[EM] A quick, dirty, and somewhat obvious method for a secret proxy ballot

Scott Ritchie scott at open-vote.org
Wed Nov 16 16:55:08 PST 2005

On Wed, 2005-11-16 at 18:20 -0600, Paul Kislanko wrote:
> > 
> > If you have a preference, why are you delegating to a proxy?
> Why have proxies? I guess you're saying it's a dumb idea. 

I pick you as my proxy since I trust you to vote properly when informed
on the issue rather than myself.  If you can betray me by voting
"wrong", then doesn't that signal that I think I have more information
than you, and hence it was irrational of me to designate you as a proxy?

> If the idea of delegable proxy is to have folks with no preferences allow a
> proxy to vote their ballots, then only folks with no preferences must choose
> from available proxies. Now, that would be equivelant to their votes being
> replaced by random ballots, since if they have no preferences, their choice
> of a proxy can be random.

It wouldn't be random at all, unless I selected my proxy at random.  But
that's exactly not what I'm doing - I'm choosing someone I trust to make
a better decision.

> One of us doesn't understand delegable proxy. 

I designate you as my proxy to decide which of us it is.  But if you
decide it's me, I'll be really mad!  

> I doubt any voter asked to change from plurality to delegable proxy would do
> so based upon the arguments made by "experts" on the subject.
Cool, I'm an expert now.  Do we have a secret decoder ring?

Actually, on second thought, maybe "delegable proxy voting" is a bad
term to use.  In political science, we often talk about a distinction
between representatives who serve as delegates versus those who serve as
trustees, where generally trustee representatives are expected to have
more leeway in determining what's best.  Perhaps "voting by trusted
proxy" or "trustee voting" would better describe the idea here.

Scott Ritchie

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