List PR

Forest Simmons fsimmons at
Fri Jun 15 10:36:03 PDT 2001

Continuing previous message (see below):

On Fri, 15 Jun 2001, Forest Simmons wrote:

> One thing I forgot to mention in the previous posting is that one coarse
> adjustment commonly used in weighted voting systems (which systems with
> solid blocs effectively are) is to adjust the quota up from 50% to a
> higher value.
> In my example, adjusting the quota to 62% or above would give the other
> provinces some voting power.
> In Blake's example, adjusting the quota to 53% would shut out the tiny
> state. But adjusting it even further up to , say, 99%, would give it veto
> power.
> The other common adjustment is to give the smaller blocs super
> proportional representation according to the square root rule of thumb.
> It seems to me that these two coarse adjustments should be combined for
> optimum effect before trying any fine tuning, such as giving a single
> representative a fraction of a vote or a vote plus a fraction. 
> Forest

It should be noted that neither coarse adjustments nor fine tuning nor
anything else can help in the case where there are only three blocs of
widely varying sizes.

That's the main thing I have against list PR; it tends to produce voting
blocs (since the candidates have to be loyal to their party to get on
their list again next time) and voting blocs can introduce wide disparity
of power even in the presence of exact proportional representation. 

Of course, that's no worse than our current duopoly in the states.

Luckily in the states there seem to be dynamics that keep the two big
blocs fairly equal in power, so a few mavericks can keep them on their

[This may be orchestrated behind the scenes in order to avoid upsetting
the rabble.]

If there are several parties with enough members to get representation,
then the bloc power problem isn't so big, and can be practically solved
with coarse and fine tuning. 

And Craig's open list idea might encourage some independence from blocs,
as well.

The electoral college problem inequity of power in the states could be
solved by adding some fractional votes into the electoral colleges of the
smaller states and subtracting some votes from the electoral colleges of
the three largest states. 

Better yet, just eliminate the electoral college system, and use the
popular vote in presidential elections.


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