steve bosworth | 16 Dec 14:16 2014
Picon

APR (9): Steve?s 9th dialogue with Juho (Steve)


 


 APR (9): Steve?s 9th dialogue with Juho (Steve)
 

> From: election-methods-request <at> lists.electorama.com
> Subject: Election-Methods Digest, Vol 126, Issue 18
> To: election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
> Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2014 10:07:44 -0800
>
> 1. Re: APR (8): Steve?s 8th dialogue with Juho (Steve) (Juho Laatu)
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2014 20:07:37 +0200
> From: Juho Laatu <juho4880 <at> yahoo.co.uk>
> To: "election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com"
> <election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com>
> Subject: Re: [EM] APR (8): Steve?s 8th dialogue with Juho (Steve)
> Message-ID: <A4F19A0A-943E-42D9-9B96-4D1B4981FB7A <at> yahoo.co.uk>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>
>
> > On 14 Dec 2014, at 17:23, steve bosworth <stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com> wrote:


> > > S: Why 10,000? Would the central electoral commission collect or coordinate these applications. Would all such nominations appear on all general election ballots? Would such a ?grouping? have any other official functions? Would such groupings have equally or more advantages than APR?s associations as again listed later in this post?
>
J:  The number should be large enough so that there will not be too many groupings, and small enough to allow many enough to run. The collected supporter lists would be given to the central electoral commission.


 


S:  I agree with your principles:  “large enough … not too many groups”.  However your 10,000 is needlessly arbitrary and might not deliver what these principles require.  Please consider APR’s formula for determining its “associations”.  This is fully explained in my article on pages 6, Endnote 5, and Flow Chart 2.  What do you think?


 


J:  In elections with numerous candidates I would favour "blank" ballots that do not list the candidate names at all (one could write candidate numbers in the ballot instead). …


 


S:  Why prefer “blank ballots” in preference to APR’s sample ballot that would make it easier for each citizen to use?


 


J:  The grouping would exist only to nominate a list of candidates in the election (maybe becomes a proper party if it gets some seats). The newly formed groupings would be treated in the election exactly the same way as the old well established parties.


S:  Please define what you mean by a “proper party”. 



> > S: But can you not outline the ?ideal? system towards which you are working?
>
J:  I don't have any ready made "ideal" system that I would promote. I may have various improvement proposals for different societies with different backgrounds, existing method and preferences. And also improvement proposals for different theoretical system proposals (generic or society specific).
>
> > S: Without you exactly explaining a method you have in mind, we cannot say whether it is or is not arbitrary.
>
J:   No specific method in my mind. But for example a basic closed list, with no cutoffs, and proportionality counted at top level, and that allows also small groupings to participate in the election (e.g. after collecting supporter names), would be proportional and not in any arbitrary way, and would allow also small groupings to win seats.
>


S:  Please explain this much more completely.  Below you say you want to elect the reps from a number of multi-winner districts.  Is this by a “closed  list” party-list system?  By “no cutoffs” do you mean that any party that receives a percentage of the votes equal to one nth of n candidate that will be elected to represent a given district will send one rep to that assembly, two nth two reps, etc.?


 


> > S: Any APR citizen who is bribed or coerced to seem to reveal preferences as a result of the Primary, can easily vote secretly for completely different preferences in the general election, i.e. they have not reveal their true preferences in the Primary. Thus, their general election vote is secret.
>
J:  Yes, but to my understanding also the primary has influence on the outcome of the election as a whole.


 


S:  The primary only determines how many reps will be elected from each association.  Only all the citizen’s votes in the country during the general election will determine the weight that each reps’ vote will have in the assembly.  Thus, neither the Primary nor the resulting associations could prevent, for example, any rep from receiving many fewer than the average number of weighted votes, i.e. when that is how citizens have voted in the general election.  Does this solve the relevant problem in your mind?
>
> > J: No, APR makes it possible to the voters to prove how they voted. They could prove that e.g. by showing their association specific ballot paper to other people.


S:  No, no-one can prove how they voted during the general election as I explained in the 4th paragraph below:
> >
> > S: Now I see why you mistakenly believed that APR does not meet this criterion? Like all other secret voting systems, an APR elector can only complete his [general election] ballot by himself at his local polling station and leave that secret ballot in the box at that station, i.e. unseen by anyone else until it is officially counted by the agents of the electoral commission. Thus, like all other secret voting systems, it would be impossible for him to reveal how he had voted except by choosing verbally to report this to someone else.  Does this solve the problem you had in mind?
>
J: To my understanding voting in the primary is not secret.


 


S: Correct, did I ever claim otherwise?  Voting in the primary is not secret but any such vote cannot bind how any citizen will vote during the general election.  At the same time, any citizen who might be uncomfortable by seemingly revealing some preference in the primary can simply confine his voting to the general election.  Does this solve the problem you had in mind?
>
> >S:  This could be achieved as follows: Firstly, as a result of the Primary, the central electoral commission would have a list of all registered voters in the country. This list would include both the residence address of each voter and the ?association? in which each is an elector (i.e. the association which will also produce its tailor made general election ballot for its elector). Before the general election, the commission would ensure that each district?s electoral administration had also received all the different ballot papers for each of its residents who have become official electors for associations other than the geographically defined one in which they reside as a result of their participation in the Primary. Thus, on general election day, each resident citizen would receive their own association?s blank ballot paper to complete in the secrecy provided by their local district?s polling station.


…………………………..>
> >
> > S: Yes, simplicity is very important. Please remember that APR allows a citizen simply to vote for one candidate if they see its other options as too complex. How would the system you have in mind be simpler?
>
J:  Most methods that are in use today seem simpler than APR.


 


S:  You seem to have missed the above reminder:  “APR allows a citizen simply to vote for one candidate if they see its other options as too complex.”  Does not this make APR as simple as other system for all citizens who want it to be this simple?  If you think not, please explain.
>
> >S:  You have not yet described your preferred system in enough detail for me to see that it is any simpler than APR.
>
J:  I don't have any such system that I would propose as "preferred to APR" (only some comments on the details of APR).
> ……………………………..


 


> > S: Yes, but I have not yet understood any of these as exposing a flaw. Correct me if I am mistaken.
>
J:  I have not noticed any "flaws" in the sense that it would have something obviously wrong. Many of its design details can be discussed in the sense that method developers and societies may have different preferences.


> > > J: If voters cannot change the district that they vote in, it is possible that they do not trust any of the candidates of that district, but they could trust candidates of some other district. In my previous mail I explained how voters might be able to change their district. ?
> >
> > S: Would they have firstly to move house to the other district? If so, this would not be a practical possibility for most people, and certainly more difficult than relevantly participating in APR?s Primary to achieve the same result.
>


………………….


> > J: ? In addition it is possible to develop systems that both implement geographical proportionality and allow voters to vote candidates of other districts (such systems are however probably unusual). I don't want to deny voters this option, but I might opt not to support it in many practical systems since it does not add very much, ?
> >
> > S: If you ?deny voters this option?, you do not know how ?much? it would ?add? or subtract. At least we know that without this option you would be denying equality of respect to some of your fellow citizens and this violates a fundamental principle of democracy. How would you justify this violation? Of course, if you are really a ?traditionalist?, you might see this as a ?violation? of someone else?s ideology, not yours. What do you think?
>
J:  I didn't see any other violations than not letting voter of district A vote for candidates of district B. I don't see how this violates "equality of respect" or "a fundamental principle of democracy".


 


S:  Unlike APR, the systems you seem to prefer violate democracy’s principle of “equal respect” by giving some citizens the option of helping to elect a candidate they trust while others are not given this option within their residential district.
>
> > S: Other than your desire to conform to a ?tradition? in your country, I do not think you have explained any other ?reason? for retaining your so-called ?geographical proportionality?. Please correct me if I am mistaken.
>
J:  I don't have any specific "desire" to conform to tradition. I have tried to explain the reasons why many systems today use geographical proportionality. The most obvious ones are the interest to guarantee proportional representation to each region, and to avoid bias towards favouring the most central areas/cities.


 


S: You have not yet offered your own justification for insisting on what you call “geographical proportionality”, especially when it denies some citizens the option of helping to elect a rep they positively favour.


 


S:  Surely, an ideal system would avoid every sort of “bias”. APR does this?  This assumes that a “bias” results from not giving each citizen in the country the same range of candidates to choose or rank. 


 


Of course your number of different “multi-winner” districts is much better than single-member districts, but strictly, these “multi-winner” districts do not offer this equality.   This is in addition to the possibility that any of your existing districts might already be biased by chance or by gerrymandering in favour of one of the parties.  Also, such districts usually also waste a number of votes, those that cannot be transferred to any candidate within a given district.
>
> > J: I think I have commented on all points at some level. At some points I have given general answers to cover numerous points. Please indicate if there are some remaining key questions left.
> >
> > S: Please see my above questions as well as the ones relating to the following claimed advantages of APR. However, since I already asked about these in our 7th dialogue, perhaps you would prefer to delay your detailed responses to these questions in order to give you time to collect your thoughts. If so, please let me know and I will look forward to a continuation of our dialogue at a later date.
>
J:  If you have some specific questions or points where you need comments, you should point them out to me.
>
> > 1) Unlikely your preferred system, the fact that APR allows each citizen to guarantee that their own vote will continue mathematically to count in the assembly through the weighted vote of their most favoured rep would seem maximally to encourage all citizens to participate politically.
> >
J: I don't have any "preferred system". Many systems do guarantee approximate proportional representation.  APR introduces some additional exact mathematical nature to this. I don't think most voters require exact mathematics but an overall understanding that the system is fair.


 


S:  In comparison to APR, these other systems are not “overall … fair”.  How many citizens have you asked whether they would prefer a system that would guarantee that their vote will continue to count?  How many have answered, “NO”?
>
> > 2) Also, APR would probably provide more attractive candidates and thus a closer ideological identity between each citizen and his rep. APR?s associational structure would seem to assist, on average, the development of such more intense personal, ideological and mutual bonds than the more defuse and vague relations between the agendas of each elector and the representatives elected by other systems, including yours.
> >
J: The idea that voters may decide which associations are allowed to participate in the actual election may be popular. I'm however not convinced that it would also technically make some stronger bonds between the voters and the parties (i.e. other reasons than the existence of an additional round). …


 


S:  If you say that this “participation … may be popular”, does not this suggest to you, therefore, that it should be tried?


 


J:  … The added complexity may also make some voters less interested.


 


S:  Why would even those who do not want to participate in the primary themselves want to deny it to others?
>
> >S: The evolution of these closer relationships would grow partly as a result of the time between the two elections. Firstly, the ?bottom-up? Primary might prompt more electors to start to familiarize themselves with the existing members and other potential candidates of their preferred organizations. Thus, each APR representative is more likely to have been known and explicitly favoured by his electors at least several months before the general election. Consequently, the ideological fit between each set of APR?s associations, electors, and representatives is likely to be much closer than that between each set of parties, districts, electors, and representatives in other systems.
> >
J:   The length of the process could be interesting to some voters and uninteresting to some. One must assume that part of the voters are on the edge of whether to vote or not. Most societies try to make as many voters vote as possible. Therefore a simple and effortless voting process is often good.


