[EM] 4th Annual Free & Equal Electoral Reform Symposium

Jan Kok jan.kok.5y at gmail.com
Sat Sep 30 18:13:11 PDT 2017

Hi Robert,

I think this symposium is, and should be, more about political activism,
and not so much a scholarly discussion about various voting methods. About
half of the attendees are voting methods geeks like us, the other half are
political activists and politicians.

I think the focus should be on gathering a critical mass of activists and
politicians, educating the activists and politicians about the NEED for
various electoral reforms, getting them excited, organizing ourselves, and
doing whatever we can to help the politicians implement those reforms.

I'm just speaking for myself here, but I think it's not a good idea to talk
about Condorcet and other less-well-known and -promoted methods at the
Symposium. Several reasons:

1. It's hard for the politicians and non-voting-methods-geek activists to
absorb all the information. After a few minutes of hearing about several
voting methods, their eyes will glaze over. I'm not kidding about that.
Imagine trying to explain some details about computer programming, or
electronics, or whatever your technical specialty might be, to a
non-technical person. We need to Keep It SIMPLE. Don't present a bunch of
irrelevant alternatives.

2. Presenting and promoting other voting methods may cause our efforts to
be fragmented. If I spend time promoting Condorcet, that's less time I can
spend promoting Approval voting. And then neither Condorcet nor Approval
voting might "win". Kind of like vote splitting with Plurality voting, eh?

3. Around 2005 or so a group of Condorcet fans (several prominent members
of this Election Methods mailing list) teamed up with Washington State
Representative Toby Nixon to try to adopt Condorcet in Washington. They
didn't get very far. That experience confirms in my mind that Condorcet is
not a viable reform at this time.

So which alternatives (to Plurality) should we discuss at the Symposium?

1. I think we need to talk about (note that I didn't say _promote_) IRV,
because it is the most well-known alternative to Plurality, and we can
probably learn something from the IRV camp about how to enact voting

2. For those of us who don't like IRV, we need to come together and focus
on promoting ONE alternative to IRV. I think the most obvious choice is
Approval voting, because of its simplicity, ease of implementation, and
reasonable choices of winners.

3. Some people might suggest Proportional Representation for forming
legislatures, city councils, etc. I think PR is (probably) a good idea, but
it's a lot more complicated, and difficult to enact, so I don't think we
should be spending our precious, limited resources on PR at this time.

Robert, a serious question, why do you want an event in the northeast? You
can watch the livestream of the Symposium from your home. I think it will
also be archived so you can watch it later.

If you want to speak at the Symposium, send me an email, and let's talk
about it on Skype. I might be able to get you a spot on the agenda, and you
could present via video conference. (I'd be interested in hearing your
thoughts about the Burlington experience with IRV.)

If you and enough other people would like to extend the Symposium to
include more technical discussions, I'm willing to consider setting up a
teleconference among those who are interested on November 19 (the day after
the Symposium). What would you like to accomplish with such a
teleconference? Would you just be preaching to the choir?

If you want to attend in person but don't want to travel to Colorado, then
you are welcome to organize your own event.

On Sat, Sep 30, 2017 at 1:10 AM, robert bristow-johnson <
rbj at audioimagination.com> wrote:

> wow.
> let us know when you or anyone is doing something like this in the
> northeast.  the collection of topics sound very interesting.
> (and my suggestion, Jan, is the "alternative voting methods" should
> include other ranked forms than just instant runoff.  (should talk about
> Condorcet, too.)
> bestest,
> r b-j
> ---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
> Subject: [EM] 4th Annual Free & Equal Electoral Reform Symposium
> From: "Jan Kok" <jan.kok.5y at gmail.com>
> Date: Fri, September 29, 2017 1:15 am
> To: "Election Methods Mailing List" <election-methods at electorama.com>
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > You’re invited to attend the Free and Equal Elections Fourth Annual
> > Electoral Reform Symposium on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 from 9 AM - 5 PM MT
> > at the Infinity Park’s Cherry Creek Room in Glendale, CO. This event will
> > be co-hosted by Fair Elections for Colorado and others. It will also be
> > live-streamed on our The Free and Equal Elections Foundation
> > <https://www.facebook.com/freeandequal/> Facebook page.
> >
> > Speakers include Nancy Crow, President of The League of Women Voters of
> > Colorado, Aaron Hamlin of Center for Election Science, Harvie Branscomb
> of
> > Coloradons for Voting Integrity, Frank Atwood of Approval Voting, Patrick
> > Moore Board Member of United States Cannabis Coalition, Lisa Scott ~
> > Producer of film project, Outdated Democracy: A 21st Century Civics
> Lesson
> > & more!
> >
> > Topics which will be addressed include The Commission on Presidential
> > Debates vs. Open Presidential Debates, alternative voting methods
> (Instant
> > Runoff Voting, Approval Voting, Score Voting, etc.), ballot access
> > barriers, rigged gerrymandering, paper ballots vs. block chain online
> > voting, electoral college vs. popular vote, proportional representation,
> > economics of prohibition, Federal Reserve vs. alternative currencies
> > (Bitcoin, Nexus Token, etc.) and evolving technology.
> >
> > For further info, please see
> > https://www.facebook.com/events/1842471176025756/
> >
> > Please click "Going" on that page if you plan to attend in person. Please
> > click "Interested" if you plan to watch the livestream. This will help
> the
> > organizers and also help attract attention to the event.
> > ----
> > Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list
> info
> >
> --
> r b-j                  rbj at audioimagination.com
> "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
> ----
> Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
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