[EM] Electing a proportional executive/cabinet

Dan Bishop daniel-j-bishop at neo.tamu.edu
Sun Mar 19 17:00:25 PST 2006

raphfrk at netscape.net wrote:
> Is there any standard/efficient way to elect a cabinet directly ?
> The only example I know of is the N. Ireland one.  Under that system, 
> the d'hondt system is used.  The largest party gets first choice and so 
> on based on the d'hondt system.  This isn't really directly electing 
> the cabinet though.  Also, if all the cabinet seats are not equal in 
> power/value, the larger parties benefit as they end up with first 
> choices and get the more important ones.
> So assuming the following:
> - a cabinet is to be directly elected by a general vote of the 
> population
> - each seat on the cabinet is for a specific ministry with defined 
> responsibilities
> - all seats are not necessarily equal in power and this may change over 
> time
> My initial thought were that STV would be the best method.
> Each candidate would stand for a specific seat and the candidates would 
> be ranked by the voters.  A voter might vote:
> 1) Candidate A for finance minister
> 2) Candidate B for finance minister
> 3) Candidate C for defence minister
> 4) candidate D for justice minister
> 5) candidate E for finance minister
> and so on
> The problem comes down on how to select a quota.  Using the droop quota 
> is not necessarily a good idea as each seat is not equal.  For example, 
> there might only be one candidate for one of the seats as it is a 
> pretty unimportant ministery or maybe the incumbent is extrememly 
> popular.
> Also, the importance of each minister would change from election to 
> election.  For example, if a war was brewing, the choice of defense 
> minister would be critical.  In times of high crime, the justice 
> minister would be important and so on.  At all times, the importance of 
> a ministry would be related to the budget for the ministry.  Also, 
> making sure a certain person doesn't get elected, might make people 
> vote for a certain ministry.

Here's my idea:

STEP 1: Set the "price of a vote" for each position.  This could be 
proportional to the budget of the ministry.

Example: The Republic of Electoria spends 4% of its budget on justice, 
3% on the treasury, and 93% on defense (the country is currently 
involved in a major war).  "Prices" of votes are set based on these 
percentages: A vote for the Justice Minister "costs" 4 marks, a vote for 
the Finance Minister costs 3 marks, and a vote for the Defense Minister 
costs 93 marks.

STEP 2: Each voter is given a fixed "vote budget", to allocate as they wish.

Example: Each voter in Electoria is given 1000 marks to "spend" on votes.

Mr. Gunn is most concerned about winning the war, so he "buys" 10 votes 
in the Defense Minister election.  With his remaining 70 marks, he buys 
10 votes each in the Finance and Justice Ministers' elections.

Mr. Law, however, is more concerned about the skyrocketing crime rates 
at home.  He "buys" 124 votes in the Justice Minister election, 5 votes 
in the Defence Minister election, and 13 votes in the Finance Minister 

Ms. Gold is worried about Electoria's skyrocketing budget deficit.  She 
"buys" 320 votes for the Finance Minister and 10 votes for the Justice 

STEP 3: Each voter casts a ranked ballot in the election for each 
minister.  This ballot is weighted by the number of votes the voter 
"bought" for that position.

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