[EM] Proportional Representation Systems I'd Support
kathy.dopp at gmail.com
Sat Mar 27 14:44:10 PDT 2010
On Sat, Mar 27, 2010 at 2:55 PM, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
<abd at lomaxdesign.com> wrote:
> At 04:43 PM 3/26/2010, Kathy Dopp wrote:
>> Well that would certainly be a way of overcoming any effective
>> minority representation in legislatures by always making sure that the
>> representative elected by a majority made all the decisions. Not sure
>> if I agree necessarily with giving more votes to one legislators than
>> others, and that idea certainly is in sync with the way IRV/STV gives
>> more effective votes to some voters than other voters during the
>> counting process.
> That is not at all "in sync" with IRV. It would give every voter the same
> "effective vote" in the decisions that count: those made by the legislature.
Now that is just pure nonsense Abd ul because as we know, legislators
never vote 100% the way all their constituents would want them to on
every issue. In fact I've seen a misleading proof that all electoral
systems are nonmonotonic, by Nagel, who claims that the way
legislators vote is part of the electoral system and because
legislators never vote exactly the way their voters would want them to
on each bill, that no electoral method is therefore monotonic.
However, I do get your point that IRV is worse perhaps than that
proposal. However, nowhere did our founding fathers or anyone envision
such a system where legislators who received a higher vote share would
have more votes in the legislature. Such a system would force all the
voters of any US congressional district to all vote for one candidate
if they wanted full representation in proportion to their numbers in
the US House. A legislator is *supposed to* represent even the people
who did not vote for him.
> It was proposed as a thought experiment. IRV is a ballot analysis method,
> and indeed wastes many or most of the votes cast. A proxy method would waste
> none. Before dropping this, because I don't see a snowball's chance for a
> non-peer legislature in the near future, I'll point out two thingss:
> 1. Proxy representation in decision process, including voting, is common-law
> standard when property rights are concerned. What if we thought of the
So that all the voters who voted for an opposing candidate get no
representation? Abd ul, this idea just isn't making a lick of sense
to me yet and I don't have time to ponder it, and have scads of work
In that case, the only way this method would work would be to include
*any* candidate that any voter cast a vote for, including write in
candidates, to serve in the legislature, having an equal number of
votes in the legislature as the votes cast for him/her. This might be
difficult due to the unwiedly size of the legislature, but perhaps
it's a good idea. Just let everyone serve in the legislature who gets
any votes and give them the number of votes they got in the election.
I'm growing to like this plan with my modification of allowing every
candidate to serve.
> government as a corporation in which each citizen has an equal share? What
> if we thought of the government as the property of the people? What is wrong
> with this concept? If you have proxy representation, then, at the annual
> meeting, say, every person there being a shareholder or representing one or
> more, can vote on motions. They do not have equal voting power, since, in
> general, they represent different numbers of shares. Most pernicious, with
> corporations with large and wide public holdings, is the solicitation of
> proxies by the board according to recommendations they make, at company
> expense. This has done huge damage to the accountability of management and
> warps the election of boards and thus of control of the corporation. So
> many, thinking about proxy representation, think of this abuse and are
> against it.
> 2. If citizens were organized outside of government, they could do whatever
> they please. They do this now, but they tend to use traditional forms of
> organization, the same ones that lead to problems in government. I'm trying
> to promote awareness that there are other options, that are simple and which
> I believe will be effective, and that will do no harm if they turn out to
> not work. It ought to be a no-brainer, but, hey, I also think that about
> Count All the Votes. I.e., implement approval voting by simply counting all
> the votes cast for candidates in a single-winner election. Cheap, maybe even
> cheaper than tossing overvotes!, considered by political scientists to be
> quite a respectable voting system, it's the simplest form of Range Voting,
> it avoids some of the voting paradoxes, it's monotonic, and it's compatible
> with runoff voting, making it function a bit more efficiently. No-brainer
> apparently does not mean "Let's do it right away!"
>> I personally prefer party list systems where the voters know in
>> advance what candidates will get any excess support, and where voters
>> can suggest a reordering of the list itself, rather than allowing
>> candidates to choose, although I suppose allowing candidates to choose
>> could be done in a fair, auditable way as well.
> A party list system is a variation on candidate proxy with a stated
> preference order. The candidate is the party, and the equivalent in
> candidate proxy is that one votes for a party hack or leader who is expected
> to follow a party process. The practical difference is that party list is
> inflexible, deterministic, and candidate proxy is deliberative and based on
> a kind of trust. Which could be trust in a political party, it's similar to
> trust in a candidate.
