[EM] (18) APR: Steve's 18th dialogue with Richard Fobes

Richard Fobes ElectionMethods at VoteFair.org
Thu Jun 25 15:21:19 PDT 2015

On 6/15/2015 1:56 PM, steve bosworth wrote:
 > Yes, as a result of reading your book ("Ending The Hidden Unfairness…”),
 > I think I do understand how both VoteFair popularity and representation
 > rankings could work.  [...]
 > However, I still see it as offering less proportionality and
 > representativeness than APR for electing a legislative assembly. In
 > fact, you seem to acknowledge this APR advantage below:
 > You explicitly say that you do not “dispute” the fact that “these
 > VoteFair-based linkages between a specific ballot and a specific
 > representative are not as obvious as … in your APR method”.
 > “I do not dispute your claim that your APR method has the advantage that
 > a voter can directly associate their vote with a particular elected
 > representative's voting influence. …

My comments about your APR method being relatively easy to use, and 
relatively easy to understand, have nothing to do with degree of 

You don't mention VoteFair partial proportional ranking, so please read 
or reread, the chapter titled "It's Party Time!" (in my book "Ending the 
Hidden Unfairness in U.S. Elections").  And note that this method can 
implement nearly full proportional ranking simply by increasing the 
number of "statewide seats."

 > ... I see VoteFair's ... remaining arbitrariness in determining its 
electoral districts ...

The best election methods cannot be gerrymandered, which means that 
district boundaries can be adjusted in nearly any way (provided the 
number of citizens or voters are the same in every district) and the 
results will produce the same balance of power in the elected legislature.

, ... still wasting some votes (for example by its offering
 > a more limited choice of candidates for electors)

This is the flip side of your method's disadvantage that a ballot would 
list too many candidates.  Remember that debates between dozens of 
candidates become impractical.

 > However, against this APR advantage you again claim that it is more
 > vulnerable to money corruption. Several times before you have suggested
 > that APR would be more vulnerable in this regard but I still have not
 > seen your exact reasons for believing this. Please try again to specify
 > the nature of the extra vulnerability you see APR having in this regard.

Once again you claim that you do not understand how your APR method is 
vulnerable to strategies that involve money.  Rather than repeating the 
reasons I've already explained, I'll explain yet another reason for its 

You seem to be assuming that an interest group can shift from him a 
nonpolitical organization to a political organization without 
corruption.  The reality is that the moment an organization gains 
significant influence in politics, (outside) money is used to pay 
(inside) individuals to shift their opinions in ways that the financial 
contributors desire.

As a simple example in the United States, the organization named the 
Sierra Club became so popular that it begin to have an influence on 
politics.  As a result, money was used to entice top leaders to support 
positions that were not consistent with environmental protection, which 
was a core priority for most Sierra Club members.

I suspect that Green parties in Europe have experienced something 
similar, namely a shift in priorities as a result of monetary influence.

The point is that an organization that was previously trusted becomes at 
least partially corrupt when enough money is supplied to influence key 
members in the organization.  Note that money will be supplied in 
proportion to the organization's influence on politics -- or more 
specifically in proportion to the effectiveness of those contributions.

I'll argue that VoteFair ranking greatly reduces the effectiveness of 
campaign contributions compared to most other election methods.

I think these are the main answers to your latest questions.

If you should want further details about how (the full system of) 
VoteFair ranking achieves proportional results, please ask.

I continue to appreciate your progress in better understanding 
election-method complexities.


