[EM] (4) APR: Steve’s 4th dialogue with Juho

steve bosworth stevebosworth at hotmail.com
Fri Nov 28 13:32:13 PST 2014

(4) APR:  Steve’s 4th dialogue
with Juho 

> > Steve will email a copy of his draft article explaining how APR works
to you upon request: (stevebosworth at hotmail.com)

> > 

> > Each of Steve’s most recent responses are tagged by “S:”



you again for your feedback.  To minimize
the length of this post, I have taken the liberty of deleting the exchanges
about which we seem to agree.


at the end of this post, I have added a more complete explanation of why the
removal of APR’s Primary would only be a 2nd best option.




Message: 10

> Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2014 03:10:38 +0200

> From: Juho Laatu <juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk>

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

> Subject: Re: [EM] (3) APR: : Steve Bosworth?s most recent reply?s to

> Juho?s feedback

> Message-ID: <5943CA8A-C79C-4391-ACEF-33A0FB5C28B2 at yahoo.co.uk>

> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1254"


> On 11 Nov 2014, at 11:17, steve bosworth <stevebosworth at hotmail.com>

> >  

> > >>S: Thank you for this feedback. However, would you also be
interested in arguing for the system you most favour?


J:  > Yes, although there is no such
single system. I think different methods are ideal for different needs, and
different reforms make sense and are possible in different societies. The
answer thus depends on what the need is.


S: Perhaps you would be willing to focus on and explain your own electoral
recommendations with regard to a specific country: your own, the UK, the USA,
or ???????????  That would help me better
to understand your current position.


>S:  What prime value motivates your
choice of a system?>


J:  > In the current state of affairs,
globally, in multi- winner systems. In most cases I'd support good proportionality (could be political,
geographical and others if needed), avoidance of obvious strategic incentives
an fraud, good responsiveness to voter opinions,
and good understandability. I thus want to see working
democracies around.


S:  It would help even more if you would clarify
what you mean by “good” in each of the above phrases.  I think you already understand that for me,
an electoral system is “good” to the extent that it fully respects the equality
of each citizen by allowing each to guarantee that his or her vote will never
be wasted, that it will continue positively to count in the assembly through
the weighted vote earned by the rep most trusted by this citizen (or most
trusted by the 1st choice but eliminated candidate of this
citizen).  Thus, I see APR as maximizing
“proportionality”, “responsiveness to voters’ opinions”, and it helps to
maximize “democracy”.  Also, it is not
too difficult to “understand”.


fundamentally, I see these as “good” because they provide some of the essential
conditions by which a society can rule itself by making evidence based rational
decisions.  This is more fully explained
in my longer discussion of the benefits of APR’s Primary at the end of this

> >S: Would you not want a system that allowed you (and each citizen) to
guarantee that your vote would continue to count in the legislative assembly
through the weighted vote given to the rep you most trust? 


J:  That is one approach to making a sensible system. I'd like to see the weighted vote approach tested


S:  Of course, I would also like to see it
tested.  However, before such a test, do
you see any specific reasons to think that it would at all be dangerous or
destructive?  I don’t.

> > > 

> > S: APR's general election ballots would allow each elector to rank as
many candidates in the whole country as they might wish.


> > J: I note that if the whole country is handled as one district, that
is likely to lead to disproportional results in the sense that central cities
would get disproportionally large part of the seats.


S:  I can see why you might say that the “central
cities would” have “more” seats, but it is pejorative to say this is
“disproportionate”.  What value do you
have in mind to make you see these “more seats” to be “bad”?  Again, I see APR’s proportionality as “good”
because it means that large groups of people receive more representation than
small groups.

>  > 

> > >>S: It seems that your preferred understanding of _proportional_
partly or wholly refers to land area rather than to numbers of people? Is that
so? For me, land is only important to the extent that it is valued by people.


J:  With geographical proportionality I
don't mean proportionality with respect to where the land is but
proportionality with respect to where people live. 


S:  Is not this “proportionality” determined by
the number of people who live there?



J:  That is the common approach. Political/party proportionality is normally more
important than geographical proportionality. 


S:  Again, is not this proportionality also
determined by the number of people who voted for each party?


You can have both at the same time. In some places also the land area is used
in a proportional way [i.e. to determine the number of reps allowed to
represent these hectors], but that is to my understanding very rare. 


Do you think that this could ever be properly justified?


The normal interpretation of geographical proportionality is that each
region/district should get representatives roughly
in proportion to the size of its population.


S:  Why isn’t APR’s exact, rather than “rough”,
proportionality better?


> > J: The reason behind that is that the best known candidates often
live in the large cities, and small town people typically vote city candidates
more often than city voters vote for the small town candidates. Many countries
use multi-winner districts because of this reason.

S:  True, but is this better than the
representation through the electoral “associations” offered by APR?