>> > Would you agree that, if this were done, it would be fair, that every
>> > voter
>> > would be fairly represented in the Assembly? Some directly, some
>> > indirectly.
>> Not sure what you mean by "this" exactly, but maybe so.
> This means that every voter is represented directly or indirectly, with
> "indirect" being that the seats are either approved directly by the voter,
> or indirectly by the elector chosen by the voter. The "election" is an
> extended process that does not all take place on election day. I think it
> would be fascinating to watch. And, of course, my question is somewhat
> rhetorical. I can't imagine that you'd think it not fair.
> Every voter gets one vote in the election, and that vote is not wasted, and
> ends up being represented in the Assembly by 1/Q vote, where Q is the quota.
> The only exceptions are dregs where the electors can't agree on a seat, so
> those last elections may be postponed, and it's possible to handle the dregs
> fairly as well. As an example, some decisions of the Assembly might require
> an absolute majority vote, which means that some of those unrepresented as
> dregs are all considered, in effect, to have voted No on the motion. The
> level of non-representation through seats would be far, far lower than
> present practice, where sometimes a majority of those voting are not
> represented by free choice. Maybe even always a majority, if we realize that
> party candidates themselves are the result of forced compromises.
> The loss of representation is even more fully addressed if electors can vote
> directly, say over the internet. They are public voters, so there is no
> security problem, other than ordinary identity verification. Because the
> vast bulk of votes, I'd predict, would be cast by seats in actual attendance
> at sessions, the common worry about the loss of deliberation, the bedrock of
> democracy, would not be a problem. Why would you bother to read all the
> transcripts, or just to vote knee-jerk without that study, if you have
> someone you chose, you trust, who is there and is paid to do this?
> Basically, these are the kinds of systems we'd be considering if, today, we
> started to carefully design governmental systems, from the ground up,
> instead of only looking at how to tweak them. And I'm proposing that we do
> just this: design and build the systems, but outside of government. Show
> that they work, if they do, and *then* maybe change the formal governmental
> systems and if these ideas worked outside of government, the power would
> exist to make the change happen. Bootstrapping, sidestepping what might seem
> like formidable obstacles. If it's tried, I predict it will work. Failure
> will be from not trying, not from any other enemy. Not even the special
> interests, they could not stop this and very likely won't try.
>> > The electors, I call the candidates holding the votes, vote publicly, so
>> > every voter knows where his or her vote went, and exactly whomo it
>> > elected.
>> > This is very, very different from a contested election, in which some
>> > voters
>> > lose. In this, all voters win. (Except for what can be called the
>> > "dregs,"
>> > which reduces to a very small problem with Asset Voting like this, and
>> > what
>> Well the benefit of Asset voting over party list voting might be that
>> the ballot is simpler and perhaps, I don't know, it'd be an easier
>> sell. Although there are lots of party list systems internationally
>> that seem to work well, and I haven't heard of existing asset systems.
> Aside from share corporations, of course! The analogy is this: Shares are
> voters. The voter chooses a proxy. The proxy is at the annual meeting with
> amalgamated proxies from many voters. (There are companies which do just
> this for instituional shareholders.) If proxies can get together and vote in
> a coordinated way (and this is always done, in effect, where a single proxy
> holds enough votes to elect more than one member of the board), the board
> election ends up representing, each one, Q voters, where Q is equal to the
> number of voters (shares) divided by the number of seats.
> However, because some voters may not vote efficiently, some votes are
> wasted. Cumulative voting is used, and cumulative voting is efficient and
> fair if voters are coordinated. I.e., if there is a faction with 2 * Q
> members ("shares"), and each voter gets N votes to cast, they cast Q*N for
> one candidate and Q*N for the other, presumably by each voting for both, and
> for no others. Have I done the math right? They get two seats, which is
> exactly their fair share.
> It works the same if each gets only one vote to cast, and the voters, then,
> divide their votes according to coordination, so that half are cast for one
> candidate and half for the other.
> Note that with this voting, you can't just count overvotes as with approval,
> you have to divide them to make it fair. So if you have one vote, and you
> vote for two candidates, they get a half vote each.