On 6/15/2015 1:56 PM, steve bosworth wrote:
> (18) APR: Steve's 18th dialogue with Richard Fobes
> To Richard (and everyone),
> Sorry, my travels have prevented me from responding earlier.
> Again thank you for your answers. In addition to initiating this 18^th
> dialogue between us, I have also added a copy of our 17^th dialogue to
> refresh my memory. I look forward to your response this this 18^th .
> (Also, I would be happy to email my most recent description of how APR
> works to anyone who requests it,)
> To Richard:
> Yes, as a result of reading your book ("Ending The Hidden Unfairness…”),
> I think I do understand how both VoteFair popularity and representation
> rankings could work. Again, I agree that VoteFair popularity ranking
> offers the best way to elect the president, a governor, or a major.
> However, I still see it as offering less proportionality and
> representativeness than APR for electing a legislative assembly. In
> fact, you seem to acknowledge this APR advantage below:
> You explicitly say that you do not “dispute” the fact that “these
> VoteFair-based linkages between a specific ballot and a specific
> representative are not as obvious as … in your APR method”.
> “I do not dispute your claim that your APR method has the advantage that
> a voter can directly associate their vote with a particular elected
> representative's voting influence. …
> Aside from these important relative weaknesses of VoteFair when compared
> to APR for electing an assembly, I see VoteFair's greater mathematical
> complexity, its remaining arbitrariness in determining its electoral
> districts, and its still wasting some votes (for example by its offering
> a more limited choice of candidates for electors) as seeming to make it
> less likely (and less worthy than APR) to replace the existing system in
> California. More Californians would understand APR.
> However, against this APR advantage you again claim that it is more
> vulnerable to money corruption. Several times before you have suggested
> that APR would be more vulnerable in this regard but I still have not
> seen your exact reasons for believing this. Please try again to specify
> the nature of the exta volnurability you see APR having in this regard.
> Also, why do you seem to reject the case for believing that APR would be
> less vulnerable in this regard as recalled by the last paragraph in the
> following case for APR’s primary and associations:
> APR: Finding Common Ground and Forming a Working Majority Coalition
> With regard to finding common ground and forming a working majority in
> the assembly with ideologically different congresspersons,
> paradoxically, the advantage that each APR member of the House is likely
> to have is that he knows that he has been elected by citizens who expect
> and trust him to work and vote to promote their common scale of values.
> As elaborated below, this ideological bond between each citizen and her
> rep would seem more likely to provide the kind congresspersons to engage
> in the kind of productive debates and negotiations in the House to form
> a majority coalition to help solve the real problems facing the country.
> This advantage is enhanced during APR’s general election when each
> citizen guarantees that her vote will be added to the ‘weighted vote’ in
> the legislative assembly of her most favoured representative (or the one
> most favoured by her first choice but eliminated candidate). It should
> also be understood that a foundation for the growth of this qualitative
> advantage would have been provided earlier by the way APR recruits its
> candidates.
> Firstly, APR’s primary election discovers the voluntary organizations in
> the country that are most trusted by its citizens. It then helps
> politically to energizes these organizations by recognizing them as the
> official electoral ‘associations’ through which each citizen will later
> elect their own congressperson. This recognition, in turn, should
> stimulate more attractive candidates to seek to represent both one of
> these associations and the citizens with whom they have an ideological
> bond. In contrast to other electoral systems, APR’s later election of
> the most favoured of these better candidates would seem also to combine
> to raise the average quality of representation in the assembly even
> further, both from the points of view of citizens and associations.
> Additionally:
> The growth of these closer bonds between citizens and their
> representatives would seem to be assisted by another element of the
> “bottom-up” primary election itself. It asks citizens to start to
> familiarize themselves with the existing members, officials, and other
> potential candidates of their preferred organizations months before each
> voter has to finalize her ranking of candidates during the general
> election. If so, the average breadth and depth of knowledge so acquired
> by voters in order to rank individual candidates would also seem likely
> to be greater than is generally acquired by citizens using other
