[EM] APR (9): Steve?s 9th dialogue with Juho (Steve)
stevebosworth at hotmail.com
Tue Dec 16 05:16:55 PST 2014
APR (9): Steve?s 9th dialogue with Juho (Steve)
From: election-methods-request at lists.electorama.com
> Subject: Election-Methods Digest, Vol 126, Issue 18
> To: election-methods at lists.electorama.com
> Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2014 10:07:44 -0800
> 1. Re: APR (8): Steve?s 8th dialogue with Juho (Steve) (Juho Laatu)
> Message: 1
> Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2014 20:07:37 +0200
> From: Juho Laatu <juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk>
> To: "election-methods at lists.electorama.com"
> <election-methods at lists.electorama.com>
> Subject: Re: [EM] APR (8): Steve?s 8th dialogue with Juho (Steve)
> Message-ID: <A4F19A0A-943E-42D9-9B96-4D1B4981FB7A at yahoo.co.uk>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> > On 14 Dec 2014, at 17:23, steve bosworth <stevebosworth at hotmail.com>
> S: Why 10,000? Would the central electoral commission collect or
coordinate these applications. Would all such nominations appear on all general
election ballots? Would such a ?grouping? have any other official functions?
Would such groupings have equally or more advantages than APR?s associations as
again listed later in this post?
J: The number should be large enough so
that there will not be too many groupings, and small enough to allow many
enough to run. The collected supporter lists would be given to the central
S: I agree with your principles: “large enough … not too many groups”. However your 10,000 is needlessly arbitrary
and might not deliver what these principles require. Please consider APR’s formula for determining
its “associations”. This is fully
explained in my article on pages 6, Endnote 5, and Flow Chart 2. What do you think?
J: In elections with numerous candidates I would
favour "blank" ballots that do not list the candidate names at all
(one could write candidate numbers in the ballot instead). …
S: Why prefer “blank ballots” in preference to
APR’s sample ballot that would make it easier for each citizen to use?
J: The grouping would exist only to nominate a
list of candidates in the election (maybe becomes a proper party if it gets
some seats). The newly formed groupings would be treated in the election
exactly the same way as the old well established parties.
S: Please define what you mean by a “proper
> > S: But can you not outline the ?ideal? system towards which you are
J: I don't have any ready made
"ideal" system that I would promote. I may have various improvement
proposals for different societies with different backgrounds, existing method
and preferences. And also improvement proposals for different theoretical
system proposals (generic or society specific).
> > S: Without you exactly explaining a method you have in mind, we
cannot say whether it is or is not arbitrary.
J: No specific method in my mind. But for example
a basic closed list, with no cutoffs, and proportionality counted at top level,
and that allows also small groupings to participate in the election (e.g. after
collecting supporter names), would be proportional and not in any arbitrary
way, and would allow also small groupings to win seats.
S: Please explain this much more completely. Below you say you want to elect the reps from
a number of multi-winner districts. Is
this by a “closed list” party-list
system? By “no cutoffs” do you mean that
any party that receives a percentage of the votes equal to one nth of n candidate that will be elected to
represent a given district will send one rep to that assembly, two nth
two reps, etc.?
S: Any APR citizen who is bribed or coerced to seem to reveal preferences as a
result of the Primary, can easily vote secretly for completely different
preferences in the general election, i.e. they have not reveal their true
preferences in the Primary. Thus, their general election vote is secret.
J: Yes, but to my understanding also the
primary has influence on the outcome of the election as a whole.
S: The primary only determines how many reps
will be elected from each association.
Only all the citizen’s votes in the country during the general election
will determine the weight that each reps’ vote will have in the assembly. Thus, neither the Primary nor the resulting
associations could prevent, for example, any rep from receiving many fewer than
the average number of weighted votes, i.e. when that is how citizens have voted
in the general election. Does this solve
the relevant problem in your mind?
> > J: No, APR makes it possible to the voters to prove how they voted.
They could prove that e.g. by showing their association specific ballot paper
to other people.
S: No, no-one can prove how they voted during
the general election as I explained in the 4th paragraph below:
> > S: Now I see why you mistakenly believed that APR does not meet this
criterion? Like all other secret voting systems, an APR elector can only
complete his [general election] ballot by himself at his local polling station
and leave that secret ballot in the box at that station, i.e. unseen by anyone
else until it is officially counted by the agents of the electoral commission.
Thus, like all other secret voting systems, it would be impossible for him to
reveal how he had voted except by choosing verbally to report this to someone
else. Does this solve the problem you
had in mind?
J: To my understanding voting in the primary is not secret.
