[EM] General PR question (from Andy Jennings in 2011)

Kathy Dopp kathy.dopp at gmail.com
Fri Oct 3 09:28:50 PDT 2014

Hi.  Yes Toby.  I agree, which is why I sent a followup email to
suggest weighting each term by the proportion of voters it contributes
to the sum to be minimized.  I tested it against both of our examples
and it seems to work. I believe it will always work because the
formula is derived to measure the overall proportional fairness of the
result. Here it is again:

 Sum over i of (v_i/v*Absolute(v_i/v - s_i/s))

where v_i and s_i are the number of voters and  number of winning
candidates for each group i of voters who vote for the same
combination of candidates and where v is the total number of voters
and s is the number of winning seats for that election.  Obviously,
the sum could be multiplied by any number, such as v, and the minimum
would still be the same.

Minimizing this sum for the two examples we discussed in this thread:
Example 1:

51: ABCD
49: EFGH

ABEF gives 0.0051
ABCD gives 0.4999

so ABEF is more proportionally fair

Example 2:

10 A
10 B
10  C
9   D
1 D,E

ABCD   gives 0.00625
ABCE  gives 0.05625

so ABCD is more proportionately fair.

 I believe this formula is the simplest available for determining the
most proportional result for any of approval voting election results,
and would highly support such a process for counting approval votes if
the public could be convinced to use it.

I feel confident that minimizing this sum identifies the most
proportionately fair result in the case of any number of seats (1+)
and any number of candidates to be chosen for approval election

On Fri, Oct 3, 2014 at 7:04 AM, Toby Pereira <tdp201b at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> Kathy, would you be able to give some examples of this in action to flesh it
> out a bit? I'm a bit unsure about how it would work in practice. For
> example, if 1000 people vote for the candidates A, B, C, D, E and one person
> votes for A, B, C, D, F, then that one person is a very small faction. But
> If A, B, C, D are all elected then this very small faction (one person) has
> contributed to the election of four candidates, so I think it would cause
> your measure to rate it as quite unproportional. But in reality the one
> person is very closely related to the 1000 so shouldn't be seen as an
> entirely separate faction. We could also imagine a hypothetical case where
> although, broadly speaking, the voters are in factions, no two voters have
> identical ballots.
> Toby
> ________________________________
> From: Kathy Dopp <kathy.dopp at gmail.com>
> To: Kristofer Munsterhjelm <km_elmet at t-online.de>
> Cc: Toby Pereira <tdp201b at yahoo.co.uk>; EM
> <election-methods at lists.electorama.com>
> Sent: Thursday, 2 October 2014, 18:31
> Subject: Re: [EM] General PR question (from Andy Jennings in 2011)
> OK. Here's the formula that will *always* work to evaluate how
> proportional fair any election result is, given any set of voter
> groups and the combination of approval votes each group casts:
> Sum(Absolute(v_i/v - s_i/s))
> or
> Sum(|v_i/v - s_i/s|)
> Where v_i and s_i are, respectively the number of voters in group i
> and the winning candidates group i voted for (for any group voting for
> the same combination of voters)
> and where v is the total number of voters and s is the total number of
> seats.
> Thus, for an approval vote election, one fairly simple way to find the
> most proportionately fair set of winning candidates would be to find
> the set of candidates who minimize this sum of absolute values of the
> differences between the proportion of the voters in each voting block
> that votes for the same combination of candidates out of all voters,
> and the proportion of seats that this group contributes to electing.
> I am convinced this method of counting approval ballots will never
> fail to assign the most proportional outcomes to select the winning
> set of candidates.  If there are more than one set of candidates with
> the same minimum sum, perhaps toss a coin.
> I actually like this proportional voting method very much because it
> strictly adheres to finding the most proportionately fair set of
> winning candidates, the vote tallies are easily precinct summable and
> auditable, the vote casting method is easy and gives voters more
> choice and flexibility to express themselves, and the method is fairly
> (equally) counted for all voter groups. However, perhaps the summing
> method with its proportions and differences in tallying the votes of
> all voter groups voting for the same candidates is a little too
> complex for some voters to comprehend.


Kathy Dopp
Town of Colonie, NY 12304
 "A little patience, and we shall see ... the people, recovering their
true sight, restore their government to its true principles." Thomas

Fundamentals of Verifiable Elections

View my working papers on my SSRN:

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