Above and below, you are accurately describing some various electoral practices
in the world but I am waiting to understanding your prime value or hierarchy of
values which might guide you to decide on which reforms would best suite
different unsatisfactory circumstances. 
Perhaps this will be clarified in the light of the explanations of
exactly what you might mean above by “good”.

> > 

> > >>S: I see this as another way of explaining why one might
favour the effective countrywide multi-winner district offered by APR.




I'm not proposing to use land area as one basis of proportionality in this
case.  In most countries the approach of
using "where people live" is one basis of proportionality. This means
that those system put less weight on "who values those areas" (and
more on "who lives in those areas").


S:  Do you see any justification for ignoring
what these residents value?


J:  …………If one … wants to let the voters decide,
then one can take the "who values those areas" approach….  My claim is that in the USA, if only one
single district is used, Hollywood, Washington D.C. and New York would probably
get more representatives than their relative size of the population is, and
Montana, Idaho, and non central areas within each state less.


S:  Do you see this as a problem,
provided also that each American citizen would have a rep in the US House of
Representatives with a weighted vote who he or she trusts most? 


> > S: The article suggests the somewhat arbitrary limit of 10% of all
the votes. Any very popular reps with more than this limit would have to
publish how they will non-returnably pass on their 'extra' votes to their
trusted fellow reps.

> > 


J:  > I still have the same question.
Isn't it possible to determine all this at one round, without the primary?


> Of course you would not then get the allocation of voters to different
associations, but do you really need that allocation? Maybe the voters could
just vote whomever they want at the actual election day.


> Are there some compelling reasons? Maybe you e.g. want to make sure that
no votes are wasted because some voters might rank only candidates of such
associations that will not get any seats.

S:  Again, please see if my last explanations in
the post below answer your above and following questions. 

> > 

> > J: Some additional primary related notes:

> > 

> > In the USA people may be happy with having their preferences
(associations, parties) publicly registered. In many other countries that would
be unacceptable (because of privacy in general and because people do not want
to publicly announce their membership e.g. in associations like "for
better mental healthcare").



J:   One could have also association specific
ballots freely available somewhere. Or maybe neutral ballots + some advice from
the association on whom to vote would do. My preference would be to have fully
neutral ballots and no direct involvement of the associations on the voting

> > 

> > >>S: Any citizen who does not _want to publicly announce their
membership_ would simply not participate in APR?s primary and thus by default
continue to be a registered voter within their local geographically defined


J:   Does that mean that if I do not want
to tell others that I support e.g. the ex convicts' association, then the
system makes it more difficult for me to vote for them? I want my vote to fully
support them and not the geographically determined association, but I'm shy to
tell that i support them.


S:   Slightly more difficult.  Before the general election you could easily
make a list of the code given to each of the “ex convict association’s”
candidates that you wish to rank, and then copy these codes into Section B of
the ballot.


> > J: Why do you have association specific ballots?

> > 

S:  Only to make it as easy as possible
for each committed “association” elector to vote.

> > 

> > >>S: To make it easier for the electors who mainly want to rank
the candidates openly seeking to represent the values and interests of the
association in which the citizen has officially chosen to be an elector.


J: If voters want to speak and support parties openly, they can always join
them as members. My preference is also here to keep the election itself as
neutral as possible. > 


S:  Again, APR does not require anyone publically
to declare their “party” or association affiliation.  However, those who do not mind this being
public can give themselves the extra power to influence to which applicant
organizations will be given the extra political status and electoral function
of an association as explained at the end of this post.

> > 





J:  Does this mean that the ex convicts'
association will get very few seats since so few of its supporters wanted to
make their support public in the primary?


> I also note that the political opinion of the voters could be already
quite different "months later".

Not necessarily in answer to both points. 
APR allows all citizens entirely secretly to rank whoever they want and
to change their votes at any time before the general election.




> > >>S: I see APR_s current voting and counting arrangements, as
well as the above alternative formulation of APR as prompted by your
suggestion, as already 100% guaranteeing that there will be no wasted votes.


J:  I note that with the help of candidate
specific inheritance order, also too short votes (= containing only candidates
that will not be elected) [the voter] would be represented by some
representative (unless there is an inheritance loop).


S:  There would be no “loops”.  (See Endnotes 3 & 4 and the relevant text
in my article.)  This is because both the
relevant 1st choice but eliminated candidates and the reps receiving
more than 10% of the weighted votes would have to keep attempting to transfer
their “default” and “extra” votes until the highest ranked and remaining
nominees are elected.


J:  Maybe the voters could also have a right to
cast short votes intentionally, i.e. no representative for them if none of the
ranked candidates gets elected.

