[EM] Democracy Chronicles, answers to interview questions

Stéphane Rouillon stephane.rouillon at sympatico.ca
Tue Apr 10 21:34:19 PDT 2012

  Hello Adrian, as asked:

> Question 1.  Your name and the city and country you work in.
Stéphane Rouillon, Montreal, Canada.

> Question 2.  What is your Company or Organization?
I work at SNC-Lavalin in system engineering (traffic actually).

> Question 3.  Any contact info you wish to give to be published with 
> article for readers (for example your email or website.)
I presented a paper at the Mid-West Political Science Association in 
2007 at Chicago:
"A Prefererential and Proportional Electoral System Without Geographical 
Divisions" (french acronym SPPA)
I am not sure the Web address still works: 
French version available at: 

> Question 4. If you have signed the Declaration, is there any 
> additional information, beyond what's in your signature, that you feel 
> is important to mention?
I was an expert-witness in a case of dismissal of FPTP canadian voting 
system, because its failure to represent some part of the population
is considered by the plaintiff against the charter of rights. The case 
is moving to the supreme court.
I presented SPPA to the ambassador of another country.

> Question 5. If you have not signed the Declaration, why?

> Question 6. Briefly explain what characteristics you think are most 
> important for a voting method to have?
A voting method should be efficient, representative and competitive. It 
should gather detailed information from voters in only one visit to the 
poll station.
It should be highly strategy resistant so false information or partisan 
coordination should hardly have an impact on the result. It should promote
competition between political parties and between candidates from within 
the same party.

> Question 7. What do you think is the most important election reform 
> needed where you live (either locally or nationally)?  Why is this 
> reform important?
At the municipal level, a preferential and semi-proportional voting 
system (like STV) would hinder collusion and corruption.
At higher levels (provincial and federal), breaking the geographical 
link is an additional need because geographical polarization and 
has become a major problem. Those reform are essential because these 
governments control 50% of all a year spending, thus these major expenses
should be well chosen by persons who represent the collective will.

> Question 8. What is your opinion on other aspects of election reform 
> such as reforming money's role in politics or redistricting 
> (particularly in the US but very interested as well concerning 
> election reforms internationally)?
A simple preferential ballot (independently of the electoral method) 
could generate more positive politics despite the role of money: instead 
of attacking the leader,
candidates would benefit more from underlining good ideas from weaker 
candidates, thus producing debates with a positive dynamic. 
Redistricting is useful on municipal levels when a geographical link 
helps voters to transmit their proximity problems to the relevant 
administration. On a national base, now that most important issues cross 
boundaries in a matter of minutes or days (ideas, migratory animals, 
prices, products, unemployment, emails, money, viruses, pollution, 
radio-active clouds, planes, missiles, broadcasts, religious directives, 
refugees, ...), our geographical representation and typical four year 
mandates do not answer our needs anymore as time passes... We need to 
adapt representative democracy to the 21st century.

> Clarifications:
> * Please change the subject heading if you are writing something other 
> than your answers to these questions.
> * This article is about our Declaration, and about the election-method 
> reform concepts you think are the most important.  If you want to 
> propose an article about a different topic, I'm sure that Adrian would 
> be happy to consider it.
> * Please remember, as stated in the Declaration, that our enemy is 
> plurality voting (or First Past The Post, or the single-mark ballot), 
> not instant-runoff voting, and not the supporters of methods you don't 
> like.  For example, consider that many election-reform advocates 
> believe that instant-runoff voting is suitable for U.S. governmental 
> elections, so if you dismiss that method as no better than plurality, 
> then your other statements may lose credibility.
> * Remember to avoid jargon (unless you can explain it in a few words) 
> and avoid acronyms.  Many readers of the Democracy Chronicles won't 
> know about concepts that we all know by name.
> * I suggest taking a look at www.DemocracyChronicles.com to see what 
> the online newspaper is about.  Physically it's based in New York, but 
> the subjects cover the globe.
> * You do not need to answer every question.  If you just want to 
> answer one or two questions, that's fine.
> * I have given Adrian a link to this month's list of forum messages, 
> so he will be seeing the answers himself.  (I am not filtering the 
> answers.)
> * Adrian might join the forum himself, and hopefully the article will 
> attract other election-reform advocates to participate in our forum, 
> so consider that this development is the beginning of a relationship 
> with people who understand the importance of election reform (which is 
> broader than just election-method reform).
> In my opinion, this is a great opportunity to connect with election 
> reformers who can benefit from our election-method expertise.
> FYI, I contacted the Democracy Chronicles and suggested this article, 
> and I made suggestions about the first draft of the questions, but I 
> have made it clear that this is a collaborative forum, and the 
> Declaration has been a collaborative effort among all of us who have 
> signed it.  Although I have already written general comments that may 
> end up in the article, I have not yet answered these questions, so I 
> too will answer them here.
> Richard Fobes
> ----
> Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list 
> info
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