[EM] 01/15/03 - James' reply to my `Northern Ireland Assembly' Letter:

Donald Davison donald at mich.com
Tue Jan 14 23:21:20 PST 2003

01/15/03 - James' reply to my `Northern Ireland Assembly' Letter:

Dear James and list members,

James, you wrote: "You may not be advocating "one area elections", but you
are quite clearly advocating two other features of voting systems that have
profound political effects, ie "near 100% party proportionality"..."

Donald here:  Yes, you are correct, I do tend to advocate methods that have
the better proportionality, even as high as `near 100% party
proportionality' for proportional representation election methods.  Is this
wrong to do??  Is it politically correct these days to advocate the less
proportionality PR methods, if so, then you should be advocating SNTV or
Cumulative Voting or Limited Voting.  They all have less party

But that is not the way to go.  It would be best to select the method that
has the highest proportionality and highest simplicity.  We can determine
which method is best by `pairing' all the methods.  In the pairing of
Bottoms Up vs Droop STV (for a five seat district), Bottoms Up will have
about 96% proportionality, while the Droop STV will only have 83%.  Add to
that the fact that Bottoms Up is much more simply than STV, we have a clear
winner in Bottoms Up.  No James, I don't insist on 100% party
proportionality, I'm more than willing to accept the 96% of Bottoms Up.

James: "...you are quite clearly advocating...national aggregation of votes."

Donald:  You wrong me James, what you say is not true.  I favor Districts
Within Districts, which means having about ten small districts in one
greater district, with `aggregation of votes' of course, but a large
jurisdiction would have more than one greater district.

James: "These raise issues that go far beyond the details of the voting system."

Donald:  And what would those issues be??

James: "I have expressed my views on them both before, but they have been
studiously ignored."

Donald:  Welcome to the club, we all have our `expressed views studiously

James: "We know from practical experience of preferential voting that
voters are motivated to cast their preferences by factors other [than]
party.  But locality, religious affiliation, ethnic origin, gender...are
also very important to many voters."

Donald:  I agree with what you are saying here, but if you feel gender is a
valid reason for proportionality, then you should advocate even number of
seats for small districts, that is, like two or four.  It is mathematically
impossible for gender proportionality to exist in small odd number seat
districts.  This is one of the reasons I always favor two seats whenever
small districts are to be used.  On that same note, if MMP were changed to
open list MMP, that would give gender proportionality.  It's in the math.
Each district actually has enough votes to elect two candidates.  One
gender would be elected in the district, and the other gender (if people
voted for it) could be elected via the open party list.

James: "You also advocate national aggregation of votes to determine the
party PR."

Donald:  No, I don't, not for the very large jurisdictions, but I have
already addressed this complaint from you.  You wrong me again.

James: "...and an arbitrary threshold imposed for seat allocation to
exclude the smallest groups in most countries where party PR is in use."

Donald:  I do not approve of any arbitrary threshold.  You have no right to
just fault me for anything you feel is wrong in any election method.  My
position is that there should be no arbitrary threshold, not even for the
smallest of the lowest vote sums.  If a candidate has a vote sum less than
a seat share, that sum is be regarded as a remainder and is to be handled
the same as all the other remainders.   Again you wrong me.

James: "One smaller point that you have also ignored, is that MMP elects
two very different types of member..."

Donald:  I have not ignored it, I have always stated that while MMP is the
best district method in use, it does have some flaws.  This is one of those
flaws.  My position is that the party list should be made up from only the
candidates that ran in the districts and the order is to be determined by
how well they ran in their district.  In other words: Open party List for
MMP.  You wrong me one more time.

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