 


S:  Again, as explained earlier, APR offers “simple and effortless voting” for every citizen who may want it.



> > 3) APR?s Primary discovers which voluntary organizations should be officially recognized to have a proportionate extra political status and electoral function. The recognition of these associations would provide an additional democratic channel for more enthusiastic participation in the political process both by these associations and their electors. This recognition also gives each association and its elected rep(s) an opportunity to plan and to focus their combined resources more efficiently to help shape the binding decisions taken by the state. Thus, representation is made more efficient by also being supported by the activities of each citizen?s preferred and officially energized association;
> >
J:  The mentioned alternative of collecting name lists of supporters puts the burden of determining the groupings that will participate in the election to the groups themselves. APR puts that burden on the voters. …


 


S:  APR puts this burden not only on the citizens but, initionally on society’s voluntary organizations  to apply to the central electoral commission. 


 


J:  … Some voters would like this, some maybe not (because of the need to participate more). Each society should pick the approach that suits them best.


 


S:  If in the future you discover that you have been able to formulated your own criteria for judging systems and have tentatively decide on the exact system you would like to work to establish, at least in your own country, please let me know so we can more fruitfully continuation of our dialogue.  Currently, at least, I am not satisfied simply to leave these decisions to others, i.e. to “society”.  Perhaps currently you are not satisfied either.
>
> > 4) Rational political thinking by the body politic is also likely to be assisted by the important additional knowledge discovered by the Primary. It would more reliably discover the degree to which each previously well known, less know, and unknown ideology, party, interest group, or club is, or is not, relevant to the real concerns of the people. This knowledge would enable all citizens, associations, potential candidates, and representatives more efficiently to plan how each can help to shape the laws.
> > ………………….
> > 5) Because APR?s ?associations? would have some communication and mobilization resources that are entirely independent of celebrity, the richest sections of society, and the mass media, this would probably help reduce the relative power of these sometimes anti-democratic forces in determining how people vote. This is because many citizens could more firmly, securely, and independently use the following opportunity provided by APR: to see their favoured association and its representatives as providing an essential part of the best way to promote and protect their own abiding interests and values.
> >


……………………..


> > 6) Moreover, a legislative assembly composed of such different clashing, yet trusted and well focused reps would seem more likely to provide an optimal debating and negotiating chamber for the production of laws based on evidence and rational thought (please see the definition of ?reason? at the end of the previous post). This is because it would more accurately reflect the real variety and intensity of people?s concerns. If so, this assembly would also be better able to respond to the imperative to form a working majority in the assembly in order to produce wise legislative solutions to problems, i.e. solutions also agreeable to a majority of the people. The fact that each APR representative, on average, is more likely to be focused and trusted by his or her electors would seem better to enable them also to arrive at any necessary compromises between the contending parties and representatives to achieve their common ends.
> >


> Juho


 


----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
steve bosworth | 14 Dec 16:23 2014
Picon

Re: APR (8): Steve?s 8th dialogue with Juho (Steve)


Re: APR (8): Steve?s 8th dialogue with Juho (Steve)


> From: election-methods-request <at> lists.electorama.com
> Subject: Election-Methods Digest, Vol 126, Issue 14
> To: election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
> Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2014 08:57:48 -0800
> Today's Topics:
>
> 1. Re: APR (7): Steve?s 7th dialogue with Juho (Steve) (Juho Laatu)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2014 18:57:42 +0200
> From: Juho Laatu <juho.laatu <at> gmail.com>
> To: "election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com"
> <election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com>
> Subject: Re: [EM] APR (7): Steve?s 7th dialogue with Juho (Steve)
> Message-ID: <EB933F13-303A-4BE1-9250-9B9EF8714926 <at> gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>
> > On 12 Dec 2014, at 16:55, steve bosworth <stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> > J: The key difference in my description above was that there would be no primary. The right of a grouping to participate would be decided by other means.


> > S: Would you be willing to spell out these ?other means? and explain how they would be as effective as the ones offered by APR?
>
J: I think I already mentioned some. One could for example require a new grouping to collect 10000 names of supporters. If it does so, it will get the right to nominate a list of candidtes. APR has two phases, first to get to the primary (or maybe anyone could nominate any number of candidtes??) and then to the actual election. The approach that I mentioned above would be simpler (and simplicity may nean efficiency).


 


S:  Why 10,000? Would the central electoral commission collect or coordinate these applications.  Would all such nominations appear on all general election ballots? Would such a “grouping” have any other official functions?  Would such groupings have equally or more advantages than APR’s associations as again listed later in this post?
>……………………….



> > J: ? and geographical proportionality more exact. I could use also the idea of representatives with different weights.
> >
> > S: Of course I would be happier with this but it seems that these additions from APR could undermine the ?geographical proportionality? which you want.
>
> APR does not support geographical proportionality, but it could be enhanced to do so, or some features of APR like weighted votes could be introduces in geographically proportional systems.
>
> > S: Yes, in practice, traditions can slow progress but it would help me to understand your values better if you could specify the long term ideal electoral system for your country toward which you would like your country to move as fast as possible.
>
J: What I wrote describes pretty well how I would like to change the system (in the next reform within few years) even if traditions would not slow the progress. This approach includes some tendency to keep the system understandable to the current voters and avoiding the risks of too radical changes at one go. One cannot change the population, so one has to serve it, taking into account what its thinking patterns are.


 


S:  But can you not outline the “ideal” system towards which you are working?
>
> > J: Better political and geographical proprtionality can be achieved in many ways, with or without APR. For example by allowing also small groupings to win seats (seats allocated at national instead of regional level, and no cutoffs in some countries), and to improve political propotionality within the parties using ranked votes (in STV style).
> >
> > S: APR?s Primary provides an automatic mechanism by which ?small groupings? can win seats, as well as determine where the ?cutoffs?, if any, will be. How would your preferred mechanisms avoid making these decisions arbitrarily?
>
J:  Also other systems than APR can be proportional and allow small groupings to get representatives. APR could allow also groups that are considerably smaller than 1/n of a representative body with n seats, because of the weighted votes. This would be difficult for systems with equal weight representatives. They can be accurate though (not arbitrary), to the level of one representative, without any additional tricks.


S: Without you exactly explaining a method you have in mind, we cannot say whether it is or is not arbitrary.



> > J: Geographic proportionality may be quite exact at district level, but if those districts are large (as typical in multiparty countries), geographic proportionality within those large districts may be poor. Geographic proportionality is typically considered good because it supports local representatives that are close to the voters and they represent the values of those voters better that representatives that have no connection to that area.


> > S: How do you answer the argument that APR has the advantage of providing an objective test of the extent to which these ?local representatives? are (or are not) ?close to the voters and represent the values of those voters?, i.e. a test of what you report as ?typically considered? by some unknown source, based or not based on evidence.
> ………………………..


 


S:  Any APR citizen who is bribed or coerced to seem to reveal preferences as a result of the Primary, can easily vote secretly for completely different preferences in the general election, i.e. they have not reveal their true preferences in the Primary.  Thus, their general election vote is secret.



> > J: ... I believe the system [APR] also gives those voters that reveal their preferences somewhat easier or more efficient ways to influence the outcome.


…………………...


>
J:   Note that systems that emphasize privacy typically make it impossible to the voters to reveal how they voted. Being able to hide how one voted is not enough to meet this criterion.
>
> > S: APR is one of these systems.
>
J:  No, APR makes it possible to the voters to prove how they voted. They could prove that e.g. by showing their association specific ballot paper to other people.


S:  Now I see why you mistakenly believed that APR does not meet this criterion?  Like all other secret voting systems, an APR elector can only complete his ballot by himself at his local polling station and leave that secret ballot in the box at that station, i.e. unseen by anyone else until it is officially counted by the agents of the electoral commission. Thus, like all other secret voting systems, it would be impossible for him to reveal how he had voted except by choosing verbally to report this to someone else.


 


This could be achieved as follows:  Firstly, as a result of the Primary, the central electoral commission would have a list of all registered voters in the country.  This list would include both the residence address of each voter and the “association” in which each is an elector (i.e. the association which will also produce its tailor made general election ballot for its elector).  Before the general election, the commission would ensure that each district’s electoral administration had also received all the different ballot papers for each of its residents who have become official electors for associations other than the geographically defined one in which they reside as a result of their participation in the Primary.  Thus, on general election day, each resident citizen would receive their own association’s blank ballot paper to complete in the secrecy provided by their local district’s polling station.


 


 Does this solve the secrecy problem for you?


 


…………………………..


>
> > > > S: Do you not see that APR?s Primary would make it easier for new additional parties ?associations? also to field candidates and that this would allow them and their electors to benefit more, both qualitatively and from the exact proportionality offered by APR?
> > >
> > J: I think this can be achieved also without a primary. APR may have some nice ideas on how this process could work, but it is possible to achieve similar kind of results also with much simpler arrangements.
> >
> > S: Please give me details of these ?much simpler arrangements? that you have in mind.
>
J:   See my first comment above on how one could avoid the primaries and achieve "association formation" by other means.


 


S:  In contrast to APR’s Primary, that “100000 comment” would seem to make it more difficult and less proportionate for establishing new parties.   Please give more details addressing each of the claimed advantage of APR’s Primary method listed later in this post. >



> > S: I have not asked for a ?generic answer? but feel that it would be helpful if you would describe your preferred alternatives to each of the following claimed advantages offered by APR:
>
J:  Yes, I can at least comment on the properties one by one (and I think I have already commented all of them at some level). I may not have an alternative module for APR in each specific point.
>


S:  Please see below.



> > J: All systems have some problems, rounding errors and there may be tradeoffs when trying to meet many different requirements at the same time. It is very much ok to trade between all different requirements so that the overall quality of the system (taking also into account practical limitations like the political environment) will be maximized.
> >
> > S: Tradeoffs are only necessary if 2 or more relevant values conflict. The only 2 that I see as potentially in conflict are: A) the desire to maximize the representation of each citizen by the rep she most trusts, and B) the desire to have a legislature that is most likely to make laws based on evidence and rational thought. Because ?A? by itself could theoretical produce mathematically a dictator in the legislature, ?B? has prompted APR?s 10% limit on the weighted votes that can be retained by any rep. This means that any law would have to be agreed to by a group of reps who together have more than 50% of the weighted votes, i.e. at least 6 reps.
> >
> > Do you see any additional values or yours that are potentially in conflict and which would require more tradeoffs in your preferred electoral system? If so, please explain.
>
J:   Yes, there are many design decisions to make. One very typical one is simplicity vs. complexity with some added features. Simplicity makes the system easy to understand and use to regular voters and thereby improves the democratic process.
>


S:  Yes, simplicity is very important. Please remember that APR allows a citizen simply to vote for one candidate if they see its other options as too complex.


