[EM] APR (6) Steve’s 6th dialogue with Toby

steve bosworth stevebosworth at hotmail.com
Sat Nov 22 02:03:02 PST 2014

APR [EM] (6) Steve’s 6th dialogue with Toby


Ask stevebosworth at hotmail.com for a copy
of the article explaining how APR works.




To make this dialogue as short and focussed as possible, I’ve marked the
deleted sections about which we already seem to agree with “……………….”.


I have numbered and tagged my last most recent comment below as “27S:”


I look forward to our text dialogue. 




Message: 2

> Date: Sat, 15 Nov 2014 02:14:02 +0000

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

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

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

> Subject: Re: [EM] APR: (5) Steve's 5th dialogue with Toby

> Message-ID:

> <1416017642.40647.YahooMailNeo at web133006.mail.ir2.yahoo.com>

> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"


T:  > Here's my latest reply. I'll try
to be clearer this time and keep it concise……….. 


> S: I am open to suggestions regarding such restrictions and
qualifications. Currently, I think the British requirement that candidates must
first deposit a >certain standard amount of money with the relevant
electoral association would be a good idea. They would lose this deposit if
they do not receive more >than a certain percentage of the first preference
votes. Equally or alternatively, applicant candidates could be accepted
provided they had collected at >least a set number of signatures supporting
their candidacy.


> S: Any additional special qualifications or restrictions would have to be
openly declared on each organization?s application to become an ?association?.
>For example, some organizations might want to require that their candidates
would have previously been an officer of the organization or that they had >received
a university degree. Other associations might not add any additional
qualification knowing that not many would want to risk losing their
>deposits or not be able to collect enough signatures. Any lost deposits
could also be a source of income for the association to help it cover its own
>additional election administration costs.


T:  > Candidates have to deposit
500GBP in UK elections, which they get back if they get 5% of the vote in their
constituency, so you are correct about that. Anyway, I'm not sure what would
happen in practice with organisations being able to specify conditions for
standing in their association. They could simply shut out anyone who isn't a
member of the organisation to remove the competition from the ballot paper, or
do you think that would turn the electorate against them?


1S:  Yes, each applicant organization would want
to avoid this. Each would want to elect as many MPs with the largest weighted
votes as possible.  Each would try to
make its application for the Primary as attractive as possible.  Each would have to consider and decide how to
do this while also encouraging candidates to apply who it believes would
represent it well.


> S: In any case, I doubt if any independent citizens would find it overly
?complicated? to writ-in the relevant codes of the independent or other
candidates in >Section B of the Ballot who they want to rank outside of the
association in which they had become an official general election elector.


T:  > >But if you're arguing that, you're  against what I understood to be one of the
main reasons for having associations - that it simplifies the election >for
voters. Is that not what associations are for?

2S:  No, the main reason is to provide an
additional opportunity for each citizen to clarify their own scale of political
values by being prompted to consider through which civil society “association”
their own vote would be most efficiently channeled, i.e. which association is
most likely to run attractive candidates. 
Each association placing its list of candidates in Section A of its own
Ballot is only the simplest way for each group of official electors to
vote.  This is a brief way of recalling
the arguments for associations and APR’s Primary repeated below in 14S:, 20S:,
21S:, & 23S:

> >T: Under the system I described, each MP would be equal with just one
vote once elected. The election would be a proportional election using a
version >of STV or a proportional version of approval/score voting depending
on the exact balloting system. So it >wouldn't be party list PR if that's
what you >mean.


> >>S: Do you accept that such a system would be less proportional
than APR, as well as being less able to guarantee to each citizen >that
their vote will >continue to count in the legislature through the rep they
directly or indirectly most trust?


> >T: I don't think it would be significantly less proportional. 


> S: Why have any less proportionality?


T:  The only difference in
proportionality would be the result of allowing/not allowing candidates to have
differing amounts of power in office. That's an issue that needs to be
addressed itself.


> >T: If we use a PAL type system, then the candidate you vote for would
still have a ranking of the other candidates, so your vote is still likely to


> S: Perhaps, but why prefer PAL when APR would seem to achieve what you
want more efficiently and completely? e.g. APR gives complete
>proportionality and allows you to guarantee that your vote will count, not
just ?likely? to count.


