Stealth Reapportionment

One of the consequences of redrawing the administrative lines by creating direct municipalities is that the Central Election Commission will have to recalculate how many seats each county or city gets.  By my calculation, the new Tainan City will get another seat and Nantou County will lose one of its seats.  In the past, the CEC has reapportioned seats every election cycle, so I see no reason that they would not do so again for the next election.

I’m pretty sure that Taiwan uses a largest remainder system to apportion its seats.  In the 2008 election, there were 16,586,854 eligible voters[1] in the nominal tier, or 230,912 for each of the 73 seats.  However, you can’t directly use this as the quota since every county is constitutionally guaranteed a seat.  If you only consider the counties with more than 230,912 eligible voters, you have 67 seats to apportion to 16,199,125 voters.  Dividing 16199125 by 68, the quota is 238222.  There are 58 full quotas, and the remaining 9 seats are apportioned to the counties with the largest remainders.  The last seat goes to Nantou County, which has 1.62 quotas. Nantou County thus gets two seats while Tainan County, which has 3.56 quotas, only gets three seats.  However, Tainan City is also underrepresented, with 2.40 quotas.  If you combine Tainan County and Tainan City, the new entity has 5.96 quotas.  Since .96 is larger than .62, Tainan, not Nantou, would get the last seat.

This change would almost certainly have partisan consequences, since currently the KMT holds both Nantou seats while the DPP holds all five of the Tainan seats.  It’s also a little reminder that the institutional rules have consequences.  Even without changing a single vote in the electorate or having anyone move from one address to another, we can, by simply erasing a line, change the balance of power.

[1] I’m not sure if they use eligible voters, actual residents, or registered population to apportion seats.  I don’t think there would be much difference.

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