> electoral systems.
> The average closer bond between each citizen using APR and her rep would
> also seem to grow partly as a result of the time between APR’s two
> elections. These months would allow each association, its candidates and
> its registered voters to coordinate their thinking and planning about
> how best to run their common campaign in the coming general election.
> Because an APR congressperson would be more clearly expected to work and
> vote to promote the scale of values he shares with his largely
> homogeneous electorate, he would seem to be both more able and likely to
> negotiate solutions to common problems together with fellow but
> ideologically different congresspersons. This is because each APR rep
> would probably enjoy more trust from his electorate. Consequently, each
> member’s explanation of why he and his electorate should support a given
> compromise solution to a common problem is more likely to be accepted by
> this electorate. While no one may see the compromise as being perfect,
> each congressperson and his electorate is more likely to accept that it
> at least provides net benefits for each ideologically different sponsor
> and his electorate. A trusting voter is more likely to believe her own
> congressperson’s claim that a given compromise is necessary.
> This closer bond between each rep and his electorate would also seem to
> make each congressperson’s work in the assembly more focused and known
> to be backed by his association and his electors. This greater clarity
> and focus would seem to help each APR congressperson to present the
> strongest possible case for his legislative proposals to the other
> members of the House. Consequently, an assembly composed of such able,
> different, well informed, clashing, and focused reps would seem to
> provide an optimal debating and negotiating chamber for the production
> of creative and evidence based solutions to common problems. The wisdom
> of any decisions resulting from this deliberative process is also likely
> to be aided by the simple fact that it would take place in an assembly
> whose composition most accurately reflects the real variety and
> intensity of the concerns of all citizens.
> The extra ability with which APR reps would seem to be able to negotiate
> compromises, would also seem to make it more likely that APR
> congresspersons would respond to the imperative to form a working
> majority in the assembly. Without such a majority coalition, any wise
> legislative solutions to problems that such rational deliberations might
> have discovered could not be passed into law. Each APR rep is more
> likely to see that if he is not a part of the majority that will shape
> the assembly’s binding decisions, his own agenda, and that of his
> electorate, will not be advanced.
> In a parliamentary system, the formation of such a coalition also has
> the advantage that the assembly can ensure that the government (the
> executive organ of the state) will be led by a chief executive (prime
> minister) who can be most trusted to apply the laws as expected by the
> assembly.
> In summary, it is because APR is more likely to produce, on average, a
> closer ideological fit between each citizen and her congressperson that
> APR is more likely to help solve the real problems facing the country.
> They are more likely to do this because of the greater expectation on
> the part of their different electorates that progress must actually be
> made with respect to the goals of each of the ideological different
> electorates who elected them. To do this, compromises must be made and a
> working majority coalition formed. The likelihood of this happening
> contrasts with the gridlock that is frequently produced by the more
> defuse, vague, and often conflicting agendas held by the congresspersons
> and their electors using existing electoral systems.
> APR’s primary elections and associations should also help to reduce the
> sometimes anti-democratic power of great wealth, celebrity, and the mass
> media. I see this as likely given the extent to which APR’s
> ‘associations’ would emerge from previously existing voluntary
> organizations in society. These associations could benefit from the
> loyalties among the population such organizations had enjoyed prior to
> them being recognized as 'associations'. Presumably, many of these
> organizations would already of have some communication and mobilization
> resources that are entirely independent of celebrity, the richest
> sections of society, and the mass media. Thus, the adoption of APR would
> probably help to reduce the relative power of these sometimes
> anti-democratic forces in determining how people and their
> representatives vote. APR’s official political recognition of these
> voluntary organizations would seem to assist many citizens more firmly,
> securely, and independently to see that their own abiding interests are
> best promoted and protected through the associational and
> representational connections validated by APR.
> What do you think?
