[EM] Why I think IRV isn't a serious alternative 1

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Mon Dec 8 19:44:38 PST 2008

At 02:29 PM 12/7/2008, Kristofer Munsterhjelm wrote:
>But your description confused me somewhat, regarding what's the 
>assembly and what's the electoral college.

The electoral college is simply a term for the collection of 
electors, who are public voters. It's similar to the U.S. electoral 
college, but these electors are chosen by voters directly, without 
contest. I presme that they would be required to register, they might 
get a number to be used by voters to specify them, there might e a 
pamphlet published with a list of registered "candidates," we might 
as well say "electors" because we may assume that they will all get 
at least one vote, should they vote for themselves.

In some systems there may be a minimum number of votes to actually 
qualify as an elector, but that is under "difficult conditions," I 
won't consider it here.

>  So let's be more specific. Say you want to use Asset voting to 
> elect a president (or some other office, but let's call it president).
>Now, the advantage of Asset is representation for everybody, right? 
>So there seems to be two possible ways this could happen.
>Either the first round is a vote for electors and the second round 
>is a vote by the electors for the first outcome. In that case, you'd 
>need a traditional single-winner method to decide the second 
>outcome; only that the second round would be restricted to the 
>electors and weighted by the votes they got in the first round....

There could be many possible ways to conduct the successive 
elections. I'm presuming that the electors have a means of voting 
easily. It could be by internet, phone, etc.. The votes are public 
and fraud could be detected and corrected. Because they are public 
votes, they could be registered and even changed until some point 
considered final.

I do *not*, by the way, favor using Asset to directly elect a 
president. I'd prefer to see a parliamentary election. The electors 
may vote in it, but the deliberation takes place in the Assembly, and 
the vote takes place there.

>... or, the first round vote for an elector (whoever, including 
>yourself if it may be) is for the composition of a deliberative body 
>that uses rules like RRO to determine a true majority decision (in 
>this case, of who becomes president). If so, you're subject to all 
>the scaling issues of a deliberative body - scaling issues that keep 
>us from simply using direct democracy.
>Which is it?

The second. The voting method for the assembly is STV, but it is not 
single-ballot, and it is likely that the Hare quota would be used. 
Because all electors may retain the right to cast direct votes on 
matters before the assembly, it's important that the voting power of 
each seat be the same as the voting power of the electors who have 
not combined to form a seat. That's why the Hare quota.

The "electoral college" is the entire body of electors, all those who 
have the right, now, to vote publicly vote. They do not obtain, 
thereby, deliberative rights in the Assembly, other than the right to 
vote. (The right to vote in the Assembly is not part of the original 
Asset; the original Asset was STV-PR, probably with a Droop quota, 
which does leave a quota of voters unrepresented, which I dislike. 
It's possible, using the Hare quota, to have some quasi-seats with, 
possibly, restricted rights, to deal with the dregs. But simply 
having the right to vote, and especially if that right can be 
revocably delegated, there isn't much of a problem.

>(Or does Asset voting imply proxy democracy?)

Asset Voting is a form of proxy democracy, incorporating a base-level 
proxy assignment by ballot. It's not a revocable proxy until the next 
election, when all proxies are confirmed. It's not a personal proxy, 
the proxy does not know the identity of the voter, but the voter 
knows the proxy and knows how the proxy voted, and how whomever the 
proxy gave his or her vote to voted. The voter presumably has better 
access to the proxy than to the seat, hence the proxy continues to 
serve as a means of communication between the public and their 
representatives. The seats know who voted for them.

It's different from proxy democracy in that votes are routinely 
delegated to seats; when a seat votes, the seat votes with a quota of 
votes, effectively. But if any of those who voted for the seat vote, 
those votes are deducted from the seat's vote. My expectation is that 
most of the time, electors will simply allow their seat to vote. But 
having the *right* to vote changes the nature of the system and makes 
it harder for it to fail. It also deals with allowing complete 
representation: even if an elector doesn't manage to put all of his 
or her votes into a seat or seats, those votes aren't wasted. 
Delegable proxy could be used to combine lots of loose votes, easily 
and efficiently, into a few who would cast them. But if you are an 
elector who only got your own vote, one vote, and you want to vote on 
every issue before the assembly, you could do it. I don't know why 
you'd want to, it would be an extraordinary waste of time for such a 
small exercise in power, but you could do it. Nobody would be 
coercing you to support something you can't support.

Asset Voting does not require a party system to produce accurate 
proportional representation. In a way, it is not proportional 
representation at all, it is *full* representation.

The way the problem of scale is addressed is to separate deliberation 
from voting. I think that's my invention, I don't recall seeing it 
described anywhere else. It's always been assumed that the two go 
together. Voting can be done on a large scale, deliberation requires 
concentrated representation when the scale is large. Want to present 
an idea to the floor? You've got to have some support, i.e., as a 
lone elector you can't do it by right, you have to get a seat to 
either present the idea or ask the permission of the assembly for you 
to do it. (And, actually, to allow you to present directly it would 
take two seats, a motion and second, plus lack of opposition, but I'd 
assume that courtesy would normally indicate a rapid second unless a 
seat abused the privilege.)

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