“Voluntary PR Voting” in the Election of Swiss Regional Governments
Revue suisse de science politique/Swiss Political Science Review
CH : Wiley-Blackwell
419 - 436 p.
This paper analyses citizens’ voting behaviour in the April 2011 elections of the regional governments in the cantons of Zurich and Lucerne. These elections were conducted with a majoritarian electoral system in a multi-member district. In both cantons, the number of candidates in competition is relatively limited due to “voluntary PR”, that is, a coordination effort among parties that aims to achieve a proportional distribution of government seats. If citizens cast all of their votes, they must support candidates from various ideological camps. Alternatively, they can limit the number of votes used to cast a more concentrated vote. This paper examines what factors lead citizens to cast an ideologically concentrated or dispersed vote. The results show that the degree of ideological concentration of citizens’ votes is related to partisan preferences, strategic considerations, political knowledge, and the level of satisfaction with the government performance.