[EM] (no subject)

steve bosworth stevebosworth at hotmail.com
Fri Nov 19 12:08:13 PST 2021

TO: All EM contributors

FROM: Steve

I agree with the recent discussions recalling the virtues of STV. However, my co-authors and I believe we have created an advance on STV. It is called evaluative proportional representation (EPR) and we would very much like EM contributors to challenge and test the validity of the following claims we make for EPR.
If STV is used to elect a seven-member city council at-large, about 12% of all the citizens’ votes cast would be wasted in the sense that they did not help to elect a representative of their choice. Of course, this is much better than about half of the votes being wasted as is frequently the case when plurality at-large is being use. For example, collectively the current seven members of Santa Cruz Californiacity council were elected by an average of about 46% of all the votes cast. This means that about 54% of my fellow citizens’ votes were wasted, or “diluted” in the sense meant in my understanding of the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA). This is why Santa Cruz is under threat of being sued according to this act.
However, we argue that the adoption of EPR at-large elections would provide the most democratic remedy. This is because it removes such “dilution” as much as possible. In fact, we claim that EPR guarantees that each citizen’s vote will equally add to the voting power of the elected candidate they see as likely to represent their hopes and concerns most faithfully. This means the council will be proportionally elected by all voters (100%). Each member will have a different weighted vote in the council exactly equal to the number of citizens’ votes counted for them.

How Evaluative Proportional Representation Works:

Like majority judgment (MJ), EPR invites you to vote most expressively by grading at least one candidate’s suitability for office as either Excellent, Very Good, Good, Acceptable, Poor, or Reject. You can award the same grade to more than one candidate. You are assured that your one EPR vote of at least Acceptable will quantitatively increase the voting power in the council of the elected candidate who receives your “highest possible grade”.

When possible, your highest grade on your ballot is added to the running total of that elected member. If this is not possible because not enough other citizens graded that candidate highly, your ballot is instead counted for the elected candidate your ballot awarded its remaining highest grade. If your ballot contains no such remaining highest graded candidate, your proxy vote equally increases the voting power of the elected candidate your highest graded candidate publicly judges to be the most suitable for office.

The above may be further clarified by a more detailed example of EPR’s four-stage count:

Assume you graded the candidates on the ballot as follows: Excellent: both Collins and Levy; Very Good: Cosby; Good: Neuman; Acceptable: Glover

The first rounds of Stage 1 of the EPR count determine to which of the candidates’ running total of votes your Excellent is exclusively but provisionally added – either Collins’s or Levy’s. It goes to the candidate who has the largest number of votes at that point in the count (ties broken by lot). This is justified by the democratic assumption that the candidate who has more votes is probably better.

After counting all the ballots that award at least one candidate as Excellent, next are similarly counted all the remaining ballots that awarded Very Good as their highest grade. Similarly, the remaining ballots are then counted that used Good as their highest grade. Finally, all the remaining ballots using Acceptable as their highest grade are counted.

Say your Excellent goes to Levy. Again, in Stage 1, your Excellent is added only provisionally to Levy. This is because your ballot may have to be transferred to another candidate by Stage 2 if Levy has received too many votes of at least Acceptable, as explained next .

To avoid the remote but anti-democratic possibility of a candidate being able to dictate to the council by retaining more than 50% of all the weighted votes in the council, our EPR algorithm does not allow a member to retain more than 20% of these votes. This requires at least three members to agree before any majority decision can be made in the council.

Consequently, if Levy had received more than 20% in Stage 1, in Stage 2 your ballot could be selected by lot as one of the surplus ballots to be transferred to the remaining highest graded candidate on your ballot. If so selected, your ballot would automatically be transferred to Collins (unless receiving your ballot would give her a surplus). If this would happen, your ballot is instead transferred under the same condition either to Cosby, Newman, or Glover. If none of these candidates are eligible, your proxy vote is finally added in Stage 4 to the weighted vote of the winner publicly judged by Levy (the candidate you gave your highest grade) to be most fit for office. If you want, you may prohibit this use of your proxy vote by circling NO in the relevant box near the end of your ballot.

At the beginning of Stage 3, the seven candidates to be elected are those who have accrued the largest numbers of votes by that stage. All the ballots currently held by candidates not elected are transferred to one of the winners in the same way as outlined for Stage 2 above. As a result, your vote equally adds to the weighted vote of the winner that finally receives your highest grade, remaining highest grade, or proxy vote – the winner you see as likely to represent your hopes and concerns most faithfully.

What do you think?

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