[EM] 120 Seats

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Tue Apr 18 07:07:18 PDT 2006

On Mon, 17 Apr 2006 00:27:45 -0700 Brian Olson wrote:

> As far as I know, the various factorial properties of the size of a  
> legislative body don't have much affect on the electoral or  
> functional properties of such a group.
> The size of a Single Transferrable Vote - Proportional Representation  
> legislature affects the degree to which people go unrepresented by  
> any of their ballot choices. I think the formula is that about 1/(N 
> +1) fraction of the population go unrepresented for N seats elected.

I suspect the validity of that formula - that it only works if all the 

other details work perfectly - for example that all the voters know 

both what they desire and what the candidates offer.

> I heard that a study of the social habits and brain structure of  
> primates indicates that the natural size of a human tribe is around  
> 150 based on the size of the part of our brain that handles social  
> interaction and it's ability to keep our acquaintances managed.

This one makes MUCH sense - especially when there is enough work to do for 
efficiency to matter.

Then I think of city, town, and county legislatures - usually much 
smaller, but which cannot justify the expense of having more members.

> Larger groups are harder to have productive discussions within.  
> Smaller groups can give too much power to individuals.
> I tend to think in base 10, and think 100 is a nice round number, and  
> the present size of the US Senate, therefore a "normal" number for a  
> legislature.

US Constitution did not plan on Senate current exact size - only demands 2 
senators per state.

But look at the US House, which grew as the US grew until a law a few 
decades ago fixed the size at 435.

> Pulling a proposal out of a hat, I think a group of 60 serving 6 year  
> terms, electing 20 every other year sounds like a good plan. If you  
> like 120 we could elect 40 every other year. I think electing 20 at a  
> time will keep the ballot length to a more manageable size.
> But that's just what I think, I could be wrong.

As to the above two examples, elections elect one member from each 
district, so ballot length is a constant.  Proposing a change that might 
BOTH be better and be acceptable would need MUCH thought.

As to other groups multiple member districts make much sense, but the 
mechanical detail of ballot size is only one of the details to consider.

> Brian Olson
> http://bolson.org/

  davek at clarityconnect.com    people.clarityconnect.com/webpages3/davek
  Dave Ketchum   108 Halstead Ave, Owego, NY  13827-1708   607-687-5026
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