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

Howard Swerdfeger electorama.com at howard.swerdfeger.com
Wed Mar 14 07:07:03 PDT 2007

Juho wrote:
> Some observations.
> The description talks only about the "yes" votes. Is the assumption  
> that the "no" votes mean "no action will be taken"?


> If we are talking about approving a new law then this is quite  
> typical, but if we vote for example about whether we should send our  
> rocket to Mars or Venus, then both sides should be treated in the  
> same way.
> In the described method repeated 45% yes, 55% no results do not lead  
> to final "no" (assuming super majority and new referendum levels 60%/ 
> 40%). If we have only one rocket to send, voting first on sending the  
> rocket to Mars, then on sending it to Venus, then to Mars etc. is not  
> fair either. But maybe the method is not intended for this kind of  
> elections with two similar alternatives to choose from.

You are correct, It was not originally intended to choose between two 
similar alternatives.
but I believe it could serve this purpose. You wouldn't actually send it 
to mars or Venus until the "score" reached a super majority, and then 
you would stop voting.

> You also didn't set a rule on when the new election should be  
> arranged. Using term "referendum" refers to a situation where for  
> practical reasons there has to be at least one week time between two  
> consecutive elections. The proposed method might however be used also  
> in smaller elections like in the legislative body to accept laws  
> (maybe at its best in smaller scale elections due to the costs etc.).  
> There are countries where required super majority can be replaced  
> with simple majority and another simple majority after the next  
> elections. In this case the time span is months or years. You  
> mentioned allowing for debate and discussion in between votes. That  
> could mean 15 minutes. Any time is ok with me but probably the rules  
> need to be defined (to avoid e.g. 10 votes in one minute).

I agree with everything you say.
The time between votes would need to be decided by what ever body would 
implement it.

As for debate, Typically I would Imagine a situation where a decision 
making body (legislature or citizens) exists in a currently almost 
evenly divided state. I would further imagine that the division of this 
body would change over time at some rate. possibly because of debate and 
people changing there minds, or possibly because of the actual people in 
the decision making body changing (Bi-Election, full new elections, 
demographic change of citizens).
I would guess that enough time needs to pass to typically allow 1-3% 
total state changes in decision making body, But that is just a guess. 
You need time to allow for honest debate. In a legislature this could be 
1 week or 1 day with debate and backroom deals in the middle. In a 
referendum this could be months or years to allow for some small 
demographic shift, or to account for some random variation in voter opinion.

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