Elections in Gylias

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Gylias


Elections in Gylias take place at three levels: local, regional, and federal. Elections in all jurisdictions use the single transferable vote system or variations of it, and are supervised by independent electoral commissions at each administrative level, which are federated into Elections Gylias. The voting age is 15 and voting is compulsory. Electronic voting is common, both through machines and optical scan voting systems.

All elections are fixed-term: since 2000, local elections are held every 2 years, and regional and federal ones every 4 years. The legal campaign period is four weeks, and election silence is in effect 24 hours before voting. Election Day is a public holiday, notable for its festive character. Political parties are publicly funded, and may receive donations from individuals within strict limits. Candidates for election pay an election deposit, which contributes to the cost of organising the election, and is refunded to them in the event of a loss.

The use of ranked voting systems has resulted in numerous political parties represented in Gylian legislatures, and has made electoral blocs and coalition governments the norm. Smaller parties — particularly regionalist and localist ones — and independent candidates are notably dominant at the regional and local levels.

Communal assemblies

Communal assemblies are the main method of direct democratic governance practiced in Gylias, and a key component of cooperative democracy. They are held weekly and bring together most or all members of a community to debate issues and make decisions. The assemblies are partly chosen through sortition, to ensure proper representation of Gylian demographics, and they are subject to compulsory voting laws.

Various methods are used to vote in communal assemblies, from the traditional paper ballots and show of hands to contemporary electronic voting. Questions and motions are accepted or rejected by simple majority. Proposals with multiple motions are decided by exhaustive ballot.

Referendums

Gylians vote multiple times per year on referendums and popular initiatives. The latter can be organised at municipal, regional, or federal levels, as long as they collect a certain number of signatures and are constitutional. Popular initiatives include legislative proposals, modifying or repealing existing laws, constitutional amendments, and recalling elected officials.

Constitutional amendments require a double majority: they must be approved by a majority of voters nationally in a majority of regions.

Since 1958, over 500 referendums have been held cumulatively.

Neighbourhood elections

The Gylian Police are subject to a system of elections, whereby the residents of the neighbourhoods they patrol vote for the police personnel. The mechanism is largely similar to a parliamentary motion of no confidence or a recall election.

Municipal elections

The overall trend of local government is for small, often rural, municipalities to govern themselves through direct democracy, and more populated municipalities to combine into larger administrative bodies to improve coordination and administration.

Cities elect city councils, which handle administration and policy-making together with communal assemblies. The number of councillors varies by city size. Various cities also elect mayors separately. Mayors have limited capabilities, and rely on personality to obtain approval for desired policies.

Local elections are held every two years in even-numbered years. Municipal councillors are elected by single transferable vote, and mayors by instant-runoff voting.

Regional elections

Municipalities in turn federate into regions, which have their own regional councils and governors. They cooperate with municipalities in administration and policy-making, and with the federal government in delivery of public services. Governors have limited capabilities, and rely on personality to obtain approval for desired policies.

Regional elections are held every four years in even-numbered years, two years apart from federal elections. Regional councillors are elected by single transferable vote, and governors by instant-runoff voting.

Federal elections

Gylians elect at the federal level a legislature, the Gylian Parliament, and the President, a ceremonial figurehead who discharges a role equivalent to a head of state.

The Gylian Parliament has two chambers. Only the Chamber of Deputies is elected, from local circonscriptions. The Senate is chosen by sortition and appointment.

The President is elected directly by Gylians through instant-runoff voting. If one candidate obtains over 50% of the first preference vote, they are declared elected, and normal vote distributions are carried out purely for academic reasons.

Federal elections are held every four years — legislative in even-numbered years, and presidential in odd-numbered years. The tradition of holding presidential elections separately underscores the separation of the presidency from day-to-day politics.

Election dates

The dates of regular elections are fixed by law as follows:

  • 22 January: federal elections
  • 22 March: regional elections
  • 22 September: municipal elections

As a result, the legislatures are dissolved on the first of each respective month in election years.

Referendums are generally scheduled on Fridays or Mondays.

Eligibility to vote

Anyone resident in Gylias can vote if they are at least 15 years old and have a valid address. Citizenship is not necessary to vote.

Gylian citizens living abroad may vote electronically or at embassies in federal elections. Their votes are collected and distributed randomly to all circonscriptions or regions, and are counted and transferred as if they had been cast in person.

Voting

Voting is compulsory, and voter turnout for all elections and referendums has been high, frequently near or above 90% of eligible voters.

Votes are conducted using paper ballots, absentee ballots, postal ballots, or electronic voting machines. Ballots use a standardised format which allows them to be scanned and counted electronically.

To reduce the effect of donkey votes, ballot papers vary the order in which candidates are listed.

Voting on Election Day lasts from 08:00 to 20:00, and polling stations close after the last voters have cast their ballots. The ballots and voting machines are sealed and kept safe, with counting and calculation starting the following day during regular working hours.

An embargo is placed on the vote results, which are released all at once after they have been completed and any recounts or legal issues have been resolved. Parties commonly use the interval to discuss and prepare coalition agreements in advance of the results' publication.

Electoral system

All Gylian elections use ranked voting systems: single transferable vote (STV; French: vote unique transférable, VUT) for legislative elections with multi-member constituencies, and instant-runoff voting (IRV; French: vote préférentiel or vote alternatif, VP/VA).

Parties are not allowed to submit more than one candidate per circonscription. A form of electoral fusion is allowed for non-electoral bloc parties at the municipal and regional level: independent candidates may stand for election with descriptions that mention the parties they support, and if elected, will caucus with the parties in question. Regionalist parties an also form electoral alliances with the blocs and present up to 5 common candidates.

Voters are required to fill in complete preferences for the ballot. However, ballots with incomplete preferences (overvotes and undervotes) or repeated preferences are accepted, with a higher chance that they will become exhausted during the transfer process.

The Droop quota is applied to determine the number of votes necessary to be elected. Candidates who surpass the quota are declared elected, and all their surplus votes are transferred based on preferences. Candidates with the fewest votes in a round are eliminated and their votes transferred based on preferences. If by the end of the process not all seats have been filled, the candidates with the most votes are declared to have been elected, even if they do not meet the quota.

Surplus votes are transferred by drawing reallocation ballots randomly from all the candidate's votes.

Notably among STV jurisdictions, Gylias transfers all votes at full value, without applying fractions or formulas. Transfers are disallowed for prior winners; such preferences are ignored and the ballots are transferred instead to the next preference.

In the event of a vacancy, the ballots of the election are re-examined, with the candidate who had held the seat eliminated, and their votes transferred to the other candidates. Since the electoral law contains no provisions for by-elections, and parties can only nominate one candidate per seat, vacancies cause changes in the political composition of the legislature.