[EM] STV+AV (Raph Frank)

David L Wetzell wetzelld at gmail.com
Mon Feb 6 06:55:32 PST 2012

> On Mon, Feb 6, 2012 at 3:57 AM, David L Wetzell <wetzelld at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> dlw:> Moreover, if the bicameral state legislatures were selected by both
> LR Hare
> > 3-seats and a single-winner rule (insert your favorite here), then it'd
> make
> > it so that what helped with gerrymandering in one branch would hurt in
> the
> > other branch.
> RF:You mean party list combined with 3 seat districts?

dlw: LR Hare with only 3 seats is the only third party friendly party-list
form of PR that doesn't require party-lists.
It is very similar to LR Hare with only 1 seat, which is better known as

There is only one vote per voter and one candidate per party.  Most of the
time, the top 3 candidates get elected, but if the top candidate beats the
3rd place candidate by more than 1/3rd of the vote then (s)he gets to pick
a vice-candidate to hold the 2nd seat.  To win 3 seats, (s)he'd have to
beat the 2nd place candidate by more than 2/3rds of the vote, in which case
(s)he'd get to pick 2 vice-candidates.

> What do you mean opposite gerrymandering?

To get 2 seats for a party with a 3-seat LR Hare, you need a concentration
of supporters so you beat the 3rd place by more than 1/3rd of the vote.  An
outcome like, 50-35-10-5.
But to do better in a single-winner election, you want to spread around
your supporters so that you get the most "whatevers" in more districts.  So
districts gerrymandered to give a party an edge in the state senate(via
single-winner elections) would put them at a disadvantage in the state
assembly (elected via 3-seat LR Hare) and vice-versa!

> With 3 seats, the 2 targets are 50% and 75%.

Nope.   I'm advocating the use of the Hare Quota, not the Droop Quota.

I think one can then get a "major party" in power by a plurality vote and
give their a priori selected leadership enough procedural controls to get
things done without a majority.  What this does is give 3rd parties the
right to decide which major party is in power so that neither can corner
this branch and leverage their control of it to get an unfair edge in other
elections, which in turn has a further multiplier effect of making more
elections more competitive.

This is why I've been arguing relentlessly that improving the mix of
single-winner and multi-winner elections in the US is much more important
than discerning/pushing for the best possible single-winner election rule.

> Standard gerrymandering would aim to have have lots of districts with
> 75%+ support for the minority party.
> The ideal for the minority party would be to make it so that when they
> win a district, they have ~70%.  Similarly, when they lose a district,
> they should have ~45%.
> That means that their cost per seat for the PR method would be
> Minority party:
> 2 seats for 70% = 35% per seat
> 1 seat for 45% = 45% per seat
> Majority party
> 2 seats for 55% = 27.5% per seat
> 1 seat for 30% = 30% per seat
> Thus the majority party has a lower cost per seat.
> However, it would increase the accuracy needed for gerrymandering and
> risks a landslide against if things shift by more than a few percent
> from the estimates (as happened with the Tullymander).

It's even harder with a Hare quota to gerrymander.

> > In fact, it might be a good thing to let the pretty darn proportionally
> > elected state house of reps elect our US senators again!!!
> The original point was that the Senate represented the States.  Also,
> the original rules require that it is the legislature that picks the
> Senator.

Yeah, so I'm saying it might be advantageous to push for going back to the
Constitutiona mandated 2-stage approach if we were to dramatically improve
the 1st stage via the use of 3-seat LR Hare.

> This presumably meant that the Senate was more reluctant to centralize
> power, since it would be reducing the power of its electors.
> I wonder if a State would have been allowed to say that its House of
> Representatives is its legislature (even if there was a 2nd House
> required for bills to pass).

