House of Councillors Election Vote Disparity
SNA (Tokyo) — With the passage into law on July 28 of the House of Councillors electoral district reform bill, there has been some amelioration of the wide disparity in the weight of individual votes. Nevertheless, many believe that the reforms are far too timid. It will remain the case that one person’s vote in some prefectures will have the weight of almost three peoples’ votes in other prefectures. The courts may very well rule that the electoral system remains unconstitutional even after this reform. Certainly the legal challenges to the electoral system are ongoing and the passage of the new law will not change that.
Below is a prefecture-by-prefecture account of how the voting weight stacks up both before and after the new law was passed. Under the old system, the people of Tottori Prefecture were the most overrepresented in the nation. However, with the merger of their district with that of Shimane Prefecture, as well as the merger of the Kochi and Tokushima districts, it will be Fukui Prefecture that will now become the most overrepresented in relation to the rest. On the other hand, it will be the residents of Saitama and Niigata prefectures whose individual votes will carry the least weight in the July 2016 House of Councillors election.
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