[EM] Proxy Voting and Conclusive Majority

Donald E Davison donald at mich.com
Thu Aug 12 13:50:36 PDT 1999

Greetings,  This update contains two topics:
     1) Proxy Voting is unacceptable:
     2) Conclusive Majority aka Super Majority

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1) Proxy Voting is unacceptable:

Donald Davison responding to George Kokkas

     Proxy Voting is unacceptable.
     If a person is uninformed about candidates and/or issues, that person
should not vote, which means, his vote should not be cast, not even as a
     A proxy vote is the same as an uninformed vote. Your friend may be
informed, good for him, but why is he entitled to two or ten or two hundred
or more votes. He is not.

     Consider the following cases:
     Case One: Every voter is well informed about a proposal and they each
cast their own one vote.
     This will be the Best Case Scenario. We cannot do any better than
this. We can expect the best decision and we can use this case as a
standard to judge the following cases.

     Case Two: Only one half of the voters are well informed, but the other
half does not vote on the proposal.
     We can expect the results to be the same as Case One because the same
ratio of Yes-No votes should also be present in the half that votes.

     Case Three: Still only one half of the voters are well informed, but
this time the other half votes anyway.
     We cannot be sure of what may happen. The voting of the uninformed
half will be arbitrary and could make the results go either way.

     Case Four: Still only one half of the voters are well informed, but
this time the other half assigns their votes to proxy holders.
     Again, we cannot be sure of what may happen. The assignment of the
proxies will be arbitrary and could make the results go either way. The
persons that are on one side of the issue may receive the most proxies,
enough to result in a different decision than our best decision of Case

     My conclusion: Case One is the best we can do. Case Two is second
best. Cases three and four cannot be trusted to give us the same results as
Case One. The uninformed votes are an unknown factor, even when they are
turned into proxies.

     This practice of proxies is against the principles of Direct
Democracy. It should not be our intent to make one informed voter more
equal than another informed voter. Can you not see what will happen - we
will have people and parties advertising for proxies. We will have too many
people turning over their votes to proxy holders on a regular basis.
     Let the informed voters make the decision, but with only one vote each.

     Besides, some of you oppose representatives. If so, I should think
that you would also oppose giving your vote to a proxy holder. The intent
is the same - someone else is thinking for your vote.
     Or, is it your intent to be the Proxy Holder??? Maybe this is the
attraction of Proxy Voting - are you looking at this as a way of gaining
more power, without running for office, without working for some real


  ------------ Forwarded Letter ------------
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 05:43:12 +0300
From: "George L. Kokkas" <geoko at eexi.gr>
To: Aki Orr <aki_orr at netvision.net.il>,
Subject: [cicdd] Representation in a Direct Democratic political System

   Dear Aki,

   *  after a  period of   my summer vacations I came back in Athens  and I
     had the chance to meet  Michael Nordfors, who was travelling here,
     yesterday.  So, I had the opportunity to discuss with him a lot about
     his ideas of Direct Democracy and I found interesting  to announce our
     point  that if a citizen does not know a certain field of public
     activity and he/she has not the time to learn and be aware of this
     subject in order to vote in a Referendum, he/she should have the
     opportunity to give a special  recallable  proxy to another citizen
     (not a delegate for every issue,as we are doing  for  contemporary
     politicians) and the special  mandate to vote instead of him/her only
     for this special kind of issues ( for example I could give an at any
     time recallable  order  to another  DD colleague  for voting  instead
     of me in  issues such as nuclear weapons, because he has my reputation
     in this field and I do not feel so well informed on these affairs). I
     do not think that this practice could be against the principles of
     Direct Democracy, since  I can also have such a special proxy from
     other citizens in a field that I know better, like Media  for example,
     according to their opinion and only if they still have the samer good
     opinion for me.
   * I also think that Perikles spoke in the mentioned by you speech ( at
     the funeral of the dead  Athenian citizens during the Peloponesian War,
     approx. half a century after the Marathon battle against the Persians)
     for  the Athenians who do not participated at all in the town's
     participatory democratic procedures, not for citizens knowing
     themselves and their abilities, who were  being self -limited to the
     power they enacted, although they participated in the Demos' Ecclesia
     (Citizens' Assembly).