 


How would the system you have in mind be simpler?  You have not yet described your preferred system in enough detail for me to see that it is any simpler than APR.  For example, how is your “geographic proportionality” to be achieved without the complicated and somewhat arbitrary work of “boundary commissions“ that may produce “safe-seats”, sometimes by “gerrymandering?  Also, your above “10000” proposal is not sufficiently detailed to be clear.



> > J: Working methods could certainly be improved also in APR, since I guess it is still pretty much a draft method.
> >
> > S: Perhaps mistakenly, currently, I do not see any remaining flaws in the most recent ?draft? of APR. Please tell me about any that you see and suggest any corrections.
>
J:  I think you can read all my comments either as doubts about if the design decisions are the best possible, or as more neutral questions wondering if the system could still be improved, or as questions to you on what kind of system you really want, and how those needs could best be met.


 


S: Yes, but I have not yet understood any of these as exposing a flaw.  Correct me if I am mistaken.
>
> > J: In my terminology, I think you are saying that APR's political proportionality could approximate the results of geographic proportionality (fully or to some extent) if the voters so wish. ?
> >
> > S: Yes.
> >
> > J: ?That is different from implementing geographic proportionality (that guarantees each region its proportional share of the seats).
> >
> > S: I now understand that your ?geographic proportionality? will be entirely determined by the number of citizens who happen to live in the relevant district. Do you accept that this means that in some cases, some of these citizens will not be able to help elect any candidate that they like or trust. Please explain why you want to deny these citizens this APR option.
>
J:  If voters cannot change the district that they vote in, it is possible that they do not trust any of the candidates of that district, but they could trust candidates of some other district. In my previous mail I explained how voters might be able to change their district. …


 


S:  Would they have firstly to move house to the other district?  If so, this would not be practically possible for most people, and certainly more difficult than relevantly participating in APR’s Primary to achieve the same result.


 


J:  … In addition it is possible to develop systems that both implement geographical proportionality and allow voters to vote candidates of other districts (such systems are however probably unusual). I don't want to deny voters this option, but I might opt not to support it in many practical systems since it does not add very much, …


 


S: If you “deny voters this option”, you do not know how “much” it would “add” or subtract.  It least we know that without this option you would be denying equality of respect to some of your fellow citizens and this violates a fundamental principle of democracy.  How would you justify this violation?  Of course, if you are really a “traditionalist”, you might see this as a “violation” of someone else’s ideology, not yours.  What do you think?


 


J: … but may add complexity, or alternatively remove geographical proportionality (that may be wanted for some reason).


 


S:  Surely, the small added complexity would affect only those citizens who would welcome it.


 


S: Other than your desire to conform to a “tradition” in your country, I do not think you have explained any other “reason” for retaining your so-called “geographical proportionality”.  Please correct me if I am mistaken.
>
> > J: Scientific method can be used in a very rational way. Same with any logical and sensible discussions. Political and social discussions often do not pay much attention to respecting such rigid practices.
> > >
> > S: Do you give highest importance to ?evidence and rational thought? in your own ?political and social discussions??
>
J:   I try to respect the "rational thought" criterion (in all discussions where that approach makes sense). "Evidence" is just one rational tool among others.
>
S:   I want to assume that you do because you are freely engaging in our dialogue. If you do value ?reason? as defined below at the end of this post, we both want to discover an electoral system that maximizes the chances that rational laws will be made. If so, I would very much appreciate it if you would detail your constructive criticisms of my above explanation of how APR would be such a system.
>
J: I think I have commented on all points at some level. At some points I have given general answers to cover numerous points. Please indicate if there are some remaining key questions left.


 


S:  Please see my above questions as well as the ones relating to the following claimed advantages of APR.  However, since I already asked about these in our 7th dialogue, perhaps you would prefer to delay your detailed responses to these questions in order to give you time to collect your thoughts.  If so, please let me know and I will look forward to a continuation of our dialogue at a later date.


S: I have not asked for a “generic answer” but feel that it would be helpful if you would criticize or describe your preferred alternatives to each of the following claimed advantages offered by APR:


1)  Unlikely your preferred system, the fact that APR allows each citizen to guarantee that their own vote will continue mathematically to count in the assembly through the weighted vote of their most favoured rep would seem maximally to encourage all citizens to participate politically.


2) Also, APR would probably provide more attractive candidates and thus a closer ideological identity between each citizen and his rep. APR’s associational structure would seem to assist, on average, the development of such more intense personal, ideological and mutual bonds than the more defuse and vague relations between the agendas of each elector and the representatives elected by other systems, including yours.


The evolution of these closer relationships would grow partly as a result of the time between the two elections. Firstly, the “bottom-up” Primary might prompt more electors to start to familiarize themselves with the existing members and other potential candidates of their preferred organizations. Thus, each APR representative is more likely to have been known and explicitly favoured by his electors at least several months before the general election. Consequently, the ideological fit between each set of APR’s associations, electors, and representatives is likely to be much closer than that between each set of parties, districts, electors, and representatives in other systems.


As a consequence of this bond, the focus of each APR representative’s work both within the assembly and with his electors and association is more likely to be clear. This increases the probability that each elector of a given association’s representative(s) will also be represented more efficiently in the assembly, that the quality of representation offered by APR is likely to be better than that provided by other systems, including yours.


3) APR’s Primary discovers which voluntary organizations should be officially recognized to have a proportionate extra political status and electoral function. The recognition of these associations would provide an additional democratic channel for more enthusiastic participation in the political process both by these associations and their electors. This recognition also gives each association and its elected rep(s) an opportunity to plan and to focus their combined resources more efficiently to help shape the binding decisions taken by the state. Thus, representation is made more efficient by also being supported by the activities of each citizen’s preferred and officially energized association;


4) Rational political thinking by the body politic is also likely to be assisted by the important additional knowledge discovered by the Primary. It would more reliably discover the degree to which each previously well known, less know, and unknown ideology, party, interest group, or club is, or is not, relevant to the real concerns of the people. This knowledge would enable all citizens, associations, potential candidates, and representatives more efficiently to plan how each can help to shape the laws.


5) Because APR’s ‘associations’ would have some communication and mobilization resources that are entirely independent of celebrity, the richest sections of society, and the mass media, this would probably help reduce the relative power of these sometimes anti-democratic forces in determining how people vote. This is because many citizens could more firmly, securely, and independently use the following opportunity provided by APR: to see their favoured association and its representatives as providing an essential part of the best way to promote and protect their own abiding interests and values.

 

6) Moreover, a legislative assembly composed of such different clashing, yet trusted and well focused reps would seem more likely to provide an optimal debating and negotiating chamber for the production of laws based on evidence and rational thought (please see the definition of “reason” at the end of the previous post). This is because it would more accurately reflect the real variety and intensity of people’s concerns. If so, this assembly would also be better able to respond to the imperative to form a working majority in the assembly in order to produce wise legislative solutions to problems, i.e. solutions also agreeable to a majority of the people. The fact that each APR representative, on average, is more likely to be focused and trusted by his or her electors would seem better to enable them also to arrive at any necessary compromises between the contending parties and representatives to achieve their common ends.

> > J: The scientific method and Wikipedia are good examples of areas where people have been able to expand such rational practices also to discussions of a group. Political discussions may include some individuals with rational thinking and argumentation, but as a whole, political debates are something else. The best strategy in political discussions (if one's target is to win the debate in question) usually is not that of rational argumentation.
> >
> > S: Winning is not the most important thing for me. Instead, I hope we can work together to discover the most rational and practical electoral system in the defined sense. What do you think?
>
> Yes, I think the whole EM list is based on rational discussions. People also defend their own viewpoints and their favourite methods sometimes a bit more than what rational discussion practices would require, but in general this list has good traditions in being open, constructive and rational.
 
S:  Yes.



> Juho


 


----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
steve bosworth | 12 Dec 15:55 2014
Picon

APR (7): Steve’s 7th dialogue with Juho (Steve)

APR (7):  Steve’s 7th dialogue with Juho (Steve)

 

> From: election-methods-request <at> lists.electorama.com
> Subject: Election-Methods Digest, Vol 126, Issue 11
> To: election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
> Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 08:56:05 -0800
> 1. Re: APR (6): Steve?s 6th dialogue with Juho (Steve) (Juho Late)
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>

 

> > J: [APR] has some interesting properties that can be the best solution in some cases. As I already said, I think there are many needs and many solutions. I don't believe that one system would be somehow superior. Or maybe, if we name some single ideal  environment with some ideal needs, there could be one system that would be my absolute favourite. But I mentioned also some potential problems of the proposed system. So it is impossible to me to say that [APR] would be somehow "the best". There is a big gap between saying that some of its components are interesting, good and worth testing in real life experiments, and saying that it is "the best electoral system".

S:  Please see the discussion below about “criteria”.

 

J:  …. [APR] is not ideal either. And different systems are good for different needs, so it is not even possible to judge the preference of a pair of systems by comparing them component by component. I think it is easier to analyze one system at a time, and compare it to the given targets (possibly separately to the targets of the person who asks, and to one's own targets). Comparison to other systems is possible too, but just to add some useful viewpoints or to find possible candidate systems.

S> > S: Yes, but that is why I asked you to focus on one concrete system for your recommendations, e.g. your own county?s.  Would it be possible for you to describe and justify the system that would be “best” for your country by using “reason” as defined at the end of this post?

S> > S: According to what criteria, if any, do you want to judge any electoral system as ?high? or ?ideal?? Are you willing to discuss the more detailed reasons I have previously given for making the above claims and to explain exactly how they ?overstate? the case when compared and contrasted to your preferred system according to such criteria?  Please see below for a recollection of these claims and reasons.
>
J:  I'm happy to discuss any (interesting) claims. The overstatements are something like jumping right away to saying "the best" (and asking for a confirmation to that) of a complex system that clearly has both positive and negative points from the points of view of most readers.
>
> > J: The alternative approach is not to have any primary but to have similar rules that restrict the participation of "associations" in the actual election. One typical restricting rule is to require certain number of supporter names to be collected before allowing some association to take part in the election.
> >
> > S: In this event, what exactly would permission to ?participate? in the ?actual election? involve?  How would it be different from the roles envisioned by APR?
>
J: The key difference in my description above was that there would be no primary. The right of a grouping to participate would be decided by other means.

S:  Would you be willing to spell out these “other means” and explain how they would be as effective as the ones offered by APR?


> > J: I'm used to an open list based proportional multiparty system that is also geographically proportional (that is far from ideal, and I'm far from being "completely happy" with it). From APR I could use the idea of ranked votes. That could be used in traditional list based systems e.g. to make party internal proportionality …

 

S:  What do you mean by “internal proportionality”?

