[EM] Suggested Election Plan for any State

New Democracy donald at mich.com
Sat Nov 14 09:28:27 PST 1998

Dear Dan,

     Because the decision in Illinois has been made, that means the "die is
cast", but being as you are open to talking about this, I would like to
continue for academic reasons.

     I suggested four instead of three members per distict and you wrote:
Dan: "I think that's a poor idea for two reasons. One, districts will then
end up
with a 2-2 tie, which makes voters uncomfortable. I think people would like
to see a winner in their area, and a local split seems (perhaps
justificably) like a recipe for gridlock."

Donald: We are electing members to go to the State House, it does not
matter if there is a tie in a district. A 2-2 tie in a district does not
cause gridlock in the State house. If the voters are split fifty-fifty in a
district, then it follows they will elect two members each.

Dan: "Another problem is that the House will end up with an even number of
legislators, which is (in my opinion) a timebomb waiting for a tie vote."

Donald: A tie vote is not the same as a timebomb. If there is a tie vote,
that is a standoff - no problem. The measure does not pass - easy solution.
     When there are as many votes against an issue as there are in favor,
we should not allow it to become law by only a few percentage points more.
This is not a sporting event in which a score difference of one point
allows the winner to take all. This is more important. A near fifty percent
should not be allowed to force another near fifty percent of the people to
accept some law.  The passing majority should be at least fifty-five. Two
thirds would be even better than fifty-five.  A two thirds majority would
require two votes to force one vote to accept a decision. This is more
acceptable than allowing one vote to force one other vote. A conclusive
majority should be required so that the cumulative will of the electors is
definite. A conclusive majority requirement should be applied to ballot
proposals, referendums, and any lawmaking body.

Dan: "One of the good things about our initiative is that it reduces the
size of the House from 118 to 117 so that we end up with an odd number."

Donald: No, this is not so good. With a even number the measure would have
to pass with a margin of at least two votes - which is more conclusive than
a margin of one.

Dan: "But what about the majority party? Under cumulative voting, they can
split their votes between the two majority party candidates. Not so under
SNTV or limited voting.
How would you respond to that?"

Donald: The majority party will find it hard to split three votes evenly
between two candidates. That is the way Cumulative Voting is - it is not
always going to be easy for the voters to divide their votes. Maybe your
Cumulative voting system should give the voters six votes each. That number
can be split by one and by two and by three.
     But why is it necessary for votes to be split. We want a proportional
representation type election. It is best that each voter have only one vote
and cast it for their most preferred candidate. Then the three or four
candidates with the highest totals are the winners in the district.

     Anyway, these points are minor compared to what I really want to talk
to you about, and that is my plan that balances the party proportionality
across all the districts. This plan would offset all the flaws caused by
small districts and gerrymandering and differences in apportionment and too
many votes on some candidates and too many votes lost on candidates that
did not win.

     My Plan would work as follows:
     Your state would be divided into thirty districts.
     The voter would be allowed to vote for one candidate or one party -
not both. The only candidates a voter would be allow to vote for are the
candidates running in his district. But, the voters that chose to vote for
party will be allowed to vote for any party that has at least one candidate
running anywhere in the state.
     The total votes of the entire election is now divided by 118 to give
us a quota.
     Any candidate that received a full quota or more is elected, but we
still have seats to fill.
     All the candidates, elected or un-elected, are divided party by party
to form a party list. They are placed on the list in an order according to
the number of votes they had in their district.
     The votes of each party list is added to the votes cast for party in
the election.
     Each full quota a party has means that the party receives one seat to
fill, starting from the top of their party list with the elected district
members and working on down to the un-elected candidates.
     After all parties have recieved their share of full seats there will
be a remainder left over for each party. The sum of these remainders should
equal the number of seats yet to be filled. These seats are to be given to
the parties with the highest remainders.

     There is to be no artifical threshold. If a party has less than a
quota, then that amount is to be treated the same as a remainder at the
same time the seats for the remainders are determined.

     Advantages: This plan gives the voter the option of voting for a
candidate or a party. The voter will have no problem of trying to split or
rank votes.
     Most members will be elected by the same number of votes.
     This plan will give very good party proportionality across all the
districts. Most of the votes in the election will end up on elected
members. The only exception will be some of the small remainders, which I
estimate to be less than one percent of the total votes for a 118 member
house. So, therefore this plan should have a 99 percent proportionality
     Apportionment and Reapportionment: You may or may not have noticed
that the districts in this plan do not need any great effort in
apportionment and no effort in reapportionment - this is good. The plan
provides the best solution to any problem of reapportionment - the routine
employed by the plan eliminates any need for reapportionment. The number of
seats elected by a district will depend on the number of votes cast in the
district in relation to the number of votes cast in all the other
districts. Apportionment can be done casually and reapportionment is not
necessary. Any changes in the voting numbers from election to election for
any reason will be automatically reflected in the number of seats elected
in each district. When drawing up the districts there will be no need to
get them balanced. Districts can have differences of population.

One last note: This plan can and should also be used for elections that are
held in a single area because of the plan's ability to gather up unused
votes and recycle them to elect members. The surplus votes of candidates
that received more than a quota in the election will be used to elect list
members of the same party. The votes of un-elected candidates will also be
collected and used to elect list members of the same party.

Donald Davison

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