You could set it up so that the State House of Reps chooses the Senator and
then the  state senate approves of the chosen senator by at least a 40%


> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: David L Wetzell <wetzelld at gmail.com>
> To: Jameson Quinn <jameson.quinn at gmail.com>
> Cc: election-methods at lists.electorama.com, Bryan Mills <
> bmills at alumni.cmu.edu>
> Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2012 07:47:37 -0600
> Subject: Re: [EM] STV+AV
>>> In fact, it might be a good thing to let the pretty darn proportionally
>>> elected state house of reps elect our US senators again!!!  Statewide
>>> campaigns are expensive and often driven by the manipulative mainstream
>>> media.  And if the state reps got to elect our US senators every 2 years
>>> then it would elevate even further the import of state reps elections which
>>> would direct people's attention more so to those elections where their
>>> votes are more likely to make a difference...
>> Agreed, but no chance this will happen.
> What if electoral analysts put more of their power into showing others why
> such a change would be for the greater good, rather than dickering over
> which single-winner election rule is the best???
> Beware of self-fulfilling prophecies,
> We live in a "Black Swan <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_theory>"
> world, which doesn't mean the sky is the limit, but it does give some scope
> to speculate on what might be...
> The decision of progressives to end the election of senators by state reps
> was not a good one.  If they'd pushed moreso for the use of
> quasi-proportional or proportional representation for state reps, instead
> of trying to make alcohol illegal, it would've gone a long ways!!!
> dlw
>> Jameson
>>> dlw
>>> On Sat, Feb 4, 2012 at 9:48 PM, Bryan Mills <bmills at alumni.cmu.edu>wrote:
>>>> On Sat, Feb 4, 2012 at 3:21 PM, Jameson Quinn <jameson.quinn at gmail.com>wrote:
>>>>> 2012/2/4 Bryan Mills <bmills at alumni.cmu.edu>
>>>>>> > From: Bryan Mills <bmills at alumni.cmu.edu>
>>>>>>> > To: David L Wetzell <wetzelld at gmail.com>
>>>>>>> > > If there are 3-5 seats STV then the number of candidates won't
>>>>>>> > proliferate
>>>>>>> > > too much and there'd be 5-7 places to vote.  This would keep
>>>>>>> things
>>>>>>> > > reasonable.
>>>>>>> >
>>>>>>> > To get reasonable proportionality with only 3-5 seats per district
>>>>>>> > you'd probably need to go to an MMP system, with all its added
>>>>>>> > complexity.  Otherwise Droop proportionality doesn't buy you much
>>>>>>> over
>>>>>>> > FPTP; with 5 seats the Droop quota measures to a precision of ~17%,
>>>>>>> > and the remaining 17% in each district is still susceptible to
>>>>>>> > gerrymandering.
>>>>>>> >
>>>>>>> Not much?
>>>>>>> The goal here is not perfectionism wrt proportionality.
>>>>>>> The goal is to increase proportionality and to increase the number of
>>>>>>> competitive seats
>>>>>>> and to reduce the cut-throat competitive nature of US political
>>>>>>> rivalry
>>>>>>> between its two biggest parties
>>>>>>> so they can't dominate the other and have more incentives thereby to
>>>>>>> work
>>>>>>> together on the many issues that need work.
>>>>>> I'm doubtful that 3-5 candidate districts actually would "increase
>>>>>> the number of competitive seats".  Each major party ends up with 1-2 safe
>>>>>> seats, and at that level of granularity gerrymandering and geographical
>>>>>> polarization are still significant enough to render the last seat
>>>>>> non-competitive in most districts.  (It would increase proportionality
>>>>>> somewhat - by transforming some of the safe-by-gerrymandering seats into
>>>>>> safe-by-Droop-proportionality seats - but you seem to be arguing that
>>>>>> proportionality isn't as important as competition.)
>>>>>> Suppose we have two parties with a 50/50 split and 5 seats per
>>>>>> district, with one party more popular in urban areas and one more popular
>>>>>> in rural areas.  And suppose that the district lines are drawn such that
>>>>>> 4/5 of districts are slightly more rural than average and 1/5 of districts