 

J:  … and geographical proportionality more exact. I could use also the idea of representatives with different weights.

 

S:  Of course I would be happier with this but it seems that these additions from APR could undermine the “geographical proportionality” which you want.

 

J:  … I would however keep the weight differences between representatives smaller (partly because of the tradition)??.
> >
> > S: I accept that the current APR limit of 10% is somewhat arbitrary but do you have a reason for wanting it to be small? What percent? Why is ?tradition? important to you here?
>
J:   Tradition is important because it is an important political factor because it is important to many others. I thus recognize the fact that small changes are easier than radical changes.

S:  Yes, in practice, traditions can slow progress but it would help me to understand your values better if you could specify the long term ideal electoral system for your country toward which you would like your country to move as fast as possible.


J:  If I would use a high limit like 10%, I would probably tweak the system also in some other ways, somehow balancing the system, for example by giving the top representatives more assistants or more speaking time. …

 

S:  I would expect an APR assembly to approve such “assistants or speaking time”.

 

J: … My preference would be to start from lower figures in the first (experimental real life) systems. Maybe I could prove the benefits of the new system better that way.
>

> > J: ?.. Having different weights would be an interesting alternative, not necessarily an improvement. I'd like to strengthen geographic proportionality, not decrease it like in APR. I'd skip the primary since I think I can get those enhancements that I want also without it.
> >
> > S: Which ?enhancements? do you value and how are you going to get them without APR?
>
J:  Better political and geographical proprtionality can be achieved in many ways, with or without APR. For example by allowing also small groupings to win seats (seats allocated at national instead of regional level, and no cutoffs in some countries), and to improve political propotionality within the parties using ranked votes (in STV style).

 

S:  APR’s Primary provides an automatic mechanism by which “small groupings” can win seats, as well as determine where the “cutoffs”, if any, will be.  How would your preferred mechanisms avoid making these decisions arbitrarily?
>
> > S: Why do you want to ?strengthen geographic proportionality??
>
J:  Geographic proportionality may be quite exact at district level, but if those districts are large (as typical in multiparty countries), geographic proportionality within those large districts may be poor. Geographic proportionality is typically considered good because it supports local representatives that are close to the voters and they represent the values of those voters better that representatives that have no connection to that area.

S:  How do you answer the argument that APR has the advantage of providing an objective test of the extent to which these “local representatives” are (or are not) “close to the voters and represent the values of those voters”, i.e. a test of what you report as “typically considered” by some unknown source, based or not based on evidence.


> > S: Previously I have explained exactly how an APR citizen?s general election vote is completely ?secret?
>
J:  I understood that it is possible to hide one's preferences but generally that is not the case (some opinions will be revealed). …

 

S:  Please explain more fully, do you mean “revealed” voluntarily or even when citizens are determined to keep them secret?

 

J:  ... I believe the system [APR] also gives those voters that reveal their preferences somewhat easier or more efficient ways to influence the outcome.

 

S:  Do you mean this “ease and efficiency” is an advantage offered by APR as I do? Or that citizens who publicly join a particular association during the Primary will be more vulnerable to being bribed or coerced?  If the latter, please explain.
>
J:  In countries that support full voter privacy, any steps in that direction would probably be quite unacceptable. …

 

S:  You seem not to have accepted my earlier explanations of the different exact ways that each APR voter can keep their real party preferences absolutely secret.  Please explain why you do not accept that explanation?

 

J:  … I'm used to a system where the system intentionally makes it impossible to the voters even to prove (to outsiders) how they voted. …

 

S:  APR is one of these systems.

 

J:  …This is related to the risks of vote buying, coercion (= violent husband telling his wife "how the family will vote"), risk of revealing one's hidden opinions, risk of group pressure against minorities etc.

 

S:  Yes, and that is why I also favour APR’s methods.
>
> > S: Do you not see that APR?s Primary would make it easier for new additional parties ?associations? also to field candidates and that this would allow them and their electors to benefit more, both qualitatively and from the exact proportionality offered by APR?
>
J:   I think this can be achieved also without a primary. APR may have some nice ideas on how this process could work, but it is possible to achieve similar kind of results also with much simpler arrangements.

 

S:  Please give me details of these “much simpler arrangements” that you have in mind.
>
> > > > S: Do you also see APR as essential to the maximization of such ?responsiveness??
> > >
> > J: Not essential to the maximization. Other methods can achieve similar results.
> >
> > S: Please explain these ?other methods?.
>
J: Responsiveness is a very wide topic and a question that addresses all the aspects of a democratic system. I can't give a generic answer to this. Many methods have many positive properties.

 

S:  I have not asked for a “generic answer” but feel that it would be helpful if you would describe your preferred alternatives to each of the following claimed advantages offered by APR: 

1)      The fact that APR allows each citizen to guarantee that their own vote will continue mathematically to count in the assembly through the weighted vote of their most favoured rep would seem maximally to encourage all citizens to participate politically.

2)      Also, APR would probably provide more attractive candidates and thus a closer ideological identity between each citizen and his rep.   APR’s associational structure would seem to assist, on average, the development of such more intense personal, ideological and mutual bonds than the more defuse and vague relations between the agendas of each elector and the representatives elected by other systems.

 

The evolution of these closer relationships would grow partly as a result of the time between the two elections.  Firstly, the “bottom-up” Primary might prompt more electors to start to familiarize themselves with the existing members and other potential candidates of their preferred organizations. Thus, each APR representative is more likely to have been known and explicitly favoured by his electors at least several months before the general election. Consequently, the ideological fit between each set of APR’s associations, electors, and representatives is likely to be much closer than that between each set of parties, districts, electors, and representatives in other systems.

 

As a consequence of this bond, the focus of each APR representative’s work both within the assembly and with his electors and association is more likely to be clear. This increases the probability that each elector of a given association’s representative(s) will also be represented more efficiently in the assembly, that the quality of representation offered by APR is likely to be better than that provided by other systems.

3)      APR’s Primary discovers which voluntary organizations should be officially recognized to have a proportionate extra political status and electoral function. The recognition of these associations would provide an additional democratic channel for more enthusiastic participation in the political process both by these associations and their electors. This recognition also gives each association and its elected rep(s) an opportunity to plan and to focus their combined resources more efficiently to help shape the binding decisions taken by the state. Thus, representation is made more efficient by also being supported by the activities of each citizen’s preferred and officially energized association;

4)      Rational political thinking by the body politic is also likely to be assisted by the important additional knowledge discovered by the Primary.  It would more reliably discovered the degree to which each previously well known, less know, and unknown ideology, party, interest group, or club is, or is not, relevant to the real concerns of the people. This knowledge would enable all citizens, associations, potential candidates, and representatives more efficiently to plan how each can help to shape the laws.

5)      Because  APR’s ‘associations’ would  have some communication and mobilization resources that are entirely independent of celebrity, the richest sections of society, and the mass media, this would probably help reduce the relative power of these sometimes anti-democratic forces in determining how people vote. This is because many citizens could more firmly, securely, and independently use the following opportunity provided by APR: to see their favoured association and its representatives as providing an essential part of the best way to promote and protect their own abiding interests and values.

6)      Moreover, a legislative assembly composed of such different clashing, yet trusted and well focused reps would seem more likely to provide an optimal debating and negotiating chamber for the production of laws based on evidence and rational thought (please see the definition of “reason” at the end of this post). This is because it would more accurately reflect the real variety and intensity of people’s concerns. If so, this assembly would also be better able to respond to the imperative to form a working majority in the assembly in order to produce wise legislative solutions to problems, i.e. solutions also agreeable to a majority of the people. The fact that each APR representative, on average, is more likely to be focused and trusted by his or her electors would seem better to enable them also to arrive at any necessary compromises between the contending parties and representatives to achieve their common ends.

> > S: What is it in your ?environment? or system that makes ?wasting some votes ? acceptable ? and ? maybe best??
>
J:  All systems have some problems, rounding errors and there may be tradeoffs when trying to meet many different requirements at the same time. It is very much ok to trade between all different requirements so that the overall quality of the system (taking also into account practical limitations like the political environment) will be maximized.

S:  Tradeoffs are only necessary if 2 or more relevant values conflict.  The only 2 that I see as potentially in conflict are:  A) the desire to maximize the representation of each citizen by the rep she most trusts, and B) the desire to have a legislature that is most likely to make laws based on evidence and rational thought.  Because “A” by itself could theoretical produce mathematically a dictator in the legislature, “B” has prompted APR’s 10% limit on the weighted votes that can be retained by any rep.  This means that any law would have to be agreed to by a group of reps who together have more than 50% of the weighted votes, i.e. at least 6 reps.

 

Do you see any additional values or yours that are potentially in conflict and which would require more tradeoffs in your preferred  electoral system?  If so, please explain.

 

J: Working methods could certainly be improved also in APR, since I guess it is still pretty much a draft method.

S: Perhaps mistakenly, currently, I do not see any remaining flaws in the most recent “draft” of APR.  Please tell me about any that you see and suggest any corrections.


> > S: Why do you say ?probably? given the explanations of how APR?s associations should help to reduce the power of the rich, celebrity, and the mass media?  Please see above list.
>
J:  I think it is very probable that APR would not give perfect geographic proportionality.
>
> > S: Of course, you are correct that not all citizens may in practice be sufficiently rational to take full advantage of the fact that APR does ?enable? them to remove any bias "to the degree that they desire". However, those who are rational in this sense would help to achieve this benefit, not in some other ?opinion survey [about]? equal geographical representation? but both through APR?s open Primary and its secret general election rankings: each citizen is equally enabled to help determine the exact degree to which each geographically defined ?association? (district) will be represented in the assembly. If all citizens take full advantage of this option, each ?district?s? reps will together have a ?weighted vote? in the assembly equal to all the votes they have received from all the citizens in the country. Perhaps this clarifies the misunderstanding brought to light by the next 2 paragraphs. Please ask me to explain this more fully if necessary.
>
J:  In my terminology, I think you are saying that APR's political proportionality could approximate the results of geographic proportionality (fully or to some extent) if the voters so wish. …

 

S: Yes.

 

J:  …That is different from implementing geographic proportionality (that guarantees each region its proportional share of the seats).

S:  I now understand that your “geographic proportionality” will be entirely determined by the number of citizens who happen to live in the relevant district.  Do you accept that this means that in some cases, some of these citizens will not be able to help elect any candidate that they like or trust.  Please explain why you want to deny these citizens this APR option.


> > J: If "taste" means only choice between orange and pink ballot paper, then I guess it will not have very big weight in any society. But often "taste" means e.g. choice between a two-party system and a multiparty system. Then it should have big weight. Evidence and rational thought are hard to measure in a political environment since all politicians think that they represent those values in the best possible way.
> > ……………………….


