[EM] Steve's reply: IRV et al v. EPR
Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
abd at lomaxdesign.com
Sat Jul 21 04:54:27 PDT 2018
On 7/20/2018 8:18 PM, Andy Jennings wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 12:35 PM, steve bosworth
> <stevebosworth at hotmail.com <mailto:stevebosworth at hotmail.com>> wrote:
> *From:*abjennings at gmail.com <mailto:abjennings at gmail.com>
> <abjennings at gmail.com <mailto:abjennings at gmail.com>> on behalf of
> Andy Jennings <elections at jenningsstory.com
> <mailto:elections at jenningsstory.com>>
> *Sent:* Monday, July 16, 2018 5:26 PM
> *To:* steve bosworth
> *Cc:* election-methods at lists.electorama.com
> <mailto:election-methods at lists.electorama.com>
> *Subject:* Re: [EM] IRV et al v. EPR
> Thank you for responding so quickly.I will respond immediately in
> line after each of your questions and points.
> A:I like the idea of a PR system based on majority judgment, but
> have some concerns with this method. Are you proposing that the
> different elected legislators have different voting weights in the
> I looked at the article again and I do see it mentioned that the
> members will have votes of different weights on the council. I'm not
> sure how I missed it the first time. You may want to consider
> re-emphasizing it at the end
If taken simply and literally, it's a Really Bad Idea. The concept of a
peer assembly, where all members are equal in voting power and other
rights (such as the right to enter motions, object, etc.) is
fundamental, except in narrow situations. For example, in share
corporations, all shares have equal voting rights, except as otherwise
specified, i.e., some kinds of shares may not have voting rights.
("Preferred shares" may not, oddly enough, but those shares enjoy the
right of preferential distribution on dissolution. The controlling
shares lose in a bankruptcy, less so the preferred shares. It's fair.)
It's basically unnecessary, there is a better way to equalize primary
election votes and decision-making voting power. However, as I have
mentioned, an Assembly has the right to make its own rules and may
create rules allowing, say, tie-breaking votes, or other conditions
where what I've called the"dregs," unassigned votes, may be exercised by
electors or someone chosen by them. "Observer electgors" may be allowed,
and in an enumerated vote, observers may have a fractional vote. This
would only be formally counted on a formal call for enumeration by any
Attempts to bind the Assembly by creating rules that the Assembly may
not disregard are actually forms of dictatorship. An Assembly must be
free. Trusting rules in the place of people is, again, a Bad Idea,
primitive thinking. Yes, rule of law was an advance over the arbitrary
exercise of state power, but rule of law is also what I call
the"dictatorship of the past." Consensus organizations run afoul of it
when it is considered to take a consensus to overrule a consensus. It
creates, in actual practice, minority rule, where the status quo favors
a minority. Constitutional systems have this problem, where the
constitution overspecifies procedure.
I've gone around and around on this, and always came to the principle
that the majority always has a right of decision. Sometimes this must be
exercised very carefully, because the goal in democracy should be and
ultimately must be consensus, not mere majority, or the community is
weakened and divided.
> A: If so, I've heard that idea before, and I think it's clever but
> probably unworkable in practice. I doubt that it would integrate
> well with the parliamentary authorities (e.g. Robert's Rules of
> Order) that legislatures actually use to get things done.
It could be done, particularly as a tweak. However, the exact
implementation is better left to the Assembly, which has the right to
rule on membership issues. Routinely, a chair may effectively pass a
question or issue a ruling by stating "If there is no objection, X." Any
member may object. If there is no objection, nevertheless, any member
may, at least in the same session, move reconsideration, being
considered part of the majority (unanimity, actually) that approved the
In a reasonably aggregated Asset Assembly, it would be rare, my opinion,
that much more than a single seat's quota of votes will be dregs. The
election rules may make it easier to compromise for the dregs. If dregs,
electors holding unassigned votes, can function in a limited way, and if
they have the right to withdraw assigned votes, they can safely assign
their remaining votes to some compromise.
The basic Asset idea creates an electoral college whose members are
public, identified voters. It is the electoral college that fully
represents the complete electorate, all that voted, so the Assembly is,
then, properly, a trusted servant of the College. It is in the College
that, literally, *no vote is wasted.* And if a voter wants to go to the
trouble of participating, the voter may register as an elector and
participate, subject to the rules as may be necessary to maintain order.
> S:Given that, unlike all the other methods, EPR thoroughly
> guarantees the principle of one-person-one-vote, I would be very
> surprised if anyone could sustain the claim that it violates
> Robert’s Rules of Order.Please explain the specific concerns you
> have in this regard.Also, even if this principle were incompatible
> with these rules, I would say: so much the worse for these
> rules.This would require these rules to be suitably modified.What
> do you think?
> Have you been in a meeting run by Robert's Rules?
I have served, both as a chair, and as a parliamentarian, though I was
never formally trained. In my view, the duty of the chair is to empower
the members. While I would rule a member out of order, I would also
advise the member how to do what they wanted to do, within the rules.
