP. "Mixed-member proportional representation goes by a variety of other names, including "the additional member system," "compensatory PR," the "two vote system," and "the German system." [4] "Additional Member System (AMS) can also be known as Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)."[2] "The Additional Member System (AMS, or Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) as it is known in much of the world) has been used since 1999 in elections for the devolved Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales."[3] Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) System: This is a kind of Mixed Electoral system that tends to combine features of the majoritarian(ie First Past The Post, Two round systems) and the Proportional Representation systems. It is also referred to as Additional Member System (AMS)or Top Up System. [2] Please provide sources prior to reverting. Ontario Teacher BFA BEd (talk) 19:40, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Hello User:Ajfweb

I have reverted the addition of these three paragraphs because A: There are zero sources supporting it, and B: I have provided several sources proving the information to be inaccurate. Specifically, these 3 paragraphs claim that AMS and MMP are different voting systems. In truth, AMS is a regional term used in the UK for MMP. [2] [3] [4] [2] AMS and MMP are not different voting systems.

Until there are A: reliable sources for these 3 (currently unsourced) paragraphs, and B: a consensus reached, these 3 paragraphs must be omitted while the discussion is taking place. Ontario Teacher BFA BEd (talk) 21:17, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Addition? These paragraphs have existed for a long time. Please stop repeating the same thing over and over again. —ajf (talk) 21:27, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Hello User:Ajfweb,
Regardless of when these paragraphs were added (they have only existed a few months before they were removed the first time), they were never sourced. Equally importantly, I have provided multiple sources which contradict these paragraphs. Please respond specifically to the sources that I have provided. Do you feel the sources have been misrepresented? If so, how? Do you believe the sources are not scholarly? If not, why not? Why do you disagree with these sources? Have you ever seen any other scholarly sources which disagree with them? If so, where? Do you require more than 4 scholarly sources to convince you? If so, I will gladly provide more.
Please respond specifically to these sources. Please provide sources which support your opinion. Ontario Teacher BFA BEd (talk) 22:18, 1 February 2016 (UTC)


  1. ^ "Voting Systems Made Simple". Electoral Reform Society. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Electoral Reform and Voting Systems".  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Electoral_Reform_and_Voting_Systems" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page). Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Electoral_Reform_and_Voting_Systems" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page). Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Electoral_Reform_and_Voting_Systems" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^ a b c "Elections in Wales". Cardiff University. 
  4. ^ a b "Mixed-Member Proportional Voting". 

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