[EM] The structuring of power and the composition of norms by communicative assent

Juho Laatu juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Jan 18 16:09:46 PST 2009

--- On Sun, 18/1/09, Michael Allan <mike at zelea.com> wrote:

> > I believe the practice/principle of having
> > secret votes also often implies interest
> > in allowing people to vote as they
> > privately think. Difference between public
> > and private opinions is thus often seen to
> > mean some sort of unwanted pressure that
> > makes people vote some other way than they
> > really would like to vote.
> If private and public opinions differ, then which is the
> manipulated
> one?

If they deviate it is hard to imagine
that the private opinion would not be
the sincere one.

> > > You and Kristopher went on to discuss how you
> might solve this
> > > problem [of coersion] by precluding the
> possibility of public
> > > expression entirely (as far as votes go), and
> falling back to a
> > > medium of private expression.
> > 
> > Yes. Or at least by keeping the lowest
> > layers secret.
> Even if that design path were a good one, it wouldn't
> be open to us.
> We may certainly *allow* for private voting at the
> perhipery.  Some
> people will want it (maybe many), I agree.  But we cannot
> force it on
> everyone.

I think the common practice is to force
privacy on everyone in order to allow
the weakest of the society to keep
their privacy.

> > I don't see how secret voting would
> > particularly limit public participation.
> > Public voting maybe automatically
> > forces/encourages public participation but
> > secret votes allow that too. People are
> > also free to tell how they voted even if
> > their vote was secret. One limitation is
> > that the voter can not prove to the
> > candidate that she voted that she really
> > voter for her. But that also does not
> > limit public participation.
> It's true, private voting imposes no effective limits. 
> And mass
> democracy allows us complete freedom.  What's crucial
> is not what it
> imposes, but what it omits to facilitate.
> We can make up for some of its shortfalls by adding a
> voting system to
> the public sphere.  A well designed voting facility will:

It is true that public votes help
implementing some features, but in
most typical ("low level") elections
privacy has been considered to be


>   a. reveal the fact of agreement (and disagreement) on
> issues - what
>      other people are agreeing to
>   b. report the quantity of agreement - for and against -
> in definite
>      numbers
>   c. characterize the *quality* of agreement, especially
> the concrete
>      options under discussion - exactly what people are
> agreeing to,
>      and how the consensus (and dissensus) is distributed
>   d. open participation to everyone in the community, with
> no formal
>      restrictions on age, mental ability, citizenship, etc.
>   e. help newcomers to join in the discussion by revealing
> the
>      existing participants, and showing easy points of
> entry at the
>      periphery
>   f. keep the proximal scale of discussion to a humanly
> mangageable
>      size, by organizing it in a tree structure, like the
> votes
>   g. promote consensus without forcing it, or limiting it
>   h. provide assurance of ultimate action - a conduit for
> consensus
>      votes to cross into legislative assemblies and general
> elections


More information about the Election-Methods mailing list