[EM] divided house problem of close vote (50%+1)

Howard Swerdfeger electorama.com at howard.swerdfeger.com
Tue Mar 13 16:13:13 PDT 2007

There is a conflict that exists between some people when counting a 
simple yes|No ballot. Some would say that a simple majority is all that 
is needed, while others would suggest an absolute majority or super 
majority should be required for some decisions, still others would argue 
for some element of randomness to obtain true democracy.

To some degree all of the above methods have been discussed on this list 
so I will not repeat arguments here.

Personally, I see problems with making major decisions based on a slim 
simple majority, but I also do not long term effects that result from 
super majority rule.

So here is my solution to the divided house problem of close vote with 
only a Yes|No option. Define an iterative solution.

For every vote there are 3 possible outcomes:
1. It passes with a super majority.
2. It fails with a super majority.
3. It is 'close', and a new vote is auto-magically triggered
      * scheduled to allow for debate and discussion in between votes.

The First vote is conducted as normal with a super majority criteria, 
for passing. In all subsequent votes the yes side is given a score.

Score = 'Old Score' + 'Yes%' - 50%

This score is then compared with the super majority and super minority 
thresholds to determine if it will:
1. Pass into Law
2. Be forgotten
3. Trigger another vote

Some advantages of this system are that:
  * It avoids making decisions based on a number (50%+1) that could 
easily have been (50%-1) based on factors that have nothing to do with 
the question at hand.
  * It avoids making decisions based on minority rule.
  * if a majority consistently approve of a system it will eventually pass

A disadvantage would be that a group using this method would not react 
as quickly to changes in situations, as a simple majority based group.

I would like any comments, criticisms, or thoughts you might have of the 
above system.


I thought up this method after learning a very simple Neuron Model 
called the "Leaky Integrate-and-Fire Model"
  * http://icwww.epfl.ch/~gerstner//SPNM/node26.html

simple spreadsheets to calculate results can be found here
  * http://www.swerdfeger.com/howard/referendum-leaky-integrate-fire.ods
  * http://www.swerdfeger.com/howard/referendum-leaky-integrate-fire.xls

I have never heard this system advocated before so I have given no credit.


More information about the Election-Methods mailing list