T:  Actually, I don't see why your vote
would be guaranteed to count in APR. If you don't rank all the candidates, then
your vote might be eliminated. However, if you optionally allow your vote to
then go to the first choice of your top candidate and so on, it's no different
from PAL. In PAL, candidates have their own ranking list of the other
candidates too, so your vote will find its way transferred to an electable
candidate just as it would in APR.


3S:  Not exactly. 
Please consider the following attempt on my part both to summarize how
PAL works and to contrast it with APR: 
(after +++++++++++)


4S:  The following 6 comments also suggest the
need for a more detailed comparison of PAL and APR:


S: In any case, is APR?s above slight extra complication more or less than the
extra complications of your preferred system?


T:  > At the moment, I don't have one
system that I'm completely in favour of. But if we talk about PAL, I don't
think it's more complicated than APR.


>T: I don't think the difference in complexity between the two systems is
huge or indeed the most relevant issue. 


> S: What is ? the most relevant issue? for you?

T:  > The only real relevant
difference in the counting process between PAL and APR is that under APR,
elected candidates have different amounts of power. Small differences in
complexity pale into insignificance when compared to this, and would not be a
reason why someone would pick one of these methods over the other.


following comparison of APR with PAL (Proportional, Accountable, Local) is
based on the less than clear article at: 
Consequently, he hopes that someone will be able to provide a more exact
and complete description of PAL’s “assignment algorithm” and an explanation of
the exact relation between “assignment” and “draft”.


 As APR‘s and PAL’s ballots seem to be equally simple,
I do not see how the above article’s following potential criticism of APR could
be sustained:  “A global open-list system
such as STV would have unacceptably-complex ballots.”  APR’s method for counting all the ballots to
elect all the reps seems to be much simpler than PAL’s.

2)       In contrast to APR, PAL uses a differently
modified STV method to elect each rep who has received the relevant quota of
votes and each will have only one vote in the legislature.  

3)      A PAL “winning party”
means one that has at least one elected rep in the county.

4)      If a PAL candidate has
received more votes than the quota, the relevant fraction of each vote in the
surplus will be transferred if possible to other candidates as explained below
in items 6 & 7.  Still, these extra
votes will be taken into account during the “automatic …. draft phase” also
addressed below. 

5)      PAL uses only
“single-member” districts.  The first
local candidate who receives the relevant STV quota of votes from the people
who live and vote within his district is elected to represent that
district.  At the same time and somewhat
paradoxically, PAL tasks one rep from each of the other “winning parties” who
has been elected elsewhere in the country also to act to represent the voters
in this district who had voted for the losing local candidate of his
party.  Consequently, PAL tasks some reps
also to represent voters in one or more districts other than the one in which
he was elected.  


is to say, that each of these other party reps will have been elected in one of
the other single-member districts, and then also is tasked either to act as his
party’s rep only in one other district, for a relevant “supper-district”, for a
relevant province (state), or for the whole country.   

6)      Each of PAL’s “delegated”
votes firstly goes to one named candidate preferred by the elector’s first
choice but eliminated candidate, and then if necessary, it is divided between
each remaining candidate in a series of less preferred, rank-ordered parties
(the least favoured group of candidates being merely “approved”).  In contrast, each of APR’s “default votes” is
definitely added to the weighted vote of the rep most favoured by an elector’s
first choice but similarly eliminated candidate.  Alternatively, in case an APR elector’s first
choice candidate is eliminated, again unlike PAL, APR also allows each elector
to rank as many lower preference candidates as they might wish in the hope that
one of them will be elected with the help of this elector’s full valued one

7)      Thus, some PAL citizens,
similar to APR, know their first choice vote has helped to elect their favoured
candidate, or has been “delegated” by that eliminated candidate to his “predeclared preference candidate”. 
However, for such electors, APR’s “weighted votes” still provide the
advantage of allowing more of these first choice votes to continue to count in
the assembly, e.g. to continue through any extra voting power (limited to 10%)
thus given to the relevant first choice rep. 

8)      Another comparative disadvantage of PAL is that each of the
remaining electors’ votes are divided so that a fraction of each vote is
transferred to a number of named or unnamed groups of candidates.  While these PAL arrangements may largely
guarantee that each elector’s vote will mathematically not be wasted because it
will help elect one or more reps, the quality of the representation resulting
from PAL’s more defuse and vague relations between the agendas of each elector
and their perhaps unknown fractional reps would seem less satisfactory than the
closer identities that are structurally assisted by APR between each elector
and his rep.
The fact that each APR elector knows that his whole vote has been added to the
weighted vote of his favoured rep would seem to provide a more intense
personal, ideological and mutual bond between each rep and his elector.

