[EM] Trees and single-winner methods

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Thu Mar 15 23:25:58 PDT 2007

At 12:48 PM 3/15/2007, Chris Benham wrote:
>Asset Voting is not "merely proxy voting". The voters are compelled 
>to choose candidates as their
>proxys, who then become privileged super-voters. And in any case I 
>don't support proxy voting
>for public political elections.

Chris has made some assumptions about the identity of candidates. In 
particular, I've assumed that write-in votes are allowed. So what is 
to prevent a voter from voting for himself or herself?

The only difference is that in the next stage all voting is public.

I'd be interested to know why Chris is opposed to "proxy voting for 
public political elections." What is it about political elections 
that is different from, say, corporate elections? Sure, there are 
differences, but why do these differences imply that proxy voting is 
to be rejected?

Corporate elections can involve budgets and affect human lives, in 
large corporations, as much as can some governments.

>>What would Chris think about Asset used for multiwinner elections?
>Bad, but less so.

Again, why?

>A radical scheme that doesn't compromise voter sovereignty in the 
>election process would be
>to have the voters rank the candidates in large multi-member 
>districts and IRV-style eliminate
>candidates one at a time and transferring preferences until the 
>desired number of candidates
>remain. They are all elected, with the weight of their future votes 
>in the legislature being
>equal to their final vote tally.

That is a form of proxy voting. The delegable proxy concepts 
effectively do this, the difference is that the vote transfers are 
all controlled by the voter individually, in Chris's scheme, whereas 
in delegable proxy the votes are effectively transferred through the 
proxy's own choice of proxy. Then meeting rules define who has 
deliberative rights.

I've generally assumed that direct voting is allowed, given that, if 
deliberation is restricted and deliberation is public, the reasons 
for avoiding it, even in very large organizations, disappear. 
Essentially, the one who decides whether or not a voter is competent 
to vote is the voter, not someone else.

Note that representative democracy involves a passing of decision 
rights to representatives. With elected representatives, where some 
contest is involved, some voters don't get free choice, others do. 
With proxies, all voters have free choice, and Asset Voting is the 
same. The "contest" is reduced to the bare minimum necessary for 
deliberation to be reasonably efficient. Delegable Proxy eliminates 
even that minimum as far as voting rights are concerned, the only 
"contest" is in who has deliberative rights, and because of variable 
voting power, some representatives might represent very few people. 
Thus DP can be expected to provide much fuller representation in 
assemblies, whereas with Asset, the smallest group with a common 
representative is defined by the quota.

Note that Asset Voting can be, effectively, STV. Consider this: the 
ballot could be an STV ranked ballot, which may be truncated. I would 
assume, generally, that a voter would most trust their first choice, 
so if a truncated ballot is exhausted, the vote would revert to the 
control of the first-ranked candidate. It would be possible that the 
voter could separately specify the proxy to control votes in the 
event of ballot exhaustion, but I really don't see significant benefit in that.

With this procedure, if a voter votes for only one, it is, for that 
voter, pure Asset Voting. If a voter ranks all candidates, it is STV, 

There are details I haven't mentioned....

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