[EM] (26) APR: Steve's 26th dialogue with Richard Fobes
ElectionMethods at VoteFair.org
Wed Feb 17 23:48:29 PST 2016
Steve, your latest responses -- below, regarding both vulnerability in
your APR method and misunderstandings about VoteFair ranking -- reveal
that I have not yet been clear enough. This time I'll try using a
metaphor that is similar to a metaphor that you use in one of your
Imagine that your APR method is being used to elect a legislature that
consists of 100 elected representatives. Imagine that there are 300
candidates. And imagine that there are just 1000 voters.
Most importantly, imagine that all the voters and candidates and a few
referees and sign-holders are in a huge stadium together at the same
time. (Indoor or outdoor stadium, your choice.)
For simplicity, let's imagine that the roles of voter, candidate,
referee, and sign-holder do not overlap. (The candidates cannot vote,
etc.) And we can ignore the distinction between an APR primary election
and an APR general election because everything is being done within a
single day, at a fast pace.
Let's assume that all the participants have smartphones and they are
running a special app that gives them instructions, and supplies
Your APR method refers to political parties as "associations," but here
I'm going to use the familiar name "political party" because the word
"association" also has some other meanings that will make later
sentences ambiguous for anyone other than you/Steve, and because the
concepts I'm trying to explain also apply to voting methods that do not
use the special term "association." In this scenario just imagine that
a "political party" or "association" is simply a category with a name.
Let's skip over the preliminary steps that the APR method uses to
determine which political parties (associations) are entitled to be
So now, imagine we are at the point where there are lots of sign-holders
who are holding up signs, and each sign has the name of a political
party, and there are as many of these signs (and sign-holders) as
needed, according to the popularity of each party.
At this point the voters are asked to line up behind a sign-holder who
is holding a sign with the name of their favorite political party. And
voters are told not to join a line if there are already 10 voters in
that line, and instead line up behind a different sign-holder who is
holding up the name of the same political party. In other words, the
voters are being asked to physically group themselves together -- in
groups of 10 -- to express their preference for their favorite political
party. Keep in mind that popular political parties will have multiple
lines of voters (and therefore multiple signs with that party's name).
As the next step, the sign-holders are told to move their lines so that
voters with the same political-party preference are alongside one another.
At this point the referees bring out 100 chairs. They place one chair
at the head of each line that contains 10 voters.
At this point there are a few chairs that are not yet associated with
any particular political party. So, the referees (and the app, for
those who read) request that the people in a line with fewer than 5
voters must move to a different line, presumably choosing their
second-favorite political party. (OK, maybe APR does not work quite
this simplistically, but we want to skip ahead and get to the important
parts.) Some additional instructions from the referees (and the app)
would be based on calculations, which in turn would be based on
information that the referees supply to the app.
Now we have 100 lines of voters, each line has 10 voters, a sign-holder
at the front of each line holds a sign that indicates which political
party these voters prefer, and there is an empty chair in front of the
At this point in your APR method/process, you can correctly claim that
your method is fully proportional according to political-party
However, this proportionality is abandoned in a later step in the APR
process, which means that this proportionality is not characteristic of
the final result.
The next step in your APR process identifies which of the 300 candidates
win those 100 seats. I'm not concerned about any unfairness that might
occur in this step because that unfairness would be small compared to
the unfairnesses I'm trying to point out. The important point here is
that during this process we can imagine that the referees set up
(symbolic) fences between different associations so that voters cannot
-- during this step -- cross over into a different political party. As
I recall, this part of the APR process involves a method that is similar
to instant-runoff voting (IRV) and/or the single transferable vote
(STV). Regardless of the details, at the end of this step there is now
one candidate in each chair, and that candidate has been chosen from
among the candidates that are within the designated political party.
Now we have arrived at the step in your APR method that introduces lots
The fences between political parties are now removed, and now the voters
are asked to stand behind the elected representative who they like as
During this shuffling let's imagine that the elected representatives are
shouting influential -- yet actually meaningless and distracting --
things like "Make this state great again!" and "I support working-class
families!" and "I will protect the rights of gun owners!" What is
missing are specifics about what kinds of economic changes they favor,
even though economic issues are the most important issues for most voters.
At this point the lines are no longer of equal length. Let's imagine,
for example, that there are 100 voters standing behind one male
representative, and only 3 voters standing behind another female
representative. (Gender is only mentioned because of the upcoming "he"
and "she" references.)
Steve, you are probably thinking that yes, this is a fair outcome.
But there are some more steps that I think you are neglecting to
consider. So let's consider them.
At this stage in the overall political process a referee rolls out a
symbolic stack of proposed laws that will be voted on by the 100 elected
representatives. Each representative will have the amount of influence
that is indicated by the number of voters standing behind him or her.
