July 22, 2011

NZ 2011 Referendum Voting System Simulator

New Zealanders will vote in a referendum in November asking whether they want to change the current voting system used for deciding the makeup of Parliament.

Dr Geoffrey Pritchard and Dr Mark C. Wilson, members of the Centre for Mathematical Social Science at the University of Auckland, have created a simulator intended to voters to compare the 5 proposed electoral systems in a quantitative way, by allowing them to compute quickly, for a given polling scenario, the party seat distribution in Parliament under each system.

You can try it out by going to http://cmss.auckland.ac.nz/2011-referendum-simulator/ and they would appreciate any feedback on how to improve it.

It is written in Javascript and the source code is publicly available. The assumptions made are detailed in the FAQ.

They hope that this will allow a better understanding of the consequences of adopting any of these systems, and complement the qualitative information given by the Electoral Commission.


Rachel Cunliffe is the co-director of CensusAtSchool and currently consults for the Department of Statistics. Her interests include statistical literacy, social media and blogging. See all posts by Rachel Cunliffe »