Latest summary: Why waste 5-8% of votes?

I’m writing about the MMP threshold, to suggest that lowering it is not a solution..

The problems for small parties under MMP, arise mainly from the wasted votes (typically 5-8%) that now occur, and the consequent spoiler effects for small parties.

Voters say “I do not want to waste my vote”.  Parties say to small parties on the same side of the house “Don’t take votes from us and then waste them”.  Small parties are spoilers.  People stay away.  New parties cannot get started.

So why do we waste around 5-8% or so of votes every election?  And cause all that anguish?  There seems to be no good reason.  And lowering the threshold does not remove the problem, or the dislike of the threshold.  

Instead offer voters a second choice of party vote.  If a voter’s first choice fails to pass the threshold, their vote goes to their second choice party.  Voters will be careful to make sure either first or second choice is certain enough to pass the threshold.

Problem solved.  That 5% threshold is no longer a problem. No voter needs to waste their vote. If a party misses the thresholds, its votes will mainly go instead to a bigger party on the same side of the house.  No longer are small parties spoilers.   Wasted votes should drop below 1%.

The second choice is easy to understand, easy to implement.  One extra column on the party voting paper.  For the voter, one optional extra tick.  Vote counting is just a little more involved than at present.  Results are independent for each polling place. 

This idea solves the wasted vote problem, while not requiring any change to the threshold.  

Is this the consensus solution that solves the threshold/wasted votes problem without needing to touch the threshold percentage?

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