Following our previous convention of imagining that this legislative
body is the California legislature ("assembly"), imagine that the first
proposed law is a proposal to build a wall between California and Mexico
for the purpose of stopping the flow of illegal immigrants into California.
Now imagine that the representative who has 100 voters standing behind
him says "I'm in favor of passing this law." At this point a referee
escorts his 100 voters to a fenced-off area that has a big sign saying
At this point one of those 100 voters yells "No! I don't agree with this
law!" A referee tells that person to shut up, and that if they don't
keep quiet, their place will be taken by a hired "stand-in voter". (Who
is presumably not an illegal immigrant, but probably is underemployed
Let's say that the female representative who has 3 voters standing
behind her chooses to vote against this proposal, so she keeps her
voters standing behind her. At this point one of those voters says
"This is why we chose this smart gal."
When all the representatives who favor the proposed law have sent their
supporters to the fenced "approval" area, those voters are counted.
Let's say the count is 520. That's a majority (remember there are a
total of 1000 voters being moved or not moved), so the proposed law
passes, and becomes a new California law.
At this point let's suppose that a referee announces "We're going to
take a five-minute bathroom break, and then resume with considering the
next proposed law, which is to increase the minimum wage.
At this point imagine that a lobbyist walks up to the representative who
has 100 voters in his line. The lobbyist says "I represent the business
owners who funded your election campaign, and we oppose the increase in
minimum wage because that change would undermine economic prosperity."
When the voters are back in line after the break, the representative
says to his voters "As I promised, I'm in favor of economic prosperity,
so I'm going to oppose this proposed law that increases the minimum
wage." At this point someone in the line says "Wait! I'm earning just
the minimum wage, but it's not enough to cover food and housing and
insurance premiums and taxes." That representative, being diplomatic,
says "I hear what you are saying." But then as the voting is conducted,
that representative keeps his voters standing behind him instead of
sending them to the "approval" fenced area for counting.
Not that it matters for the sake of this scenario, but let's say that
this proposed law does not pass because there are 490 voters (less than
half) standing in the fenced "approval" area.
And let's imagine one more proposed law. It would remove government
support from being used to make contraception more easily available to
low-income citizens. At this point the representative who has 3 voters
behind her says to those voters "I'm a member of the Catholic religion,
so I'm in favor of this proposed law, because we need to remove
government funding from paying for contraception." At this point one of
the 3 voters says "But surely as a woman you understand the importance
of contraception," and the representative replies with "Yes but ...",
and then she sends her 3 voters to the fenced "approval" area, even
though two of those voters disagree with "their" representative's choice
in this matter.
Steve, now are you beginning to better understand the concepts that I
have repeatedly tried to convey? Here they are again, with references
to this metaphor.
* Elected representatives are multidimensional in terms of their
positions on various issues. This means it is not possible to choose
one person who fully represents the voter's positions on more than a
couple of the voter's most important issues. The symptom of this
unfairness occurs when a voter says to his/her chosen representative "I
do not agree with your legislative vote on this issue."
* Proposed laws are multidimensional, which means they cover many
different issue positions. This means that each candidate cannot match
their vote to even one of the voters they represent, not to mention that
the representative cannot match their votes to all of the voters they
represent. Expressed another way, it is impossible to choose a
representative with whom a voter agrees on all issues. The symptom of
this unfairness occurs when different voters, for different proposed
laws, say to their chosen representative "I don't agree with your vote
for [or against] this proposed law." (I did not give examples of this
in the brief explanation above.)
* Voters typically choose which candidate they like best according to
personality factors -- such as preferring someone who is bold,
articulate (well-spoken), boastful, seemingly self-assured, seemingly
self-confident, seemingly well-informed, seemingly intelligent, etc. In
contrast, a voter chooses their favorite political party according to
lots of information from family and friends about which political party
shares that voter's positions about political issues. The symptom of
this unfairness is that a voter is very careful in their choice of which
political-party sign they stand behind, and much more easily persuaded
to stand behind a one of the elected politicians, without much concern
about which political party that "better" representative claims to be
associated with. (Remember that some politicians switch political
parties, sometimes even in the middle of a legislative session.)
* The owners of highly profitable businesses will use their personal
money to fund the election campaigns of candidates who have demonstrated
a willingness to go along with their special-interest positions, and
this takes advantage of voters being enticed to like a politician even
though that politician does not share the voter's political views on
issues. In the metaphor this corresponds to paid consultants having
told the elected representatives what they should shout during the time
when voters are choosing which elected candidate that voter will finally
stand behind -- for the "weighted" part of the APR method.
