[EM] The Gilmour James wrote:

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Fri Jul 25 05:21:50 PDT 2003

James Gilmour had written:
> "We have previously debated the merits of Donald's method ("the
> method") which seems to have been devised because Donald 
> rejects the Droop quota."
> Donald here: Yes!! I do reject the Droop quota for most 
> elections, but I devised my two new methods mainly to provide 
> the voter with a method that can handle the math of allowing 
> the voter to rank candidates and/or parties in any mix, but 
> my two methods, one variant of each STV and Bottoms Up, do 
> have the side benefit of not containing the distortions 
> caused by the Droop quota.

Can you please show me the distortions caused by the Droop quota
in STV-PR elections?

>   Besides, I do not reject the Droop quota entirely, I say it 
> can be used in a non-partisan election in which the 
> jurisdiction has voted to favor the larger factions by giving 
> them the benefit of averaging their votes.  It can be used in 
> this type of an election, but only until someone comes up 
> with something better.
> Gilmour:  "Donald also rejects the idea that the purpose of 
> elections is to elect."
> Donald:  I fail to understand why you would say something 
> like this. Elections electing candidates may be the only 
> thing that everyone on this list will agree to and that 
> includes me.  Are you merely talking off the top of your 
> head.  You can do better than that.

I made that comment because that is what you have consistently
done, and you do it yet again in your comment next following.
> Gilmour:  "In previous posts he expressed great concern to 
> see every vote transferred to its last possible destination 
> rather than accept that the same winners would be elected 
> without all that paper shuffling."
> Donald:  The value of transferring every vote to its last 
> possible destination is that it will give us a final measure 
> on how well the election turned out, that is, how 
> proportional was the results of the election.  

This may be very interesting but it is totally irrelevant to the
(generally accepted ) purpose of elections.  That purpose is to
elect the required number of persons to office from among the
candidates who have offered themselves for election.  Donald
clearly does not agree because he has his obsession with
transferring every ballot paper to its last possible destination.
If the same winners will be elected without so many transfers, as
a practical reformer I cannot see any point at all in making all
those transfers.  Of course, it is very interesting to see all
the patterns of transfers to the very end.  It is even more
interesting to see all the patterns of preferences on every
ballot paper, as we now can from the electronic records for three
electoral districts in Ireland.  But all of that remains
irrelevant to the purpose of the election.

> Supporters of 
> the Droop quota do not want the final transfer to take place 
> because it will show that Droop elections are not proportional.

I don't know the basis of this assertion.  MY only reason for
using the Droop quota is that it gives the same result more
quickly, ie without so much paper shuffling.  The underlying
concept of the Hare quota, five elected candidates each supported
by one-fifth of the voters, is one I can certainly sign up for.
That is the basic concept of "PR" that appeals to those who
recommend the use of STV.  But for practicality we approximate to
that, and elect the same winners, with the Droop quota.

> Gilmour:  "Most of the items in Donald's "list of 
> distortions" in STV arise from bad or outdated 
> implementations or attempts at deliberate political 
> interference or simply inappropriate use of a voting system.  
> They are not inherent defects of STV-PR."
> Donald:  While the distortions may not be `inherent defects 
> of STV-PR', they are, never the less, part of current STV.  
> On the one hand you sell people the concept of an ideal pure 
> STV.  On the other hand you give them distorted STV.  Your 
> right hand doesn't know what your left hand is doing.

That is nothing but a cheap jibe, and you know it.  I do not seek
to give anyone "distorted STV".  I want to see the best
implementations of STV-PR everywhere anyone wants to use it.

> Gilmour:  "My principal objection to Donald's method is that 
> it would entrench the position of the political parties."
> Donald:  If the jurisdiction of a partisan election votes to 
> average the votes of the political parties, then my 
> elimination rule will do the best averaging, better than the 
> averaging done by Droop.  Having said that, I fail to see how 
> my variants would entrench the position of the political 
> parties.  Each voter still has the power to cross party lines 
> when they rank candidates and/or parties in any mix.

I may have missed something, but how can any system that averages
votes over parties do anything but entrench the position of the
political parties within the political system?

> Gilmour:  "I support the use of STV-PR and oppose the use of 
> all forms of party list PR because I want to see the balance 
> of power shifted away from the parties in favour of the
> Donald:  The ranking of the candidates in STV is best, as 
> long as the STV maintains proportionality, if not, then Open 
> Party List will be best over Droop STV because at least we 
> will have near perfect party proportionality, which is the 
> main purpose of PR.

It may be your view that "the main purpose of PR" is to give
"near perfect party proportionality", but there are other views
of what "PR" should be about.  My view is that the voters should
be central to that "PR", not the predefined political parties.  I
know that PR of nothing more than the political parties is
acceptable to millions of electors who use party list PR systems
(most of continental Europe), apparently without any demand for
change.  But it is not a view I share, nor is it shared by many
who campaign for reform of our political system in the UK.
Political parties are essential for the political process, but
that does not mean they should be "the be all and end all", nor
that we should adopt voting systems that entrench their position
and power, or worse, strengthen their position and power.  In a
representative democracy, the elected members should be
accountable, primarily, to those who elected them, not to the
political parties that nominated them.

Open list party-list PR is certainly better than closed list, but
it cannot give PR within the parties (unless you have
transferable voting within parties and quota counting), nor can
it give PR on issues that cut across parties.

> Gilmour:  "I want the balance of accountable of elected 
> members shifted from the parties towards the electors who 
> voted for those members."
> Donald:  Again you are showing that your right hand doesn't 
> know what your left hand is doing.  On the one hand you 
> profess this noble position, which is a valid position to 
> take, but on the other hand you support the Droop quota, 
> which is counter in results to your noble position.  If you 
> do not favor party power then you should not support the 
> Droop quota, for Droop is for the benefit of the parties.

Leaving aside your cheap jibes, I do not see how the Droop quota
is of special benefit to parties, nor how the Hare quota would
avoid whatever it is that the Droop quota does to benefit

> Years ago I was discussing Hare vs Droop with Rob Richie, 
> executive director of the Center for Voting and Democracy 
> (CV&D).  After a few exchanges of emails, his last word on 
> the subject to me was: `I know what you are saying Don, but 
> we need to give something to the larger factions in order to 
> get them to come on board and support election reform.'
> Now, there is an honest man.  He supports Droop in STV, but 
> he does not pretend that his reason is noble, he does not 
> pretend that Droop is the best thing since sliced bread.

Leaving aside yet another cheap jibe, I have never heard of
anyone recommending the use of the Droop quota because it would
work to the advantage of any particular size of group.


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