[EM] PR via self-chosen districts? (was Re: voting reform effort in DENVER - PLEASE HELP)

raphfrk at netscape.net raphfrk at netscape.net
Sun Jun 11 11:57:18 PDT 2006

Allen Smith <easmith at beatrice.rutgers.edu> wrote:
>In message <000401c68d61$7a9f4440$0200a8c0 at u2amd> (on 11 June 2006 
>+0100), jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk (James Gilmour) wrote:
>>Promoters of the many different voting systems need to stand back 
from all
>>the competing technicalities for one moment and ask the question: 
"What is
>>the purpose of this election?"  In the case of Denver it appears to 
be to
>>elect a 'city council' (a body of 13 members) that is supposed to be
>>representative of the community it is elected to serve. Analysis of
>>election results worldwide shows time and again that the only way to 
>>such a body that is properly representative is to use a voting system 
>>gives proportional representation.  All voting systems based on
>>single-member districts will give PR only by chance.
>I had an idea a while back, which I suspect others probably have had 
>me but I haven't been able to locate much on (probably due to lack of 
>to look thoroughly, just as I haven't had time to reply to some emails 
>and off this list - sorry!), for how to do PR with single-member
>districts. Instead of district assignments based on geography or any 
>essentially arbitrary criterion (for elections to a multimember body
>governing a particular set of voters, as opposed to a non-arbitrary
>criterion of voters being only allowed to vote in elections for
>individuals/bodies governing them), allow individual voters to decide 
>district they are in. Voters would be randomly assigned voters to 
>at first (or to the district with the lowest number of voters, for 
>registering voters), but allowed to switch districts as desired 
>with some limits on frequency of switching per election). Voters would 
>kept as currently informed as possible as to the numbers of voters 
signed up
>for a given district (any limits on frequency of switching per election
>would be to make this easier and give other voters time to react to 

A slighty different method of achieving something similar would be to
base it at the polling booth level.  The rules would be something like:

- everyone registers at a nearby polling booth

- voters vote at polling booth they are registered at

- voters can change their polling booth once every 2 years (or if they
  move residence)

- polling booths with more than 1500 voters are split in 2 randomly
  (but voters can switch immediately to one or the other)

- 2 or more polling booths can be physically located at the same 

- districts are made up of sets of polling booths

- by majority vote of everyone in the polling booth (or in each polling 
  (probably held at the same time as other votes)

-- 2 or more polling booths summing to less than 1000 may merge

-- a polling booth may move from a "larger" district to a "smaller" 
   (larger = higher seats/voters ratio)
   this means that the districts should balance votes/seat over time

- If to many polling booths request to move to a district (so the 
target district
is no longer "smaller"), the ones with the one(s) from the largest 
district are
moved first until no more moves are allowed.

There could also be something like each booth electing a polling booth 
This person would be responsible for calling a vote for changing 

In fact, there could even be a system whereby each district sets its 
method.  You could move your polling booth to a polling booth that 
the voting system that you prefer.

Ensuring that voters only register in one district would require some 
of central management of the voting registers.  This would store the
totals for each polling booth.
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