Because of the above reasons, only a small minority of voters would be
able to identify a candidate who "fully represents" them. The remaining
voters would not be "fully represented" by any of the elected
To further clarify what I'm saying, if you were to modify the APR method
to limit voters to only being able to give their "weighted" vote to a
representative who is in the same political party as their favorite
political party, then the final step would not be as vulnerable to the
unfairness I'm pointing out. I'm not saying that you should or
shouldn't limit which political party from which they can choose "their"
representative, rather I'm pointing out that leaving up the fences
before the final shuffling ("weighting") process would reduce the
unfairness of voters getting dramatically swayed in ways that involve money.
So, one way in which money can be used to affect APR results is to own
media sources -- TV stations, newspapers, heavily staffed websites, etc.
-- and use them to promote celebrity candidates, and to disparage ("put
down") "enemy" candidates.
To more dramatically imagine this influence as part of the above
metaphor, imagine that during the "weighted-vote" shuffling there are
clowns and good-looking dancers who perform near the "celebrity"
representatives and wave voters over to join that representative's line.
There is yet another way in which money can be used to affect results
using your APR method. Citizens who normally do not bother voting can
be "hired" to vote for a celebrity candidate. To add this process to
the metaphor, imagine that a few people stand outside the stadium and
invite otherwise-non-voting citizens to put on a yellow-and-black
bandana and come into the stadium and stand in the line of a
media-promoted celebrity candidate who is wearing a yellow-and-black
bandana, and after they are in that line those voters are quietly paid
$1000 by yet someone else who is part of the scheme. In real life this
would be done in a black-market way. It's feasible to do in low-income
districts because district-specific results (how many voters chose the
media-promoted celebrity representative) will become available after the
If this approach were used in the metaphor to "hire" 100 extra voters
who normally do not vote, that would be a 10% increase compared to the
original 1000 voters. The people behind the money would not care how
these extra voters mark their primary ballot. At the final stage,
imagine that all of the 100 "hired" voters "choose" to stand in the line
of the representative who already has 100 voters behind him. That
representative's weighted vote doubles to 200 voters, which means that
he sends 200 voters (instead of 100) to the fenced "yes, approve" area
each time that representative likes a proposed law. This tactic has
lots of influence on what laws are passed and not passed.
Of course any voting method can have its outcome slightly changed by
"hiring" non-voters. However, the APR method is especially vulnerable
because it dramatically shifts election results during the last step of
this process (when weighted votes are considered). This "hiring" of
otherwise-non-voting citizens is much less effective in existing voting
methods. It is even less effective in VoteFair ranking, where it would
be difficult to measure, and therefore difficult to reward.
Unfortunately there are many election-method reform advocates who are
not on this forum who promote "weighted-vote" kinds of last-step
adjustments. (As I recall, "liquid democracy" is one such method.) But
anyone who fully understands voting (and the mathematics behind voting)
recognizes the huge unfairness of such a method.
BTW, the surprising popularity of allowing voters to shift a "weighted
vote" to any elected representative accounts for why I'm taking the time
to respond to your requests for feedback about your APR method.
In summary, the biggest weakness of the APR method occurs at the last
step in which each voter can give his or her "weighted" support to any
one of the elected representatives, even if that representative is not
in the voter's favorite political party.
A key part of the reason for this weakness is that a voter can easily
get lots of information about political parties ("associations"), but
voters never(!) get sufficient information about what a candidate will
or won't do after getting elected.
As a result, voters are capable of making reasonably wise decisions
about choosing a political party, but voters find it challenging to
anticipate what a candidate will do after the election, so most voters
are easily influenced by personalities rather than positions (and
because the positions are unknown).
The candidates who do well in elections are the ones who talk in ways
that are boastful, act in ways that appear to be decisive, hide their
fears, avoid being specific about how they believe a problem can be
solved (if they have any even if they have preconceived solutions in
The result is that crazy-talking megalomaniacs -- such as two of the
Republican presidential candidates in the current US election -- attract
lots of support in spite of being clueless about how to solve the huge
problems they will face if they are elected.
Because of the multiple reasons explained above, only a small minority
of voters would be able to identify a candidate who "fully represents"
them. The remaining voters would not be "fully represented" by any of
the elected representatives.
Now I'm going to attempt to clear up a misunderstanding you seem to have
about VoteFair ranking. Let's use the in-person stadium metaphor for
Suppose VoteFair ranking were used to elect 100 representatives using
the in-person stadium approach. Instead of each voter being represented
by one vote that cannot be divided, imagine that each voter is given a
stack of 100 tokens, analogous to "chips" in a poker game.
During the VoteFair election process, some voters might not get any
representation through the first representative elected from the voter's
district, so these voters still have all 100 tokens remaining when the
second representative from their district is chosen. Usually these
voters will use some of their tokens to have an influence on choosing
this second representative (even if the winner is not from the voter's
favorite political party), and these voters will still have some tokens
remaining for use in determining which candidates win the "statewide" seats.
