[EM] IRV / RCv advances

Richard Lung voting at ukscientists.com
Wed Jul 18 10:30:18 PDT 2018

Thankyou for your discussion.
I just pick-up on two or three points. People often think of first, 
second, third choices, in terms of a poor choice for a single vacancy, 
so that their second choice, or even their first, is not someone they 
really want. A fifth choice in a large multi-member constituency, 
equitably elected, can be a better choice than a first choice for a 
single vacancy. I'm not considering necessary conditions of campaign 
finance reform, freedom of information; the need for local democratic 
infrastructure, instead of the information poverty of the fly-by-night 
polling station, etc.
By the way, my system of FAB STV, uses all preference information, 
counts all preferences including abstentions, and they go to a quota for 
an empty seat. I agree that this is a voters right, but it only came 
about in this system, as a necessary condition of the logic of its count.
Four Averages Binomial STV treats elections as statistical 
representation. I believe that (social choice theory, or what have you) 
refuting the assumption that there is a logically determined winner or 
loser, in no way invalidates the reasonableness of democratic elections. 
In other words, I agree that it is "crazy" to assume voting systems must 
be deterministic and then blame them for not being so!
Richard (Lung).

On 17/07/2018 22:17, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax wrote:
> 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 media coverage.
> 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 disaster.
> But Asset systems that I wrote about create a peer assembly, with 
> anything different from that only on the edges, and easily handled 
> with sane rules.
> 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, 
> approach it.
> 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 
>> Benightenment.
>> I say this only as helpful advice. I don't mind if you don't take it.
>> Good wishes.
>> from
>> 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 registration.
>>> http://rangevoting.org/Asset.html
>>> 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 
>>> intelligently.
>>> 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.
>>>>  from

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