[EM] Trees and single-winner methods

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Wed Mar 14 23:44:59 PDT 2007

At 01:23 PM 3/14/2007, Chris Benham wrote:
>I reject this on the same grounds that I reject the "candidate
>withdrawal option" (in say IRV) and
>"Asset Voting":  I am only interested in single-winner methods where the
>result is purely determined (as far as possible) by voters voting, 
>and not by the machinations of candidates/parties.

To be consistent, Chris should likewise reject deliberative process, 
and he should reject proxy voting. Asset Voting is merely proxy voting.

Further, he should reject all pre-election process, including the 
processes by which candidates are nominated, as they are likewise 
"the machinations of candidates/parties." Only pure voting would be 
allowed. No consultation through coalitions of voters.

Public elections without such pre-election process are rather 
difficult to imagine as being something desirable.

Further, Chris should reject parliamentary government, where leading 
governmental officers are elected by representatives of the people 
rather than directly.

Asset Voting allows voters total freedom. As Asset has been 
described, any voter can either vote for a proxy or can vote for 
himself or herself and thus participate directly in the next stage. 
While Asset has typically been described as using candidates as 
proxies (which seems reasonable to me, particularly if ballot access 
is relatively easy), if write-in votes are allowed, the freedom of 
the voter is totally unrestricted.

Given how desirable this would seem (and, as proxy voting, it must be 
noted that the precedent is firmly established: it is what people do 
when they have choices, as did investors when corporations were 
originally formed), the objection would seem to be technical: Asset 
is not a complete "election method," it begs the question as to how 
the final determination is made. Thus, it might be argued, it is 
irrelevant here, we should only talk about "election methods."

Yet, of course, Asset *would* be a procedure whereby a society can 
select from a multitude of choices, the one (or more) to be adopted.

What would Chris think about Asset used for multiwinner elections? In 
particular, we have proposed using Asset to create full proportional 
representation, and have suggested that this could be used to create 
an assembly which would have nearly all voters with a known 
representative (known to the voter, and chosen by the voter directly 
or indirectly), whom the voter's vote elected, and who would usually 
represent a geographic district, completely independently of "party 
machinations," unless the voter elects to chose candidates who are 
party-affiliated. Because Asset wastes no votes, *anyone* can run and 
receive votes without harm.

(The only "harm" would be if the candidate only gets one vote, his or 
her own vote, and the harm is that the canddidate has wasted his 
time: he will have to participate further, or waste the vote.)

Frankly, I find it difficult to imagine an objection to this process 
used to create a fully representative assembly beyond one like "It 
will never fly, people won't go for something so different from what 
they know."

And it would seem that Chris' objection to Asset is basically an 
objection to representative democracy entirely. Yet the very concept 
of a single-winner election, where the winner is to represent or make 
decisions on behalf of the voters, is that of representative 
democracy, though boiled down to a single winner (and single-winner 
district-based assemblies are a series of such elections).

What's the problem? Is it the pedantic one of "Asset isn't an 
election method as I define it," or is it more substantial?

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