In the case of a very mainstream voter who prefers the most popular
political party, almost all of his or her tokens would be used toward
electing the first representative. The few remaining tokens would be
used to influence the choice of the second representative. This
mainstream voter can be thought of as not having any remaining tokens
that can be used to influence the choice of any statewide
representatives. This makes sense because they are almost fully
represented by most of that voter's tokens in the hands of the first
representative (say 85 tokens), and slightly represented by the
remaining tokens in the hands of the second representative (say 15 tokens).
In this VoteFair ranking version, during the process of voting on
proposed laws, imagine that each elected representative holds -- perhaps
in a clear plastic box -- all the tokens that contributed to electing
him or her. Every elected representative would have the same number of
tokens in hisher box, so the counting of the "yes, approve" support
would be done simply by counting the raised hands of the representatives
who raise their hand to support a proposed law.
This equality among representatives would facilitate more open
discussion -- compared to the APR scenario in which a few celebrity
representatives could secretly collaborate in closed-door meetings.
Please don't ask questions about exactly how the tokens are allocated
(and where the "other" unaccounted-for tokens go) in the VoteFair
ranking version of this metaphor because the exact VoteFair calculations
are more involved than this metaphor can suggest.
If the tokens had printed on them the name of the voter who supplied
each token, then each elected representative would be able to identify
which voters that representative represents.
Additionally, if the public were allowed to inspect the tokens in each
box, then each voter would be able to identify how much support they
gave to each of the elected representatives.
Notice that if VoteFair ranking were used, the people who spend the most
money funding election campaigns would have to distribute their money
among candidates in all the different districts. (The winners of the
statewide seats come from those same candidates.)
By contrast, with your APR method, that campaign funding could be
concentrated primarily on "celebrity" politicians, without much money
needing to be spent on the representatives who represent a relatively
small number of voters.
The goal for both VoteFair ranking and the APR method is to reduce the
current system in which "puppet" politicians self-confidently boast to
voters that they will solve the political problems that voters want them
to solve, yet actually do their legislative voting as a puppet who does
what their biggest campaign contributors tell them to do.
Steve, now I'll answer one of your specific questions.
You asked me for a definition of a "nut." In my opinion, a voter who is
a nut has to be defined through counting and mathematics. By contrast,
a carefully worded definition would not be meaningful.
If you want a mathematical definition of a nut, then the best I can do
is point to VoteFair ranking. When all the different components of
VoteFair ranking are used together, the only voters who are
unrepresented are the ones who have preferences that are not shared by
hardly any other voters. Many, although not all, the voters in this
category are likely to be nuts, at least from the perspective of
calculating election results.
In other words, VoteFair ranking does not attempt to get "nuts" fully
represented. Specifically, a voter who is a "nut" would end up holding
some of their tokens, after having given only a few of their tokens to
help elect their district's first representative, and a few more tokens
to help elect their district's second representative, and possibly a
couple more tokens to help determine which candidates win one or two
As a clarification, a voter who is a "nut" might get full representation
(except for "round-off errors") in terms of helping to determine how
many seats are won by each political party, provided their favorite
party is popular enough to win at least one seat.
One of the reasons I do not claim that VoteFair ranking "fully
represents every voter" is that "nuts" do not need to be represented in
order for election results to be fair.
Remember that the voting process currently used in nearly every
legislature ignores(!) preferences of (up to) 49% of the elected
representatives, so a failure for a nut to be represented anywhere
within that 49% is not an unfairness worth worrying about.
In contrast, the APR method allows voters who are "nuts" to give extra
"weighted" influence to an elected representative who is, compared to
the other legislators, a "nut." Is that a desirable voting-system
characteristic? I don't think so.
I appreciate your patience in waiting for my replies. I'm about to get
busier, so there is no need to rush to write your next response. Please
read and re-read and ponder what I have taken the time to write. Then,
as always, ask questions.
Author of "Ending The Hidden Unfairness In U.S. Elections"
On 1/27/2016 10:18 AM, steve bosworth wrote:
> [EM] (26) APR: Steve's 26th dialogue with Richard Fobes
>> Date: Sat, 9 Jan 2016 20:49:19 -0800
>> From: ElectionMethods at VoteFair.org
>> To: election-methods at lists.electorama.com
>> CC: stevebosworth at hotmail.com
>> Subject: Re: [EM] (25) APR: Steve's 25th dialogue with Richard Fobes
> From Steve to Richard and everyone:
> R> Steve, I'm beginning to conclude that you are viewing election-method
>> reform in terms of needing what I think of as an incremental
>> improvement. In particular, perhaps you developed your APR method as an
>> answer to the question "How can election results be improved?"
> S: Yes.
