[EM] Public elections are the ones that matter.

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Sun Nov 13 20:31:49 PST 2005

On Sun, 13 Nov 2005 19:28:21 -0500 Abd ul-Rahman Lomax wrote:

> At 01:38 AM 11/13/2005, Dave Ketchum wrote:
>>I wonder if this exchange misses the point.
>>When these other organizations want, essentially, the services public
>>elections provide - then they properly join in EM.
> I see the EM list as being about election methods, not about public 
> elections or private elections specifically. Some of the discussion 
> here does seem to presume that an election is for public office, but 
> much is relevant both in the public and private arenas.

We already have trouble enough on EM, especially when someone promotes a 
variation of Condorcet because of seeing it as appropriate for nonpublic - 
especially without noting this detail.

I am HAPPY with discussing common details on EM.

>>However, for most of them Robert's Rules has spent much effort doing well
>>what they need, and EM is not into their view of those topics.
> Election methods are a detail for Robert's Rules, which is mostly 
> about deliberative procedure. When full deliberative process is 
> possible, election methods become much less important; the rules of 
> deliberation loom and decision loom much larger.

Robert's Rules has experienced tremendous inflation since I first heard of 
it.  That is partly because it intends to be complete in what it covers.

By being complete it can discus reasons for choices between methods in its 

>>Corporations are off in their own corner - each share of stock owns a
>>vote, to be voted by its owner.

One important detail is NEED for voter secrecy in public elections - 
and little if any need for such for corporations.

Proxies are important for corporations.  Delegable proxies are worth 
thought for public elections - but need CAREFUL THOUGHT to avoid making 
more trouble than they are worth.

> I think that this may miss the point regarding corporate elections. 
> Public elections would be similar to corporate elections if the state 
> is considered as a corporation with each citizen owning one share.
> However, at common law, where an individual has a right, that right 
> can ordinarily be exercised by an attorney-in-fact, otherwise in this 
> context called a proxy. Were it not for legislation prohibiting it, 
> proxy voting would be allowed in public elections. (In some countries 
> voters who are unable to come to the polls may designate a proxy to 
> vote for them, but this is not the same kind of voting as takes place 
> in corporations.)
> The obstacle is the tradition of secret ballot, considered necessary 
> to safeguard against coercion. However, it is my suspicion that the 
> dangers of open voting in a society functioning with rule of law are 
> drastically overstated, and, indeed, the use of secret ballot may 
> allow more abuse than it prevents.
> In the corporate world, with huge asset values at stake (more than in 
> many public elections), votes are a matter of record. And most votes 
> are cast by proxy.

We can choose whether to be active in the corporate world.

We have NO CHOICE as to whether we live in the public world and under its 

> (But the structures of corporate governance were developed when 
> corporations were small in the sense of having relatively few 
> shareholders. These shareholders were sophisticated and knew the 
> situation with the various players and board candidates, or if they 
> did not, they hired proxies who did. Modern corporations now have 
> large numbers of essentially clueless shareholders who sign off on 
> proxy solicitations sent by existing management. Delegable proxy is a 
> solution to the problem of scale in corporate governance, just as it 
> could be a solution to the problem of scale in democracy in general.)
> However, I'm not proposing delegable proxy for governmental bodies at 
> the present time, not until there is sufficient experience with them 
> to understand how they work in practice, not merely in theory. But 
> there is plenty of work that can be done outside of government, and, 
> in particular, in free associations, which are doubly protected 
> against corruption and abuse.
> Free associations leave all the power in the hands of the members, 
> they do not collect money, they have no authority to command 
> obedience; their power consists solely of the power to communicate, 
> to facilitate voluntary cooperation and coordination. That is quite 
> enough power, if we but knew!

  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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