> The basic concept of cumulative voting in share corporations is effectively
> the asset idea, and the absence of this from public elections simply shows
> how governments are not the property of the people, in existing systems. If
> we owned the government, don't you think our attitude toward it would be
>> > you would do is, if you want N seats, you'd allow the election of "as
>> > many
>> > as N + X seats." Where X is a variable determined from experience to
>> > represent the level of non-negotiable differences among the electors. If
>> > by
>> > some miracle they all agree, you actually get N + X seats, a small
>> > problem,
>> > maybe even not a problem at all.
>> Huh? Wouldn't funding, office space, facilities in the legislaturs be
>> a problem if no one knows in advance how big the legislature will be?
>> Never heard of variable-sized legislatures before. Doesn't sound very
> No, you missed the point. The size would be fixed. X is a small number, like
> one or two. Existing legislatures are variable, because seats go vacant for
> various reasons. In large elections like a state legislature, my guess is
> that X wouldn't be larger than 2, it would be a small fraction of seats. One
> of the advantages of Asset is that it would be quick and easy to fill
> vacancies that appear, no need for a special election or an appointment. The
> electors just recast the votes freed up. The missing seat (perhaps he or she
> died) would have named a proxy to act in his or her absence, so the votes
> that the seat held directly would not be lost. If any votes are actually
> lost, the quota would be recalculated to a smaller number, and those already
> in the legislature would have a few votes to toss in the pot.
> It is possible that in a large election, there would always be one seat left
> vacant. That's why I mentioned X. It would probably be one or two. It's even
> possible that the last seats would be filled with an ordinary election, and
> possibly with special voting rights just for them, if one wants to be
> rigorously fair. Those seats would have been elected with less than a quota,
> so, to avoid giving them extra power, they might have a fractional vote to
> cast. I'm not terribly interested in working out all the miserable details,
> because we need to gain experience with asset elections before they become
> practical for governmental usage. Asset is a crackerjack idea for any peer
> organization. Simple and, I expect, effective at creating boards or
> committees that really do represent all the voters. In small organizations,
> literally all of them. No losers. On each motion, sure, the minority loses.
> That's democracy. But the minority is not some fixed faction, ordinarily, it
> moves around. Win some, lose some. What goes around comes around. Give some
> slack to a different faction with high preference strength on an issue you
> don't care about so much, they turn around and do the same for you when your
> turn comes. That's why deliberative process in collegial environments
> resembles range voting.
>> > But look what happens to the votes: This is an STV election! The only
>> > difference is that the vote transfers are in the hands of chosen
>> > electors,
>> If the STV method is used within asset voting, then I oppose it
>> strongly because STV has all the same counting flaws as IRV including
>> nonmonotonicity, unequal treatment of voters' votes, and not being
>> precinct summable.
> No. You have not understood STV comprehensively. You are aware only of its
> problems when used for single-winner. It's much better for multiwinner
> elections because, in the end, we want only one vote from each voter to
> count, if we want fair representation. STV, you should remember, was
> invented for proportional representation, not for single-winner elections.
> Used with Asset, it is monotonic in substance.
> As to precinct summability, that's a technical detail that, were it the only
> problem with STV, would not militate against its use. STV is still flawed
> when used as a deterministic multiwinner method, though the flaws vary with
> the exact method. In Asset, there is no unequal treatment of voters' votes,
> especially if the vote for one only. Voters who vote for two, by choice,
> lose power, not gain it, though this would, with Asset, vary with the exact
> Suggested Asset/STV method. Ranked ballot. (Given the Asset provision, three
> ranks might be just fine.)
> 1. Q = V / N. (This can be done with the Droop quota to make it more
> deterministic. I oppose it for reasons I won't detail here.)
> 2. Any candidate with Q votes gains a seat. Those ballots are then
> deweighted, if there were M votes for the candidate, to now represent
> collectively M-Q votes. Think of each ballot as now being marked with the
> fraction (M-Q)/M.
> 3. On each ballot where the first position candidate gains a seat, the
> candidate in first position is marked as inactive (because elected) and the
> second rank vote, if any, becomes active, being added to the existing
> totals, according to the fractional value for other candidates. If multiple
> candidates are elected from a ballot, the fractions are multiplied
> appropriately, so that a voter, if the ballot is fully used up, has
> contributed no more than one full vote to all elections summed.
> 4. This iterates until all ballots have been read. No eliminations have
> taken place.
> 5. Because there have been no eliminations, all elections so far can be seen
> as rigorously correct and fair. And, so far, this is monotonic. You never
> hurt a candidate by ranking the candidate higher.