> R:> In contrast, because of my creative-problem-solving background, I
>> developed VoteFair ranking by essentially questioning every aspect of
>> elections, and attempting to answer the question "How will elections be
>> done hundreds of years from now when civilization has evolved to use
>> higher levels of democracy?"
> S:No, my aims are the same as yours in this regard.
> R:> Your APR method addresses two common concerns:
>> * Small political parties not getting sufficient access to a legislature
>> or parliament
> S:Yes, but more exactly, my concern is than many citizens are not
> represented at all, or at least not proportionately.
> R:> * The common problem of a voter living in a district that is
>> "represented" by a politician who is in a different political party and
>> who has very different political view
>> Of course any good method must solve these problems, yet there are other
>> important challenges to solve too.
>> Very importantly, the method must not be vulnerable to corruption.
>> > R:> Even worse, just 6 representatives -- a majority of the 10
>> "celebrity" representatives -- can pass any laws they want.
>> > S: You seem to be forgetting that with APR, “any laws they want” are
>> > most likely to be laws that are also wanted by a majority of
>> > citizens. What is your democratic objection to this?
> R:> Those six representatives would have been elected because of their
>> personalities, not because they actually share the political positions
>> of the voters who mark them as "their" favorite.
>> Also, voters are not logical in how they mark ballots.
> S:If you assume that most citizens are inevitably this politically
> stupid, we would have to conclude that every proposed democracy is
> doomed, e.g. one using VoteFair as well.As a democrat, my assumption is
> that given education and a rational constitution, most people are caring
> and rational enough to make majority rule work for the common good.
> R: > You seem to deny that voters will behave in the illogical way of
>> choosing "their" representative as someone who is in a different
>> political party ("association").[….]
> S: I do not deny that some voters may behave illogically and no system
> can prevent all illogical behavior.However, I see APR as allowing each
> citizen to vote most logically, i.e. to give her one vote to the rep in
> the whole assembly whose ideology matches hers most closely.
> R: >As you correctly recognize, your APR method would "shake things up" in
>> positive ways.
>> However, where your APR method is weak is that after that approach has
>> been in existence for a while — as opposed to suddenly being imposed as
>> a temporary improvement — your APR method becomes very vulnerable to the
>> corrupting influence of money -- in the ways I've already explained.
> S: Unfortunately, I only remember that you have asserted this
> “vulnerability” several times but I do not recall you ever pinpointing
> exactly why APR would be more vulnerable than VoteFair in this regard.In
> any case, I do care very much about the danger of money corruption to
> any system. Consequently, separately I will email to you and anyone else
> who might request them, the following 3 available appendices to my
> article that systematically explains how APR works (“Equal Voting
> Sustained”): Appendix4: “Independent Electoral Commission”, APPENDIX
> 5:Working Majorities in APR Assemblies, and APPENDIX 7:Protecting
> Democracy from Corruption by Private Wealth.Perhaps these will
> complement our dialogues.
> R: > Your APR method asks voters, "Which of the elected candidates best
>> represents your political views?"On the surface, to most people, that
>> sounds like a good idea. Why? Because under current conditions every
>> voter can look at a group of elected politicians and find at least one
>> or two elected politicians who they like better than the others.
> S:Yes, and this belief would at least seem to supports our adoption of APR.
> R: > But again, "better" is relative compared to the
>> politicians who currently win elections.
> S: Both in the beginning and later, APR would give each citizen the best
> opportunity to give her one vote to one of the “politicians she likes
> better” rather than to any such “puppet”.
> R: > That's improvement. But it's not enough of an improvement.
>> A great method must elect the best candidates to all of the seats.
> S:The “best” in the eyes of their electorate.
> R: > The problem with your APR method is not that you allow a voter to
>> support to a different candidate, but rather the fact that you allow all
>> the voters to concentrate their shifted weighted vote to just a few
>> To better understand this point, consider what would happen if there was
>> a method that elected two politicians from each district and each voter
>> in that district was allowed to indicate which of the two elected
>> politicians got their portion of a weighted vote.
>> This approach would eliminate the "celebrity" weakness of the APR
> S:Not necessarily, might not one or both of the winning candidates be a
> “celebrity”.In any case, the last paragraph of the above mentioned
> Appendix 5 again explains why I see APR as likely to be less corrupted
> by “celebrity”.
> R: Yet it solves the frustration that exists in gerrymandered
>> districts where the elected representative actually represents less than
>> half the voters in that district.
> S: Yes, this would reduce this “frustration” but APR would remove or at
> least minimize it.
> R: > VoteFair ranking elects two representatives for each district. This
>> allows voters from the two most popular political parties (which can
>> vary by district) to be able to identify one of their district's
>> representatives as representing them both politically and geographically.