9)      In any case, a party that
receives only enough votes to elect one rep in a region, that rep would be that
party’s rep in each of that territory’s districts.  

10)  Exactly which rep from
each of the parties who will be tasked to perform these functions outside his
own district is determined by PAL’s vaguely described “assignment
algorithm”.  Using this algorithm, PAL’s
electoral commission will assign each elected rep to represent one or more of
the pre-established districts.

11)  These PAL assignments
will depend on the different numbers and geographical sources of the votes that
compose each rep’s quote.  The
imperfection of this “algorithm” is illustrated by the expressed possibility
that sometimes a rep from within “a party that appeals more to urban voters”
will represent “a rural district”.

12)  Each “drafted” rep would
have received more direct votes from some other district than any other
candidate from his party.  At the same
time, he will be the rep who received fewer direct votes in his district than
did other candidate of his party. The district to which he will be “drafted” is
the one which gave him the most direct votes.

13)  Again, I see the above
explanations as suggestive of the PAL’s algorithm but not entirely clear.  I hope that someone will be able to give me a
more complete and exact account of it.

14)  In contrast to the varied
and defuse geographical responsibilities of many of PAL’s reps, the focus of
each APR rep’s work both within the assembly and with his electors should be
much more clear.  This is because each
APR rep has been elected with a weighted vote from electors through one
“association” that had been previously established by citizens’ votes during APR’s
“bottom-up” Primary election of “associations”. 
This primary allowed each citizen to choose their own “association” from
the list of all the applicant organizations within the country’s civil
society.  Consequently, each APR rep is
more likely to have been known and explicitly favoured by his electors.  Therefore, the ideological fit between each
set of APR’s associations, electors, and reps is likely to be much closer than
that between each set of PAL’s districts, electors, and reps.  This means that the representation offered by
APR is likely to be qualitatively better than that offered by PAL.

15)   In contrast to APR, PAL’s “top-down” use of
local districts, supper-districts, and provinces (states) makes it vulnerable
to gerrymandering or the chance production of safe-seats.  Of course, PAL’s other elements would reduce
the anti-democratic effects of these features but less completely than APR

16)  Again, I hope someone
will be able to clarify for me the above article’s unclear use of “assigned “
and “drafted”.


Also see the following below:  12S: and  26S:




> …………………………………….


> >T: I think the main question of your method, as has been said before,
is whether people would like the whole differing power thing. 


> >>S: What people? Would not each citizen want their favourite MP to
have proportionately more voting power in the Commons?


> >T: What people? The citizens. And for your second question - not
necessarily, because it also means that other people's favourite MPs might end
up >with a lot of power. So in advance of any given election, I wouldn't
necessarily see this as an advantage as it could work against as well as for
me. Also, >as has been said, it's likely to be "celebrity" MPs
that gain this extra power, so it might end up being style over substance. So I
can imagine a lot of >people not being in favour of this.


> S: It seems to me that the fundamental question is, do you want an
electoral system that treats each citizen equally or not? In the above, you
seem to >want one that happens to give you some advantage over others, that
allows your vote mathematically to have more decision-making power than another
>citizen?s vote with whom you disagree. How would you justify that?


T: > You've missed the point here. You phrased your own question in terms of
voters' wanting to have their own candidate to have lots of power - i.e. a
selfish advantage for them……..


5S:  Such a “want” need not be “selfish”, it might
only express a desire for equal respect in an election for each elector.  In addition, some citizens “want” may be
entirely altruistic, a desire for their own concept of the “common good” to be
proportionately represented.



T:  ……. But when they think that the flipside is
that their less favoured candidates could also have extra power (possibly too
much in their eyes), the system isn't necessarily a net gain for them.

6S:  Please give me your reasons for thinking that
proportionate representation by any candidate within the 10% limit could be
“too much”?

>T: 10% is a lot. in a house of 650 MPs, it's equivalent to one MP having 65
seats to himself.


> S: Yes, but is not this only fair given that at least 10% more of all your
fellow citizens trust that MP most to represent them?


T: > But by your logic, why limit it even to 10%? Why have any limit?


