[EM] IRV / RCv advances
Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
abd at lomaxdesign.com
Tue Jul 17 14:17:18 PDT 2018
Richard, thanks for the advice. How to apply it is mysterious to me. So
I'll just look at what you wrote, on what I wrote about.
The essence of genuine democratic representation is choice. I may, for
most affairs in life requiring my decision, designate a proxy, when I
can't be there to make a decision myself.
In designating a proxy, the only relevant factor is my choice, my
decision to name a person. I may revoke this designation at any time,
but it generally stands until revoked (either deliberately or by the
lapse of some specified time.)
Needing to meet a quota is contrary to the fundamental principle of
choice in representation, but it may be made as a compromise. So, we
decide that, to have a seat in an Assembly, the seat must be supported
by a quota of voters, who agree to the person serving in that way, for
them, and if this is fully democratic, then those voter choices are not
coerced. It is possible for a voter to designate a series of choices,
i.e., my first choice is A, my second choice, if A cannot serve, is B,
etc. However, this leads to a fairly complex system and Dodgson
(Carroll) found a far better way, far more suitable for ordinary voters,
who, after all, have busy lives. STV systems only work because of party
candidate lists, otherwise most voters, as Dodgson pointed out, really
only know their favorite, and there is a far simpler way, that allows
the exercise of choice in a slightly different way.
Rather, a basic principle of leadership is understanding how to delegate
authority. The skill of serving as a representative will be associated
with skill in designating someone to serve. In the system I have
described, electors will focus on politics and may be able to develop
personal relationships with those who end up with seats. That is, they
will not merely be depending on media impressions, and the corrupting
power of money is politics is largely related to the cost of dominating
So, in an Asset election, the voter need only choose one person, the
person the voter most trusts, out of all those willing to serve as
public voters. Obviously, anyone who is a candidate is so willing to
serve, since votes in the Assembly will be public.
By some means, a quota is chosen. I use the Hare quota because it is
very simple to understand, and the only problem with Hare is that it is
likely, given real-world phenomena, that the Hare quota will fail to
elect the full number of seats. There are many ways to solve this
problem, and an Assembly that is missing a seat for a time can still
function with little harm.
One of the facts often overlooked is that under standard parliamentary
procedure, any assembly makes its own rules. All it takes to make -- or
remove -- a rule is a majority vote. If one doesn't like that, tell it
to Robert's Rules, or the parliamentarians. It is a basic right of the
majority in any democratic assembly to make its own rules. For lots of
reasons, the rules tend to be not changed very much. But the "nuclear
option" in the U.S. Senate reflects this very old principle, being
abused because of the party system. The party system has corrupted many
basic democratic processes, including the U.S. Electoral College.
It is not that parties are Bad. It is that the Iron Law of Oligarchy is
very real and to design fully democratic institutions we need to be
aware of it and factor for it. There is a way, and the path has been
blazed, but few pay any attention to it. Rather, most people run with
the standard assumptions about democracy, it's all they have heard for
their entire lives.
So ... suppose we use the Hare quota. So there are one (or less likely,
more) seats that are not filled. So then the Assembly, if it cares about
those voters whose votes have not been applied, can decide to allow some
kind of representation. Perhaps "observers" can be allowed. Perhaps they
might have fractional votes, which they could use, perhaps to break
ties. And there are many, many possibilities.
I see a common reaction to new ideas for election methods, and it was
repeated in these discussions. A proposal was made that seats have
voting power proportional to the votes they received. Immediately it is
pointed out that what, in delegable proxy systems I called a superproxy,
someone who represents a majority of voting members, could make any
decision unilaterally. Yes, they could, if the rules allowed it. Any
system coupled with a well-designed set of Stupid Rules could create a
But Asset systems that I wrote about create a peer assembly, with
anything different from that only on the edges, and easily handled with
Use of the Droop quota is based on the idea of election by majority. In
such an election, there are losers, who do not end up with chosen
representation, and that is by design. Our election systems were
designed for district representation, where districts are represented by
someone chosen by a plurality. Used to be that the representative was
chosen by the Sovereign. Maybe the people were consulted, and maybe not.
Any number could be picked as an election quota. Key to a fully
democratic system, though, is that seats, elected by the same number of
voters, have equal voting power (setting aside vote-weighting systems,
which would still be democratic). And then we can deal with the "dregs,"
the votes not yet assigned to a seat. Right now, such people have zero
representation, unless a seat decides to serve them anyway (which
members of assmblies often do).
It would take very minor adjustments to rules and procedures to create
what would amount to full representation, or which would, at least,
What is often missed in considering this is communication in the other
direction. Amalgamation is thought of as a one-way process, where the
voters "express their will," albeit in a primitive way. Human
communication can be far, far more than that. An Asset seat would know
who voted for him or her, and could directly communicate, could explain
his or her stand on issues, could ask for advice, and could, in fact,
ask an elector to communicate with his or her voters.
But, wait, electors won't know who they voted for. No, not formally, but
yes, often, and voters know who they voted for and will be able to talk
to their electors, unless they are dumb enough to vote for . . . I used
to use Clint Eastwood as the model for this style of voting. Vote for
someone with whom you cannot have personal communication. Not bright, in
my book. But some people will do it. It harms nobody but them, unless
everyone votes for the Your Fired guy.
What? That can happen? Yes. That can happen with the present system,
because we only know candidates through the media.
We need to rebuild democracy from the ground up, and I suggest creating
advanced election methods and using advanced voting systems in NGOs.