That had nothing to do with whether or not I agreed with the member on
this or that issue. It was about empowering the community, in using
deliberative process to maximize consensus, which creates stronger
> There are lots of votes, and each one usually takes less than 10
> seconds. ("All in favor say aye. Those opposed say no.") If the
> majority is obvious, the chair will say "The ayes have it," or "The
> noes have it," and we're done. It relies on everyone's voice being
> about the same volume and everyone having an equal vote. I think a
> voice vote is not really legitimate in a weighted legislature unless
> it's unanimous
So "without objection" would still work. If the exceptions to equal
voting are rare and limited, it could still work, and weighting would
only be done with a roll call vote. Under most rules, I think, that
takes a majority vote, or some rules allow some specified percentage of
the assembly to require a roll call. In a roll call vote, it would be
easy for the clerk to weight votes, even all of them (i.e., if electors
are allowed to vote directly, say by internet voting, then "normally
assigned votes" to seats would be deweighted by that fractional vote,
representing the removed elector.
I strongly advise anyone supporting Asset to keep implementation simple,
leaving tweaks that complete the principle of "no wasted votes" to the
maximum possible, for Assembly rules, later. Right now, we don't have,
in any assembly, anything approaching full representation. Moving to,
say, 95% full would be a revolution.
> If the majority is not obvious to the chair, or is challenged by
> anyone in the body, they do a rising vote. ("All those in favor please
> rise." Count. "Be seated. Those opposed please rise." Count.) It
> takes a minute or less.
Right. Roll call takes slightly longer.
> How should a weighted legislature do a quick vote?
> A) Do a voice vote, and if it's not unanimous then do a rising vote
> with everyone holding up a sign with their vote weight, and have
> someone add up all the weights instead of just counting the number
> B) Do every vote by computer?
No, not every vote, only votes where a roll call is requested, per the
rules. But, yes, using computers. Smart phone app, with terminals
available. Not every kind of issue. Questions of privilege, if a vote is
required, would be decided by the number of persons present and voting.
> Honestly, lots of votes are unanimous, so if a group gets good at it,
> it might not add that much time. But with any vote that's close, it's
> going to take five minutes instead of one. In any case, that's just
> the one thing that's on the top of my head. I've never studied
> Robert's Rules, only attended meetings. I'm imagining there are other
> things in the book that need to be changed to work with a weighted
> legislature. Maybe I am wrong.
Whenever the assembly is so divided that it's close, rush to decision is
a Bad Idea. With an Electoral College, full weighted voting becomes
possible. That's all. If it is merely an Assembly rule, all kinds of
things can be tried with little harm, because the majority can change
the Rules at any time. Asset would create the data and the body of
registered public voters ("electors") to make direct-representative
Existing election systems and strong-party democracy have created
conditions where we don't trust our representatives. So we want to bind
them with rules, not realizing that they then become experts at evading
restrictive rules. Lack of trust in "politicians" is a core problem, and
it is not solved by "throw the bums out," which simply creates more
politicians appealing to knee-jerk responses. Asset throws the issue of
representation back on the public, totally, and makes the primary issue
one of "whom do you most trust." Period. No other strategy needed, and,
yes, you can vote for your next-door neighbor, or that movie star, or a
professor, or *anyone you choose* -- including yourself, if you want to
spend the time on governmental issues.
(An election code should be free on request, a number that can be
entered on a ballot to designate an elector. Listing the code in a
directory should require a small fee to cover costs. $5? Whatever the
cost is for a single phone-directory type listing in a cheap, newsprint
booklet. An on-line directory of all registered electors should be free,
and accessible from any smartphone. Computer voting stations would have
access to that directory so that voters can verify their entry is the
right person. Canvassed votes would have a listing available showing all
votes by precinct. Some secret ballot election systems allow
identification of the voter for legal purposes. It's done with paper
ballots by having the voter sequence number on the back of the ballot;
when votes are counted, physically, the back is not visible, but if a
need arises to audit the election, the voter can be identified. Details.)
> I'm all in favor of finding an expert on Robert's Rules, or someone
> becoming an expert, to figure out such changes. (Also other changes,
> like using other voting systems for making council decisions.) We
> could also talk about writing a whole new parliamentary procedure to
> implement new things, but then you'd want someone who was even more of
> an expert in parliamentary authorities and parliamentary meetings to
> make sure you're meeting the needs of a working parliament.
No, we should concentrate on voting methods, our purpose, and leave
Assembly procedure to the Assembly. Have you ever seen a full public
vote on the Rules of a deliberative assembly?
Deliberative assemblies use simple majority rule at present. Weighted
voting is a tweak on that which moves toward "majority" as referring to
majority of the voting public rather than majority of Assembly members.
But I prefer, greatly, to create a "trusted assembly" and empowering
them, fully. In legal matters, I may designate a proxy and I have never
burdened that proxy with many specified "rules." Choose someone you
trust, then *trust them*. Otherwise, life becomes very complicated and
simply doesn't work. Choose well and then trust your choice unless you
have strong reasons, or simply no longer trust the person, then choose
someone else. If I can't find anyone to trust, I'm probably the problem.
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