7S:  Of course, this 10% is somewhat arbitrary,
but as explained in my article, it is both to remove the fear that one MP might
otherwise be able to dictate to the Commons, and to help ensure that
legislation will issue only from evidence based rational thought.  The 10% limit guarantees that no legislation
could be accepted without at least 6 very trusted MPs agreeing to it.


> S: From a democrat?s point of view, it would be ?good? because it fully
respects the voting equality of each citizen. At the same time, this respect
and equality helps to provide the social and political conditions which would
maximize the possibility that the sovereign laws will accord with the tentative
>conclusions of the widest possible evidence based rational deliberations of
a people. 



> >T: But the point I was making is that if party members rank other
members of the same party in the top ranks (which is likely since it would be
public), ?.


> S: No. All citizens? votes during the general election are entirely


T:  > I understood that if you cast a
single vote to a candidate rather than rank, then that candidate's own ranking
of the candidates comes into play. ……


8S:  Yes, provided you have not at the same time
cancelled your “default vote” by putting an “X” in the relevant box on your
ballot.  Also, the “candidate’s own
ranking of candidates comes into play” even when you had also ranked more
candidates but all of them become eliminated.


T:  Is that ranking not public?

9S:  That first choice but eliminated candidate’s
sequential ranking of other candidates is public but that you (or any other
particular citizen) gave your first choice vote to that eliminated candidate is
entirely secret.


>T: ?... or if party voters don't delegate but rank party members
themselves, then the proportion of the power taken by a particular party
wouldn't be >affected to any great extent by who in my favoured party I vote


> S: No, because each of us only has one vote. Consequently, your vote will
have only the weight it should have as it is added to the weighted vote of the
>party candidate (and effectively to the party) you most trust to represent
your scale of values.

Still, one way that a party could be very affected would be if your vote was
the final one that allowed your preferred candidate to be elected and she
turned out to be especially skillful at convincing the other party MPs to adopt
a new policy.

T:> So yes then, not no. I'm saying that if I vote for any candidate
standing for party X, then it [probably] won't affect the total power held by
party X [very much], but just the distribution among the candidates. It will
only affect it if my favourite candidate isn't elected and either a) my second
choice isn't from that party ,….


Yes, with the above [qualifications].


…. or b) I don't give a second choice but leave the delegation to my favourite
candidate and they inexplicably have someone outside their own party as their
top candidate.


12S:  Because like PAL, APR requires each candidate
to “predeclare” their own rankings, the knowledge of a candidate’s
“inexplicable” ranking of any other candidate enables a citizen, therefore, to
choose not to vote for him. 
Alternatively, this knowledge might, instead, make an elector determined
to make her own rankings sufficiently long so as to ensure that her vote would
only be added to the weighted vote of the most popular MP that she had
personally ranked.


 > >T: But since the more famous party
members will get more top votes from the electorate, there will be a power
shift to the better known politicians within >a given party.


> S: Quite possibly, and what would be wrong with that? Perhaps these top
candidates being more known has given their electors more evidence based
>reasons for trusting them. Consequently, their electors have the positive
satisfaction of having made a contribution to the political process themselves.
>If these MPs betray this trust, APR gives these citizens and easy and
efficient means to punish them during the next election.


T: > Popularity is in large part down to media exposure, and celebrity
status of politicians. I think your system will make this harder to shift.
Obviously if a famous politician does something really bad, they might get
voted out, but generally famous politicians will do well out of this.

I think it would entrench the power of the famous celebrity politicians for one

14S:  Against these fears, what do you think of the
relevant counter arguments offered below in  20S:, 21S:, 23S:,
& 26S:?


> >>S: Currently, what is your prime value which would presumably
guide your definition of a 'good thing'. For me, its maximizing democracy by
ensuring >that every citizens' vote can be positive, that no vote need be


> >T: I'd say something along similar lines. I know you'd argue that
allowing differing power causes less wastage, but it also does a lot more


S: I accept that some citizens would not care if their vote was shared between
several MPs. However, I do not yet understand why any of these same
>citizens would mind all, or more of their first preference votes increasing
the weighted vote of their most trusted MP. Do you? 


T:  > People vote for politicians
whose policies they agree with, but it doesn't necessarily mean they
particularly trust them. I'd feel safer placing my trust in more than one. And
as I said above, it would be helpful for politicians to have more allies in


> S: At the same time, some other citizens (like me) would object to any
dilution of their vote by a system that could needlessly give their votes to
MPs other >than their most trusted ones. If so, this would amount to a ?real
loss to democracy?.