>>>>>> are more urban than average, so that the 5th seat in each district becomes
>>>>>> relatively safe as well.  (We can do this fairly easily using geographical
>>>>>> boundaries by centering 1/5 of the districts around cities.)
>>>>>> Scale that up to 400 legislators (80 districts).  What do we end up
>>>>>> with?
>>>>>> 320 "natural" safe seats guaranteed by Droop proportionality (160 for
>>>>>> each party)
>>>>>> 80 gerrymandered-safe seats for the rural party
>>>>>> 20 gerrymandered-safe seats for the urban party
>>>>> First, your numbers add up to 420. I think you meant 64/16 for the
>>>>> safe seats, which is only a 56/44 advantage, not 60/40.
>>>> Oops!  I had started calculating with 500, then switches to 400 and
>>>> forgot to update some of the numbers.  You're right, I should have had the
>>>> gerrymandered seats at 64/16, and that does give a 56:44 advantage rather
>>>> than 60:40.  (Of course, if you throw in some third-parties the whole
>>>> analysis changes too; the 50/50 example is meant to be representative of an
>>>> idealized two-party world.)
>>>> Note that the "safe" seats would still swing if there were a swing in
>>>>> national mood of around something less than 8%, not something less than 25%
>>>>> as in single-member districts. And the more highly-gerrymandered the map
>>>>> is, the tighter that margin, and so the greater the chances of it
>>>>> backfiring against the gerrymandering party. Gerrymandering is a fine art,
>>>>> but 8% doesn't leave a whole lot of room to play with. Considering safety
>>>>> margins and misfires, I doubt that the gerrymandering party could get
>>>>> anything close to the 6% representation advantage your (corrected) numbers
>>>>> suggest. So, while 2-3% unfairness is still a problem, I think it's a big
>>>>> step up from where we are.
>>>> Hmm, interesting.  So maybe that's not as much of a concern as I
>>>> thought; I'll have to give it some more consideration. I don't think it
>>>> solves the problem of multiple axes of policy preference, though, and 16%
>>>> is a lot of voters to leave unrepresented in the multiparty case.
>>>> Now, despite a 50/50 natural split, the rural party has a 60%
>>>>>> supermajority.  And, of course, if you draw the district lines differently
>>>>>> you can do the same thing for the urban party.
>>>>>> So there's still relatively little hope that a system with such small
>>>>>> districts would produce a party-proportional legislature.  As you point out
>>>>>> elsewhere, it might still be possible to get an ideologically-proportional
>>>>>> legislature if you can get the parties themselves to shift ideologies.
>>>>>> > If you assume two major parties with ~40% of the electorate each,
>>>>>>> that
>>>>>>> > means that the 5th seat in each district is noisy -- but it's not
>>>>>>> > random noise, it's systematically biased by the parties' voting
>>>>>>> > strategies and the choice of district boundaries.  Larger districts
>>>>>>> > allow finer-grained Droop quotas and thereby reduce that noise.
>>>>>>> dlw: Smaller districts engender less opposition from those in power.
>>>>>>> They keep the constituent-legislator relationship more so.
>>>>>> Absolutely agreed that smaller districts engender less opposition
>>>>>> from those in power.  That's because smaller districts don't fix the biases
>>>>>> that keep them in power.
>>>>>> They do maintain the constituent-legislator relationship, *for the
>>>>>> subset of voters who voted in favor of the legislator*.  For the remaining
>>>>>> Droop quota of un- or under-represented constituents the nonexistence of
>>>>>> the constituent-legislator relationship is also maintained.
>>>>> Here's my chance to plug PAL representation<http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/PAL_representation>,
>>>>> which does PR but uses existing-sized districts and preserves a specific
>>>>> constituent-legislator relationship for all but (up to) one Droop quota of
>>>>> voters.
>>>> Hmm..   Interesting, but it seems too complicated to me.  It's got all
>>>> the complication of delegation, approval, and STV - with a bit less voter