S: Yes, many people, including ?politicians think that they represent those values?. What about you? Do you not think that reason and evidence can be objective? e .g. in ?science? or in ?philosophy??
>
J: Scientific method can be used in a very rational way. Same with any logical and sensible discussions. Political and social discussions often do not pay much attention to respecting such rigid practices.
>

S:  Do you give highest importance to “evidence and rational thought” in your own “political and social discussions”?  I want to assume that you do because you are freely engaging in our dialogue.  If you do value “reason” as defined below at the end of this post, we both want to discover an electoral system that maximizes the chances that rational laws will be made.  If so, I would very much appreciate it if you would detail your constructive criticisms of my above explanation of how APR would be such a system.


S:  While ?evidence? sometimes includes ?measurement?, not all evidence does. In any case, I see all arguments and evidence as capable of being examined and assessed by any person using ?reason?, which I want to define as follows:
> > REASON
Reasoning is the conscious thought process that searches for true answers to any significant questions about any element of reality (sensory, social or self-conscious), i.e. about what reality was, is, will be, or ought to be. A person does this with the help of other people whenever possible by,
> > 1) comparing all of the different answers proposed. She compares them with respect to,
> > 2) their abilities to describe and explain the sensory, social or spiritual experience being asked about,
> > 3) their avoidance of logical self-contradictions, and
> > 4) the way they do or do not fit in well with all of the answers to the many other questions with which she is currently satisfied, i.e. comparing them with regard to the current extent to which each answer seems to be an integral part of the seemingly true and most comprehensive theory of all reality.
> > The answer that best satisfies these four interrelated points would be seen by those using reason to be the most rational answer for the time being. The previous sentence appropriately indicates that a rationalist recognizes that any answer or conclusion that she comes to, may have to be changed in the light of new evidence or arguments, i.e. reason recognizes that any conclusion may later prove to be false (or not yet complete) and thus that each answer or conclusion must be assumed to be tentative (conditional or provisional). Such an answer would also be objective provided only that it did not depend on some experience that is currently capable only of being private to the thinker concerned.?
> >
> > S: What do you think?
>
J: The scientific method and Wikipedia are good examples of areas where people have been able to expand such rational practices also to discussions of a group. Political discussions may include some individuals with rational thinking and argumentation, but as a whole, political debates are something else. The best strategy in political discussions (if one's target is to win the debate in question) usually is not that of rational argumentation.

 

S:  Winning is not the most important thing for me.  Instead, I hope we can work together to discover the most rational and practical electoral system in the above sense.  What do you think?

 

> Juho

 

----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
steve bosworth | 10 Dec 21:03 2014
Picon

APR (9): Steve's 9th dialogue with Toby (Steve)

APR (9):  Steve's 9th dialogue with Toby (Steve) 

Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2014 19:27:23 +0000
From: tdp201b <at> yahoo.co.uk
To: stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com; election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
Subject: Re: APR (8a): Steve’s 8th dialogue with Toby(Steve)

 

To Toby (and others) from Steve:

 

T: My best definition of proportionality is that you have perfect proportional representation if every voter has exactly the same amount of representation as each other. Different non-perfect results can be compared in terms of average squared distance from full proportionality for each voter. Read the method description from this post on approval voting http://permalink.gmane.org/gmane.politics.election-methods/24572 but it can also be adapted to score voting based on voter utilities.

 

S: Thank you for this reference.

 

T:  Of course, you may argue that under APR every voter does have exactly the same amount of representation, but I'd argue that this is simplistic because while each voter has their "official" representative and the same amount of official representation  ,….

 

S: Yes, and also from the MP they most trust.  This does not seem to be able to be guaranteed by any other system.

 

T: …..they are also effectively represented by every other representative that has views that they agree with. Because of this, some voters can by chance end up with better representation.

 

S:  Yes.  You say that “by chance”, an APR voter might also be “effectively represented by every other representative that has views that they agree with. Because of this, some voters can by chance end up with better representation.”  Yes, but am I correct in saying that every electoral system would seem to allow such extra representation to occur by chance for some voters?  Do you see this as a problem?  If so, why? 

 

T:  My example where APR is supposed to be indifferent between [some] different results does depend on a voter being able to indicate equal preferences, which might not be possible under APR…

 

S: Correct.

 

T: …. but my point was that if I equally like candidates A, B and C, then if according to a particular system I am represented by just one candidate then it could equally be A, B or C.

 

S: Yes.

 

T:  ……That way, if I like ABC and you like ABD, then I could be represented by C and you could be represented by A. We are both fully satisfied with our own representative, but I like yours more than you like mine so I have a better deal.

 

S: Yes, but if every system allows such “deals” sometimes to happen by chance, then it’s not a reason to favour one system over another. 

 

T:  But to change it slightly, we might be forced into a strict preference, so I rank C>B>A, even though they are the same to me. You rank A>B>D. I get C and you get A. APR doesn't know that I would be equally happy with A.

 

S: Correct, APR doesn’t know this but it has guaranteed happiness for us both.  If a system can guarantee this, why is it so important to you that you have a system that would know this, even when it could not guarantee that each citizen will be represented by their favourite or equally favourite MP?

 

 

T: Ranked systems in general don't know, whereas score systems give details about [equal] intensity of preference, and approval systems at least give voters the chance to say that they approve or not of a candidate.

 

S: Again, why is this more important to you than being guaranteed representation by your most trusted MP?

 

T: Obviously it would be interesting to know in practice how people would vote using score and approval systems (how honest their scores would be)…….

 

S: Yes, perhaps “interesting” for academic an observer of an election, especially if he had discovered a method for discovering such honesty.  However, why would any voter prefer this knowledge about other people if, at the same time, it requires a system that cannot guarantee that his own vote will be added to the weighted vote of his favourite MP?  In any case, each citizen already has this knowledge about themselves.

 

T:  …… but these are at least potential disadvantages of APR,

 

S: In the light of the above, do you still see any “potential disadvantages of APR”?  It so, please list and describe them.

 

S: I look forward to your clarifications.

Toby

----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
steve bosworth | 10 Dec 15:22 2014
Picon

APR (6): Steve’s 6th dialogue with Juho (Steve)

APR (6): Steve’s 6th dialogue with Juho (Steve)

 

Hi Juho (and others),

I’ve tried to address the most fundamental issues first.  My most recent responses start with:  “S:”

Steve

> From: election-methods-request <at> lists.electorama.com
> Subject: Election-Methods Digest, Vol 126, Issue 6
> To: election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
> Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2014 14:09:56 -0800
>

> 1. Re: APR (5): Steve's 5th dialogue with Juho (Juho Late)
>

> > On 04 Dec 2014, at 21:08, steve bosworth <stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com> wrote:

S: Firstly, I wanted to be clear about what you mean by “geographical proportionality”:


S:  > > ... if you believe ?geographical ? proportionality? should be justified by something other than the number of citizens who would join its geographically defined ?electoral association?:
>
J:  Geographic proportionality means that different regions will get their proportional share of the seats irrespestive of how the voters vote.

S:  This means, you want geographical areas to be represented “irrespective” of how the citizens vote living in a given area, and each district should send a number of representatives to the assembly roughly in proportion to the number of citizens who live there. This is what you mean by “geographic proportionality”.  Each rep would have only one vote in the assembly.  If some of these citizens would prefer their vote instead to help elect representatives for other districts or for any non-geographically defined “association”, your preferred system would ignore this.  Please correct me if I am mistaken.

>
> >S:  In any case, APR would enable all the citizens who understand and care about ?the problems of the remote areas? to form an association to defend these areas in proportion to the weighted votes of this association?s reps.  Of course, some people who live anywhere in the country (including the cities) could be electors of this association.
>
J:  Existing systems typically use some form of geographic proportionality when they want to guarantee some level of representation of the "remote areas". I believe that without any such mechanisms APR would lead to weaker representation of those areas than typical current systems. The fact that APR makes it possible to elect representatives from remote areas does not mean that it would do so.

 

S:  “Weaker” because some resident citizens would prefer to vote for candidate for other districts or association?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++


> S: APR would seem to be the best electoral system in this regard, i.e. it seems to provide an essential element of the structural political conditions that would maximize the probability that [rational] democratic solutions to problems will be found. If you disagree with this claim, I would like to understand your reasons.
>
J:  It has some interesting properties that can be the best solution in some cases. As I already said, I think there are many needs and many solutions. I don't believe that one system would be somehow superior. Or maybe, if we name some single ideal [please see “criteria” discussion below] environment with some ideal needs, there could be one system that would be my absolute favourite. But I mentioned also some potential problems of the proposed system. So it is impossible to me to say that the presented definition would be somehow "the best". There is a big gap between saying that some of its components are interesting, good and worth testing in real life experiments, and saying that it is "the best electoral system".

S: Yes, but that is why I asked you to focus on one concrete system for your recommendations, e.g. your own county’s.

 

++++++++++++++


> > > >S:  As a result of [it Primary and associations], APR, more than other systems, would seem to assist the development of a much closer identity between each elector and his representative, a more intense personal, ideological and mutual bond. This would seem to contrast, on average, with the more defuse and vague relations between the agendas of each elector and the representatives elected by other systems.
> > >
J:  I just think that words like "more than other systems" and "much closer ..." etc. are an overstatement. I just fail to see APR somewhere high above all the other proposed systems.

 

S:  According to what criteria, if any, to you want to judge any electoral system as “high” or “ideal”?  Are you willing to discuss the more detailed reasons I have previously given for making the above claims and to explain exactly how they “overstate” the case when compared and contrasted to your preferred system according to such criteria?
>
+++++++++++++++++++


> > S: As I see it, any group of citizens with the following would automatically be placed on the list of applicant organizations by the central electoral commission for APR?s Primary election: payment of a small administration fee, ...
>
J:  The alternative approach is not to have any primary but to have similar rules that restrict the participation of "associations" in the actual election. One typical restricting rule is to require certain number of supporter names to be collected before allowing some association to take part in the election.

 

S:  In this event, what exactly would permission to “participate” in the “actual election” involve, different from the roles envisioned by APR?

++++++++++++>

 

J:  I'm used to an open list based proportional multiparty system that is also geographically proportional (that is far from ideal, and I'm far from being "completely happy" with it). From APR I could use the idea of ranked votes. That could be used in traditional list based systems e.g. to make party internal proportionality and geographical proportionality more exact. I could use also the idea of representatives with different weights. I would however keep the weight differences between representatives smaller (partly because of the tradition)…….

 

S:  I accept that the current APR limit of 10% is somewhat arbitrary but do you have a reason for wanting it to be small?  What percent? Why is “tradition” important to you here?

 

J: ….. Having different weights would be an interesting alternative, not necessarily an improvement. I'd like to strengthen geographic proportionality, not decrease it like in APR. I'd skip the primary since I think I can get those enhancements that I want also without it.

 

S:  Which “enhancements” do you value and how are you going to get them without APR?

 

S:  Why do you want to “strengthen geographic proportionality”?