> S: Again, this “frustration” would be reduce more by APR than this
> VoteFair plan.This is because your VoteFair would only allow each
> citizen to add her vote to the “weighted vote” of the better of the 2
> winners.APR would allow her to give it to the best of all the elected
> candidates in the whole assembly, i.e. either the one she, or her first
> choice but eliminated candidate in the whole country, sees as most
> likely to represent her faithfully.
>> > S:Why do you see these APR “seats” to be “wasted” when they would still
>> > continue to be in the position proportionately to represent each and
>> > every citizen who had helped to elect them?
> R: > I'll repeat what I said before regarding the fact that APR measures
>> preferences for both (1) candidates and (2) parties. Both of these
>> measurements cannot be represented proportionally without some
>> Specifically the first step of your APR method carefully achieves "full
>> proportionality" regarding political parties ("associations") […]
> S: No, this primary only determines the number of reps each association
> will be allow to send to the assembly after the later general election.
> R:…but then
>> that proportionality is completely abandoned in order to implement the
>> shifting of weighted votes to specific candidates. So you cannot claim
>> that APR achieves full proportionality regarding "associations"
>> (political parties) when the APR counting process itself abandons that
>> proportionality in its second step.
> S:Far from the “second step” abandoning proportionality, it makes it
> realistically more exact.Firstly, the total secrecy of each citizen’s
> vote in the general election maximally assures us that these votes
> express the real preferences of each voter.The same cannot be said of
> all the votes in APR’s primary.This is because, as a result of the
> primary, each citizen publically reveals her seeming preference for the
> “association” through which she will vote later in the general
> election.However, she may have been coerced or bribed to rank the
> applicant organizations as she did during the primary.If so, the “second
> step” allows her secretly to escape that coercion or to rank the
> candidates she secretly likes rather than to vote according to the
> promise she has given to the briber.
> Secondly, the real character of any “association” is in practice
> determined by the people who act in its name.To know the effective
> agenda of a given association, it is necessary also to know its
> officials, internal members, candidates, and the political track records
> of its previously elected reps.This is in addition to the promises or
> claims that are currently made by all the candidates seeking to
> represent that association.An acquaintance only with an organization’s
> published statements, literature, or plans is not enough.
> This is why I want to disagree with your above claim that “measurements”
> of both “(1) candidates and (2) parties … cannot be represented
> proportionally without some compromises” in the mind of each rational
> citizen.As a result of all the additional information that such a
> citizen will have acquired by the time of the general election, she will
> try to identify the candidates who seem likely energetically,
> skillfully, and faithfully to represent her in the assembly.Thus, the
> results of the primary may have provided only a roughly proportional
> indication of the different worldviews held by the electorate.In
> contrast, the results of the general election have the best chance of
> providing an exactly proportional and accurate specification of the sets
> of values really held both by each “association” and by each candidate
> who has been officially elected to represent it.This complex dialectic
> between an association and it elected representatives has the best
> chance of clarifying rather than “compromising” the real agenda for
> which the citizen is voting.
> R: > For perspective, consider the numbers from an earlier non-extreme
>> example, in which we suppose that about 10 out of the 20
>> majority-control representatives are likely to be from the most popular
>> "association." That can easily occur even though that most-popular
>> association is not likely to have support from fifty percent of the
> S:Perhaps I have not understood your example here.However, perhaps you
> are firstly thinking of an assembly composed of a possible number of 39
> “weighted votes”. Secondly, it is possible that purely on the basis of
> APR’s primary election, one “party” (association) might be estimated to
> be likely to control “20 of these weighted votes”, i.e. a combination of
> all the separate weighted votes of each of it elected candidates are
> likely to win in the later general election.However it is entirely
> possibility that the actual number of “weight votes” earned in the
> general election might be 10 rather than 20. As a result, the “party”
> predicted to be the majority proves not to be so.Yes, this is how APR
> would works.
> For the reasons I have given above, it is not import to me that this
> party may not have received the same number of votes (i.e. registered
> voters) during APR’s primary.Why would it be important to you?
> R: > Let's say that under APR, 20% of the seats are filled with politicians
>> from association "C." Those association "C" representatives do not have
>> 20% of the weighted votes! They probably have closer to 15% of the
>> weighted vote because many of the voters in the C party are likely to
>> give their weighted vote to a politician in a different party.
> S:I would prefer you to say “possibly” rather than “probably”.In any
> case, if it is 15%, then that is democratically the most accurate
> S: > > ... In contrast, you have already admitted that VoteFair would
>> > exclude the “White Party” from the assembly even though it was supported
>> > by 10% of the electorate. This excludes the additional diversity offered
>> > by this 10%.
> R: > In this situation the 10% White party (where the other parties are
>> the Blue party and the Red party), voters have 20% influence in choosing
>> the winner of the second district-specific seats.