>>>> burden on the approval side since only the candidates have to pick approval
>>>> thresholds - plus the variable quota and elimination procedure, which
>>>> doesn't have a strong intuitive interpretation to me.  Maybe if you can
>>>> find a way to simplify the counting algorithm - or a way to explain it with
>>>> a more intuitive connection - but otherwise I think it would be too
>>>> difficult to get adopted.
>>>>  > >> But if we assume that partial rankings are effective, there's
>>>>>>> still the
>>>>>>> > >> strategy/computation tradeoff to deal with: allowing truncated
>>>>>>> ballots
>>>>>>> > >> still doesn't help with favorite-betrayal, and STV variants less
>>>>>>> > >> susceptible to favorite-betrayal are also less susceptible to
>>>>>>> efficient
>>>>>>> > >> counting.
>>>>>>> > >>
>>>>>>> > >
>>>>>>> > > dlw: Truncated ballots may not end favorite betrayal, but it'll
>>>>>>> help with
>>>>>>> > > it.
>>>>>>> >
>>>>>>> > I don't see how; please elaborate.
>>>>>>> >
>>>>>>> This is essentially the same arg that IRV does not end the fact that
>>>>>>> some
>>>>>>> will still on occasion be pressured to betray their favorite.
>>>>>>> But it'll be of less consequence when it happens.  It won't be 3rd
>>>>>>> party
>>>>>>> dissenters, it'll be the supporters of a major party that does
>>>>>>> not position itself near the true political center who get pressured
>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>> betray their favorite and that in turn will pressure the major party
>>>>>>> to adapt or die.
>>>>>> Are you saying that favorite-betrayal isn't a problem when those
>>>>>> forced to do it belong to a major party?  I hope I'm just misunderstanding
>>>>>> your point, but it sounds to me like you're describing a system like FPTP
>>>>>> but with major-party spoilers substituted for minor-party spoilers.
>>>>>> > >> With an implicit "first-preference" approval, it has the same
>>>>>>> problem as
>>>>>>> > >> traditional STV (i.e. IRV), namely of unduly rewarding
>>>>>>> > favorite-betrayal.
>>>>>>> > >> With an implicit "all-ranked" approval, the overall system
>>>>>>> would likely
>>>>>>> > >> violate later-no-harm with much higher frequency; by expressing
>>>>>>> a
>>>>>>> > >> preference between two dispreferred candidates one might
>>>>>>> unintentionally
>>>>>>> > >> put the higher of the two in contention.
>>>>>>> > >>
>>>>>>> > >
>>>>>>> > > dlw: I'd say empirically we'd see just how high of a frequency
>>>>>>> LNH would
>>>>>>> > be
>>>>>>> > > violated.  Jameson Quinn had a hard time coming up with a
>>>>>>> pathological
>>>>>>> > > example for IRV3/AV3 and I imagine it'd be similar for the
>>>>>>> above.  The
>>>>>>> > 1st
>>>>>>> > > stage would reduce the number of candidates to N+2 and it seems
>>>>>>> likely
>>>>>>> > that
>>>>>>> > > the N+2nd and N+3rd candidates in terms of "all-ranked" approval
>>>>>>> are less
>>>>>>> > > likely to be among the N winners.
>>>>>>> >
>>>>>>> > Hmm, ok.  I'm operating on the assumption that voters will vote
>>>>>>> > strategically if doing so is easy, and will vote approximately
>>>>>>> > honestly if strategic voting is difficult.
>>>>>>> >
>>>>>>> okay.
>>>>>>> >
>>>>>>> > We're taking the top S+k winners and running some ideal STV method
>>>>>>> on
>>>>>>> > them; let's try to find an "easy" strategy.  Here's my idea:
>>>>>>> > 1) Gather a set of related parties to form a majority-coalition.
>>>>>>> > 2) Have the coalition propose exactly S+k candidates.
>>>>>>> >
>>>>>>> good luck coordinating that..
>>>>>>> 3) Ask coalition voters to vote for all of the coalition candidates
>>>>>>> in
>>>>>>> > any order they choose.
>>>>>>> >
>>>>>>> > Since a majority of candidates approve of every coalition candidate
>>>>>>> > and disapprove of every competing candidate, the coalition
>>>>>>> candidates
>>>>>>> > win the approval vote.
>>>>>>> > By adding the "approval" phase to the STV election, I'm able to
>>>>>>> turn a
>>>>>>> > simple majority into a 100% supermajority.
>>>>>>> > Is there a flaw in my strategy?  (I don't think there is, but I
>>>>>>> may be
