[EM] Parliamentary compromising strategy

Richard Fobes ElectionMethods at VoteFair.org
Fri Mar 15 10:55:24 PDT 2013

On 3/15/2013 2:22 AM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm wrote:
> On 03/14/2013 11:26 PM, Richard Fobes wrote:
>> ...
>> One way is to eliminate the need for coalitions. This is the purpose of
>> VoteFair negotiation ranking, which allows the elected representatives
>> to rank various proposals on various (hopefully-at-least-somewhat)
>> related issues. Based on these rankings the software calculates which
>> proposals would produce a proposed law that is "best" supported by the
>> elected representatives -- including support by small (but not tiny)
>> opposition parties. (Details about VoteFair negotiation ranking are at
>> www.NegotiationTool.com.)
>> On 3/11/2013 1:33 AM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm wrote:
> I suppose that making every government a minority government would also
> work here. The cost would be greater instability, though. How would the
> negotiation ranking handle the instability (or general delay and
> gridlock) that might appear?

I do not understand what you mean by making a government a minority 
government.  What is a minority government?

VoteFair negotiation ranking gives the majority the most control.  Yet 
it also gives influence to minorities -- if:

* They are joined together with a common interest -- which amounts to an 
"opposition coalition" that is internally identified by the algorithm 
based on votes, without being based on any additional information (such 
as party membership).

* Or, they have some overlap with some representatives in the majority.

* Or, when they support something that does not conflict with what the 
majority wants.

Expressed another way, the method is a calculation algorithm that 
implements "log rolling" (combining separate proposals into a single 
package to be voted on) and "vote trading" (where representatives agree 
to vote for something they don't care for in exchange for another vote 
that supports what they do care about).

The algorithm produces a suggested list of compatible proposals that 
would be likely to get majority support if they are packaged into a 
single yes-or-no vote among all the representatives (which in this case 
are the MPs).

If the package does not pass with majority support, then the (elected) 
representatives can change their rankings and their identification of 
which proposals are incompatible with one another.  This is a diplomatic 
way of saying that they either were not paying full attention when they 
were voting on the proposals, or they were not honest in their voting.

>> The other approach is to replace traditional PR with an election method
>> that gives no advantage to strategic voting. This is what the full
>> VoteFair ranking system is designed to do. Specifically, each district
>> would use VoteFair representation ranking to elect one "majority" MP
>> (member of Parliament) and one "opposition" MP, and the remaining
>> parliamentary seats are filled using VoteFair party ranking (to identify
>> party popularity) and VoteFair partial-proportional ranking (to choose
>> which district-losing candidate wins each party-based seat). The result
>> does not allow even a group of well-coordinated voters to meaningfully
>> and predictably alter the results.
> How would that method solve the left/right scenario I mentioned? Would
> it give the right-of-center parties (or people) position if they had a
> majority, and otherwise let the left-of-center voter's vote go to a
> left-of-center candidate?

Your scenario (as I recall) involved using a voting method in which 
there are strategies that enable the voters to produce a different 
outcome -- without any risk that a dramatically worse outcome can occur.

VoteFair ranking includes characteristics that defeat attempts to vote 

Specifically, insincere voting (in VoteFair ranking) can easily produce 
an outcome that is the opposite of what the voter wanted.

(I suppose an analogy is that a person would hesitate to fire a gun at 
another person if there was some risk that the bullet might come out 
heading in the exact opposite direction.  That's a lot riskier than a 
gun that simply might miss the intended target by a small amount.)

And if insincere voting is attempted (even if it is well-coordinated by 
the group doing it), that attempt (when VoteFair ranking is used) cannot 
significantly increase the odds that the insincere voters could get what 
they want.

If the voters have no reason to vote strategically and the algorithm 
produces fair results, then we can finally get beyond one-dimensional 
politics and arrive at multi-dimensional politics where issues and 
positions can each be handled appropriately.

Remember that the concept of  "left" versus "right" (or "conservative" 
versus "liberal", etc.) is an oversimplification.  This dimension does 
not really exist.  Instead, each voter has separate opinions about 
taxation, religion (and each of its many separate issues), and 
environmental protection, and the best way to invigorate an economy (and 
create jobs), and the best way to reduce (or not reduce) the influence 
of money in politics, and so on.  The consolidation of all those 
separate issues into a single dimension is an underlying unfairness in 
existing voting systems.

Richard Fobes

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