> 6. In an election where voters vote with rigorous coordination, this will
> elect the entire Assembly, with every voter being represented.
> 7. That won't happen, though. So when this process is complete, Asset
> process begins.
> 8. Any exhausted ballots, ballots read to the bottom of the list, are
> assigned to the candidate in first position, as their "property."
> 9. At this point, a choice must be made. What if a voter has voted A>B, and
> neither A nor B are elected directly? STV will start eliminating candidates,
> lowest vote first. There are other options. At this point, the election can
> collapse to pure Asset, so only the first rank on each ballot with any vote
> value remaining is still active. Lower-ranked votes for these ballots become
> moot. So it remains monotonic, by raising the rank of a candidate you either
> help elect the candidate, or you give the candidate more voting power in the
> choice of winners, or your raising is moot. It never hurts. At this point it
> is pure Asset, with some seats already assigned, following the wishes of the
> voters and no Asset decisions have been made. But an alternative.
> 10. The ballots are treated as Bucklin ballots. The second rank is counted.
> ("Second rank" means "second active rank.") Seats are assigned whenever a
> candidate, in a round of counting, gains a quota of votes, and those ballots
> are devalued accordingly. In this case, an elected candidate might be in a
> lower position on the ballot. The candidate is marked as elected, but the
> higher position candidate remains active.
> 11. When all ballots have been counted to the last rank, the election then
> collapses to Asset for any ballots remaining with unused voting power.
> 12. The Asset electors complete the election by negotiation of amalgamation
> of votes to the quota.
> I believe this is monotonic. It is also an STV method, but does not use
> eliminations except of elected candidates. Asset in general doesn't actually
> eliminate any ballots or candidates. I do not know how Carroll would have
> specifically applied his asset concept to STV counting methods. I just made
> up the above. I actually prefer Asset with a non-ranked ballot. It is also
> STV, in fact, but with flexible vote transfer as determined by the effective
> proxy for the voter.
>> The nonmonotonicity and non-precinct-summability of both IRV and STV
>> arises due to its unequal treatment of voters' votes. I strongly
>> oppose any method that treats voters' votes unequally in the counting
> Sure. But that's a description of a consequence, not the actual problem. The
> problem is candidate elimination. Don't eliminate candidates, the problem
> isn't seen. There are STV methods, I think, that don't rigorously eliminate
> candidates, but handle the "single-vote" problem differently, but I don't
> know much about it.
>> > You should realize that those who are elected before eliminations, with
>> > STV
>> > (and this includes IRV!) are obviously appropriate winners.
>> Yes. I agree with that.
> Thus the problem arises in or in connection with the eliminations. What
> would we call STV without eliminations? Bucklin! But it is not thought of
> that way, because of confusion over the meaning of "single vote." Approval
> is a single-vote method, in fact, because only one vote can elect, it never
> happens that a voter casts two votes that result in election. The votes are
> really, with more careful analysis, "alternative votes." Considered equally.
> With Bucklin, they are not considered equally, but all votes on all ballots
> that are at a certain rank are treated equally. That is, with Bucklin, your
> higher ranked vote is considered first, so it's not equal to your second
> rank vote.
> In the method above, as seats are elected, the ballots are all treated
> equally, and, in the end all votes cast have been counted, and, to the
> extent not used to actually elect a seat, are transferred to the elector who
> will complete the election, presumably.
> It's possible to use the Droop quota, as I mention, which is simply a
> lowering of the quota from V/Q to V/(Q+1). But that, then, will distort the
> true voting power of each seat to a (generally small) variation from it. It
> was intended to force, with fully ranked ballots, the completion of the
> election of all seats, and it really breaks down when true eliminations
> start, unless the quota remains the same, which will then result in failure
> to elect some seats, unless there are no exhausted ballots. If all ballots
> are fully ranked, using the Droop quota will mathematically guarantee
> completion, that's why it's done. But the cost is voter coercion.
>> > The flaws arise
>> > in elimination rounds. Get rid of eliminations, but sequentially pick
>> > winners, that problem disappears, and you are left with only the problem
>> > that if you use a single ballot, there will likely be seats where nobody
>> > gets the quota. So what do you do?
>> Not sure about that. Depends on if the reallocations if treatment of
>> votes is equal for all voters or not I suppose.
> The problem is the one Carroll considered. He got rid of true eliminations.
> I don't know how deeply he got into the details.
