[EM] Election via Proxies

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Wed May 18 14:48:19 PDT 2005

Another post suggested use of proxies instead of electing.   I thank John 
B. Hodges  for waking me up on this, but offer my own approach.

Classifying kinds of elections:
      Presidential:  In their own world, and I say little - keep the 
Electoral College, partly because national popular vote can be poisoned 
too much by cheating in whatever states will tolerate that, and there is a 
deliberate bias in favor of small states that makes Constitutional 
Amendments that remove the bias impractical.  BUT, a Constitutional 
Amendment that requires Electoral College membership from each state to be 
distributed according to votes for each candidate in that state seems 
possible and useful.
      Single offices, such as governor, mayor, and US Senator:  Elect 
them, and I argue that Condorcet is good enough, and better than 
Plurality, IRV, AV, etc.
      Bodies that attract thoughts of PR, such as US House delegations 
from a state, legislatures, etc.  Let those in control of each, when they 
choose to, substitute the proxy-based system described below (I will talk 
of "body" as a general label):

Body details:
      Each voter, eligible to elect a member of the body, finds another 
such voter who is at least somewhat in agreement as to goals, and is 
willing to act as proxy, and registers this agreement as part of their 
voter registration (just as a voter votes separately for city council and 
US House member, they are members of separate trees of proxies and 
register for each - nothing wrong with a voter being a proxy in more than 
one such tree and registered accordingly - the trees are independent).
           Part of the agreement between voter and proxy relates to 
           Some voters only want to find a proxy with desired goals and 
abilities - and ask no more.
           Some voters want to also have debate and communication within 
the group - and need to find a proxy willing and able to cooperate.
      Proxies, in turn, register in the same way with other proxies.
      Each proxy has as many votes as they represent, directly or 
indirectly; a voter with no proxy would have one vote.
      Body membership has as a goal about the size it would have if elected.
      Those proxies with the most votes.  To avoid proxies so strong as to 
have too much power, have a limit on weighted vote per member (WANT those 
who represent more voters to be stronger, BUT do not want any one proxy to 
be too strong).
      Voting in the body is by weighted vote.  If there are too many 
proxies, those beyond the membership limit have no vote in the body - it 
is up to them to combine or find someone to be proxy to a bunch of such.

Where we got to:  Somewhat like PR, we have groups of voters within the 
whole district assembled by interest, and with voting power to fit.
      Beats PR, for all those in the district sharing an interest can be 
represented by a single proxy - or by multiple proxies backing that 
interest if it is very popular.
      Voters can move from proxy to proxy as they see goals match and 
mismatch.  Can happen at anytime, but need enough sand in the gears 
(rules) to keep some stability.
      Can have proxies representing extreme positions.  They group 
together in bands of enough voters to back their positions, or cooperate 
to the extent that is effective.

I wrote the following in 1998.  What is above adds some flesh.

Something is needed to strengthen "by the people". An alternative method
of representation is offered for thought:

      * Everyone retains present right to be a voter, but may assign that
right to a proxy who, by soliciting the job of representing voters with
one set of interests, accepts responsibility for using the voters' rights
to further those interests and for keeping the voters informed. The voter
may recall such assignment at any time. There is no limit on the number of
voters directly served by a single proxy, but it is in each voter's
interest to choose a proxy personally known to be responsible, with an
appropriate platform, and willing and able to keep the voter informed.
However, since the proxies discussed above would be too numerous to meet
effectively for tasks such as electing or recalling a senator, proxies may
follow the above rules in assigning their voters' rights to other proxies.
Candidates must start at the bottom and get recommended to the next level
by at least one proxy at each level - this is a simple formality for
well-known politicians, but is needed as a mechanism for controlling
introduction of newcomers.
      * Reasonable stability is needed. Recall should always be possible,
but require a super majority such as 2/3 or 3/4 (easier to achieve via
proxies than via individual voters). The recalled political office or
voter rights should automatically be voted against any activity for a
fixed period of time (the idea is for recall to always be possible, but to
be done only to recover from serious problems).
   davek at clarityconnect.com    people.clarityconnect.com/webpages3/davek
   Dave Ketchum   108 Halstead Ave, Owego, NY  13827-1708   607-687-5026
             Do to no one what you would not want done to you.
                   If you want peace, work for justice.

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