[EM] Alternative electoral systems as tools to promotesocialnetworks and activism

Stephane Rouillon stephane.rouillon at sympatico.ca
Fri Nov 26 07:18:24 PST 2004

Jan Kok a écrit :

> Bryan,
> I applaud you for thinking about, writing about, and promoting a mechanism
> that encourages grass-roots activism.  However, I see a couple of problems
> with the indrep idea in its present form:
> 1.  Why do you recommend allowing each voter to vote for only one candidate?
> That's Plurality voting, a method despised by most people who have studied
> other voting methods.  The main problem with Plurality voting when applied
> to the indrep idea is that most grass-roots activists have to earn a living
> in the real world and therefore only have time to study and promote one or
> two issues.  So a voter who cares about half a dozen issues may have a hard
> time finding a candidate who not only takes a position on all the issues of
> interest to the voter, but also takes a position that is acceptable to the
> voter.  I suggest using Approval Voting, which would let voters vote for one
> or more advocates for issue A, one or more advocates for issue B, etc.

Voting once is enough if other districts get the opportunity to answer to other
issues.  Using a multiple winner method the electoral system can be designed
to allow different polls to be conducted for each district, instead of having
seat expose the view of a geographical electorate about the always same weighted

mix of issues. All it needs is equivalent electorate sample. So if I am alone
to express an opinion about nuclear plants, it is not an issue if other want to
about gay weddings. But if a huge chunk of the population wants to vote about
plants candidates positions, thus it is sufficient the other people (in fair
proportion of the
overall electorate) that think and prioritize like me get to express it in the
virtual district
where candidates debate about nuclear plants. As a voter, I will do my job and
who has the best ideas about gay weddings in my district if this is what my
talk about... So 1 vote is enough and more correlated to the amount of time the
voter allows listening to debates in an election, when districts represents a
valid sample
of the entire electorate, with no bias, neither religious, ethnic based,
language based,
rural/urban based, age based, ...  This is why I suggest "astrological"
districts in SPPA.

> 2.  When a candidate takes positions on multiple issues, it becomes
> difficult to tell what votes for that candidate mean.  Did each voter agree
> with the candidate's position on every one of the issues?  Maybe one voter
> liked the candidate's position on issue A and had no opinion about issue B.
> Maybe another voter disagreed with the candidate about issue A but felt that
> the candidate was such a great advocate for issue B that it was worth
> overlooking the disagreement over issue A.  So, I think it would be better
> to structure the ballots as a series of referendum questions, with the
> advocates' names associated with the questions.  For example, "Do you agree
> with Jan Kok that Plurality Voting should be replaced with Approval Voting
> for all public elections in the US that are intended to select a single
> winner from multiple candidates?  Yes() No()"  Then voters could agree or
> disagree with my position on Approval Voting, independent of whether they
> agree with me about other issues that I might espouse.  In order to keep
> ballots at a reasonable size, candidates could pay for the number of issues
> they place on ballots and the amount of space they take up on ballots, and
> be paid for the number of Yes votes they receive.  Several candidates could
> also share the cost and rewards of placing an issue on the ballot.
> By the way, problem #2 occurs in every political system with any currently
> used voting method.  For example, what do all those votes for GW Bush mean?
> Do 56 million voters agree with everything that Bush stands for?  Of course
> not.  Wouldn't it be nice if there was a much more fine-grained separation
> of powers in the government, and we could, for example, vote for the
> Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of
> Education, etc.?  One obvious problem with that is, suppose the SoD wants to
> go to war, and SoT doesn't want to fund the war.  Who wins?  How would that
> kind of conflict between departments, which most likely arises daily, be
> resolved?

Some would argue that particular issues are connected, others disjoint.  I would
leave it
to every candidate to say if (s)he has one or many priority, what are their
order and
what is that politician positions about those issues.  Ideally, the debate
should give
the opportunity to all candidates to express their priority and later their
positions about
their own priority and the priorities of the other candidates... Finally voters
judge... Again, SPPA is issue-oriented, because candidates nomination process
the opposition to put doctors in the face of the minister of Health, and
management teachers
against the industry minister...

> Cheers,
> - Jan
> ----
> Election-methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info

Sorry for the teaching tone Jan, nobody seems to know about SPPA alternatives.
But I suppose
other methods could reach the same goal...


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