[EM] STV district magnitude

Alex Small asmall at physics.ucsb.edu
Mon Jul 21 08:37:02 PDT 2003

Stephane Rouillon said:
> Making "virtual" ridings non-geographically-based migth not be
> considered by serious electoral-reformers, and it is not going to be
> feasible soon, but do you see another way to remove personal interest
> from the election process.

This has its problems too.  Let's say we somehow form virtual districts,
based on free or assigned associations of people.  It can be by
profession, political preference, or personal whim, or whatever.  Now the
goal is to advance "my" group.  Maybe not pork for the local road
construction, but if it's a free association of people with common
interests, then advance whatever those interests are to the expense of all
else.  If it's a virtual district based on profession, well, we've all
seen how lobbying groups for labor and business operate.  If it's (God
forbid) a religious or ethnic virtual district, we've all seen how ethnic
and religious divisions can play havoc in politics.

No electoral system can cure politicians of the desire to advance their
constituents to the detriment of all others, unless we go to a single
nation-wide electoral district.  And the undesirable features of such a
district are:

1)  The more constituents a legislator has, the harder it is for a citizen
to really have meaningful access to a legislator.

2)  The more candidates there are, the less likely candidates are to
compete on individual merit, and the more difficult it is for the voters
to evaluate individuals on their merits.

Anyway, I no longer buy the argument "My method elects better people who
are less selfish."  The only arguments I might buy are "This method gives
more groups of voters a seat at the table in proportion to their number", 
or "This method enables more options to compete".


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