>>>>>>> > missing something.)  If not, we'll either need to abandon a fixed
>>>>>>> > limit on the number of candidates or we'll need something more
>>>>>>> > sophisticated than a simple approval-vote to filter them.
>>>>>>> >
>>>>>>> dlw: It's not realistic.
>>>>>>> You'd need to have serious intra-party discipline to keep the no. of
>>>>>>> candidates down to S+2
>>>>>>> and to get a majority of voters all to vote for all of that S+2
>>>>>>> candidates.
>>>>>>>  That is a serious coordination problem.
>>>>>>> But if it did happen then it'd "work" in terms of making the leading
>>>>>>> coalition of parties cast a broad net that strongly met the needs of
>>>>>>> most
>>>>>>> people.  This would be much better than a bunch of non-competitive
>>>>>>> single-winner elections.  In that case, we're in DINO land.
>>>>>> By "strongly met the needs of most people" you appear to mean "met
>>>>>> the needs of a bare majority of people marginally better than the
>>>>>> alternatives".  My concern is that in this scenario 25% of the electorate
>>>>>> would benefit substantially, 25% would benefit marginally, and the
>>>>>> remaining 50% would be arbitrarily worse off.  That's essentially the same
>>>>>> worst-case behavior as the current majority-of-majorities setup, but with a
>>>>>> simpler strategy required to implement it.
>>>>>> That being the case, I think we'd be better off with small-district
>>>>>> STV than with large-district STV with this sort of approval-based filtering.
>>>>>> > >> It may well be that these issues are all less severe than in the
>>>>>>> > >> deterministic alternatives to STV, but I still think they're
>>>>>>> enough to
>>>>>>> > >> merit consideration of nondeterministic alternatives.
>>>>>>> > >>
>>>>>>> > >
>>>>>>> > > In terms of the US's political culture, nondeterministic
>>>>>>> alternatives are
>>>>>>> > > not going to happen anytime in the near future and we need
>>>>>>> electoral
>>>>>>> > reform
>>>>>>> > > ASAP!!!!
>>>>>>> >
>>>>>>> > Sadly, I think both nondeterminism and STV share the "not going to
>>>>>>> > happen in the near future given political culture in the US"
>>>>>>> > classification, given that US law requires single-winner FPTP
>>>>>>> > elections for federal representation and the major parties (who
>>>>>>> > control the legislature and benefit greatly from FPTP) have no
>>>>>>> > incentive to change that law.
>>>>>>> dlw: STV need not end 2-party domination.  Reforms that do not end
>>>>>>> 2-party
>>>>>>> domination are more fit in the US and should be the only ones pushed.
>>>>>>> And, as I've shown, it's implementation can be simplified.
>>>>>>> Thus, it can become a  political jujitsu issue, whereby it is more
>>>>>>> rational
>>>>>>> for those in power to accommodate than to resist the proposed change.
>>>>>> The belief that the 2-party system can accurately reflect voter
>>>>>> consensus relies heavily on the assumption that voters' differences of
>>>>>> opinions correlate sufficiently well with a single dimension of
>>>>>> variability, so that tending toward the center along a single axis produces
>>>>>> centrist results on all issues.  I do not accept that assumption: in my
>>>>>> experience, Americans disagree along at least two axes that do not
>>>>>> correlate perfectly (fiscal policy and social policy).
>>>>>> > So as far as I can tell the only option for meaningful reform is a
>>>>>>> > constitutional amendment, and that means reforming 75% of the
>>>>>>> states
>>>>>>> > as a first step.  This is not a short-term process.
>>>>>>> I think one could argue that the current law requiring single-winner
>>>>>>> elections is discriminatory twds minorities, and adopted under bad
>>>>>>> circumstances, and thereby unconstitutional.  This would not require
>>>>>>> a
>>>>>>> constitutional amendment.
>>>>>> I think you're perhaps overly optimistic about the willingness of
>>>>>> courts to overturn election law.  But we'll see - I'd be thrilled to be
>>>>>> proven wrong about this one.
>>>>>> ----
>>>>>> Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for
>>>>>> list info
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