T:  > There's pros and cons as I say,
but taking your system and your arguments to its logical conclusions there
should be no 10% limit. Why do you even have this limit? Because whatever
argument you give, someone could use all your own arguments back at you.



I suppose I might say that the goal is to maximise societal utility. I would
generally argue for proportional systems because I think they would help to do
that. I think they would help to create a more dynamic political landscape for
one thing, but I think APR might hinder it in that the celebrity politicans
might become hard to shift and hog the power.

15S:  By what process do you have in mind
for arriving at an operational definition of “societal utility”.  For myself, I see APR as providing an
essential element of the wider optimal institutional arrangements for a society
to make binding, evidence based and rational decisions for itself.  I would expect such tentative sovereign
decisions largely both to define and to serve such “societal utility”.  The other optimal elements in my view include:
a parliamentary rather than a presidential constitution, publically funded
university education for all able citizens desiring it, freedom of speech,
press, and association, the removal of poverty, etc.

> >T: But as I also said in my short follow-up e-mail, while I may vote
for my favourite candidate, I don't necessarily want them to have more than
1/650 of >the power.


> S: Why not if you trust him or her most?


T:  > I don't necessarily know that
much about them, just that they have policies that I like. It's difficult to
know how trustworthy they are. But there may also be several others with
similar policies and in that case I'd be happy to spread my trust across them


T:  > >T: If my favoured candidate has more
than 1/650 of the vote, I might be quite happy for it to be transferred to my
second favourite, or my candidate's own >next choice.

16S:  If that is how a citizen feels, APR offers
her the following voting strategy:  list
all the candidates that have the policies she likes but are not sure she trusts.  Estimate the likelihood that each will be
elected. When voting, rank the least likely first and the most likely
last.  This way, see will have done all she
can to ensure that one will be elected but only with a minimal weighted vote.




S: Consequently, tell me if you would be interested in receiving a draft
revision of the article you already have. This draft would allow each citizen
who >has help to give more than the 10% limit to their most favoured MP, instead
to have their vote transferred to their next low preference candidate.
>Perhaps you would want to re-draft this option to apply to any votes extra
to one 650th.


Separately, as requested, I’ll send possible, new versions of Endnotes 3 &
4, and an additional “Note”  for the
Directions section of the Sample APR Ballot perhaps to modify the article you
already have. These explain how a citizen who does not want his vote for his
favourite, over-the-10%-limit MP to be transferred by that MP, but instead to
be sequentially transferred to his own next lower preference MP.  Perhaps you would want to re-draft this
option to apply instead to any votes extra to the one 650th in the

> >T: Ultimately it's legislation itself rather than the people who pass
it that is important. And it's safer to have a set of views in the hands of
several people >rather than one.


> S: We agree on this principle but MPs are a necessary means to this end.
At the same time, APR would seem to be the most efficient electoral system for
>guaranteeing that the resulting MPs will pass ?good? laws in the eyes of
most citizens.


T:  > I'm still not 100% convinced.
The other point is that while MPs can only have up to 10% of the power, a
particular movement might get less than 10% representation, so it would be
possible for one MP to get all the power for that movement. People might vote
for just the biggest name in that movement and so they get all the votes. It
doesn't necessarily mean they trust them the most. Also, it might benefit them
in parliament to have allies to help them in debates.  But even if so, I don't think it would solve
all the problems. A lone MP on a particular issue would welcome the support
from a colleague. Or generally, a smaller number of MPs would in many cases
welcome the support of a larger group even if it means their total power is the
same and each individual MP's power is less.

18S:  Remember that the number of MPs that each
“association” (e.g. “movement” or “party”) will elect has been determined in
advance of the general election by APR’s Primary.  Also, the candidates for a given association
could individually or collectively “predeclare” that, if elected, they will, in
effect share all their combined votes equally.


addition, APR would allow each such movement (or party) to adopt a group
version of the strategy suggest above by 16S:.


T:  ….I think Juho asked whether MPs with more
voting power would have more speaking power. I think that's a good question……


19S:  Each legislature must publically make its own
rules about the legislative process, e.g. about speaking times, etc.



