[EM] Cumulative Voting implementation

Bart Ingles bartman at netgate.net
Fri Aug 20 22:13:06 PDT 1999


Thanks for the quick reply.  It occurred to me after posting the
question that the choice of numerator is unimportant, and doesn't need
to equal the number of seats.  You could fix it at 100 (or 60 or 840 --
avoid fractions where possible).

As to whether this is the best non-preferential system possible, it
seems to me that the method I have been calling "Proportional Approval"
avoids a strategy problem inherent in both Cumulative and Limited
Voting.  In those methods if you dilute your vote over too many
candidates, you could end up not electing any of them.

With Proportional Approval, the only reason not to vote for more
candidates is that you don't like the additional candidates (same as
with single winner Approval).  Assuming you prefer 9 of 10 candidates
equally over the 10th, you could vote for all nine without penalty, and
without any chance of your faction gaining more than its share of seats.

It also works better if you have factions too small to elect a single
candidate each, and who are somewhat close politically (but not close
enough to agree on a single candidate between them).  These groups could
each run their own candidate, and let the Approval vote decide between

The tally process is a little more complicated than Peoria's, since the
method is basically just an obvious synthesis of Approval and STV, but
from the voter's point of view it's no more complicated than Approval. 
Much easier than Limited Voting and Cumulative Voting, since voters
don't need to worry about the dilution problem.

Bart Ingles


Tom Round wrote:
> G'day Bart. -- I agree with you that dividing one's votes unevenly is not a
> good tactical manouvre under Cumulative Voting  whatever the illusion of
> control it may give the voter. (Cumulative Voting is often praised as
> allowing one to "express intensity of preference" -- see, eg, Alvin
> Toffler, "The Third Wave", 1980, p 433: "We may also want to de-rig our
> voting laws to eliminate anti-minority biases ... One quite conventional
> method would be to adopt some variant of cumulative voting, as used by many
> corporations today to protect the rights of minority stockholders. Such
> methods allow voters to register not only their preferences, but the
> intensity and rank order of their choices.")
> Your suggested form of Cumulative Voting would be, in my opinion, the
> least-worst form of non-preferential system. One could adapt it to Approval
> for single positions by specifying that in that case each X counts as 1
> full vote. A runoff ballot could be added if not enough plurality winners
> receive a certain number of the voters enrolled, or casting valid votes.
> >From memory, when I asked about such a system on Election-methods list
> circa 1995-96, someone told me this is the "Peoria system" because it's
> used in that city.
> Regards, Tom.
> At 01:44 PM 8/18/99 -0700, you wrote:
> >I had always assumed that Cumulative Voting required number-voting
> >equipment to be feasible, but it just occurred to me that standard "X"
> >voting equipment is all that is required.  You simply divide the number
> >of candidates on the ballot by the number of candidates that a voter
> >selects, to get the fractional vote for each candidate.
> >
> >So if a voter selects only one candidate out of five, that candidate
> >gets five votes.  If the voter selects two candidates, each candidate
> >gets 2-1/2 votes.
> >
> >This is not quite the same as point-based cumulative voting, since there
> >is no way for a voter to give unequal weight to different candidates,
> >but it probably doesn't make strategic sense to divide the points
> >unequally anyway, at least in most situations.
> >
> >This seems less vulnerable to strategy than Limited Voting.  Am I the
> >last person to think of this?  Does it even sound feasible?
> =============================================================
> Tom Round
> BA (Hons), LL.B (UQ)
> Research Associate -- Key Centre for Ethics,
>         Law, Justice and Governance (KCELJAG)
> (incorporating the National Institute for Law, Ethics and Public Affairs)
> HUM[anities] Building, Room 1.10, Nathan Campus
> Griffith University, Queensland [Australia] 4111
> Ph:     07 3875 3817
> Fax:    07 3875 6634
> E-mail:         T.Round at mailbox.gu.edu.au
> Web:    http://www.gu.edu.au/centre/kceljag/
>         http://www.gu.edu.au/school/ccj/
> =============================================================

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