[EM] Sortition and the Delegable Proxy system

Clinton Mead clintonmead at gmail.com
Mon Jan 30 22:14:15 PST 2012

Why not simply IRV until 500 candidates are left.

Wouldn't this produce a similar result without the randomness?

Elected candidates would have votes equal to the number of votes they had
at the end of the above procedure.

On Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 5:05 PM, Bryan Mills <bmills at alumni.cmu.edu> wrote:

> On Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 12:52 PM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm
> <km_elmet at lavabit.com> wrote:
> > On 01/24/2012 07:28 AM, Bryan Mills wrote:
> >>
> >> I've been looking at a voting system over the past week or so that I
> >> think is really interesting: a combination of the "delegable proxy"
> >> system with a sortition procedure to elect a standing legislature.
> >>
> >> My objective is to find a way to use conventional voting
> >> infrastructure to elect a proportional legislature of bounded size by
> >> strategy-free means.  I'm not yet 100% certain whether the system
> >> actually is strategy-free; I think it is but I haven't yet found a
> >> proof.  (It's non-deterministic, so I don't think it runs afoul of
> >> Arrow or Gibbard–Satterthwaite but proportionality is only
> >> probabilistic.)
> >>
> >> I can't imagine that I'm the first to examine this system, but I
> >> haven't found it in any of the voting literature I've read so far
> >> (most of Voting Matters and part of the Electowiki).  My own writeup
> >> can be found at
> >>
> >> (
> https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1XfoGtx2HBYNyZSYwwiQlcXU7mq_WkLhQzdghv8bGF4o
> ).
> >>
> >> Any direct insight or pointers to relevant documents would be
> appreciated.
> >
> >
> > 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.
> > There might also be another problem: say that people delegate their
> votes so
> > that some famous candidates have a certain chance of winning, but this
> > chance isn't absolute. Then any of them could say "if I win, that's
> great,
> > I'll do what I want". In other words, the doubly random nature of the
> > process - first, where the candidates don't know who will delegate to
> them,
> > and second, where it's not certain they will win even if lots of people
> > delegate to them - could weaken the constituency feedback, making the
> > "famous" candidates more likely to do their own thing than to take the
> > voters' opinions into account.
> Hmm, that's interesting.  Bu it's unlikely that a candidate who
> receives a substantial
> fraction (e.g. a Droop quota or more) of votes would fail to be
> elected in practice, and
> any factors that increase that risk proportionally increase a
> candidate's prospective
> voting power if elected.  I do need to do some simulations to verify
> that outlier events
> are sufficiently rare with a practical number of seats, though.
> 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.)
> > Or, the public, knowing this, might delegate to people of which they
> have a
> > general good feeling, e.g. movie stars and the likes. They would then
> reason
> > something like "I know that whoever I delegate won't know I helped him
> win.
> > Thus I can't influence him, so who am I going to choose? Well, I know of
> > Harrison Ford (or whoever) and his political position is somewhat close
> to
> > me, so I'll pick him". Now, Ford's popularity as a actor has, in itself,
> no
> > bearing upon his political skills - he would have a greater chance of
> > winning for similar reasons to why, when asked for a random number,
> people
> > tend to pick odd numbers.
> >
> > Let's try to formalize that a little. Ordinary sortition works by
> picking a
> > representative sample of the people. However, if the people were
> > unrepresentative in their delegation - preferring those who were, for
> some
> > reason or other, well known, then the sample picked by delegated
> sortition
> > would not be representative anymore. In ordinary proxy democracy (liquid
> > democracy, etc), on the other hand, giving your vote to Ford is next to
> > pointless - if lots of people do that, you have no chance of pulling him
> in
> > your direction, so you should vote for someone more local instead.
> The idea isn't to pick a representative sample of people, but rather a
> representative sample of people's preferences for representation; it's not
> necessarily a problem if the representatives are not themselves a perfect
> sample of the electorate.  For example, if representatives turn out to put
> more-careful-than-average consideration into their political and economic
> opinions, everyone might end up better off.
> 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.
> I think the real concern, then, is that people might vote for
> candidates who turn out to be
> systematically biased *in a way that the voters didn't anticipate*,
> and I think that just
> brings us back to the issue of wanting to change delegations midway
> through a term.
> ----
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