[EM] STV vs Party-list PR, could context matter?

David L Wetzell wetzelld at gmail.com
Fri Feb 17 11:31:12 PST 2012

On Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 9:26 AM, Jameson Quinn <jameson.quinn at gmail.com>wrote:

>> It seems to me that most folks think the choice is between ranked choices
>> or party-list PR.
> I don't. I think that party-list removes voter freedom, and ranked choices
> is too much of a burden on the voter. While either would be better than
> what we have, I prefer to use delegation a la SODA.

Obviously, you are not most folks....

1. Your igoring my key-arg of context.  Less freedom is not always less for
rationally ignorant voters.
2.  Up to 5 rankings is not a burden, since voters can choose to do as many
as they wish and rely on intermediaries for discernment.

> Thus my favored system is PAL representation<http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/PAL_representation>.
> It's true that PAL still has some (very attenuated) party-list-like
> aspects, because party affiliation is used to match candidates to districts
> at the end; but if you were willing to give up this (overlapping)
> geographical representation aspect of PAL, you could make a similar
> delegated PR system in which parties played no explicit role.

3. I haven't looked at PAL for a while.  I'm sticking with 3-5 seat forms
of PR that don't challenge the existence of a 2-party system.  This keeps
the complexity down.  I figure we can challenge the constitutionality of
denying state's rights to decide whether they want to use a multi-seat
election rule for congressional candidates, on the basis of its
discriminatory effect against minorities.  Clarence Thomas is known to be
favorable to this.

James Gilmore: But why would you want all these differences and

dlw: Because context matters.  3-seat LR Hare is not complicated.  It works
almost just like 1-seat LR Hare, better known as FPTP.  And I'm keeping
STV-PR to keep down the diffs and complications, since it works similarly
to IRV, the best known alternative to FPTP among progressives in the US.

JG: If you are going to use STV-PR for some of these elections, why not use
STV-PR for all of these elections to the various
"representative assemblies" (councils, state legislatures, US House of
Representatives, US Senate).  STV-PR works OK in both partisan and
non-partisan elections, so it should give fair and proper representation of
the VOTERS in all these different

dlw: 1. There are benefits to party-list PR, relative to STV.  2. STV-PR
has been bundled with the droop quota.  The hare quota is far more 3rd
party friendly.  3. Some elections get less voter attn and the benefit of
giving voters more options is less than cost of having too many candidates
clamoring for your ranked votes.

JG: Of course, with districts returning only 3 to 5 members, the
proportionality and direct representation MAY be a little limited, but if
small numbers are needed to make the system acceptable to the vested
interests, then so be it.  STV-PR with 3, 4 or 5 member districts is
greatly to be preferred to plurality in single-member districts and to
plurality at large.

dlw: Hare quota w. 3 seats is somewhat preferable to Droop quota w. 3
seats.  3-seat LR-Hare is biased in favor of bigger 3rd parties, which
offsets the continued use of single-member elections for state senate and
what-not.  Now, you could pair the Hare quota w. STV, but why not keep the
bundling of STV w. the Droop quota to keep things simpler?

JG:We had to accept local government wards electing only 3 or 4 councillors
as part of our STV-PR package  -  that's practical politics.  But that
reform has transformed our local government  -  no more "one-party states".

dlw: Undoubtedly, and this is what made the AV referendum possible, no
doubt.  This is why I argue that the strategic use of low-seat PR for "more
local" elections is a key way to change the dynamics of US politics.  Which
is in turn why I keep insisting that |Xirv-Xoth| << Pirv-Poth for
single-member seats.

> Jameson
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