[EM] Sortition and the Delegable Proxy system

Kristofer Munsterhjelm km_elmet at lavabit.com
Wed Feb 1 00:13:33 PST 2012

On 01/31/2012 07:05 AM, Bryan Mills wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 12:52 PM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm
> <km_elmet at lavabit.com>  wrote:

>> I think it is strategy-proof, but I wonder if people would irrationally
>> reason something like this:
>> "My chance of winning is very low, so I shouldn't keep my hopes up. Instead,
>> I should delegate my vote so that I can feel I expressed myself if [popular
>> candidate] wins."
>> Now, that makes no sense, but if people were game-theoretically rational,
>> turnout would be very low (and it isn't). So I'm wondering if the people
>> would irrationally be more mass-like than you'd want of a sortition-based
>> system.
> Moderate clustering of votes is desirable, and leads to lower-variance outcomes
> (because the count proceeds further on average before hitting the
> max-seats limit).
> That's among several reasons why you would want a large number of
> seats; probably on the order of 400-500 for a practical legislature.
> Voters could hopefully find a fairly close match among the
> several-hundred front-runners -- much closer than would be possible
> in a single-winner or even a typical STV election, especially since
> they wouldn't have to spend time figuring out a rank-ordering of
> less-preferred candidates.

Alright, I misunderstood a bit what you were trying to do. I thought 
that you wanted sortition with its essential features (representative 
sample of the population, incorruptability) but with a fix to keep those 
who themselves did not want to serve from being unrepresented. I 
envisioned that voters who did not want to serve would (ideally) name a 
friend or relative or something like that, so any given candidate would 
have less than ten votes.

By what you're saying, since you mention Droop quotas and analogies to 
STV, as well as "representative sample of preferences for 
representation", it seems you're coming at it from an election method 
angle - i.e. you want something like STV but without the hassle of 
filling in a 400-candidate ballot, and with no incentive for strategy 

Is that right?

> In general, I don't think one can solve the "elected candidates
> ignore their constituency" problem completely with any long-period
> election system. If you want to solve that problem you'd need voters
> to be able to change their delegations midway through a term, and
> while I think that's a very interesting line of investigation it
> doesn't satisfy my initial objective of "conventional
> infrastructure". (That is, any system that completely solves the
> ignored-constituency problem presents more substantial technical
> barriers to adoption than does DS.)

You could mitigate it by having staggered elections. You could have an 
election for 1/kth of the assembly 1/kth of the term, kind of like the 
interleaving of US executive and legislative elections. Beyond that, 
you're probably right.

> It may be fairly unlikely that your vote would "pull the candidate
> in your direction", but that's kind of the point of using a
> proportional system instead of a single-winner district system.
> Rather than attempting to move the position of a consensus
> candidate, voters can instead seek a candidate whose views are
> already suitably close to their own.

You could move the position of your candidate, I think. In, say, STV, if 
you're a socialist and prefer the socialist party, you may still prefer 
the leftmost SP candidate - and if the other SP candidates know that, 
they may move further to the left. The feedback is not as strong, 
granted, but I think that's an advantage STV (and other multiwinner 
party-neutral methods) have over party list.

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