[EM] New election system in Hungary

Jameson Quinn jameson.quinn at gmail.com
Tue Jul 4 10:58:31 PDT 2017

Before you jump straight into designing mechanisms, it's important to be
clear about what you're looking for: the values you want the method to
fulfill. On that matter, you've said the method should be:

   1. not too shockingly new
   2. "proportional representation...
   3. ...and no entry threshold"
   4. The winning strategy for candidates is collaboration
   5. The winning strategy for voters is honest voting
   6. In the long run there is no two-party system

In the end, you're definitely going to have to compromise to at least some
degree on points 1, 4, and 5.

I'd also like to know more about #3 and #6. I understand that recently
Hungary's effective number of parties has been just under 2, and that from
that perspective increasing the number sounds like a great idea. But in my
opinion, the ideal ENP is between 3 and 4. That gives enough room for new
parties to grow and for once-major ones to die out, but still gives
incentives for building coalition-based parties able to articulate the
interests of more than one group of society.

I'd urge you to take a look at GOLD voting
(further discussion here
and here
I don't think this is an ideal system for your use case; it was designed as
a proposal for replacing FPTP, primarily in places like Canada, US, and UK.
But some of the mechanisms it uses are actually quite powerful building
blocks for a PR method. In particular, it:

   - Uses an STV-like mechanism as an underlying process.
      - This is a familiar, well-understood mechanism, yet it's easy to add
      flexible vote transfer mechanics on top.
   - Offers delegation to a candidate's pre-declared list
      - this gives a great combination of simplicity and voting power.
   - Makes delegation optional; voters can use an open-list-like voting
   style if they prefer
      - This prevents political insiders from getting unearned
      horse-trading power to effectively set the party list order through
      back-room deals.
   - Eliminates candidates with inadequate direct support before they can
   receive transfers
      - This helps prevent tiny splinter parties from getting more than one
      seat, without wasting votes (or incentivizing favorite betrayal)
for those
      inclined to support such splinter parties.
   - Simplifies ballots by explicitly listing only local candidates,
   leaving non-local candidates as a write-in option

By using these mechanisms, GOLD voting does quite well on points 2, 4, 5,
and 6 above; reasonably on point 1; and is arguably OK even on point 3.

I think that by recombining mechanisms like these, you'll be able to build
something that will have better appeal for the average voter. You don't
want the instructions on the ballot to end up more complicated than the
rules for Settlers of Catan (with the Cities and Knights expansion). GOLD's
instructions ("Choose one candidate or write one in, then if you wish you
may choose one of the two transfer methods") are about the limit of
complication you should be going for.

All in all, I'd be happy to hear more about your group and your plans for
making a difference in Hungary. I'm certainly rooting for you.

2017-07-04 5:53 GMT-04:00 Magosányi Árpád <m4gw4s at gmail.com>:

> Hi,
> Please help, it is really important!
> We are in the process of designing the new election system of Hungary. A
> strong movement is emerging for that purpose, and there is a high chance
> that even if we fail at first, everything we say will be influental for the
> future of our election system.
> Our team have came out with a proposal as a basis of discussion between
> the parties (most of them will be participating). It is designed to be not
> too shockingly new. My role is to propose an ideal system, for the
> following tactical communication reasons:
>  - show how the current system is fscked up compared to an ideal one
>  - pressure politicians to agree on something in which they could be
> successful based on their instinctive behaviour
> Andt he long term communication goal is of course to put good election
> methods on the political agenda. In case of the ruling party not accepting
> the compromise proposal of parties (almost certain), most probably sizeable
> factions of the resistance will nominate the ideal system as the core issue
> we are fighting for.
> Our proposal as basis of discussion is a purely party list system, with
> proportional representation and no entry threshold.
> I would like to propose something within this framework as the ideal
> system, with the same results from the game theory standpoint, as
> preferential Condorcet for a commitee:
> - The winnig strategy for candidates is collaboration
> - The winning strategy for voters is honest voting
> - In the long run there is no two-party system
> Also, I would like to have easy ballots.
> What I have came up with, and why:
> Each voter can nominate one party for the election. Nomination needs
> active participation from the voter (phisically walking in to a government
> office), to make strategic nomination hard. The 20 parties with the highest
> number of nominations will be in the ballot.
> There is a ballot for parties, and there is a ballot for candidates of
> each party.
> The party ballot is a cumulative voting ballot, where six votes can be
> allocated, and at most 3 can be given to one party.
> The candidate ballot is also a kind of cumulative one: the voter can
> indicate at most 10 approvals, and at most 5 disapprovals (for a 200-member
> list).
> The results from candidate ballots are computed using shulze method, and
> ties are broken using the order of names (the preference indicated by the
> nominating party).
> The result from party list ballot is computed by first creating a pairwise
> defeat table, where
> - the cell in the row of the party will contain the number of wins over
> the other candidate
> - in case of tie, both cells receive +0,5
> The sums of each row are computed, and seats are allocated based on them.
> Regarding the candidate list, it is a condorcet method, with a bit more
> constrained ballot, but based on the size of the constituency (10M) and
> human behaviour, I think that the constraint should not change anything.
> My understanding is that the party list method is somewhere between range
> voting and condorcet, with a very simplified ballot. As condorcet comes
> with the above game theory results, and in range voting majority condorcet
> is strategically forced, I feel that this method should also have the same
> game theory results.
> But I don't want to base such a proposal on feelings, but rather on
> mathematical proof.
> Please advise me on how to work it out: what are the results I can build
> my proof on?
> If there are flaws in this system, what sould be the alternative?
> ----
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