[EM] Conceiving a Democratic Electoral Process

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Sun Jul 8 20:06:43 PDT 2012

Time to think.

Primaries are a problem.

Primaries were invented to solve an intolerable problem for Plurality  
elections - too easy to have multiple candidates for a party, those  
candidates having to share the available votes, and thus all losing.

I would not do away with primaries - instead I would do away with  
Plurality and leave primaries to any party that still saw value in  
them.  So, what is Plurality's basic problem?  That a voter can see  
value in more than one candidate, want to vote accordingly, and be  
prevented by Plurality.  Voters need to agree that this fix is  
essential and apply whatever effort is needed.

Where to go?  Desirable, but not essential, to use the same new method  
everywhere.  Consider:

.     Approval - each voter is signaling equal desire for every  
candidate voted for.  Better than Plurality, but too often a voter can  
have a true desire, and secondary candidates voter wants considered  
only if true desire loses.

.     Condorcet - voters rank their true desire highest and others  
lower.  Ranking A over X says A more desired, but not what strength  
this desire has.

.     Score/range - thoughts similar to Condorcet, but here difference  
in rating indicates strength of liking.

.     IRV - This sees some trials, and use in Burlington has indicated  

.     Others - this list does not attempt completion.

Such changes could change strength of parties - perhaps, but I  
consider the changes too important for this to interfere with going  
for better election methods

I see value in parties - Green, libertarians, socialism, etc., let  
voters with particular desires work together.

On Jul 7, 2012, at 3:29 AM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm wrote:
> On 07/06/2012 02:22 AM, Michael Allan wrote:
>> Kristofer Munsterhjelm said:
>>> - Thus, it's not too hard for me to think there might be sets of
>>> rules that would make parties minor parts of politics. Those would
>>> not work by simply outlawing parties, totalitarian style. Instead,
>>> the rules would arrange the dynamics so that there's little benefit
>>> to organizing in parties.
>> Such rules would be difficult to implement while the parties are  
>> still
>> in power.  They control the legislatures.  I think we need to look at
>> the primaries.  A system of open primaries would be beyond the reach
>> of the parties, and it might undermine their power.  Has anyone tried
>> this approach before?
> We don't really have primaries here, at least not in the sense of  
> patches to make Plurality work, because we don't use Plurality but  
> party list PR. There are still internal elections (or appointments,  
> depending on party) to determine the order of the list - those are  
> probably the closest thing to primaries here.
> I imagine that the primary link is even weaker in STV countries. Say  
> you have a multimember district with 5 seats. To cover all their  
> bases, each party would run at least 5 candidates for that election,  
> so that even if they get all the seats, they can fill them. But that  
> means that people who want members of party X to get in power can  
> choose which of the candidates they want. There's no predetermined  
> list, and there's less of a "take it or leave it" problem than in  
> single member districts.
> But I digress. The way I see it, there are two approaches to  
> changing the rules. The first is to do it from within - to have a  
> party or other organization that implements those rules internally.  
> The second is from without, by somehow inspiring the people to want  
> this, so that they will push for it more strongly than the parties  
> can.
> In the United States, the latter might be rather difficult (since  
> money counts for so much). And perhaps in the US, primaries would be  
> a good place to start. I don't know, as I don't live there :-)
> Don't some local elections over there have free-for-all primaries  
> where anyone can vote, so the system turns into top-two runoff?

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