Preventing "Burning Votes" by "Law for Sub-Threshold Agreements"
Dr. Aaron Lerner 5 October 2018
In the elections that took place in 2013, more than 7% of the valid votes
for the Knesset were not reflected in the composition of the Knesset because
they were votes cast for lists that did not reach the vote threshold for
representation in the Knesset .
As can be seen in the table below, lowering the threshold is not expected to
improve the situation.
There is a logical and intuitive legislative solution: a law for
sub-threshold agreements: before the elections, each list can determine and
publish which other list will receive its votes if the list fails to reach
the vote threshold.
A sub-threshold agreement is not a mutual agreement - it is very possible
that several lists will identify the same list as the recipient of their
votes if they fail to reach the vote threshold.
Such an agreement allows voters to support the list closest to their views
confident that in any case their vote will impact the composition of the
Sub-threshold agreements maximize the expression of the will of the people
in the composition of the Knesset.
There is no doubt that by literally making every vote count the
implementation of a sub-threshold agreement law will encourage citizens to
participate in the elections.
And with the threshold today set at 3.25% of valid votes, most small lists
would actually act as vote collectors for larger lists - such that even the
big lists have something to gain from the law.
In years when the percentage of lost votes is particularly high, it is
always possible to identify a significant loss of votes in the national
camp. In each case a list or lists in the national camp were very close to
the threshold and "burned" seats for the camp
Examples of significant losses to the national camp:
Hatchiya in the 1992 elections: burned 1.2% of the total number of valid
votes cast in the elections.
Pnina Rosenblum in the 1999 elections: burned 1.3%.
Herut in the 2003 elections: burned 1.1%.
Chazit in the 2006 elections: burned 0.8%.
Utzma for Israel and Am Shalem in the 2013 elections: together burned 2.8%.
Yachad in the 2015 elections: burned 3%.
Clearly it serves the interest of the national camp to support a Law for
Lost votes: valid votes cast for lists which failed to meet the vote
threshold as a percentage of valid votes cast in the elections
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