> Steve
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>  > Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2015 22:48:18 -0700
>  > From: ElectionMethods at VoteFair.org
>  > To: election-methods at lists.electorama.com
>  > CC: stevebosworth at hotmail.com
>  > Subject: Re: 17) APR: Steve's 17th dialogue with Richard Fobes
>  > On 4/8/2015 1:20 AM, steve bosworth wrote:
>  > > ...
> S: >>2) ... unlike APR, VoteFair ranking cannot allow each
>  > > elector to guarantee that her one vote will continue to count in the
>  > > assembly through the elected candidate (i.e. rep) she ranked most
>  > > highly. ...
>  > > 3) Also, unlike APR, VoteFair rankings cannot allow each of its reps to
>  > > have a weighted vote in the assembly exactly equal to the number of
>  > > electors throughout California who had similarly ranked him most
> highly.
> R: > Actually VoteFair ranking can achieve the equivalent of these goals --
>  > assuming, as you do, that highly proportional results are very important
>  > and the issue of how voting is done in the legislature is ignored. …
> S: Do you accept that the “equivalences” which you claim would not offer
> either of these two advantages as completely as APR would?
> S: At the same time, I do not “ignore” your improved method by which
> legislatures could vote. In fact, in an earlier dialogue, I agreed that
> your VoteFair Negotiation Tool would offer a very efficient way by which
> each proposed assembly decision could be finally formulated. Each such
> formulation should then be either accept or rejected by a majority vote
> in the assembly. An APR assembly should use your Tool in this way.
> R: To see how, let's get specific:
>  > Currently the California State Assembly (the "lower house") has 80
>  > representatives (legislators), and each representative is elected from
>  > one of 80 districts. (A map of the districts is at: legislature.ca.gov)
>  >
>  > If VoteFair Ranking were used to elect these state representatives in a
>  > way that produces proportional results, the district boundaries would be
>  > changed to form (say) 32 districts. …
> S: Yes, this offers an improvement on the existing system. However, in
> contrast to the way APR’s primary would allow citizen’s exactly to
> determine the “electoral associations” (e.g. districts) through which
> each wants to vote later for candidates, your suggestion would both be
> less comprehensive and require more arbitrary decisions to be made (e.g.
> perhaps some gerrymandered boundary decisions).
> R: …Each of these districts would use VoteFair representation ranking to
> elect two representatives.
> …………………
>  > * Two years before the current election, each voter will have ranked all
>  > the (qualified) political parties. …
> S: Please consider that this would be more comprehensively achieved by
> APR’s primary.
> ………………………….
> R: … The most popular of these candidates who are from the correct
> political parties are elected to fill the 16 statewide seats. This
> method would elect members of the California legislature in a way that
> ensures proportional results.
> S: However, this “proportionality” is not as exact as APR’s. Again, you
> seem to accept this by saying below, that “the weight of each
> legislator's vote” only “approximately” matches “the number of people
> who elected that legislator”. Do you agree?
> R: What you are overlooking is that each legislator elected this way
> represents the same number of voters. It is not necessary for the
> representatives to have different voting weights and represent different
> numbers of voters.
> S: Please explain how you calculate that “each legislator” would
> “represent the same number of voters”. It seems to me that
> the number of voters in each of your 32 districts would be at least
> marginally different;
> the number of voters who have preferred the 2nd elected rep in a given
> district will probably have received fewer preferences than the 1st
> elected rep; and
> some voters may not see either rep as representing them.
> Is this not the case?
> R: As for the linkage, let's consider an example. A voter in a very
>  > "conservative" district who is a lesbian can rank as her first choice a
>  > political party hypothetically named the Stay-Out-Of-My-Personal-Life --
>  > SOOMPL -- party. Her vote will directly translate into electing the
>  > proportional number of candidates from that political party.
>  > Specifically, if 10 percent of the voters rank the SOOMPL party as their
>  > first choice, then about 8 of the elected representatives (which is 10
>  > percent) will be from that party. …
> S: But unlike APR, her candidate rankings will not help to determine
> which 8 from that party will be elected. Also, by say “about 8”, again,
> you seem correctly to accept that this proportionality would not be as
> exact as that offered by APR?
> R: Unlike in your APR method, she will not know which representative she
> "elected," yet collectively the 8 representatives will know that they
> represent that specific 10 percent of the voters. …