S:  Please see the 1st voting option
offered by the Directions section of the Sample Ballot in my article:  It allows a citizen simply to vote for one

> Juho

How the Electoral Associations Produced
by APR’s Primary Elections Increase Positive Voting


Let me try
to explain more fully why I think that APR without its Primary and the
‘official electoral associations’ it discovers would only be a second best APR
option.  Firstly and most obviously, APR
would seem to help maximize the quality of representation for each citizen
during the general election by making it relatively easy for each elector
secretly to rank as many candidates in the whole country as each might
wish.   This enables each to guarantee
that their vote will be added to the ‘weighted vote’ in the legislative
assembly of their most favoured representative (or most favoured by their first
choice but eliminated candidate). 
However, this qualitative advantage would seem also to be enhanced
further by the consequences of APR’s Primary election.  The Primary discovers both the popular
voluntary organizations in civil society that will be recognized as the
official electoral ‘associations’, and the number of representatives each will
be allow to elect to the assembly months later during the general
election.  To the extent that this would
both help to energize these popular associations politically and stimulate more
attractive candidates to seek office in the general election, the quality of
representation in the assembly would be raised.


APR’s Primary differs from the ones
that are sometimes used currently, e.g. in the USA.  It would not decide which one of each party's
candidates will run in the general election. 
Instead, it allows each citizen to choose to become a voting-member of
his or her most favoured electoral ‘association' for general election
purposes.  These associations are
established by citizens choosing them from the list of all the voluntary
organizations in the country that want to elect at least one member of the
legislative assembly directly.  This list
would have been compiled previously by the central electoral commission.  These organizations need not be
geographically defined and would probably also include all the political
parties, many of the existing electoral districts, and many interest groups
(e.g. business, labour, professional, social, environmental, recreational,
ethnic, or religious). 


Again, each citizen becomes an elector
for the later general election through one of these associations by ranking as
many of these applicant organizations as they might wish during the
Primary.  A citizen would rank the
organization first that he or she believes will offer the most attractive
candidates during the general election, the organization that accords best with his
own values and interests. 
Any citizen
that does not participate in the Primary is automatically registered as a voter
in the geographically defined association (district) in which he or she


know these organizations through their work, profession, daily lives, and/or
their activities throughout the year. The daily living connections that people have
with these organizations help them to know how to vote and how otherwise to
participate politically in accord with their own valued life experiences.  The Primary’s counting of these rankings
would reveal the ‘approximate’ mathematical importance given by the public to
each of the geographically or non-geographically defined, applicant
organizations with regard to political life. 
Still, the ‘exact’ mathematical importance of each would instead be
determined later by citizens’ secret votes during the general election, these
being added to the weighted votes of each ‘association’s’
representative(s).  Each organization
discovered to be one of the most popular organizations which together contain
all citizens as their electors for general election purposes is officially
recognized as an ‘association’.  The more
popular an ‘association’ is discovered to be, the more representatives it will
be allowed to elect (see p. 6 and Endnote 5 of my article).


In this way,
APR’s Primary also enables all citizens and the state itself to discover which
voluntary organizations should be officially recognized to have this
proportionate extra political status and electoral function.  It would also be conducive to more rational
participation on the part of citizens: 
While choosing their voting membership during the Primary, each citizen
is prompted to clarify their own scale of values and to decide on which
organization most completely agrees with this scale.


At the same
time, 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.  


The time
difference as well as the division of functions between the Primary and the general
election would increase the opportunities for this coordination and rational
political thinking to take place on the part of all concerned. This time gap also gives
each association time to invite and to finalize the list of candidates who wish
to represent it. It also gives time for potential candidates to apply and to
prepare for the general election. The general election then additionally
prompts each citizen more carefully to rank the individual candidates by
considering which ones are more likely to work and vote for laws and policies
in accord with the citizens own scale of values.


In fact,
such rational thinking would seem to be assisted by the important knowledge
discovered by the Primary.  It would have
more reliably discovered 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 of the land during the coming general election and after.

As a result
of the above arrangements, APR, more than other systems, would seem to assist
the development of a much closer identity between each elector and his
representative, a more intense personal, ideological and mutual bond.  This would seem to contrast, on average, with
the more defuse and vague relations between the agendas of each elector and the
representatives elected by other systems. 


Again, the
evolution of these closer relationships between electors, associations, and
representatives 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 association’s
officials, activists, 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.


As a
consequence of this bond, the focus of each APR representative’s work both
within the assembly and with his electors and association is more likely to be
clear.    This increases the probability
that each elector of a given association’s representative(s) will also be
represented more efficiently in the assembly, that the quality of
representation offered by APR is likely to be better than that provided by
other systems.


Moreover, a
legislative assembly composed of such different, clashing 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. 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, 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 ends.


Finally, in
addition to the above, it is relevant to note that many of APR’s ‘associations’
would presumably have communication and mobilization resources that are
entirely independent of celebrity, the richest sections of society, and the
mass media.  Thus, the addition of APR to
an existing political system would probably help reduce the relative power of these sometimes
anti-democratic forces in determining how people and their representatives
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. 




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