One of the essential aspects of the notions of democracy is that the election of representatives by vote has as its intrinsic value the equalizing idea of ​​parity at the time of the vote:one person one vote”. If each voter is a vote, then the same number of votes must be transformed into the same number of representatives in the same House or the same Body.

If it is understandable that this does not happen in legislative bodies whose representatives are representatives of local authorities, such as the National Senate, this phenomenon can also be seen in the Houses of Representatives of the People, or of the population base.

By organizational logic, it is reasonable for geopolitical cuts to be made that conspire against this parity in parliamentary representation. But, When does this disproportion break the 1 person 1 vote parity? What is the “acceptable” threshold for this disproportion? Or even more: how does this disproportion affect the parties that compete electorally?

There Province of Buenos Airesthe largest district in the country, is a clear example of how electoral design can skew the representation of citizens, favor or harm a political party.

By not having an intermediary political organization between the Province and the Municipalities, like the departments found in other districts, Buenos Aires reproduces the same population and territorial base in the two provincial chambers. That is to say, they represent the same citizens, from the same sections, for the same duration and according to the same logic, without any type of differentiation, except in the total number of members, with 92 deputies and 46 senators , a number very similar to the original conformation of the body, which in 1934 fixed the number of senators at 42 and the number of deputies at 84; allowing them to be increased to 50 and 100 in each case.

In 1935, Law 4,316 was enacted, which established the number of legislators that each section would have, based on the national census of 1914. On that date, and beyond the particular bicameralism of the province, it had a representation between constituencies artificially created solely for elections. purposes, called sections: the Seventh elected 1 representative for 26,067 inhabitants (6 for 156,407 inhabitants); while the eighth electoral section elects 1 deputy for 23,031 (6 for 138,196), a difference of barely 3,000 inhabitants per deputy between the extremes at that time.

Almost a century later, based on the 2010 census, abysmal differences are observed between the different sectionswhich were distorted by the lack of updating of the correlation between population and banks: the first section elects a provincial legislator for 364,400 inhabitants; while at the other extreme, the second section does all 39,105, almost ten times less.

Far from being an extreme case, what emerges from an overall analysis of the legislative representation of Buenos Aires is a marked under-representation of the suburbs of Buenos Aires, composed of the first and third electoral sections, in favor of a resounding overrepresentation of the provincial interior, in the second, sixth, seventh and above all fourth sections; while those that are closest to balance are the Eighth – capital region – and the Fifth, which mainly includes the Atlantic coast of Buenos Aires.

Analyze the level of disproportionality of the provincial legislature, using Samuels and Snyder’s adaptation of the Looseemore and Hanby index; which adds the absolute differences between population and percentage of seats per Section, divided by two, to avoid double counting of the differences, a partisan bias tending to favor parties that obtain better electoral results in overrepresented sections is detected; which correspond to a rural type population.

Thus, during a temporary cut between 2011 and until 2021; taking as a starting point the first election held in the Province after the establishment of the municipal status of the city of Lezama, when establishing the current provincial geopolitical conformation, subdivided into 135 municipalities and 8 electoral Sections; The advantage in terms of the number of votes needed to elect the legislators of Together for Change (or the seal with which the PRO + Radicals + CC) competed compared to Peronism is notable.

In a strict sense, the electoral drawing can be the product of different factors, but the strong disparities in the number of people represented by each deputy or senator can never be neglected if the objective is to strengthen democracy.

The two most disproportionate slices, which alone explain half of the District Overrepresentation (SRD) total of each of the rooms, are the first and the third section, precisely those that have the largest urban population and where the best results should be found by Peronism. While the Fourth and Sixth are the most advantaged in the distribution of seats by a percentage much higher than its population.

Consequently, and in order to simplify the cross-referencing of the data, we can deduce that parties that performed better in the second, fourth and sixth sections, and to a lesser extent in the fifth and eighth, were favored -over-represented- compared to those who did the same in the first and third sections, under-represented.

In this sense, in the last six elections, the current provincial party in power -with its different denominations and fronts- has always obtained its best result in the Third Electoral Section (the one with the highest SRD), and the second best result in 2021, 2019 and 2017 in the First Electoral Section (the second with the highest SRD).

On the other hand, the worst results in this same space in 2021, 2019 and 2017 were in the Sixth Electoral Section (the second most overrepresented section in the distribution of seats) and in 2015, 2013 and 2011 it obtained the worst results in the Eighth electoral section or capital section, which is already within the acceptable thresholds of the SRD.

Conversely, the Cambiemos alliance, composed mainly of the PRO and the UCR, obtained its best results in the sixth electoral section since 2015 – when it was incorporated under the name of the said Alliance.

Thus, the parties that claim the Peronist vote for themselves are harmed by this disproportion. The FDT in 5 of the 6 elections and the Front du Renouveau in the last, were the majority spaces that had the most Cost per MP or Senator They paid in each of the Chambers.

Whereas, Cambiemos and Radicalism have benefited from this disproportion, having the lowest cost per deputy and senator among the majority parties in all elections measured.

However, and confirming the bias of this disproportion, radicalism, when it was alone – without being part of the Alianza Cambiemos, which has a certain philoperonist component in its ranks – obtained in 2011 one of the lowest Costs by Deputy, to focus on overrepresented sections of the interior of Buenos Aires.

In this sense, the current composition would involve a significant parliamentary benefit for sectors linked to the Buenos Aires campaignand above all to radicalism, which, although it has not had competitive candidates for the governorship in decades, maintains an enviable legislative representation hand in hand with the overrepresentation of voters from the sections of the interior of Buenos Aires, where radicalism is known to stay in power, or at least challenge it.

During the six elections taken as a sample, the FDT had an average cost per representative of 96,158 votes. While Let’s change – in the four elections in which he took part – he obtained one deputy for every 84,928 votes; that is, the FDT needed an additional 11,230 votes per MP to win a seat. In turn, if the cut is made on the four elections in which the two spaces competed in Peronism against. Pro-radicals, the gap is even greater in favor of Cambiemos, since the cost per deputy of the current Frente de Todos amounts to 102,929 votes for each deputy, bringing the gap to 18,001.

This is not only ratified but also extends to the senate, where the FDT had a cost per senator of 164,201 votes in the last six elections, and 202,889 in the last four where it faced Cambiemos, which had a cost per senator of 139,915 votes; Therefore, FDT needed 62,974 votes more than Cambiemos to win each seat in the Provincial Senate.

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