I Like Irving donald at mich.com
Fri Mar 30 02:33:34 PST 2001

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Greetings,

Donald wrote:

>     I agree with your suggestion of an even number in the district.
>     The election may be nonpartisan, but the voters and the candidates
>will still line up according to the two major parties.  An even number of
>members in a district will allow them both to have a more just
>proportionality.

LAYTON wrote:
This isn't exactly right.  It's true that each electorate will be more
proportional, but the body or legislature that is elected will be less
proportional.

Don: What you are saying does not compute.  You agree with me that each
electorate will be more proportional, but how can you say the legislature
is going to be less proportional than the sum of its parts, that is, if all
the electorates are proportional then the legislature must also be
proportional.

LAYTON:  You're talking about district STV with 4 candidates per district.
Dem & GOP will almost certainly get two seats each.

Don:  Yes, I will agree with you, the Dens and GOP will almost certainly
get two seats each.  That's because in most electorates the two parties
will be near fifty-fifty in support.  This is why an even number should be
used for the number of seats. So that each major party can be represented
fairly in regards to the other near equal party. Two seats each is not a
problem.

LAYTON:  In order for one Party to get three seats, they would need 63% of
the two party preferred vote - almost impossible.

Don:  Again I agree with you, but you seem to imply that this is a problem.
Why is it a problem if one party cannot get three seats when that party
only has fifty percent plus a few votes?  It is only entitled to two seats,
after all, this is a proportional type election.  You seem to want to
design the system so that a `fifty percent plus a few votes' party wins a
majority of the seats in a district. That would be a corruption of
proportionality.

LAYTON:  So, which party runs the legislature/council will be determined by
one or two districts where there is a strong third party candidate or
independent, or districts with an extremely strong concentration of
particular party supporters.

Don:  Why is it necessary to have one party run the council?  This is not a
Parliament type election.  The Kansas City Council is not required to form
a government.
When I said that this was a proportional type election, I should have
also added that it is not a majority type of an election.  The Mayor is the
executive officer and he will be elected via another election race.

LAYTON:  Or, it's quite possible that the legislature will be exactly
evenly split

Don:  Yes, I agree with you again, but this is not a problem. If this
happened, it would be good, then both factions would need to work together
for the good of the city.

LAYTON:  I won't bother devising an example, but odd numbers of candidates
(preferably at least 5) actually make the legislature more proportional in a
two party system, and tend to give the party that actually got the most
votes the most seats.  Even numbers of candidates will not do this.

Don:  You seem to have the position that a simple majority faction should
have a lion share of the seats even if it is not proportional.  If you wish
to argue that a fifty percent plus one faction should receive a majority of
the seats, then do so, but don't claim it's going to be proportional.  A
simple majority is not proportional to `two of three' nor `three of four'
nor `three of five' nor `seven of twelve'.
Again I must repeat that this is not a majority type election, a party
with fifty-one percent is not entitled to seven of twelve seats, it is only
entitled to about fifty percent, six of twelve seats.
Besides, you are not taking into consideration that the mayor will be
the 13th member of the Kansas City Council.  He most likely will be the
deciding vote as to which faction will run the council if there is only two
factions, so have no fears about your little problem with majority control.
It would be best if there were no majority faction and no majority
control, best to have three or four factions that work together for the
good of the city.

Better yet, the council should use a conclusive majority of eight of
thirteen votes.  This would involve more members in the passing of
anything.  You really favor majority control, you should love a majority of
eight of thirteen citizens running the council.

Davison

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