> >T: I think it is a problem that by picking an organisation I will lose
some secrecy in order to get a particular association ballot. You argue that it
doesn't >matter anyway because even using a geographical ballot, I can still
rank whoever I like. However, it is clear that this is more complicated for a


> S: What ?complication? do you have in mind? ? Section B of the Ballot? Or
APR?s Primary and its resulting ?associations??


T:  > Section B of the ballot is what
I was referring to there.


> S: Yes, ranking any candidate codes in Section B of the ballot is slightly
more difficult than simply ranking one or several of the candidates listed in
>Section A. Still the continuation of the vote of each citizen who can?t, or
does not want, to use Section B will still be guaranteed by APR. Also, any
>citizen who does not participate in the Primary because he thinks it is too
complex or for any other reason will still be able to vote in the general


> S: However, I doubt very much that there are very many citizens incapable
of using Section B. Section B guarantees that each capable citizen will be
>able to maximize the efficiency of their vote. This is to say that APR
enables both the capable and the less capable to take full advantage of the
benefits >offered by APR, limited only by their respective strengths and
weakness. At the same time, I think every independent voter would have little difficulty
in >making a list of the codes of the independent candidates he wishes to
rank in Section B of his ballot on election day. 


T:  > But I think given what you've
said here (that independent voters will have little difficulty with section B),
I wonder if there is any real point in separate association ballots.   It
does add complexity to the entire electoral system. It seems on one hand you
want to argue that associations are really good because it enables voters to
have a ballot that makes it easy for them, but on the other hand you want to
argue that it would actually be easy anyway for people who don't participate in
the primary.


20S:  I hope that I have now made it clear both above
(in my summary of PAL) and in the next several paragraphs (also 21S:, 23S:
& 26S:) that APR’s “associations” have a much greater advantage than merely
making the ballots simpler:  


me try to explain more fully why I think that APR without its Primary and its
resulting associations would only be a second best APR option.  APR?s Primary and associations allow all
citizens to give a proportionate extra recognition, standing and political
function to the most popular organizations of civil society. >Citizens know
these organizations through their work, profession, and/or daily lives and
activities throughout the year. As a consequence, these >organizations
(associations) have some communication and mobilization resources that are
independent of the richest sections of society, celebrity, and >the mass
media. These living connections help people better to know how to vote and how
otherwise to participate politically in accord with their own >valued life
experiences. These relations would enable many citizens to choose the
sufficiently popular organizations that would become the official >electoral
associations as a result of APR?s Primary. Each such citizen would rank highest
the organization that accords best with his own values and >interests. 

think APR, would also help to reduce the relative power of the rich, the media
owners, and celebrity.  This is because
APR’s Primary allows each citizen instead to channel their vote through the
civil society organization (and its candidates) he or she sees as most consistently
working to promote and protect their own abiding interests and values.  This would make mass media, celebrity, and
money somewhat less important in determining how people will vote.  (Also see 21S:,23S: & 26S:)


T:  > But they can still vote for candidates
standing for their favourite organisation simply enough using the geographical
ballot, as you yourself have argued!


> S: At the same time, the recognition of such associations would encourage
more attractive candidates to seek to represent them and to be ranked by
>their respective electors.  


21S:  Also, the results of APR’s Primary would
encourage the relevant civil society organizations (associations)
proportionately to be more active in the political process.   Without this encouragement, fewer attractive
candidates would probably be available for ranking during the general election.


T:> This is possible, but would it be to the detriment of organisations that
were too small and failed to reach the votes to make an association? Maybe it
would widen the gap between the big and the small organisations.


22S:  Firstly, small organizations have the option
of attempting to form enough alliances with other small organizations before
the Primary so together they will be popular enough to become an
“association”.  If they cannot do this,
they and their supporters continue to have the option of attempting to
influence policy formation through other means, e.g. voting in the general
election and lobbying the “associations” and their reps.


> S: Thus, in addition to all the political parties and all the geographical
areas, many interest groups could apply (professional, business, labour,
>environmental, ethnic, religious, etc.). The recognition of these
associations would provide an additional democratic channel for more
enthusiastic >participation in the political process by citizens. 


T:  > Possibly, but with any
reasonable system of proportional representation, there are likely to be many
parties/groups anyway that have a realistic chance of winning seats, and this
also will provide an additional democratic channel.