Correct, did I ever claim otherwise? Voting
in the primary is not secret but any such vote cannot bind how any citizen will
vote during the general election. At the
same time, any citizen who might be uncomfortable by seemingly revealing some
preference in the primary can simply confine his voting to the general
election. Does this solve the problem
you had in mind?
> >S: This could be achieved as
follows: Firstly, as a result of the Primary, the central electoral commission
would have a list of all registered voters in the country. This list would
include both the residence address of each voter and the ?association? in which
each is an elector (i.e. the association which will also produce its tailor
made general election ballot for its elector). Before the general election, the
commission would ensure that each district?s electoral administration had also
received all the different ballot papers for each of its residents who have
become official electors for associations other than the geographically defined
one in which they reside as a result of their participation in the Primary.
Thus, on general election day, each resident citizen would receive their own
association?s blank ballot paper to complete in the secrecy provided by their local
district?s polling station.
> > S: Yes, simplicity is very important. Please remember that APR allows
a citizen simply to vote for one candidate if they see its other options as too
complex. How would the system you have in mind be simpler?
J: Most methods that are in use today
seem simpler than APR.
S: You seem to have missed the above
reminder: “APR allows a citizen simply
to vote for one candidate if they see its other options as too complex.” Does not this make APR as simple as other
system for all citizens who want it to be this simple? If you think not, please explain.
> >S: You have not yet described
your preferred system in enough detail for me to see that it is any simpler
J: I don't have any such system that I
would propose as "preferred to APR" (only some comments on the details
S: Yes, but I have not yet understood any of these as exposing a flaw. Correct
me if I am mistaken.
J: I have not noticed any
"flaws" in the sense that it would have something obviously wrong.
Many of its design details can be discussed in the sense that method developers
and societies may have different preferences.
> J: If voters cannot change the district that they vote in, it is possible
that they do not trust any of the candidates of that district, but they could
trust candidates of some other district. In my previous mail I explained how
voters might be able to change their district. ?
> > S: Would they have firstly to move house to the other district? If
so, this would not be a practical possibility for most people, and certainly
more difficult than relevantly participating in APR?s Primary to achieve the
J: ? In addition it is possible to develop systems that both implement
geographical proportionality and allow voters to vote candidates of other
districts (such systems are however probably unusual). I don't want to deny
voters this option, but I might opt not to support it in many practical systems
since it does not add very much, ?
> > S: If you ?deny voters this option?, you do not know how ?much? it
would ?add? or subtract. At least we know that without this option you would be
denying equality of respect to some of your fellow citizens and this violates a
fundamental principle of democracy. How would you justify this violation? Of
course, if you are really a ?traditionalist?, you might see this as a
?violation? of someone else?s ideology, not yours. What do you think?
J: I didn't see any other violations
than not letting voter of district A vote for candidates of district B. I don't
see how this violates "equality of respect" or "a fundamental
principle of democracy".
S: Unlike APR, the systems you seem to prefer violate
democracy’s principle of “equal respect” by giving some citizens the option of
helping to elect a candidate they trust while others are not given this option
within their residential district.
> > S: Other than your desire to conform to a ?tradition? in your
country, I do not think you have explained any other ?reason? for retaining
your so-called ?geographical proportionality?. Please correct me if I am
J: I don't have any specific
"desire" to conform to tradition. I have tried to explain the reasons
why many systems today use geographical proportionality. The most obvious ones
are the interest to guarantee proportional representation to each region, and
to avoid bias towards favouring the most central areas/cities.
have not yet offered your own justification for insisting on what you call “geographical
proportionality”, especially when it denies some citizens the option of helping
to elect a rep they positively favour.
S: Surely, an ideal system would avoid every
sort of “bias”. APR does this? This
assumes that a “bias” results from not giving each citizen in the country the
same range of candidates to choose or rank.
your number of different “multi-winner” districts is much better than
single-member districts, but strictly, these “multi-winner” districts do not
offer this equality. This is in
addition to the possibility that any of your existing districts might already
be biased by chance or by gerrymandering in favour of one of the parties. Also, such districts usually also waste a number
of votes, those that cannot be transferred to any candidate within a given
> > J: I think I have commented on all points at some level. At some
points I have given general answers to cover numerous points. Please indicate
if there are some remaining key questions left.
> > S: Please see my above questions as well as the ones relating to the
following claimed advantages of APR. However, since I already asked about these
in our 7th dialogue, perhaps you would prefer to delay your detailed responses
to these questions in order to give you time to collect your thoughts. If so,
please let me know and I will look forward to a continuation of our dialogue at
a later date.
J: If you have some specific questions
or points where you need comments, you should point them out to me.
> > 1) Unlikely your preferred system, the fact that APR allows each
citizen to guarantee that their own vote will continue mathematically to count
in the assembly through the weighted vote of their most favoured rep would seem
maximally to encourage all citizens to participate politically.
