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Electoral Reform

Sainte-Laguë Method

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The Sainte-Laguë Method is a method used to elect candidates from political parties in approximate proportion as the proportion of votes won by that party.

To illustrate its use, suppose 10 seats are to be divided among 4 parties, receiving 25,000, 19,000, 12,000, and 8,000 votes apiece. A table is set up as follows:

Divisor Party A Party B Party C Party D
1 25000 [1] 19000 [2] 12000 [3] 8000 [5]
3 8333 [4] 6333 [6] 4000 [8] 2667
5 5000 [7] 3800 [9] 2400 1600
7 3571 [10] 2714 1714 1143

The divisors in the first column are simply the odd numbers 1, 3, 5, ... in sequence, as many as are necessary. The numbers in each row are the votes for the party divided by the divisor; the numbers in the brackets are the ranks of these quotients. When the ten (or however many seats are to be apportioned) highest quotients have been allocated, each party gets as many seats as it has of the highest numbers. In this case, the parties are assigned 4, 3, 2, and 1 seat in order.

This system often provides for a slightly more accurate proportionality than the D'Hondt Method, though in this case the results do not differ.

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