[EM] No Wasted Votes

steve bosworth stevebosworth at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 25 09:38:46 PDT 2017

Re: No Wasted Votes

To Everyone:

Because I want a more complete democracy, I want to explain: “How Each Citizen’s Vote Can Fully Count in the Legislature” – no votes wasted.   Using California’s legislative Assembly as an example, the system I call Associational Proportional Representation (APR) would allow each citizen to guarantee that their one vote will be added to the “weighted vote”  in the Assembly of the elected member they trust most.   The details of exactly how APR would work in practice are explained in the article which I will email to you upon request (stevebosworth at hotmail.com).  However, please let me briefly describe it below.  Your feedback would be very much appreciated.

APR uses a greatly strengthened development of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV, or Single Transferrable Voting (STV)).  From their local polling stations, each citizen would rank 1-2-3 ... as many of the candidates in the whole state as they might wish.  Each member would have a “weighted vote” in the Assembly exactly equal to the number of citizens who had helped to elect them.  Well before the general election, APR’s “associational” element would be provided by APR’s special primary election.  This “primary” would discover society’s most popular voluntary organizations through which all citizens will rank candidates during the later general election.  During the “primary”, citizens’ would rank any of these organizations (e.g. political parties and interest groups) who had applied to the state’s electoral commission to be allowed to send at least one member to the Assembly.  Each citizen would be able to rank any of these organizations seen by her to reflect her own worldview, and thus seen as most likely to nominate attractive candidates for her to rank in the general election later.  The more non-geographically defined “associations” so discovered, the fewer but larger would be the average size of the existing geographically defined “associations” (i.e. districts).

Now I want to explain exactly how APR uses a “much strengthened” RCV (IRV or AV) or STV method.  Instead of using ordinary STV to elect all of the assembly’s members from a number of multi-winner districts, APR’s strengthened STV

  1.  allows each citizen to rank any number of the candidates running in the state.  This much wider choice of candidates makes it more likely that each citizen’s vote will help to elect a member who is as close as possible to her ideal, and thus her one vote is much less likely to be qualitatively wasted;

  2.  gives each member a “weighted vote” in the assembly exactly equal to the number of citizens who have helped to elect them.  This helps to ensure that no citizen’s vote will be wasted quantitatively.  These “weighted votes” also include what ordinary STV calls “surplus votes”.  APR’s count has no need to calculate either quotas or the fractions of votes that ordinary STV requires to be transferred to other candidates; and

  3.  if and when none of the candidates a citizen has ranked is elected, the ballot allows her to require her first but eliminated candidate to transfer her one vote to the elected candidate seen to be most likely to represent both him and her most faithfully.  This allows each citizen to guarantee that their one vote will fully count in the assembly.

Adding this last “Asset Voting” feature to STV would make it "STVa".  It would also become "STVawc" when the above “weighted votes” and “California-wide choice” features are added.  For example, STVc (California-wide choice) would probably allow each citizen to guarantee, if she so desires, that her vote will at least help to strengthen the voting power of the most popular member of her favored political party.  If this particular STVc strategy happened to fail, STVa (Asset) would still allow this voter to guarantee that her vote will nevertheless strengthen the voting power in the legislature of the elected member whom also most probably shares her worldview.  In this context, STVw additionally enables each citizen to guarantee that his or her one vote will continue fully to count in the legislature, both quantitatively and qualitatively.  It also guarantees complete party proportionality in the legislature.

Finally, the average quality of STVawc’s candidates in the eyes of voters is likely to be improved even more by adding the remaining feature of Associational Proportional Representation (APR) to STVawc.  This feature is supplied by APR’s special “primary” election.  This primary discovers all the “electoral associations” (geographically defined or not) through which all citizens would elect all the members of the assembly.  At the same time, each voter determines through which “association” she will be voting during the later general election, her most preferred “association”.  This is achieved by allowing all citizens to rank any of all the voluntary organizations in society who have applied to the State’s electoral commission to be permitted to elect at least one member to the legislature.  Each citizen could rank any number of these applicant organizations according to how closely each reflects their own worldview.  She would see her first choice as being the one most likely to nominate the most attractive candidates for her to rank later in the general election.  At the same time, these rankings would determine the most popular group of these organizations that together are both proportionately supported by all the voters and are able to elect the whole assembly.  It is each of these organizations that would be officially recognized as an electoral “association”.   After the primary, each “association” would nominate candidates to represent its interests and concerns and for citizens to rank during the later general election.  These arrangements would entirely remove the anti-democratic effects of any gerrymandering or safe-districts.

Therefore, in contrast to all the other ways to elect a legislature, APR:

  1.  would not waste any citizens’ votes, quantitatively or qualitatively,

  2.  would entirely remove the anti-democratic effects of any gerrymandering or safe-districts,

  3.  would make each member see that each of his electors who becomes disappointed with his performance in the assembly will be easily able instead to give her one vote during the next general election to a candidate she sees as more trustworthy, and

  4.  would provide exact party and individual proportionality in the legislature.

Also, please feel free to request me to send you any of the appendices listed at the end of the above article, e.g. APPENDIX 2:  Optimal Quality Representation Provided, APPENDIX 6:  Working Majorities are Likely in APR Legislatures, APPENDIX 7:  Strategy for Introducing APR into the USA.

What do you think?  I very much look forward to your feedback, questions or criticisms.

Best regards,

Steve  (stevebosworth at hotmail.com)

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