[EM] Election layering effect (or why election-method reform is important)

Stéphane Rouillon stephane.rouillon at sympatico.ca
Sat Apr 28 10:52:33 PDT 2012


an other aspect to this is the development of a posteriori to election 
criteria to
measure satisfaction of the electorate from the results.

Forget about the electoral method, just focus on the result and the 
electorate will.
Individually taken, it is easy to quantify how much an elector is 
satisfied with
the results from its own participation to an election. Among all the 
a candidate could have an influence on their election, the ratio of 
these candidates
getting elected represents the satisfaction rate of the elector. How do 
you get
the full will of that elector? Just assume all voters proposed with the 
same choices
than that elector make the same picks. The result represents the 100% 
result. Some examples:

With an FPTP election, 3 districts:
District 1:
Blue* 45%
Red 35%
Yellow 20%
District 2:
Blue* 51%
Red 30%
Yellow 19%
District 3:
Blue 25%
Red 30%
Yellow* 45%
The 3 elected MP (2 Blue, 1 Yellow) produce an average individual 
satisfaction rate of 47%.

With an STV election, 3 seats in a single super-district, let's assume 
following ballots and results:
10%: B3 B2 Y2 R1 R2 Y1 Y3 R3 B1
30%: R1 R2 R3 B1 B2 B3 Y1 Y2 Y3
51%: B1 Y1 Y2 Y3 R1 R3 R2 B3 B1
9%: Y1 B1 R1 B2 R2 Y3 Y3 R3 B3
Elected: B1 Y1 R1.
Individual satisfaction of the first group of voters: 0% (none elected 
among the 3 first choices)
Individual satisfaction of the second group of voters: 33,3% (one 
elected among the 3 first choices)
Individual satisfaction of the third group of voters: 66,7% (two elected 
among the 3 first choices)
Individual satisfaction of the fourth group of voters: 100% (all elected 
among the 3 first choices)
Global individual satisfaction of all voters: 10% x 0% + 30% x 33,3% + 
51% x 66,7% + 9% x 100% = 53%

Typically STV produces a global individual satisfaction rates around 
twice FPTP rates for the simulations
I have made yet...
Almost all election method can be measured this criteria (it makes no 
sense for a fully random selection).

This does not covers the layering effect of multiple representative 
levels, but it emphasizes the mismatch
between the will of electors and the results.

Stéphane Rouillon

On 2012-04-27 15:26, Richard Fobes wrote:
> Recently I realized that in our Declaration, and in our discussions, 
> we have failed to explain and explore the "amplification" effect that 
> occurs as a result of, for a lack of a better term at the moment, 
> "layering."
> Here is how I explained it in the proposal I referred to earlier:
> "Winning an election with less than half the votes might seem like a 
> small unfairness, but the effect is huge because of a layering effect. 
> Although each Congressman typically got a ballot mark from about one 
> out of two voters in the general election, he or she got a ballot mark 
> from only about one out of four voters (based on cross-party counting) 
> if the Congressman competed against a strong candidate in the primary 
> election. Another layer occurs because only slightly more than half 
> the members of Congress need to vote in favor of a new law to get it 
> passed, so just those Congressmen got ballot marks from only about one 
> out of eight U.S. voters, which is about 12% of U.S. voters. Yet even 
> more layers are involved because most Congressmen first serve as 
> state-level officials, and the state-level election process similarly 
> filters out the problem-solving leaders that most voters want. Adding 
> in two more layers to account for mainstream-media influence and low 
> voter turnout easily accounts for how each law passed in Congress 
> represents the desires of only 1% of the U.S. population."
> (The full proposal is at: 
> http://www.the99declaration.org/4408/ban_single_mark_ballots_from_congressional_elections?recruiter_id=4408 
> )
> I'm interested in any ideas for how this concept can be explained more 
> clearly, especially if someone can think of an appropriate analogy or 
> metaphor or diagram.
> Richard Fobes
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