Mixed single vote

The mixed single vote (MSV) is a type of mixed-member electoral system, sometimes referred to as a positive vote transfer system[1] (PVT) where a group of members are elected on a lower (local) tier, for example in single-member districts (SMDs), and other members an are elected on a compensatory upper (national) tier from a list, where voters cast a single vote and wasted votes from the lower tier are transferred to the upper tier. This makes it different from mixed-member proportional and parallel voting systems, in which voters cast two separate votes, one for a local candidate and one for a national list. How proportional the outcome is depends on among other factors, the rules (what counts as "wasted" vote) and parameters (e.g. the number of compensatory seats) used in the system. The system originates from Germany and is currently used in Hungary for local elections in larger municipalities.

Mixed single vote systems may use vote linkage compensation meaning (partial) vote transfer, but they may also use seat linkage compensation, which means almost all votes (except for votes independent candidates and for candidates affiliated with parties below a threshold) are transferred to the proportional tier but used in a top-up process like the one that characterises MMP systems. Some uncommon, hybrid types of mixed electoral systems make add or subtract the discounted list results to establish a vote linkage based element of compensation into system that would otherwise be categorised as parallel voting. This article focuses primarily on pure implementations of MSV.

(mixed) single vote (mixed) dual vote
Seat linkage MSV (proportional) MMP



Vote linkage MSV (semi-proportional)


Hybrids (MSV combined with parallel voting):


Semi-proportional systemsEdit

Use in HungaryEdit

Local elections in municipalities and districts in the capital with a population over 10 000 use a mixed single vote with positive vote transfer, where only votes for losing candidates are transferred to the compensatory tier.[2] The vote transfer takes place based on the party affiliation of the local candidates and seats are allocated proportionally based on the transferred votes.[3]

  • Up to 25 000 residents 8 members are elected in SMDs and 3 members on the compensatory tier
  • Up to 50 000 residents 10 members are elected in SMDs and 4 members on the compensatory tier
  • Up to 75 000 residents 12 members are elected in SMDs and 5 members on the compensatory tier
  • Up to 100 000 residents 14 members are elected in SMDs and 6 members on the compensatory tier
  • Over 100 000 residents, the number of SMDs increases by 1 after every additional 10 000 residents, while the number of compensatory seats increases by 1 after every additional 25 000 residents.

Since the 2014 elections, General Assembly of Budapest also uses a mixed single vote, in that the 23 directly elected mayors of the districts and there are 9 members elected from compensation-lists of parties based on the votes cast for the mayoral candidates. (Budapest mayor candidates and district mayor candidates can be listed on compensation-lists)

Because of the comparatively few compensatory seats, the system does not guarantee proportional results and commonly underrepresents smaller parties, however theoretically, it could also underrepresent larger parties compared to a list PR system.

National Assembly elections use a different positive vote transfer system,[4] which also partially compensates winning candidates, however, that system is not a pure mixed single vote system as it also has a parallel voting component.

Proportional systemsEdit

Mixed single vote systems can be used also with a seat linkage method to achieve effectively list PR with local representation (via plurality or majority). Such systems are fundamentally mixed-member proportional systems without the option of split ticket voting. This is the original version of MMP, where all votes, except for those in favour of independent candidates or parties below the entry threshold are transferred and used for the compensation mechanism. Germany, where the 1949 elections were held under a mixed single vote system that used plurality rule on the lower tier and was overall proportional on the national tier. The country subsequently changed the system to MMP.[5]

Ballot in an Austrian election to the Nationalrat (lower house of the Federal Parliament). The main vote is a single single party vote, which is used on all three (local, regional/state and federal levels) levels. There is an additional open list element to the election on all three levels, where voters can specify their favoured candidate from the lists of their chosen party.

Countries that currently use such systems are:

  • Austria, where the lower house of the parliament (Nationalrat) uses a three-tier mixed single vote system with where parties that have passed the entry threshold may win compensatory seats on regional and on a national tier.[6] The system also includes a triple open list components meaning voters of parties may influence which candidates on that party's list fill the seats that party has won (not only in the local district, but on the regional/state and federal levels as well). Because of these characteristics and a low number of districts compared to the total number of seats, it is most often referred to as party-list PR system with regionalized representation, however, the allocation of seats towards parties is the same as in an MMP system based on a single vote.
  • Lesotho adopted a mixed single vote version of MMP in 2002.

Thailand has used the mixed single vote version of MMP since the 2019 general election, however the next election is scheduled to again be held under parallel voting.[7]

In Romania, the 2008 national legislative elections were held under a mixed single vote system where SMD seats were only awarded to winners with an absolute majority.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Bochsler, D (2014). "Which mixed-member proportional electoral formula fits you best? Assessing the proportionality principle of positive vote transfer systems". Representation.
  2. ^ "2010. évi L. törvény a helyi önkormányzati képviselők és polgármesterek választásáról" [Act L. of 2010. on the election of local government representatives and mayors] (in Hungarian).
  3. ^ "Nemzeti Választási Iroda" [National Bureau of Elections] (in Hungarian).
  4. ^ "2011. évi CCIII. törvény az országgyűlési képviselők választásáról" [Act CCIII. of 2011. on the election of members of the National Assembly] (in Hungarian).
  5. ^ a b Golosov, G. V. (2013). "The Case for Mixed Single Vote Electoral Systems". The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies.
  6. ^ "Das Verhältniswahlrecht und das Ermittlungsverfahren bei der Nationalratswahl". parlament.gv.at (in German).
  7. ^ https://thediplomat.com/2021/09/with-eye-to-next-election-thai-government-tweaks-election-rules/. Missing or empty |title= (help)