23S:  APR’s Primary has the additional advantage of
providing more reliable evidence of which well known, and less know
“parties/groups” are relevant to the real concerns of the people.  This evidence would enable these
“associations”, potential candidates, and all citizens more efficiently to plan
how each can more efficiently help to shape the laws of the land during the
general election and after.


> S: Also, I see both the time separation and the division of function
between the Primary and the general election as more conducive to thoughtful
political participation >on the part of citizens. Each citizen while
choosing their voting membership during the Primary when prompted to clarify
their own scale of values and to >decide on which organization is most
efficient in promoting and defending this scale. 


T:  > I wouldn't necessarily disagree
with that.


24S:  If so, given all the above explanations,
would you also agree that APR offers more of what you want than does PAL?



> S: I?m perplexed. Given that APR offers complete secrecy when voting for
candidates, you seem also to want the option of being a secret elector in an
>electoral association. Of course, this should not be offered by any system.
Even if you remain an elector within your currently defined geographical
>association, the fact that you are a registered voter in that constituency
will be in the public domain.


T:  > By remaining in my geographical
constituency, while that fact itself might not be secret, it gives nothing away
about my political opinions, so they are still secret. But anyway, the point I
made that you quoted there was not that I should be able to be a secret elector
in an association, but that if my preferred candidates are independents, the
whole association system is likely to be of no benefit to me.


> S: Perhaps instead you only want to be a registered voter within an
association that gives other people no idea of your own ideological leanings.
If so, in >addition to simply remaining a voter within your constituency,
you would also have the option of leading or help others to form a countrywide
organization >of independents which you would rank during APR?s Primary.


T:  > OK. Given that geographical
associations exist by default (without anyone having to vote for them), I
wonder if it might be an improvement to your system to automatically include an
independent association without requiring people to vote for it. If that
happened, it might cause to me to reconsider the utility of these associations.


25S:  No, each “association” should have a
sufficient number of supporters as expressed in the Primary.  I don’t know of any independent people who
are afraid of being known in this way. Such people would be happy to vote to
establish an association of independents if they thought this would help them
get their own views represented.  However,
if anyone is still even afraid of this, they only need to write down on a piece
of paper the relevant codes of each of the independent candidates they wish to
rank. Then they can easily copy them into Section B of their local district
(association) ballot.


> >T: And if I'm a party voter, I can simply pick my favoured member of a
party anyway, and go with their delegations (which will be within the party so
not >greatly different from if I rank them myself). So the simplicity gained
by the associations is not enough to make up for the added complexity of an
extra >election and the loss of secrecy in my voting.


> S: Sorry, I have not yet understood either your concern here or its
presumed remedy. Please explain again, e.g. what do you mean by ?delegations??


T:  > What I mean is that if we purely
had geographical associations, I could simply vote for the candidate standing
for my favourite party and rank no-one else (or write in my single favourite
candidate from that party nationally with their code). Then if they aren't
elected, my vote would go to their top rank (I referred to it as a delegation).
If I'm a party voter, I might be quite happy to vote that way because my vote
would only be transferred to someone in the same party. And if I'm voting for a
candidate I trust, I should trust their ranking!


26S:  Yes, and both APR and PAL would allow you to
do this.  However, PAL’s vote counting
system seems harder to understand (and perhaps even confused) and would not be
as efficient as APR in allowing other citizens with agendas different from
yours to be as accurately represented in the legislature as possible. This
greater efficiency is provided by its Primary, associations, and weighted



>T: .? and it would be safer for this platform to be in the hands of several
MPs rather than one MP who could "go rogue".


> S: How is it ?safer ? in the hands of several MPs? who could less exactly
represent their electors than if this several could also be composed, at least
>partly, of some very popular MPs with weighted votes within the 10% limit?
Given the 10% limit, theoretically the minimum number of MPs who could
>together control a majority of the weighted votes in the Commons would be
6, i.e. the 6 most trusted by a majority of citizens.


T:  > As I say, it's likely that
people will vote for the better known candidates that represent their views
rather than simply the ones that do so best. And see above for my general


> >T: People vote for individual politicians only as a proxy for their
own views, so there's no real loss to democracy to have these spread out over
several >MPs rather than in my one favourite politician.


27S:  Yes, some “people” are like that but APR
allows the more enthusiastic and knowledgeable citizens more efficiently to
select the MPs who are like to further their agenda.  Why deny them this freedom?

> Toby

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