That's an old suggestion of mine, and the Election Science Foundation
actually did it in an election, with the only known actual Asset
election in history. It worked spectacularly, as a voting system. It did
not create magic candidates who would kick ass and change the world. It
only created a steering committe that could have advised the leadership
and the active volunteers. Had they asked. They never did. But that
committee ended up, quite quickly (it took a few days), representing
every voter. There was one dissenter, who had not understood that his
vote might be transferred and he Didn't Like It. He wanted his Favorite
and the H with everyone else! But his Favorite transferred all his votes.
But other than that one person, the election was Unanimous!
Richard, this is all simpler than you think. "Order" as a demand is
oppressive. In real life, I am indifferent between certain
possibilities, and so they are "equally ranked," and requiring a choice
be made is introducing noise into the system, not smart.
The quota set, with a certain number of voters, is designed to insure
the election of a consequential number of seats. it's based on an idea
that so many seats *must* be elected, and the demand that an election
produce a determined result has already lost a basic principle of
democracy, that a decision requires a majority; instead, in effect,
deterministic voting systems are undemocratic. A free people may decide
not to decide, or may act such that no decision is made.
(Arrow's theorem doesn't even consider nondeterministic systems as
"voting systems," thus ordinary, standard, Robert's Rules election
process is not a "voting system," which shows how crazy this field gets)
On 7/17/2018 2:50 PM, Richard Lung wrote:
> Regarding the quota, one of my four averages (in FAB STV) is the
> Harmonic Mean quota which is the average of the Droop and Hare quotas,
> which I invented in order to achieve a more representative quota. (I
> won't go into details here.) Ranked voting is indeed essential,
> because order is essential. Order in the vote and proportion in the
> count are essential, because they are essential to mathematics, not to
> mention civilisation, itself.
> Order and proportion, the bases of science, have become political
> footballs. Electoral science was founded in the age of the
> Enlightenment and has foundered in this electoral age of the
> I say this only as helpful advice. I don't mind if you don't take it.
> Good wishes.
> Richard Lung.
> On 16/07/2018 21:40, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax wrote:
>> Asset is totally out-of-the-box. It was reinvented on the Election
>> Methods mailing list in the 1990s, and by Warren Smith, who coined
>> the term "Asset Voting." Asset was designed to make STV work far
>> better. It works well if the voter only states the favorite, and, in
>> fact, my own analysis came to be that adding more candidates simply
>> complicates the process with no benefit.
>> The concept of a voting system that simply allows the voter to name
>> their most-trusted candidate, with nothing more needed, is definitely
>> not how people think!
>> You think that ranked choice is "essential" but that comes from an
>> assumption of contested elections. Asset with a Hare quota creates
>> fully cooperative elections. Nobody loses. Depending on specific
>> rules, the election might run a seat short. I actually prefer that to
>> using the Droop quota, which then creates wasted votes. With the Hare
>> quota, votes might seem "wasted" but only because those holding them
>> don't get it together to create a seat. Natural consequences, and it
>> becomes possible to allow a seat to be elected later, and it's even
>> possible to use the "electoral college" that Asset creates to allow
>> some level of direct democracy.
>> Asset used for single-winner elections would find a majority or
>> simply fail until the electors get it together. They eventually will,
>> that's history!
>> Asset can create a winner or winners that are not even on the ballot.
>> And, in fact, Asset doesn't need printed ballots and doesn't need
>> restricted candidate lists, but for simplicity I'd require candidate
>> Warren's version of Asset was needlessly complicated, and he was
>> still thinking in terms of trying to select the "best" candidates
>> using amalgamation. Asset can do this much more directly and
>> Basically, if Asset is run properly, all voters are represented by a
>> person they freely chose (from among those willing to serve), either
>> actually by that person or -- for most elected seats -- by someone
>> approved by the person they chose. I call the collection of
>> candidates receiving any votes the "electoral college," because this
>> does resemble the original U.S. electoral college.
>> Again, Warren, writing that page, was still thinking in terms of a
>> party system. Asset could be truly revolutionary, making the party
>> system unnecessary. Most people, hearing about Asset for the first
>> time, simply don't get that with no wasted votes, there is no need
>> for strategy, no need to campaign, even, so no need for money to run
>> for office. Leaders will emerge, for sure, but will be clearly
>> responsible to those who vote for them.
>> I expect that ballots with names on them would disappear. With Asset,
>> you can decide to vote only for someone who will actually talk with
>> you, whom you know. Those who are actually elected will know which
>> electors actually voted for them, so there is, again, responsibility,
>> and a communication network would be naturally created. You can talk
>> with your elector, the one you voted for, and your elector can talk
>> to the seat, generally. Electors who only have a few votes will turn
>> them over to other electors, so the chain of communication can become
>> larger, but that's normal. It can still be clear and reliable.
>> On 7/16/2018 3:34 PM, Richard Lung wrote:
>>> Thankyou for troubling to make so many comments. Have never heard of
>>> Asset, even if it goes as far back as 1880. Have heard Charles
>>> Dodgson mentioned but forget (am old). Indeed am unfamiliar with the
>>> host of variations on methods. But have a few basic guidelines,
>>> which I trust. (It surprises me but does not perturb me that many
>>> experts don't think so.) A single-order vote, the x-marks the spot
>>> vote is not sufficient for effective voting. A many-order vote
>>> (ranked choice) is essential. Likewise a single majority count is
>>> far less accurate than a many-majority count (like the Droop quota).
>>> You will perceive a pattern here: the general system is a many order
>>> vote for a many majority count.
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