> S: So this is good, but not as good as APR. Do you agree?
>  > ……………………….
> R: Now let's consider the two winning candidates from each district. Under
>  > current conditions most districts would elect one Republican and one
>  > Democrat. If a district is split into 60 percent Republicans and 40
>  > percent Democrats, the Republican winner represents the Republican
>  > voters, and the Democratic winner represents the Democratic voters. …
> S: Yes, and this means that each voter in the 60% has a smaller share in
> the Republican’s one vote in the assembly, i.e. as contrasted with the
> larger share in the Democrat’s one vote held by each voter in the 40%.
> Unlike APR, this is not one-person-one-vote and it again illustrates the
> above point that your different VoteFair reps will represent different
> numbers of voters even though each rep will have only one vote in the
> assembly.
> R: … Other districts would probably have the opposite bias, so the
> "roundoff
>  > errors" would tend to cancel out. Importantly, the overall balance of
> elected Republicans and elected Democrats would be very close to the
> statewide balance, because these numbers are adjusted to be as
> proportional as possible ….
> S: Of course, this would be our hope but it might or might not work out
> in that way, i.e. we should say “might” rather than “probably”. APR’s
> exact proportionality and representativeness does not depend on “hope”.
> R: … within the limitations of holding district-based elections -- which
> is an essential part of U.S. culture.
> S: Please remember than APR will elect reps from every geographically
> defined “electoral association”, as well as any sufficiently popular
> non-geographically defined “associations”.
> However, by saying that “holding district-based elections” is an
> “essential part of U.S. culture”, are you claiming that U.S. culture
> could not allow any reps to be elected from non-geographically defined
> associations? APR’s primaries would test this belief. If they are
> essential in this sense, this would be confirmed. At the same time,
> these primaries would allow each citizen whose political identity is not
> defined mainly by her geographical residence also to be more efficiently
> represented.
> R: The biggest unfairness gap is if one party or the other wins "too many"
>  > of the district-based seats. Yet the other party would then get the
>  > advantage over tiny political parties, such that tiny parties might not
>  > win any seats.
> S: What do you mean by “too many”? Appropriately, APR guarantees that
> each sufficiently popular association (e.g. party) will elect a number
> of reps with weighted votes exactly equal to the number of citizens who
> elected them. Is not this ideal from a democratic point of view?
> …………………………………………
> R: If you want to claim that these VoteFair-based linkages between a
>  > specific ballot and a specific representative are not as obvious as the
>  > linkage in your APR method, then I would not dispute that claim. Yet
>  > mathematics can identify the linkages.
>  > So, regarding the "wasted votes" concept that you like to refer to (with
>  > various wordings), both VoteFair ranking and your APR method have
>  > similar percentages of "wasted votes" -- as I indicated earlier.
>  >
>  > You ask how I arrived at those percentages. A rigorous measurement
>  > would require running lots of election scenarios through appropriately
>  > written software, and we don't have that. Instead I estimated mentally.
>  > Could my estimates be incorrect? Of course. As I said, they are
>  > estimates.
> S: I can see how Vote-Fair methods could easily waste some votes, and,
> yes, perhaps we currently can only estimate the probably of these
> percentages. However, as yet I cannot see how any vote could be wasted
> using APR except by any citizens who does not participate at all, or
> perhaps by each citizen whose ranked candidates all fail to be elected
> when she has also not allowed her first choice candidate but eliminated
> candidate to transfer her one vote to the weighted vote of the rep most
> trusted by that candidate. This is why I say that APR would allow each
> Californian to guarantee that her vote will not be wasted, e.g. that it
> will be added to the weighted vote of the most trusted rep (among the 80).
> ……………………………….
> R: I will argue that when VoteFair ranking is used, money cannot be used to
>  > promote -- in an effective way -- a voter to choose a candidate or party
>  > in a way that does not also undermine the voter's real preferences. …
> S: The same claim should be made for APR.
> R: This advantage is significant because all other voting methods that I
> know of -- including your APR method, and including STV (the
> single-transferable vote) -- are vulnerable to money-backed tactics that
> take advantage of counting weaknesses.
> S: Please explain the “counting weakness” you see in APR in this regard.
> ……………..
> Richard Fobes
> Steve

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