>> It's true that this is not enough influence to necessarily elect someone
>> from the White party, but this is enough influence to change which
>> Blue-party or Red-party candidate will win the second seat.
> S:Thank you for accurately reporting this feature of your VoteFair
> proposal.At the same time, it is an admission that VoteFair may “waste”
> some votes both quantitatively and qualitatively when judged from the
> vantage point of APR.APR allows all citicens to waste no votes.Do you
> have a democratic justification for this failure on the part of VoteFair
> to treat each citizen’s vote as equally as does APR?
> R: > Again, the broader perspective is that when two dimensions are
>> it is seldom possible to completely proportionally match both
>> dimensions. And this two-dimensionality is just the tip of the iceberg
>> for what I have tried to explain about politics being multi-dimensional,
>> not just two-dimensional.
> S:I believe that I have always agreed that politics is
> “multi-dimensional”.If you still think I do not, please try again to
> explain the exact respect(s) in which you think I am not doing so.
> R: > Both your APR method and VoteFair ranking ask for preferences for both
>> party and candidates. Your APR method gives a very high priority to
>> candidate preferences, whereas VoteFair ranking balances the candidate
>> preference with party preferences.
> S: No, instead I see parties and candidates as 2 realities that help to
> define the complex unities that they can dialectically form together.Of
> course it is possible that APR might elect some candidates that
> effectively have no party before the general election, e.g. representing
> a geographically defined “electoral association”.Like all the other APR
> voters, I believe that each citizen who has helped to elect such a
> candidate would have good reason to expect that their representative is
> the one among all the elected candidates who is most likely to speak,
> act, work, negotiate, and vote on her behalf in the assembly.This
> equality is what representation means to me.Does yours differ?
> R: > My concern is that candidates are less stable, and less well-vetted
>> compared to political parties.
> S:Possibly but not necessarily.
> R:> Your APR method concentrates power into the hands of fewer people,
>> is why it's less stable, and less likely to fully represent the voters.
> S: Stated more accurately, within its 10% limit, APR allows the
> electorate to determine the degree to which power will be distributed or
> concentrates in the assembly.For example, in California a fully
> democratic majority in the assembly of 80 reps could be composed of at
> least as many as 41 reps but no less than 6 very popular reps.I do not
> yet see why if you object to such a democracy.
> S: > > each VoteFair member will be elected because he has received more
>> > preferences of any intensity from all voting Californians than received
>> > by any of the candidates who were not elected. In an extreme case, this
>> > number of preferences could be composed entirely of preferences of the
>> > lowest possible intensity (i.e. preferring the second to last choice
>> > candidate over the last choice candidate). ...
>> > ... In this special case, all the
>> > citizens who had given their lowest intensity preference to this member
>> > would be much less likely to see him as likely to represent their own
>> > hopes and concerns rather than his.
> R: > This would be unlikely. Yet the same argument could be used against
>> APR, because a voter's first choice of association or candidate is not
>> always honored.
> S:Yes, something like this could also occur in APR but it would be less
> likely with APR.Because VoteFair does not give, and APR does give
> priority to a citizen’s higher preferences, this makes it less likely
> that an APR citizens’ lowest preference will be used to help to elect
> anyone.This advantage is also increased by APR’s rule that any highly
> popular candidate must keep all the votes received from his enthusiastic
> supporters within his larger than average weighted vote (i.e. provide it
> is not larger than 10% of all the weighted votes in the
> assembly).Another difference is that each APR citizen whose vote had to
> be added only to one of her lower preference elected candidates would at
> least know that he still is the one in the assembly who is most likely
> to represent her hopes and concerns faithfully.
> R: > In this kind of situation it would be the voter's party preference
>> would have a significant effect on the VoteFair results.
> S:Yes, this feature of VoteFair would probably quantitatively and
> qualitatively reduce somewhat the number of citizens’ wasted votes.In
> contrast, APR allows each and every citizen to guarantee that their
> votes will not be wasted at all.
> R: > Again I'll say that when a ballot asks for both candidate preferences
>> and party preferences the results cannot be exactly proportional for
>> both measurements -- unless both measurements happen to be exactly
>> consistent, which is highly unlikely in real voting.
> S: In light of my above much earlier reply, I see APR as “exactly
> consistent” as a result of its general election.
> R: > The low odds of exact consistency can be understood by attempting to
>> design an algorithm that is proportional for gender AND income AND race
>> AND religion, etc. Don't you understand that this is impossible?
> S: I do understand that this would be possible but it would not
> necessary solve the problem.I do not dispute that “gender … income …
> race … and … religion are important to the electorate.However, I see APR
> as the best method for discovery the exact degree to which each and
> other issues are important for the electorate.These actual degrees may
> be very different from the degrees assumed by the “designer of the
> algorithm” you have in mind.