 

……………

> > S: Do you see that APR?s weighted votes would make this proportionality complete, as well as making each citizen?s vote equally (mathematically) to count in the assembly?
>
J:   APR introduces one interesting feature (no lost votes) that helps making _political_ proportionality exact, but it may also lose some accuracy e.g. since people may not want to declare their true preferences since the votes are not fully secret.

 

S: Given my previous explains of exactly how an APR citizen’s general election vote is completely “secret”, and that he still has the full range of choices available to him even if he wishes not to make his associational preference public by participating in APR’s Primary, what “accuracy” to you see might be “lost” by APR?

 

T:  Many proportional methods can already today reach good political proportionality. Therefore APR would not introduce any radical improvements to political proportionality to the set of available methods.

S:  Do you not see that APR’s Primary would make it easier for new additional parties “associations” also to field candidates and that this would allow them and their electors to benefit more, both qualitatively and from the exact proportionality offered by APR?

> > S: Do you also see APR as essential to the maximization of such ?responsiveness??
>
J:  Not essential to the maximization. Other methods can achieve similar results.

 

S:  Please explain these “other methods”.
>
> > S: Does your preferred system need to waste some votes? If so, how is this justified?
>
J:  There is no such need, but that may be acceptable or practical. In practice all systems have some problems. A system that wastes only a very small percentage of the votes in a way that treats all parties and voters equally can be a good system (maybe the best that I can find for that environment).

S:  What is it in your “environment” or system that makes “wasting some votes … acceptable … and … maybe best”?

+++++++++++


> > S: Are you satisfied in this regard with the existing limit of 10% of all the weighted votes?
>
J:   I could have proposed e.g. a system where the highest weight is at most two times the lowest weight. Here the society and its needs and interests are an important factor that defines what is good and what is not. Also the impacts on the practical work and working methods of the representative body need to be taken into account.

S: I couldn’t agree with you more.  However, you imply that APR would ignore “society and its needs” and “the practical work and working methods of the representative body”.  If this is your view, please explain. 

 

S:  Also, if the limit were “at most two times the lowest weight”, this would mean fewer citizens’ votes have been added to the voting power of the rep each such citizen trusts most.  This would be a reduction in the quality of their representation in the assembly.  In your view, what counter balancing value would be more completely satisfied if this change were made?


> > S: Do you also see that APR would structurally enable any such bias to be eliminated exactly to the degree desired by citizens.
>
J:  No. I try to be exact with words here. APR would make it in principle technically possible to the voters to elect the candidates from those regions that they want. But not "to the degree that they desire" in the sense that even if they would say in an opinion survey that they want equal geographical representation, the outcome would probably not be balanced but a biased one (in favour of the most central cities and hollywood style figures with good national visibility).

 

S:  Why do you say “probably” given the explanations of how APR’s associations should help to reduce the power of the rich, celebrity, and the mass media?

 

S:  Of course, you are correct that not all citizens may in practice be sufficiently rational to take full advantage of the fact that APR does “enable” them to remove any bias "to the degree that they desire".  However, those who are rational in this sense would help to achieve this benefit, not in some other “opinion survey [about]… equal geographical representation” but both through APR’s open Primary and its secret general election rankings:  each citizen is equally enabled to help determine the exact degree to which each geographically defined “association” (district) will be represented in the assembly.  If all citizens take full advantage of this option, each “district’s” reps will together have a “weighted vote” in the assembly equal to all the votes they have received from all the citizens in the country.  Perhaps this clarifies the misunderstanding brought to light by the next 2 paragraphs.  Please ask me to explain this more fully if necessary.
………………..


> > S: I accept that ?taste? is currently, in fact, an important determinant in politics and in life generally. However, do you not also agree that in politics, when ?taste? conflicts with the conclusions based on the available evidence and rational thought, taste should be overruled?
>
J:  If "taste" means only choice between orange and pink ballot paper, then I guess it will not have very big weight in any society. But often "taste" means e.g. choice between a two-party system and a multiparty system. Then it should have big weight. Evidence and rational thought are hard to measure in a political environment since all politicians think that they represent those values in the best possible way.

 

S:  Do you mean it “does” or “should” have a big weight?  Yes, many people, including “politicians think that they represent those values”.  What about you? Do you not think that reason and evidence can be objective? e .g. in “science” or in “philosophy”?
While “evidence” sometimes includes “measurement”, not all evidence does.  In any case, I see all arguments and evidence as capable of being examined and assessed by any person using “reason”, which I want to define as follows:

REASON

Reasoning is the conscious thought process that searches for true answers to any significant questions about any element of reality (sensory, social or self-conscious), i.e. about what reality was, is, will be, or ought to be.  A person does this with the help of other people whenever possible by,

1) comparing all of the different answers proposed. She compares them with respect to,

2) their abilities to describe and explain the sensory, social or spiritual experience being asked about,

3) their avoidance of logical self-contradictions, and

4) the way they do or do not fit in well with all of the answers to the many other questions with which she is currently satisfied, i.e. comparing them with regard to the current extent to which each answer seems to be an integral part of the seemingly true and most comprehensive theory of all reality.

The answer that best satisfies these four interrelated points would be seen by those using reason to be the most rational answer for the time being.  The previous sentence appropriately indicates that a rationalist recognizes that any answer or conclusion that she comes to, may have to be changed in the light of new evidence or arguments, i.e. reason recognizes that any conclusion may later prove to be false (or not yet complete) and thus that each answer or conclusion must be assumed to be tentative (conditional or provisional).  Such an answer would also be objective provided only that it did not depend on some experience that is currently capable only of being private to the thinker concerned.”

 

S:  What do you think?

----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
steve bosworth | 9 Dec 11:27 2014
Picon

APR (8a): Steve’s 8th dialogue with Toby(Steve)


APR (8):  Steve’s 8th dialogue with Toby(Steve)



Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2014 23:14:15 +0000
From: tdp201b <at> yahoo.co.uk
To: stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com; election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
Subject: Re: APR (7) Steve's 7th dialogue with Toby


Feel free to ask Steve to send you a copy of his APR article.


 


Toby (and others),


In order to respond to the other elements of your last post more efficiently, I need you to clarify the following:


T: This is one reason why I generally speaking prefer proportional approval and score systems to STV systems. In approval/score systems, your opinion of all candidates is taken into account in the electoral process, so it should give a more accurate proportional result overall.  I suppose this comes down to how you define proportionality. I would argue that the most proportional result is the one that gives the best equalises representation across all the voters.


S:  Reading this together with what you say later, you seem now to be using “proportional” in a way I do not yet understand.  It seems not to have a “mathematical” definition.  Is this true?  Currently, I’m guessing that for you it means something like: “an appropriately balanced mix of reps from your subjective point of view”.  Please clarify.


What does “the best equalises representation across all the voters” mean?


S: How can it be “more accurate”? With an approval/score system, none of your favoured candidates might be elected, or more likely, your secret first choice or highest “scored” candidate might not be elected because your other approvals or scores helped other candidates to be elected instead. Thus, your one vote might be wasted or partly wasted. In contrast, APR allows you to guarantee that one of the MPs is either most favoured by you, is most favoured by your most favoured but eliminated candidate, or favoured by your very popular most trusted MP.



T:  For example, if one voter equally likes candidates A, B and C, and another equally likes A, B and D, then with two to elect, I think most people would agree that AB is the best result. However, STV-type methods (including APR) would be indifferent between this and any other result such as AC (AB might end up as the elected result due to a particular counting method, but ideologically STV is indifferent). AC would greatly favour one voter of the other even though both would be fully satisfied with "their" own representative. One voter has been lucky because they happened to also like the other voter's representative. The other voter was less lucky. This is why I think it is a limitation of voting systems for a person's vote to be transferred to a single candidate such as in STV and APR and ignore all their other preference information below the transfer point. Taking into account scores given to all candidates allows a method to give a more balanced and I would argue more proportional result.


S:  Please explain the above again, e.g. in what sense would “APR … be indifferent between this and any other result such as AC”.


 

S:  I want to understand and so I look forward to these clarifications.


 

Steve


 


----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
⸘Ŭalabio‽ | 6 Dec 06:06 2014

A friend needed help with the Legislature of Equestrian for a Story. I helped with its design using ElectionMathematics.

	I work with ElectionMathematics.  The way I would design a legislature is with 3 Houses:

	*	An House of Proportional Representation elected using Asset-Voting.
	*	An House of Local Representation with Districts draw using the algorithm SplitLine and members
elected using Approval Voting.
	*	An House of Regions with members chosen using Approval Voting.

	The Houses of Local Representation and Proportional representation have the cube-Root of the
Population of Equestria as members.  The Houses of Proportional Representation Local Representation
approve sections of bills using >50% is approved.  The sections go to the House of Regions where they are
edited into complete bills.  If the complete bills get >50% of the House of Regions to approve them, they go
back to all 3 houses.  If each house gives over >50% approval, they go to the Executive Elected Popularly
Using Approval Voting who either signs the bill into law or vetoes it.  The houses can overturn a veto if >⅔
of each house votes to do so.
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
steve bosworth | 4 Dec 20:08 2014
Picon

APR (5): Steve's 5th dialogue with Juho

APR (5):  Steve's 5th dialogue with Juho

 

For:  To-Juho5

 


> Message: 3
> Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2014 15:51:00 +0200
> From: Juho Late <juho4880 <at> yahoo.co.uk>
> To: "election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com"
> <election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com>
> Subject: Re: [EM] (4) APR: Steve?s 4th dialogue with Juho
> Message-ID: <468B5E4F-C5D7-46B7-894B-5DC0A0400626 <at> yahoo.co.uk>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>
> > On 28 Nov 2014, at 23:32, steve bosworth <stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com> wrote:
> >
S:  At the end of your post you say:


J: I think APR has many interesting features that are worth discussing. I wouldn't say that it is a readymade solution to most political problems.
>

S: I should make it clear that I do not claim that APR is “a readymade solution to most political problems”.  Instead, for the reasons that I have attempted present in the more complete explanation remaining at the end of this post: it would seem to be the best electoral system, i.e. it seems to provide an essential element of the structural political conditions that would maximize the probability that democratic solutions to problems will be found.  If you disagree with this claim, I would like to understand your reasons.

 

> > S: Perhaps you would be willing to focus on and explain your own electoral recommendations with regard to a specific country: your own, the UK, the USA, or ??????????? That would help me better to understand your current position.
>
J:  Not very easy. I have a proportional multiparty background, so I tend to lean in that direction, but when we talk e.g. about the USA, I try to be neutral, just commenting on what might work for your needs (whatever they are).

 

S:  Please do not think you have to be “neutral”.  Please take sides when you think reason is on your side and explain. 