J: I don't have any "preferred system". Many systems do guarantee
approximate proportional representation. APR introduces some additional exact
mathematical nature to this. I don't think most voters require exact mathematics
but an overall understanding that the system is fair.
S: In comparison to APR, these other systems are
not “overall … fair”. How many citizens
have you asked whether they would prefer a system that would guarantee that
their vote will continue to count? How
many have answered, “NO”?
> > 2) Also, APR would probably provide more attractive candidates and
thus a closer ideological identity between each citizen and his rep. APR?s
associational structure would seem to assist, on average, the development of
such more intense personal, ideological and mutual bonds than the more defuse
and vague relations between the agendas of each elector and the representatives
elected by other systems, including yours.
J: The idea that voters may decide which associations are allowed to
participate in the actual election may be popular. I'm however not convinced
that it would also technically make some stronger bonds between the voters and
the parties (i.e. other reasons than the existence of an additional round). …
S: If you say that this “participation … may be
popular”, does not this suggest to you, therefore, that it should be tried?
J: … The added complexity may also make some
voters less interested.
S: Why would even those who do not want to
participate in the primary themselves want to deny it to others?
> >S: The evolution of these closer relationships would grow partly as a
result of the time between the two elections. Firstly, the ?bottom-up? Primary
might prompt more electors to start to familiarize themselves with the existing
members and other potential candidates of their preferred organizations. Thus,
each APR representative is more likely to have been known and explicitly
favoured by his electors at least several months before the general election.
Consequently, the ideological fit between each set of APR?s associations,
electors, and representatives is likely to be much closer than that between
each set of parties, districts, electors, and representatives in other systems.
J: The length of the process could be interesting
to some voters and uninteresting to some. One must assume that part of the
voters are on the edge of whether to vote or not. Most societies try to make as
many voters vote as possible. Therefore a simple and effortless voting process
is often good.
S: Again, as explained earlier, APR offers “simple
and effortless voting” for every citizen who may want it.
> > 3) APR?s Primary discovers which voluntary organizations should be
officially recognized to have a proportionate extra political status and
electoral function. The recognition of these associations would provide an
additional democratic channel for more enthusiastic participation in the
political process both by these associations and their electors. This
recognition also gives each association and its elected rep(s) an opportunity
to plan and to focus their combined resources more efficiently to help shape
the binding decisions taken by the state. Thus, representation is made more
efficient by also being supported by the activities of each citizen?s preferred
and officially energized association;
J: The mentioned alternative of
collecting name lists of supporters puts the burden of determining the
groupings that will participate in the election to the groups themselves. APR
puts that burden on the voters. …
S: APR puts this burden not only on the citizens
but, initionally on society’s voluntary organizations to apply to the central electoral commission.
J: … Some voters would like this, some maybe not
(because of the need to participate more). Each society should pick the
approach that suits them best.
S: If in the future you discover that you have
been able to formulated your own criteria for judging systems and have
tentatively decide on the exact system you would like to work to establish, at least
in your own country, please let me know so we can more fruitfully continuation
of our dialogue. Currently, at least, I
am not satisfied simply to leave these decisions to others, i.e. to “society”. Perhaps currently you are not satisfied
> > 4) Rational political thinking by the body politic is also likely to
be assisted by the important additional knowledge discovered by the Primary. It
would more reliably discover the degree to which each previously well known,
less know, and unknown ideology, party, interest group, or club is, or is not,
relevant to the real concerns of the people. This knowledge would enable all
citizens, associations, potential candidates, and representatives more
efficiently to plan how each can help to shape the laws.
> > ………………….
> > 5) Because APR?s ?associations? would have some communication and
mobilization resources that are entirely independent of celebrity, the richest
sections of society, and the mass media, this would probably help reduce the
relative power of these sometimes anti-democratic forces in determining how
people vote. This is because many citizens could more firmly, securely, and
independently use the following opportunity provided by APR: to see their
favoured association and its representatives as providing an essential part of
the best way to promote and protect their own abiding interests and values.
6) Moreover, a legislative assembly composed of such different clashing, yet
trusted and well focused reps would seem more likely to provide an optimal
debating and negotiating chamber for the production of laws based on evidence
and rational thought (please see the definition of ?reason? at the end of the
previous post). This is because it would more accurately reflect the real variety
and intensity of people?s concerns. If so, this assembly would also be better
able to respond to the imperative to form a working majority in the assembly in
order to produce wise legislative solutions to problems, i.e. solutions also
agreeable to a majority of the people. The fact that each APR representative,
on average, is more likely to be focused and trusted by his or her electors
would seem better to enable them also to arrive at any necessary compromises
between the contending parties and representatives to achieve their common
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