             In any way, I consider  the above  as a serious subject, that
we should all discuss. The above opportunity for proxies is mentioned  also
in the Greek Declaration  1999 for Direct Democracy and I think we should
discuss it during our 2nd International Congress next year.  You can also
watch M. Nordfors URL: www.ird.nu about his ideas of such "representatives"
in a Direct Democratic system. I proposed him to change the term
Representatives in his proposed system because of the contradiction with
Direct Democracy and he answered positively, trying to find  with me a
better term for these proxies in DD procedures.
             Waiting the comments of all the recipients, George L. Kokkas

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2) Conclusive  Majority aka Super Majority

  ------------ Forwarded Letter of Stephen Todd -----------
From: Stephen Todd <stephen.todd at customs.govt.nz>
To: "'Donald E Davison'" <donald at mich.com>
Subject: DD queries
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 1999 10:12:06 +1200

>Hi Donald-
>Would you please give me your thoughts on what constitutes a conclusive
>majority?   The point about a near majority not having the power to lord
>it over another near majority is a good one, but there has to be an
>anchor-point. I seem to recall 55% being mentioned as constituting such a
>majority, but 55% of what - turnout, or registered voters?

Donald: I have used the figure of 55 % in the past as a Conclusive
Majority. I felt that at least a minimun of ten percent should seperate the
Yes and No votes. But I now favor two-thirds, which is the same as two
votes over one vote.
     Any majority should be based on turnout. No one has the right to
assume that the non-voters are all No-Votes. But, it is fair to assume that
the non-voters, if informed, would vote in the same ratio as the turnout

>It seems to me that a figure of 60% or more of registered voters would
>constitute a good definition of a conclusive majority at a referendum.  It
>provides a target figure that is known beforehand; something for the
>supporters of both the Yes and No side of the question being decided, to
>aim at.

Donald: This is not acceptable. Do the math. If a referendum had a turnout
of sixty percent, which is a good turnout, every vote would need to be a
Yes-Vote in order for the proposal to become law. This is not going to
happen. The referendum process will have been reduced to an exercise in

>If a conclusive majority is defined as 60%, or two-thirds, of valid votes
>cast, that gives a variable figure depending on turnout, which, if the
>turnout is low, could work out at less than 30% of registered voters.
>Over time, it would lead to issues being decided by wildly differing vote
>Defining a conclusive majority as being 60% or more of registered voters,
>is a fairly high, but by no means unattainable, hurdle.  It has the
>advantages though, of being seen as legitimate, by producing at least a 3
>votes to 2 votes margin for any issue being decided (irrespective of the %
>turnout), that no one could regard as 'a near majority'; and, most
>importantly, of encouraging people to participate in the process - they
>won't get what they want if they don't vote for what they want.
>What do you think?
>Regards, Steve

Donald: I think the majority should be based on turnout.
        I think all elections should be held on set dates, every three or
four or six months - or whatever.
        I think the government has an obligation to inform the public.
        I think that no matter how low the turnout, the number of informed
voters will be much larger than the number of informed members of a
representative body.
        I think a lower percentage of voters will be voting lockstep
according to party-line than the members of a representative body will be
voting lockstep according to party-line.
        I think, and I repeat because it deserves to be repeated, we are
correct to assume that the non-voters, if informed, would vote in the same
ratio as the turnout voters.
        I think that whatever the Conclusive Majority, 55% or 60% or
two-thirds, that the same value should be applied to both referendums and
laws passed by representatives.
        While I favor two-thirds, I think it is more important to have a
any Conclusive Majority of some value above a near fifty percent.


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   |  "Democracy is a beautiful thing,                                 |
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   |                            - Age 10                               |

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