[EM] PR vs Single-Winner Reform

Forest Simmons fsimmons at pcc.edu
Thu Apr 8 18:43:02 PDT 2004

On Mon, 5 Apr 2004, MIKE OSSIPOFF wrote:

> If you want to really do some good, something that will have an important
> and potentially vast global beneficial influence, adopt Condorcet or
> Approval (or maybe Bucklin) in your country instead of just PR.
> Single-winner reform in other countries would be precedent for its adoption
> in the U.S.
> There are arleady many countries using PR, including the best PR methods.
> But PR isn't a feasible proposal in the U.S. People here are suspicious of
> change, and PR would be a big change in the concept of representation. But
> single-winner reform would merely be an obviously better way of doing what
> we already do--electing candidates to 1-seat offices. People are rightly
> suspicious of and disgusted with their "representatives". Any change in the
> concept of representation woudl be perceived by many as giving more power to
> representatives, or to some disliked group. For instance, we ofen hear that
> PR would give power to the "special interests". Never mind what that
> means--my point is that PR won't be adopted here.
> So what can you do for the world? Adopt Condorcet, Approval, CR, or maybe
> Bucklin. Give us a precedent for genuine single-winner rerform. If you do
> that, you would be helping to democratize the U.S. And if you do that, you
> could make a big difference in the qualitly of life in the world.
> Condorcet has the advantage of being the best. Approval has the advantage of
> having the easiest implementation,and being a small, obvious modification of
> Plurality.

Actually, the easiest would be a simple version of Candidate Proxy.
Voters just vote for one candidate as in plurality.  Then the candidates
meet in a Election Completion Convention (instead of an Electoral College)
to decide the winner.

This convention is a perfect Proportional Representation (PR) affair: each
candidate has as many votes as supporters.

In other words, every candidate that runs is elected to the Election
Completion Convention, and members of this convention (rather than some
semi-democratic Electoral College) decide the winner of the original
contest by use of Condorcet, Approval, IRV, Plurality, or some other

But whatever the voting method used within the Completion Convention, each
member's ballot is replicated to the number of citizens represented by the
member in the Convention, i.e. the number of votes she received in her
election to the Convention.

I suppose that one could argue that IRV is better than this method,
perhaps even thirty percent better, but at five thousand percent of the
cost, including the lack of transparency in IRV's non-summable vote
counting process.

I think the public would find the televised Election Completion Convention
to be very informative and interesting, a great educational experience,
especially if Condorcet and Approval were sometimes used as the completion

After the public had a few years of exposure to these methods through the
Completion Convention, perhaps they would want to try them directly.

Candidate Proxy might be the best bridge to better methods.

"First Do No Harm."


> CR has the advantage of being familiar to people, and is
> strategically equivalent to Approval, and therefore is just as good as
> Approval. Bucklin has the advantage of having an easier hand-count than
> Condorcet, if elections must be hand-counted. Compared to other methods as
> easily hand-counted, Bucklin has by far the best properties.
> Mike Ossipoff
> _________________________________________________________________
> MSN Toolbar provides one-click access to Hotmail from any Web page – FREE
> download! http://toolbar.msn.com/go/onm00200413ave/direct/01/
> ----
> Election-methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list