[Election-Methods] RE : Re: Primary Elections using a "Top 2/Single Transferable Voting Method"

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Tue Dec 18 21:17:03 PST 2007

At 01:58 PM 12/18/2007, Juho wrote:
>Some quick notes on opportunities and threats that different
>political structures offer:
>Direct democracy or democracy with immediate feedback (=ability to
>cancel support)
>+ voter opinions rule
>+ politicians must remember and fulfil their promises all the time
>+ unwanted political games will be cut short
>+ political direction can be changed when needed / ability to react
>to events
>- populist and non-expert opinions rule
>- only tax cuts and more benefits to people
>Indirect / representative democracy (with no continuous feedback)
>+ representatives have some time to prove their point before the next
>election (also tax raises etc. possible)
>+ decisions will be made by the most competent citizens (based on
>their own independent thinking)
>- it is easy to make promises and be nice only before the elections

The problems are pretty well-known. What is not well-known -- or even 
known at all -- is what the following would be, if done in the kind 
of way we have been proposing (Asset Voting, with the electors 
remaining active with voting rights in an assembly if they choose to 
use them -- otherwise the representative they have seated effectively 
votes for them):

>Multiple layer hierarchy
>+ less voters per representative => closer contacts and feedback
>+ responsibility and contact between top and bottom layers lost in
>the multiple steps
>- vote opinions may be lost in the multiple steps
>- civil servant / politician centric thinking concentrates step by step

The second point is totally speculative. An elector would not have 
"responsibility and contact lost" over the current system, rather 
these would both be increased. Even regular voters (not electors who 
vote openly, but those who only voted secretly or not at all) would 
have increased access, in my opinion and prediction. Essentially, an 
access path is developed, so that inquiries and advice can travel in 
a known manner, which can also be monitored from both sides (if it is 
open, as through mailing lists). The key word to keep in mind is 
"filtering." Filters can be seen in two ways: most obviously, they 
block information; but by blocking certain kinds of information, they 
facilitate transfer and attention to other kinds of information.

My thinking on this came from delegable proxy; the proxies are 
bidirectional filters, preventing proxies above from being 
overwhelmed with input from below, and, likewise, preventing 
base-level clients from being overwhelmed with information from the 
center. The proxy is a trusted filter and agent. The proxy is 
responsible to the client, but also to the proxy's proxy: if a proxy 
passes on too much, passes on nonsense, the proxy's proxy may decline 
further communication; likewise if a proxy is participating in some 
forum of peers, if the proxy passes on too much from below, the proxy 
may face censure, could lose communication rights in that group. 
Imagine if a member of the U.S. House placed, into the Congressional 
record, all mail that he received....

>Low hierarchy
>+ direct relationship between the voter and his/her representative
>- inability to maintain contact to all the numerous direct voters

Right. It is not scalable. It worked when the scale was reasonably small.

>Parties (in elections and in everyday work)
>+ clear political agendas
>+ representatives can be connected to some known agenda
>+ not so easy for representatives to continuously change opinion
>depending on current winds
>- individual representatives may be forced to follow party leaders
>- limited number of options to choose from
>- puppets (instead of individual thinkers)
>No parties
>+ less hidden cabinet decisions
>+ free opinions
>+ also minority opinions present
>+/- less group power (coordinated voting according to majority
>opinion of the party)
>- more populism
>- candidates may tell different stories to different potential voters
>- different stories in different elections

There will always be "parties." In a DP system we call them 
"caucuses." They are combinations of members who agree on something 
and who may act in concert about it.

But DP and Asset Voting are not dependent upon parties, for setting 
up a system where no votes are lost removes much of the necessity for them.

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