[EM] TIMESHARE officeholding

Joe Weinstein jweins123 at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 16 14:35:05 PDT 2002

Alex wrote yesterday (Re: [EM] pairwise, fairness, and information content):

"It tends to be inconvenient to have more than 1 mayor, governor, sherriff, 
or other executive officer for a given constituency.  That simple fact, 
rather than any axiom of mathematics, is the motivation for studying 
single-winner methods.  Of course, concerns of fairness (founded in either 
math, ethics, or politics) lead to the study of multi-winner methods for 
legislatures and similar bodies, but on this list the greatest intellectual 
interest seems to be in single-winner methods.

"Perhaps if all of society were more mathematically enlightened we would be 
open to having 20 simulataneous mayors.  Or perhaps not...."

For reasons and through means I have noted in other recent posts, we should 
and could better do away with all these executive offices - and for that 
matter legislative offices too.  For making a public decision of law or 
policy, we could better use a random ad hoc short-term citizen team, like a 
trial jury.

However, for those more inclined toward continuing today's electorally based 
oligarchy,  here's an alternative to agonizing over p.r. or over the number 
of winners.

Namely, TIMESHARE officeholding:  each candidate for a given office term 
holds the actual office for a partial term proportional to votes received.

This alternative is likely not original with me, but I've not seen it noted 
in print for a while, if ever.  (In effect, some coalition governments have 
used crude versions of 'timeshare' - e.g., in Israel, Shamir and Peres 
alternated in the premiership.)  Timeshare officeholding does not require us 
to be 'more mathematically enlightened' but it would accommodate distinct 
'simultaneous' electoral choices (without actually creating 'simultaneous' 

Yes, there are a number of details to be resolve.  They can be worked out in 
different acceptable if not totally 'fair' (among the different candidates) 
ways which we might discuss and haggle over.  E.g., here are some issues and 
my suggested responses:

'Quantum'.  Each partial term consists of a whole number of whole 'working' 
days for the given office (single executive office or multiple-office 
legislative body).

'Connectivity'.  Each partial term consists of a single unbroken time 

'Apportionment'.  Apportionment among the candidates of the available whole 
number of working days follows some usual rational scheme, e.g. as for 
apportioning legislative 'seats' among 'parties' or 'states'.

'Sequence'.  Suppose K different candidates are thereby apportioned nonzero 
partial terms.  The order in which these K partial terms occur is determined 
by one of two principles:  either totally at random; or  first choice as to 
position is given to the highest vote-getter, next choice to the 
second-highest vote-getter, etc.

On the above and yet other issues, no workable set of responses can be 
totally 'fair'.  Would-be 'fairness' is obstructed and complicated by many 
facts.  For instance, in a typical legislature, big organizational decisions 
get made in the first days; big substantive decisions may get made in the 
last days; and, in between, some working days are really working days just 
for certain committees; etc.

Even so, TIMESHARE officeholding would seem to offer a much more rational 
and fair approach, to implementing the overall wishes of the electorate, 
than do many or maybe even all other widely discussed voting and 
representation methods.

Joe Weinstein
Long Beach CA USA

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