 

S:  If you are already completely happy with your country’s electoral system, please tell me about it and explain why you think APR would be worse.  As you already know, currently, I would want to argue that APR would be even better for your “multiparty” situation.  Please tell me more.
>
> > J: > In the current state of affairs, globally, in multi- winner systems. In most cases I'd support good proportionality (could be political, geographical and others if needed), avoidance of obvious strategic incentives an fraud, good responsiveness to voter opinions, and good understandability. I thus want to see working democracies around.
> > >
> > S: It would help even more if you would clarify what you mean by ?good? in each of the above phrases.
>
J: “good proportionality” = simply, n% of the votes (or voters or citizens in some cases) gives n% of the seats

 

S:  Do you see that APR’s weighted votes would make this proportionality complete, as well as making each citizen’s vote equally (mathematically) to count in the assembly?
>
> “good responsiveness to voter opinions” = voters will feel that if they have some opinion, the outcome of the election will reflect that opinion right away, and the policy, the government, the laws, the ruling parties etc. will change as a result of that expressed opinion (voters will not feel e.g. that whatever way they vote, the rulers and policy will stay the same anyway)
>

S:  Do you also see APR as essential to the maximization of such “responsiveness”?

J:  “good understandability” = voters understand how to vote, what each candidate and party stands for, and how the results will change depending on how people vote (the whole process should thus be 100% understood by all the voters, from candidate nomination and party formation to government formation and all the way to the next election)
>
> “working democracy” = could be said to mean that most voters think that "government = us", i.e. there are no "others" that rule the country instead of the voters (as a result there is no need for mutinies, complaints etc.)
>
S:  I think you already understand that for me, an electoral system is ?good? to the extent that it fully respects the equality of each citizen by allowing each to guarantee that his or her vote will never be wasted.
>
J:  That's one good target. It is good to never waste votes, or at least to waste them seldom enough so that voters can vote as if no votes would be ever wasted.

S:  Does your preferred system need to waste some votes?  If so, how is this justified?

> > J: That is one approach to making a sensible system. I'd like to see the weighted vote approach tested somewhere.
> >
> > S: Of course, I would also like to see it tested. However, before such a test, do you see any specific reasons to think that it would at all be dangerous or destructive? I don?t.
>
J:  I don't see any such major problems that would make this approach unusable. One of my smaller practical implementation related concerns is possible big differences in voting power. But that can be easily fixed by limiting the max voting power.

 

S:  Are you satisfied in this regard with the existing limit of 10% of all the weighted votes?

 
> > S: I can see why you might say that the ?central cities would? have ?more? seats, but it is pejorative to say this is ?disproportionate?. What value do you have in mind to make you see these ?more seats? to be ?bad??
>
J:   A system that tends to give one part of the country more seats than others is not geographically proportional. I guess we cannot assume that central cities or their candidates would be somehow more valuable, and we would therefore want this bias to exist. Typically different parts of the country have somewhat different viewpoints, and therefore we want to eliminate also this kind of (typical voting behaviour based) bias.

 

S: Do you also see that APR would structural enable any such bias to be eliminated exactly to the degree desired by citizens.
>
> > J: With geographical proportionality I don't mean proportionality with respect to where the land is but proportionality with respect to where people live.
> >
> > S: Is not this ?proportionality? determined by the number of people who live there?
> …………………….

 

S: I think you already see that this understanding of “proportionality” as determined by numbers of voters, entirely conforms to APR.

 

…………………….
> > J: You can have both at the same time. In some places also the land area is used in a proportional way [i.e. to determine the number of reps allowed to represent these hectors], but that is to my understanding very rare.
> >
> > S: Do you think that this could ever be properly justified?
> ……………..
> > S: Why isn?t APR?s exact, rather than ?rough?, proportionality better?
…………………….

 

> S:  If you agree that “exact proportionality is a good target”, would this not make APR your own ideal system?  It removes all “rounding errors”.
>

………………………

S:  For me, only citizen (and party) proportionality is justified, therefore, representation through the electoral “associations” offered by APR.
>
J:  It is a matter of taste which features are important and which ones are not. Some variant of APR could well implement also geographical proportionality (without losing too much of its original flavour).
>

S:  I accept that “taste” is currently, in fact, an important determinant in politics and in life generally.  However, do you not also agree that in politics, when “taste” conflicts with the conclusions based on the available evidence and rational thought, taste should be overruled?  As I see it, rational thought in a democracy requires us to respect the mathematically equality of each citizen’s vote in the legislative assembly.  It is this assembly that should make any binding decisions with regard to the importance of any “land”, “city”, or “tradition”.  If so, this possibly argues against your following claim if you believe “geographical … proportionality” should be justified by something other than the number of citizens who would join its geographically defined “electoral association”:

 

J: ………..(Note that geographical and political proportionality can be implemented also simultaneously. Land mass based proportionality would give different weights to different voters, but normal geographical proportionality gives all voters the same weight.)
……………………….>

J:  > > > I'm not proposing to use land area as one basis of proportionality in this case. In most countries the approach of using "where people live" is one basis of proportionality. This means that those systems put less weight on "who values those areas" (and more on "who lives in those areas").
> > >

S:  This is why APR gives each citizen one vote, countrywide.

>
> > J: ????If one ? wants to let the voters decide, then one can take the "who values those areas" approach?. My claim is that in the USA, if only one single district is used, Hollywood, Washington D.C. and New York would probably get more representatives than their relative size of the population is, and Montana, Idaho, and non central areas within each state less.
> > >
> > S: Do you see this as a problem, provided also that each American citizen would have a rep in the US House of Representatives with a weighted vote who he or she trusts most?
>
J:   A typical potential problem could be that most government money and effort would be spent in serving those few central cities, and nobody would be interested in the problems of the remote areas. You could say that voters can now blame themselves, and that they could have voted only for the candidates of their own area. But typical voters are not that organized. ….

 

………………………..

J:  Are there some compelling reasons?
> There are many reasons why having a primary could be less than optimal. Additional complexity and costs is one thing. If you can do it at one round, why not. In the USA the primaries are needed today mainly because of the FPTP method. In APR you can choose freely.
>
S:  Again, what do you make of the more concentrated explanation at the end of this post?  It explains how APR’s Primary and its associational structure would help to produce a legislative assembly that is more likely to make laws base on rational thought and the available evidence?  This same explanation argues that this associational structure would help to reduce the power of the mass media (TV), celebrity, and money (i.e. the worry you voice in your next paragraph). 

 

In any case, APR would enable all the citizens who understand and care about “the problems of the remote areas” to form an association to defend these areas in proportion to the weighted votes of this association’s reps.  Of course, some people who live anywhere in the country (including the cities) could be electors of this association.

 

J: ………They tend to vote for the most visible figures anyway, and that leads to some bias in favour of the central cities and the most visible candidates. In some sense geographical proportionality forces the system to elect representatives that are not most popular, but that is intended to be for the benefit of the voters, and to represent them and their opinions better and more accurately than the voters would vote themselves (if they were given the chance to vote for the public figures that they know from TV).

………………………..
>
S:  How the Electoral Associations Produced by APR?s Primary Elections Increase Positive Voting:
> >
> > Let me try to explain more fully why I think that APR without its Primary and the ?official electoral associations? it discovers would only be a second best APR option. Firstly and most obviously, APR would seem to help maximize the quality of representation for each citizen during the general election by making it relatively easy for each elector secretly to rank as many candidates in the whole country as each might wish. This enables each to guarantee that their vote will be added to the ?weighted vote? in the legislative assembly of their most favoured representative (or most favoured by their first choice but eliminated candidate).
>
> Primaries and associations is one way to avoid wasting votes. Another one would be ranked votes (to individual candidates) with inheritance to parties / associations that have been formed in some other way before the election.
>
> > However, this qualitative advantage would seem also to be enhanced further by the consequences of APR?s Primary election. The Primary discovers both the popular voluntary organizations in civil society that will be recognized as the official electoral ?associations?, and the number of representatives each will be allow to elect to the assembly months later during the general election. To the extent that this would both help to energize these popular associations politically and stimulate more attractive candidates to seek office in the general election, the quality of representation in the assembly would be raised.
> >
> > APR?s Primary differs from the ones that are sometimes used currently, e.g. in the USA. It would not decide which one of each party's candidates will run in the general election. Instead, it allows each citizen to choose to become a voting-member of his or her most favoured electoral ?association' for general election purposes.
> > These associations are established by citizens choosing them from the list of all the voluntary organizations in the country that want to elect at least one member of the legislative assembly directly.
>
J:  I guess you need also rules on how associations can be formed before the plenary.
>
S:  As I see it, any group of citizens with the following would automatically be placed on the list of applicant organizations by the central electoral commission for APR’s Primary election:  payment of a small administration fee, official name, address, a statement of its mission, a description of its current organizational rules, a statement of the kind of citizens it would like to have as its electors for general election purposes, and a description of the necessary qualifications (if any) a candidate must have in order to be place on its general election ballot if it becomes accepted as an electoral “association”.

 

S: This list would have been compiled previously by the central electoral commission. These organizations need not be geographically defined and would probably also include all the political parties, many of the existing electoral districts, and many interest groups (e.g. business, labour, professional, social, environmental, recreational, ethnic, or religious).
> > Again, each citizen becomes an elector for the later general election through one of these associations by ranking as many of these applicant organizations as they might wish during the Primary. A citizen would rank the organization first that he or she believes will offer the most attractive candidates during the general election, the organization that accords best with his own values and interests. Any citizen that does not participate in the Primary is automatically registered as a voter in the geographically defined association (district) in which he or she resides.
> > Citizens know these organizations through their work, profession, daily lives, and/or their activities throughout the year. The daily living connections that people have with these organizations help them to know how to vote and how otherwise to participate politically in accord with their own valued life experiences. The Primary?s counting of these rankings would reveal the ?approximate? mathematical importance given by the public to each of the geographically or non-geographically defined, applicant organizations with regard to political life. Still, the ?exact? mathematical importance of each would instead be determined later by citizens? secret votes during the general election, these being added to the weighted votes of each ?association?s? representative(s). Each organization discovered to be one of the most popular organizations which together contain all citizens as their electors for general election purposes is officially recognized as an ?association?. The mo
> re popular an ?association? is discovered to be, the more representatives it will be allowed to elect (see p. 6 and Endnote 5 of my article).
> >
> > In this way, APR?s Primary also enables all citizens and the state itself to discover which voluntary organizations should be officially recognized to have this proportionate extra political status and electoral function. It would also be conducive to more rational participation on the part of citizens: While choosing their voting membership during the Primary, each citizen is prompted to clarify their own scale of values and to decide on which organization most completely agrees with this scale.
> >
> > At the same time, the recognition of these associations would provide an additional democratic channel for more enthusiastic participation in the political process both by these associations and their electors. This recognition also gives each association and its elected rep(s) an opportunity to plan and to focus their combined resources more efficiently to help shape the binding decisions taken by the state.
>
J: The primary could contribute positively to the discussion and formation of different associations. There could of course be also other approaches to free formation of associations.