> His solution not only treated all voters the same, it provided rights to the
> ordinary voter, not a specialist on politics, that were a dead letter
> previously, and that remain a dead letter today. Theoretically, you can vote
> for anyone, in the U.S., in most elections. But that's a right to waste your
> vote. With Asset, your unpopular vote is not wasted, it serves a purpose and
> is an actual exercise of voting power. One person, one vote. Period.
>> > You can't hold a "runoff election," and here is why: Some voters already
>> > got
>> > their candidate. A runoff under these conditions has no way of knowing
>> > who
>> > "won" and who didn't. You only want those who didn't "win" to be able to
>> > vote. Asset Voting avoids this problem. Every ballot is available to be
>> > voted. (I would recommend that every candidate be required to designate
>> > a
>> > proxy, to vote for the candidate if the candidate becomes unavailable.
>> > Consider how much easier this would be than holding a special election!
>> > And
>> > that choice would be public record, I presume. No surprises.)
>> If asset voting is *not* like STV and is monotonic, precinct-summable,
>> fair and equitable etc. I would probably not oppose it, but personally
>> I prefer the party list system with voter ability to alter the list
>> order based on Condorcet counts better.
> You could, with Asset, assign your vote to a party, which begs the question.
> How does the party determine the list?
> The basic problem with your thinking, Kathy, is that voters simply don't
> have the information. Sure, they might trust a party more than a particular
> candidate. I don't oppose party list, but it moves the power base to
> political parties, which are sometimes closer to the people (good) and
> sometimes not (they can be influenced by the same media manipulation as the
> general voting process). And once we realize the potential of asset, we will
> realize that Asset can amalgamate representation through proxies that
> represent "factions" much smaller than political parties, that require no
> financing at all, just people talking to each other. That is the power of
> "no wasted votes."
>> > Asset will work with STV, and my prediction is that not too many will
>> > use
>> > additional ranking on the ballot. It probably becomes unnecessary. Asset
>> > would also work with IRV! It would make IRV into an excellent voting
>> > method.
>> > No majority, no election, runoff of some kind. If holding a runoff is a
>> > problem, it would be obvious who could be blamed for it! Candidates who
>> > were
>> > unwilling to compromise. If that's a majority, I'd say this electorate
>> > has a
>> > problem! Normally it won't be.
>> If IRV/STV counting methods are used, I oppose it due to its
>> inequities and the vagaries the inequities cause.
> Those inequities, however, generally bite only with the last election or
> last few elections. With five seats being elected in a district, as with
> some places, they are not major. They are still short of full
> representation. Why not go for full representation?
> You do know the answer to that question, historically, don't you?
> Because full representation will elect some Socialists, Communists, and, er,
> Negroes. New York, what, 1940s?
>> > STV for proportional representation, even with eliminations, is much
>> > better
>> > than multiseat methods in use. But I'm hoping that we can look at ways
>> > to do
>> > it even better, and what Asset would do is to create a penumbra of
>> > electors
>> > that stand between the voters and those who are actually elected to the
>> > Assembly. They generally represent the voters to those whom they elect.
>> > This
>> > "Electoral College" is *fully representative,* along the lines of that
>> > old
>> > proposal for a city council where the winners exercise the number of
>> > votes
>> > they got in the election. They are public voters.
>> > And there goes the need for campaign financing. Spending a lot of money
>> > to
>> > get elected would become a suspicious action! Rather, increasingly,
>> > electors
>> > would not be candidates with a chance of winning, except in small
>> > jurisdictions. They would be people, your neighbors for the most part,
>> > interested in helping see that the people are represented in the
>> > Assembly.
>> > You would know them personally, almost always. You could talk to them.
>> > And,
>> > because it's known who they voted for in the actual seat elections, they
>> > could talk to the seat holders directly, as people with real political
>> > power, the power to elect, known and identified.
>> Don't know about that. It sounds nice. Gotta get back to more coursework.
> Real life? Come on, Kathy, I thought you were serious!
> Good luck with it.
> To an extent, this is pie in the sky bye and bye. But what I'm trying to
> promote, here, is a concept that would be rigorously fair, so we have
> something to compare existing systems with, as well as proposed reforms, so
> we can then judge whether they are moving in the right direction or not.
> First reform, please keep in mind, is Count All the Votes.
Town of Colonie, NY 12304
"One of the best ways to keep any conversation civil is to support the
discussion with true facts."
Realities Mar Instant Runoff Voting
Voters Have Reason to Worry
View my research on my SSRN Author page:
More information about the Election-Methods