> S: > > ... Consequently, some of the candidates
>> > elected by VoteFair could be seen to be “lowest common denominator
>> > members”, not enthusiastically supported members. These VoteFair
>> > electors are more likely to see their own diverse perspectives as not
>> > being accurately represented in California’s assembly.
> R: > No, you don't seem to fully understand that VoteFair ranking elects
>> most representative candidates from the most representative parties.
> S:Your VoteFair proposal only elects the 2 most representative of all
> the relatively small number of electors in each geographically defined
> “district” you have in mind.These 2 are more likely to be “lowest common
> denominator members” than each member elected by APR.This is because APR
> allows a similarly small number of ideologically similar electors in the
> whole of California collectively to give each of their votes to the
> “weighted vote” of the one of all the 80 elected members who they
> enthusiastically support.
> R: > Keep in mind that you don't want to find yourself arguing that
> "nuts" --
>> mentally challenged voters -- are not proportionally represented. This
>> topic is discussed in another thread within this forum. The starting
>> message wisely points out that giving proportional representation to
>> "nuts" is not a good idea.
> S:The difficulty with a system that is designed to exclude “nuts” is
> that it might well mean simply trying to exclude all the fellow citizens
> with which the designer happens to disagree passionately, subjectively,
> or arbitrarily.Instead, do you have a well respected scientific
> definition of the “nuts” you would want to exclude?If so, would you want
> this definition to be the foundation of a law which would openly exclude
> such people according to a defined judicial process? Would this
> definition and process respect the human right that each person has to
> be treated with equal rational consideration?
> As I see it, if such a definition and process did not satisfy these
> conditions, it would violate some of the fundamental principles upon
> which democracy rests, e.g. toleration; freedom of the press, speech,
> and association; and the belief that most people are caring and rational
> enough to allow majority rule to work for the good of all.
> What do you thnk?
> R: > VoteFair ranking is designed to facilitate collaboration and
>> during the election, and during the refinement of a political party's
>> positions on various issues. This results in fewer surprises compared
>> to the APR approach of hoping for collaboration and compromise during
>> legislative voting.
> S: In the above mentioned Appendix 5: “Working Majorities**in APR
> Assemblies”, I again explain why I see such “collaboration and
> compromise” to be even more “facilitated” by APR both before and after
> the election. e.g. “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 representatives 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 and proportionately reflects the real variety and intensity
> of the concerns of all citizens.”
> Please explain the flaws you see in this argument.
> R: > >> The representatives in the bottom third (or so) of this list are the
>> >> ones that I've previously referred to as "wasted representative seats."
>> > S:Why do you see these APR “seats” to be “wasted” when they would still
>> > continue to be in the position proportionately to represent each and
>> > every citizen who had helped to elect them?
> R: > The elected representatives who are least popular (based on weighted
>> voting) do NOT have proportional representation. Remember that the
>> second step of your APR method abandons the proportionality that was
>> carefully established in the first step of choosing who fills the
>> legislative seats.
> S: Perhaps you did not understand that APR’s “elected reps” are not
> elected by “weighted voting”.Instead, each receives a “weighted vote” in
> the assembly exacting equal to the number of citizens who helped to
> elect them, i.e. the weighted vote both of each “least” and more
> “popular elected reps is exactly “proportional” to this number.
> Also, provided each rep votes in the assembly in the same way on any
> given issue with the other reps elected to represent his association,
> the combined weighted vote of these members for their association will
> also be exactly proportional.This combined number expresses its
> proportion of voting power in the assembly.
> Does this clarify the issue for you?If not, perhaps this is because I
> may have neglected to send you a copy of my article that systematically
> explains how APR works:“Equal Voting Sustained”.Just in case,
> separately, I will email to you an up to date copy of this article (and
> to anyone else who requests that I do so:stevebosworth at hotmail.com).
>> > S:My view is that a “seat” is wasted when its occupant is not
>> > enthusiastically and proportionately supported by its electorate.
> R: > Yes!
>> My view is that when a voter enthusiastically supports his/her chosen
>> legislator, the enthusiasm may only be relative to current conditions
>> where most voters find it difficult to identify any elected
>> representative who really represents them.
> S:Exactly, that is a key reason why I see APR as superior to VoteFair
> for electing multi-winners.In APR, a citizen can choose from as many of
> the hundreds of candidates that she might know about. This makes it more
> likely that she will be able to give her one vote to the weighted vote
> of an elected candidate she “enthusiastically supports”.In contrast, the
> number from which each VoteFair citizen can choose is much smaller.
> S: Thank you again for your time and questions. We are learning from each
>> > other and I look forward to your next post.
> Steve (stevebosworth at hotmail.com <mailto:stevebosworth at hotmail.com>)
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