Show Your Flag or Be Everyone's Friend?: The Effects of District Magnitude on Vote-Securing Strategies
31 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 22, 2019
In this paper, we argue that a difference in district magnitude—the number of seats per district—causes variation in electoral competition. We show that in the Single-Member District with Plurality voting (SMDP) system, voters may cast their ballots using the candidate’s “visual cues”—this is particularly notable when voters cannot rely on party labels. We quantify the candidate’s smile in a replicable form by using automated facial recognition technology.
Using data from local assembly elections in an urban area in Japan, we showed how a candidate’s smile, the proxy of the candidate’s visual, is effective in gathering floating votes in SMDP, but it does not increase the vote share in Multi-Member Districts with Single Non-Transferable Voting (MMDs/SNTV) system.
Keywords: electoral system, district magnitude, visual cue, automated facial recognition technology, Japan
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