[EM] language/framing quibble

Juho Laatu juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Mar 1 00:32:44 PST 2009

--- On Sun, 1/3/09, Dave Ketchum <davek at clarityconnect.com> wrote:

> As to election methods, we need to do better than
> Plurality.  I suggest more thought as to score, IRV, and
> Condorcet

I'd consider also PR methods (where

Whatever one does must match the needs
and political situation of the country
in question. I note that the USA just
got a black president, and it was not
too far from getting a female president.
Change is possible, although it may be
slow and the steps may be small.

Fred Gohlke has promoted a low level
delegate based method. One approach
that may or may not be relevant in the
USA is to use the existing town/city
councils to make steps in this

I made some calculations on the Finnish
system (since I have that data available).
There are 400+ towns. Smaller towns have
more representatives per population than
the largest towns. The absolute number of
representatives varies between 13 and 85.
There are altogether 11966 council members
(60 times more representatives than the
200 of the parliament) and 5M+ people. The
number of represented citizens per
representative varies from 18.3 to 6565.1.

(The list starts 18, 20, 40, 43, 48, 49,
and ends 2603, 2759, 3003, 3365, 6565.
So there are some extreme cases at both

In order to keep the proportionality,
both regional and political, one has to
weight the votes. This means that the
representatives of the largest city will
get 358.6 times more voting power than
the representatives of the smallest town.

This imbalance in voting power is not
that nice. But on the other hand this
whole idea is based on utilizing the
capabilities of the modern means of
communication (Internet) and also the
representatives of the smallest towns
may be happy to be included and give
their votes from their PCs at their
homes (they get at minimum 18 times
more voting power than they get as
individual citizens anyway). There
will be no meaningful extra cost to
the system from having also numerous
low weight representatives.

The council members are active
members of the society and they are
interested in politics. This means
that one could expect high level of
participation and correspondingly the
system could gain credibility as a
reasonably reliable indicator of
the opinions of the citizens.

>From this point of view this method
could be also one step in the
direction of collecting the opinions
of the citizens using some informal
methods as outlined by Michael Allan.
The difference is that this system
uses formal representatives (not in
line with the initial idea). But on
the other hand this system may reach
high level of participation among
the council members and thereby give
a quite balanced picture of the
opinions of the citizens of the

I also note that in some places the
political structure of the local
councils (parties, other groupings,
independents) may not be the same
as the political structure at the
country level. But maybe this is
just a minor concern.

This was just a short observation and
a response to Fred Gohlke's questions
on how one can get practical reforms
implemented. This one wouldn't require
too much effort. What one would need
is some relatively simple software in
the Internet, the contact details of
all the council members, and a PC at
the home (or work place or library)
of all the council members. And some
publicity and of course some hard work
by few activists. The system could be
fully informal, just collecting and
publishing poll style information,
then maybe allowing the members to
make initiatives etc.



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