Do you understand the D’Hondt method being used in today’s UK elections to the European Parliament?

Elections start today for the European Parliament which represents the 28 Member States of the European Union. Following the Brexit referendum , the plan was that the UK would be out of the EU by now and therefore would play no part in the election – but we are still a member and so we still have to participate in the election.

The UK and The Netherlands vote today Thursday 23 May; Ireland will vote on Friday 24 May; and Malta on Saturday 25 May. Voting in the remaining Member States takes place on Sunday 26 May. Votes will be counted and results announced on Sunday and Monday.

UK voters will choose 73 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in 12 multi-member regional constituencies. Each region has a different number of MEPs based on its population. The largest allocation is 10 seats in the South East Region and the smallest is three seats in the North East Region.

In each region except Northern Ireland, seats are allocated to parties in accordance with the number of votes won by each party using a system known as the D’Hondt method.

The D’Hondt method is a highest averages method for allocating seats and is therefore a type of party-list proportional representation. The method is named after the Belgian mathematician Victor D’Hondt, who described it in 1878 for proportional allocation of parliamentary seats to parties. 

How does it work? There is a worked example here.


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