[EM] Gerrymandering

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Mon Dec 3 08:21:08 PST 2012

At 08:00 AM 12/3/2012, Jonathan Denn wrote:
>Fair Redistricting or Ending Gerrymandering is always a great 
>"grievance" among electoral reformers. But the "solution" is much 
>more elusive. Do you folks ever venture into that area?

The CES people do, with automated districting algorithms. But my own 
analysis is that the central problem is the whole concept of 
districting, which creates majority-elected representatives, at best, 
representatives, not of the people, but of "districts." Proportional 
representation systems can do better, but are still highly limited.

Rather, I suggest Asset Voting with no fixed districts at all. 
People, in voting, and electors holding votes, will decide which is 
more important to *them*, having a *chosen representative* who is 
local, or having one who more closely represents the voters' trust. 
Most people will have a local rep. Further, if votes are amalgamated 
with precinct information kept, the electors can create seats with 
improved geographical fit. One of the really neat characteristics of 
Asset is that voters may be able to know, with high precision, the 
exact effect of their vote. Practically no votes are wasted in a good 
Asset implementation.

Asset can shade into hybrid direct/representative decision-making 
systems, where elected representatives ("seats" in an Asset Assembly, 
each holding a quota of votes by default) may represent normal 
function, and have the right of participation in Assembly floor 
debate, whereas electors (who might possibly be representing as few 
as one voter) may vote directly.

The problem of scale in democracy relates to participation in 
deliberation, there is no known harm from allowing direct voting, and 
possible harm could be avoided with appropriate rules. I.e, a direct 
vote might effectively have veto power on a decision, throwing a 
matter back into the Assembly for further debate -- as well as direct 
interaction between seats and their known electors.

Asset Voting can create a penumbra of participation around an 
Assembly, with some electors possibly being very active, others 
sitting back and letting their chosen seats represent them.

I see Asset or similar systems as the future of democracy. Most 
voting system debate is about fluff compared to it.

Even the best voting systems, single-ballot, cannot match iterated 
systems requiring explicit majority approval for a measure to pass or 
an election to complete.

(In primitive simulations, even, Runoff Range outperformed 
single-ballot Range, and the real power of runoff systems has never 
been simulated. Simulations have assumed the same electorate and the 
same unaltered preferences, but real runoff systems allow an 
electorate an additional and closer look at a narrowed field of 
choices. In deliberative systems, such as Robert's Rules of Order, by 
default, no election is completed without the explicit approval of a 
majority of those voting, and ballots with "useless" write-in votes 
on them, or even simply marked with nonsense, count as votes against 
the other candidates. And in these systems, there are no 
"eliminations," there is repeated voting on new nominations until the 
process completes with a majority. That's a test of real preference strength!) 

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