# [EM] 120 Seats

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Mon Apr 17 07:58:31 PDT 2006

```At 05:41 PM 4/16/2006, Doreen Dotan wrote:
>There seems to be a large number of parliaments and legislatures
>that are composed of 120 seats in countries that are very dissimilar
>demographically, politically, economically, geographically and so
>on.... Is the number 120 significant because of the particular
>mathematical properties of the number 120, to wit:
>
>120 is the <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factorial>factorial of 5.

This one is probably a factor in the choice of that number. The rest
of the mathematical properties would not be relevant, in my opinion.
If there are terms and set election cycles, where a fraction of the
representatives are elected in each cycle, which is desirable for
stability and continuity, presumably the fraction is the same for
each cycle and must therefore be of the form 1/N times the total
number of representatives. So the total number must be divisible by
N, which limits the total number to a composite number.

Very large bodies are known to be highly inefficient. Such large
bodies as exist and are other than dysfunctional actually break
themselves up into a set of smaller bodies for most business....

120 is a compromise between efficiency and diversity. In a peer
assembly, where every member has the same voting power, the total
number of representatives must be relatively large in order to
include small factions, 100 as a total allows a coherent faction of
1% to be represented.

However, this is a restriction of the artificial constraint of having
a peer assembly. Proxy assemblies would not have that restriction,
and could be far smaller, and thus more efficient, while allowing
much smaller factions to be represented. If there are N members,
presumably some would represent more than 1/N constituents -- we call
them "clients" -- and therefore some could represent less than 1/N.

As was pointed out, PR systems generally waste a certain number of
votes, leaving a fraction of the electorate unrepresented. While it
might seem that this fraction is at most approximately 1/N, the fact
is that there could be many coherent factions smaller than 1/N; the
result with a fixed assembly size, on a surface analysis, would seem
to be that more than 1/N of the electorate can be unrepresented in a
peer assembly of N representatives.

Asset Voting, however, resolves this problem to a large degree. Asset
Voting used to create a peer assembly potentially leaves no wasted
received by candidates to be considered "assets" which can be
redistributed by the candidates as necessary to create winners. A
winner "consumes" by being elected, the quota of votes, leaving the
rest of the votes received, if any over quota, to be distributed by a
winner to other candidates. If a candidate receives less than the
quota, that candidate can still be elected if he or she receives
enough votes from other candidates, or can cause the election of a
chosen candidate by providing that candidate with all or a portion of

Asset Voting is a form of proxy voting used as an election method.
The candidates are proxies. If candidates are restricted to
redistributing their votes to a single candidate, who then
redistributes any excess, this is Delegable Proxy.

The original Asset Voting proposal, by Warren Smith, allowed voters
to assign a fractional vote to candidates, with the restriction that
the sum of votes assigned did not exceed one. It has been pointed out
that this restriction is unnecessary, if the ballot result is
normalized to unity sum, leading to a very simple form of Asset
Voting: FAAV, Fractional Approval Asset Voting, where voters vote for
candidates using a normal plurality-style ballot, as many as they
choose "Approve", with multiple votes, if any, being reduced to
fractions. Thus the voter either assigns his or her vote to a single
candidate, or to a virtual committee. I personally don't see a need
for such committees, except that allowing this kind of voting
eliminates ballot spoiling due to overvoting, and there is no harm in
it except for counting complication. If the counting complication is
considered too much of a problem, then standard plurality rules could apply.

But the method is not "plurality," because of the allowed
the quota (which in a single-winner election would presumably be the
smallest integer greater than 50%).

The system would need to address refusal of candidates to
redistribute votes. Such a refusal quite properly would result in
election failure, not in the election of some candidate with less
than the quota, which would reward such intransigency. In a
relatively large assembly, Asset Voting allows even very small
factions to be represented, not directly, but by a winner who has
agreed to at least present their views and to represent, to the
degree possible and consistent with the winner's own positions, their
interests. Thus Asset Voting, in my view, is as perfect as is
possible with a peer assembly, without going to proxy voting in the
assembly itself.

(Note that many assemblies allow proxy voting at least under some
conditions. I listen to NPR radio from a New York station, where
there is common mention of proxy voting by representatives in the New
York House, in committee. It's considered a bad idea by some, but, in
my view, it is only a bad idea if "proxy voting" allows a proxy to
cast a vote *different* from the proxy's own vote, as instructed by
the giver of the proxy. This, then, allows votes to be cast remotely,
with no participation in the deliberative process, which, yes, is a
very bad idea. Indeed, this is a general problem with public, secret
ballot elections, which invite votes from people who have no
participation in deliberation. I think such votes should be limited
to consent votes, not to active initiatives which take the place of
legislative deliberation. Indeed, my opinion is that elections in
general are problematic. I prefer the right to choose who represents
me without being restricted, in any way, by the votes of others.)

http://metaparty.beyondpolitics.org is a new effort by Jan Kok,
worthy of attention.

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