[EM] TIMESHARE officeholding

Forest Simmons fsimmons at pcc.edu
Fri Aug 16 15:39:59 PDT 2002

I have used the time share method in my two hour classes for many years:

At the beginning of the term we vote whether to take the contractual ten
minute break in the middle of the two hour period or to just get out ten
minutes early.

If ten students out of thirty want the break in the middle, then we do it
that way seven out of the twenty sessions.

On Fri, 16 Aug 2002, Joe Weinstein wrote:


> 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'
> officeholding).
> 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
> interval.
> '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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