[EM] A quick, dirty, and somewhat obvious method for a secretproxy ballot
Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
abd at lomaxdesign.com
Wed Nov 16 21:17:59 PST 2005
At 08:22 PM 11/16/2005, Paul Kislanko wrote:
>Yes, there's a big difference beteen the "trustee" paradigm and the "proxy"
>paradigm. When it comes to using proxies in public elections representing
>voters, it is MANDATORY that the "proxy" cast her vote the way she said she
>would when "campaining" for voters to select her as proxy. Hence, anyone
>casting more than one vote (i.e., hers and all the proxies she holds) must
>make her vote public.
This is a different usage of "proxy." Some jurisdictions allow a
voter to vote by proxy if the voter is unable to vote, perhaps is
legally blind, unable to get to the polls, etc. I would expect this
kind of voting to be explicitly what the voter desires.
But this is not at all what we are talking about when we talk about
proxy voting. We are talking about someone who *makes decisions* in
your absence, on your behalf.
And the delegable proxy systems I'm working on, the proxy simply
votes his or her own preference. I choose that proxy based on my
knowledge of how he or she has voted or debated or discussed in the
past, based on my personal trust of him or her. The proxy does not
cast my vote as a separate thing. Rather, when votes are counted, my
vote is counted with hers.
Yes, that could be done, the proxy could vote my vote separately, but
in order to do it, the proxy would have to determine what my vote
was. For the separate voting not to be moot, the proxy would have to
understand that I would vote differently than her. Yet I'm not there,
and I have not participated in the discussion. How is the proxy to
know that I would not have changed my mind?
What a responsible proxy would do, in the systems I propose (which
would not accomodate split voting by a proxy, it adds entirely too
much complexity with not enough benefit, if any at all), would be to
inform me that such and such an issue was coming to vote, that she
thinks I might disagree with her conclusion. She would discuss her
conclusion with me, and, if I remained unconvinced, she would advise
me to vote directly, which, of course, invalidates the proxy for that
Now, consider Asset Voting as an election method. Let's suppose the
simplest Asset Voting, where you can vote for one candidate only. I'm
also going to assume Asset Voting where every candidate for whom you
can vote is *actually* a candidate, rather than someone who is merely
collecting votes to be recast, but who is not seeking to serve in the
So you vote for whom? You vote for the person you most trust, in two
capacities: to serve in the office, or if that is not going to
happen, to help select the one who actually is going to serve.
Now, suppose that the candidate for whom I vote is actually elected.
She is going to hire, let's say, staff, who are actually going to do
most of the work. In reality, it happens that her ability to make
good choices in delegating responsibility is an important aspect of
her ability to function in the office. And that same ability would
serve if she is called on to recast the votes she received in the
asset redistribution phase of the election.
(It's been argued that I might think that a person was good for an
office, but not good to select who would be good in the office. I
think this unlikely; indeed, the best person to choose who should
serve in office would be the next-best person for the office. Or the
What Asset Voting does is to convert an election into a deliberative
process. If candidates are limited to what can be anticipated and
promised, the process is severely hampered, and you end up with the
various weird election phenomena which result from attempting to use
rigid rules to produce winners from raw votes.
Asset Voting should avoid wasted votes. It would be quite practical
with Asset Voting to require a majority winner in a single-winner
election. But in an impasse, the collection of candidates could
decide to allow a plurality winner (for they can cast their votes as
they choose, and if a majority of them agree to a process, they can
then cast their votes to implement the process. i.e., they would
vote, determine the plurality winner, and then all vote for that
winner, who would then have a majority....)
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