[EM] APR (10): Steve's 10th dialogue with Toby (Steve)

steve bosworth stevebosworth at hotmail.com
Fri Dec 19 08:26:32 PST 2014

Re: APR (10): Steve's 10th
dialogue with Toby (Steve)

From: election-methods-request at lists.electorama.com

> Subject: Election-Methods Digest, Vol 126, Issue 15

> To: election-methods at lists.electorama.com

> Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2014 13:03:46 -0800


> 1. Re: APR (9): Steve's 9th dialogue with Toby (Steve)

> (Toby Pereira)


> ----------------------------------------------------------------------


> Message: 1

> Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2014 18:58:07 +0000 (UTC)

> From: Toby Pereira <tdp201b at yahoo.co.uk>

> To: steve bosworth <stevebosworth at hotmail.com>,

> "election-methods at lists.electorama.com"

> <election-methods at lists.electorama.com>

> Subject: Re: [EM] APR (9): Steve's 9th dialogue with Toby (Steve)

> Message-ID:


Toby (and

> T:
Of course, you may argue that under APR every voter does have exactly the same
amount of representation, but I'd argue that this is simplistic because while
each voter has their "official" representative and the same amount of
official representation. …

S: Yes,
and this “official representative” is the MP they most trust.? This does not
seem to be able to be guaranteed by any other system.  Not the one you seem to prefer.

T:   Well,
even under APR, someone's favourite candidate might not be elected.?


1S:  Correct. 
However, each APR citizen’s vote can be guarantee to be added to the
weighted vote in the Commons of the MP most trusted by him, by his most trusted
but eliminated candidate, or by his very popular MP.  Is your preferred system or any other system
that you know about able equally to guarantee this?

> T: ?..they are also effectively represented by every other representative
that has views that they agree with. Because of this, some voters can by chance
end up with better representation.? 

> S:? Yes, ?by chance? an APR voter might also end up with better
representation. However, this seems also be a chance possibility with every
electoral system.  It only happens when
enough other citizen and candidates happen to agree with each other’s scale of
values. Do you see this as a problem?? If so, why?

T:   It
would be impossible to equalise it completely. But the system I referred you to
is an example of a system that uses the difference in representation as the
measure it tries to minimise, so it's likely to minimise it better than APR.? 

2S:  The problem with your suggestion is that by
minimising these differences in this way, you could elect an assembly that
represents each citizen equally badly, and some not at all.  Therefore, APR has the advantage of
guaranteeing that each citizen will be represented as well as possible by at
least one MP.


> S:
Yes, but if every system allows such ?deals? sometimes to happen by chance,
then it?s not a reason to favour one system over another.? 

T:   Again,
some systems allow it to a greater extent than others. It's not all or


3S:  Are you saying that APR would allow it to a
greater extent than you preferred system? 
If so, please explain how you have arrived at this conclusion.  In any case, why would this continue to be
seen as a valid criticism if APR also has the advantage stated above in 2S:?


 T:? But to change
it slightly, we might be forced into a strict preference, so I rank
C>B>A, even though they are the same to me. You rank A>B>D. I get C
and you get A. APR doesn't know that I would be equally happy with A.? 


Correct, APR would not know this but it has guaranteed “happiness” for us
both.? If a system can guarantee this, why is it so important to you that you
have a system that would know this, even when it could not guarantee that each
citizen will be represented by their favourite or equally favourite MP?

T:  Happiness isn't guaranteed by having your
favourite representative elected. …


5S:  Of course, nothing can absolutely guarantee
“happiness”.  However, democratic
elections are justified partly by the assumption that citizens should equally
have the opportunity to elect a representative they trust, and that this will
probably make them happier than if they could not do this.


In any
case, does your preferred system not care whether citizens are satisfied with
their representatives or not?


T: … Someone's
representative is just one part of a parliament that votes on legislation. In
the example I gave, one person would have better representation than the other,
so would likely end up with more of their favoured legislation getting passed. 


6S:  Yes. 
Why is this a problem for you? You seem to be forgetting that they could
have this “better representation” using most any electoral system only because
more of their fellow citizens have a scale of values similar to their own.  APR’s weighted votes represent each scale of
values proportionately (each citizen’s vote continues to have the same official
weight in the Commons), i.e. exactly what a democratic election should offer.  Do you not agree with this?  If not, why not?


T:  That is why a balance of voters' preferences
across all MPs is desirable rather than simply having their favourite elected.?


S:  Please give me your mathematical definition
of “balance”.  In any case, please
explain why the points made above by 2S:, 3S: & 4S: should remove your
preference for this balance.


T: Ranked
systems in general don't know, whereas score systems give details about [equal]
intensity of preference, and approval systems at least give voters the chance
to say that they approve or not of a candidate.? 


S: Again,
why is this more important to you than being guaranteed representation by your
most trusted MP?

T:   Because it gives voters more equal
representation overall. People aren't necessarily just obsessed with their one
favourite candidate as you seem to suggest. 


S:  “Obsession” would lead a citizen to vote only
for one candidate.  Instead, ranking
allows each citizen to list any number of candidates according to how
completely each is trusted to represent that citizen’s scale of values.  Again, especially with its use by APR,
ranking allows each citizen to guarantee he will be represented by the MP who
is ideologically closest to him.


preferred system does allow each citizen to record her score or approval given
to as many candidates as she might wish but it does not guarantee that she will
be represented even by a candidate she approves, let alone one she scores
highest.  Do you accept that this is
true?  If this is true, please explain why
you or anyone else would prefer a system that would not offer APR’s guarantee
to be represented by the MP you judge to be best?


T:  People are likely to have several candidates
that they like similarly, and it makes sense for this to be reflected in the
voting process.


S:  When this similarity occurs in APR, it is
“reflected in the voting process” by these several candidates being ranking
next in line to each other.


Obviously it would be interesting to know in practice how people would vote
using score and approval systems (how honest their scores would be) … 


S: Yes,
perhaps ?interesting? for academic an observer of an election, especially if he
had discovered a method for discovering such honesty.? However, why would any
voter prefer this knowledge about other people if, at the same time, it
requires a system that cannot guarantee that his own vote will be added to the
weighted vote of his favourite MP?  In
any case, each citizen already has this knowledge about themselves.

T:  Surveys could be done to ask voters' ratings
of candidates and how they might have voted under different systems. It doesn't
guarantee complete honesty but it could still be used to see what results might
be under other systems, including the one I linked to. And we could see which
gives more balanced/proportional results. I'm not saying that other voters need
to know what other voters think.


S:  I still would like to receive your
mathematical definition of an ideally “balanced/proportional result”.  In practice, would your preferred system
guarantee this result? Do you think this will both explain and justify why you
want to reject the seemingly unique guarantee offered by APR?  



S:  Finally, given that you accept “that it would
be computationally insane” to use Forest Simmons’
method to “worked out the ideal proportions”, such a method would seem to be
entirely irrelevant for practical purpose in our discussion assessing different
systems for electing many winners by many voters.  Do you agree?




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