 >
S: The time difference as well as the division of functions between the Primary and the general election would increase the opportunities for this coordination and rational political thinking to take place on the part of all concerned. This time gap also gives each association time to invite and to finalize the list of candidates who wish to represent it. It also gives time for potential candidates to apply and to prepare for the general election. The general election then additionally prompts each citizen more carefully to rank the individual candidates by considering which ones are more likely to work and vote for laws and policies in accord with the citizens own scale of values.
> > In fact, such rational thinking would seem to be assisted by the important knowledge discovered by the Primary. It would have more reliably discovered the degree to which each previously well known, less know, and unknown ideology, party, interest group, or club is, or is not, relevant to the real concerns of the people. This knowledge would enable all citizens, associations, potential candidates, and representatives more efficiently to plan how each can help to shape the laws of the land during the coming general election and after.>
> > As a result of the above arrangements, APR, more than other systems, would seem to assist the development of a much closer identity between each elector and his representative, a more intense personal, ideological and mutual bond. This would seem to contrast, on average, with the more defuse and vague relations between the agendas of each elector and the representatives elected by other systems.
>
J:  That is a rather general and strong statement.

 

S:  Does this mean you think it is not justified?  If so, why not?
> 
S:  Again, the evolution of these closer relationships between electors, associations, and representatives would grow partly as a result of the time between the two elections. Firstly, the ?bottom-up? Primary might prompt more electors to start to familiarize themselves with the association?s officials, activists, and other potential candidates of their preferred organizations. Thus, each APR representative is more likely to have been known and explicitly favoured by his electors at least several months before the general election. Consequently, the ideological fit between each set of APR?s associations, electors, and representatives is likely to be much closer than that between each set of parties, districts, electors, and representatives in other systems.
> > >
> > As a consequence of this bond, the focus of each APR representative?s work both within the assembly and with his electors and association is more likely to be clear. This increases the probability that each elector of a given association?s representative(s) will also be represented more efficiently in the assembly, that the quality of representation offered by APR is likely to be better than that provided by other systems.
> > Moreover, a legislative assembly composed of such different, clashing and well focused reps would seem more likely to provide an optimal debating and negotiating chamber for the production of laws based on evidence and rational thought. This is because it would more accurately reflect the real variety and intensity of people?s concerns. If so, this assembly would also be better able to respond to the imperative to form a working majority in the assembly in order to produce wise legislative solutions to problems, solutions also agreeable to a majority of the people. The fact that each APR representative, on average, is more likely to be focused and trusted by his or her electors would seem better to enable them also to arrive at any necessary compromises between the contending parties and representatives to achieve their common ends.
> > Finally, in addition to the above, it is relevant to note that many of APR?s ?associations? would presumably have communication and mobilization resources that are entirely independent of celebrity, the richest sections of society, and the mass media. Thus, the addition of APR to an existing political system would probably help reduce the relative power of these sometimes anti-democratic forces in determining how people and their representatives vote. This is because many citizens could more firmly, securely, and independently use the following opportunity provided by APR: to see their favoured association and its representatives as providing an essential part of the best way to promote and protect their own abiding interests and values.
>

S:  What do you think?

 

> Juho
>

----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
Kristofer Munsterhjelm | 2 Dec 13:03 2014
Picon

A reduction for a generalization of median ratings/MJ

Consider an election with rated ballots, v voters, and c candidates, and 
let r_{a, b} be the ath voter's rating of the bth candidate. 
Furthermore, let p_1...p_n be an enumeration of the candidates and 
voters, and say p_a "is a candidate" if it corresponds to a candidate, 
and correspondingly for "is a voter".

Define a "distance" d_xy (from x to y) as
	infinite if p_x is a candidate or both of p_x and p_y are voters,
	-r_{a, b} otherwise (if p_x is the ath voter and p_y is the bth candidate)

Now, the following generalization of MJ springs to mind:

Given some integer k >= 1, pick a set S of k points so that the sum of 
distances from all points not in S to their closest point in S is minimized.

(If k = 1, S consists of the point corresponding to the candidate with 
greatest median rating.)

Then elect the candidates corresponding to the k points picked, and give 
each of them weight equal to the number of voters who are closer to him 
than to any other. (Tiebreaks are left as a detail.)

But the problem above is just the k-median problem! ( 
https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~anupamg/adv-approx/lecture4.pdf )

It's NP-hard, at least for continuous distances[1]. Exact solvers don't 
seem to blow up that horribly, though. There's an exact solver with 
complexity O(n^sqrt(k)) for a minmax variant of the problem ( 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facility_location_problem#Minimax_facility_location 
). Perhaps one could make a similar complexity solver for the minsum 
variant (i.e. the one above). If so, it would be manageable for 
realistic numbers of candidates or parties.

I also imagine one could use greedy approximations to the problem to 
solve it in polytime. The k-median problem is solved much more easily if 
d gives a metric[2], but it should be possible to reduce to set cover 
even if not and use the greedy (simple) algorithm for set cover there. 
These approaches would, like Tideman is to Kemeny, be methods of their 
own, and would have to be analyzed thus. Finally, the minmax variant 
also reduces to MJ (absent tiebreaks) in the 1-seat case, and so could 
possibly be used.

---

What would that give us? Applying it directly would give a weighted 
candidate method, and one that doesn't seem to have the first preference 
bias of methods based on IRV. The approximation methods might have 
biases of their own, of course.

Applying it to party list also seems pretty obvious at first. Say the 
voters rate/grade parties the way one would candidates in MJ. Then, to 
solve, just set k very large (or solve the uncapacitated facility 
location problem, which has no such limit k) and get the party weights. 
Then feed those to Webster's algorithm to get seat counts for each party.

However, that could leave some parties with zero seats. One way of 
handling this would be by elimination of those parties and running the 
method again. That's the IRV approach, and probably would lead to or 
increase nonmonotonicity. Another approach is more Bucklinesque. Start 
with k=1 and increase until one of the parties get zero seats. Pick the 
greatest k that gives every party at least one seat, and go with that. 
It's not perfect, but probably the best one can do short of an integer 
program (which would be rather complex)[3]. Furthermore, one would have 
to prove that "early factionalist lock-in" wouldn't happen. Say that 
there are a few voters that give their party max and every other party 
min. Then perhaps these would, due to their uncompromising nature, would 
get the fringe party a nonzero weight at low k. In that case, the party 
would get zero seats, but in doing so, would bar other minor parties 
that could appear later on. But perhaps this can't happen because the 
fringe party is always given support after less fringe parties.

In any case, the Bucklin approach would appear to handle an LCR 
equivalent the way we'd expect it to, e.g.:

46: L(Excellent, 3) C(Good, 2) R(Poor, 1)
43: R(Excellent, 3) C(Good, 2) L(Poor, 1)
11: C(Excellent, 3) R(Good, 2) L(Poor, 1)

If there's only one seat, then k=1 will give C one seat, but k=2 will 
give R and L less than a seat each, so k=1 is chosen and C wins. But 
with two seats, k=2 gives R and L one seat each, as desired.

For an ordinary (unweighted) candidate multiwinner method, one would 
need a capacitated version of the k-median problem. Set k = number of 
seats and the max capacity to ceil((num voters)/(num seats)). Then, by 
pigeonhole, k candidates will be closer to one quota's worth of weight 
than to any other number of quotas' worth, and every other candidate 
will have weight zero.

Capacitated k-median could also be used to set an upper limit to the 
weight of any candidate in a weighted method, e.g. a 10% limit mentioned 
elsewhere.

---

To conclude, though, there are many approximation algorithms for the 
k-median problem. Some of these might be simple enough, fast enough, and 
close enough to the exact result that they could be used. They could 
then be used for weighted candidate methods, or might be combined with 
the Bucklin approach to create a party list method that, although not 
perfect, would be considerably better than plurality-based party list 
PR. (Whether it is possible depends on whether the factionalist lock-in 
scenario is a real problem.)

---

[1] I'd imagine it to be NP-hard for discrete ones, too, by reduction 
from set cover.

[2] At first glance, the distance seems to obey the triangle inequality, 
simply because of the infinities. To make d fully metric, we would need 
to relax it to the following:
	d_xy is
		infinite if both of p_x and p_y are voters or candidates,
		-r{a, b} otherwise (if p_x is the ath voter and p_y the bth candidate 
or vice versa)
But that raises the possibility that the method would pick from the 
voters rather than the candidates. This could, I think, be avoided by 
adding a large number of "phantom voters" that vote every candidate 
equally so that v >> c.

[3] The problem is that ineffective votes can happen here as well, due 
to how the quantization is not connected to the rest of the method. Say 
that a bunch of left parties get slightly short of two seats each, and a 
major right-wing party takes the remaining seats. Had the left voters 
known this, they could have moved the excess from each party into some 
other left-wing party and taken at least one seat from the right-wing; 
and so, we'd like the method to do that automatically. But the above 
won't do so because the weighted vote stage has no idea of how the 
quantization by rounding works. (Statistical Condorcet will do the right 
thing, though in a ranked setting; and until I've optimized it, it's 
intractable for large party list elections.)
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info

steve bosworth | 2 Dec 10:41 2014
Picon

APR (7) Steve's 7th dialogue with Toby

  APR (7) Steve?s 7th dialogue with Toby

 

 

> From: election-methods-request <at> lists.electorama.com
> Subject: Election-Methods Digest, Vol 125, Issue 34
> To: election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
> Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2014 10:54:03 -0800
> ……………………>
> Today's Topics:
>
> 1. Re: APR (6) Steve?s 6th dialogue with Toby (Toby Pereira)
>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2014 18:54:00 +0000 (UTC)
> From: Toby Pereira <tdp201b <at> yahoo.co.uk>
> To: steve bosworth <stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com>,
> "election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com"
> <election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com>
> Subject: Re: [EM] APR (6) Steve?s 6th dialogue with Toby
> Message-ID:
> <282666171.3324543.1417373640157.JavaMail.yahoo <at> jws11130.mail.ir2.yahoo.com>
>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>
To Toby (and everyone else reading) from Steve.

 

Please feel free to ask Steve to email you a copy of his draft article explaining APR.


T:  I've cut a lot out of this to make it more concise. There's a lot we don't really disagree on, a bit of repetition and a few minor issues that probably don't warrant further discussion.

……………………………..
> >>>2S:? No, the main reason for APR’s Primary is to provide an additional opportunity for each citizen to clarify their own scale of political values by being prompted to consider through which civil society ?association? their own vote would be most efficiently channelled, i.e. which association is most likely to run attractive candidates.? Each association placing its list of candidates in Section A of its own Ballot is only the simplest way for each group of official electors to vote.? This is a brief way of recalling the arguments for associations and APR?s Primary repeated below in 14S:, 20S:, 21S:, & 23S:

 

……………………………………….

T: I'm not going to discuss exactly how PAL determines which MP represents which elector because it's not something that I see as a necessary part of the process. I think a citizen should be free to choose an MP to contact as they wish on the specific area that they want to contact them about at the time. I see no need for a rigid connection between elector and MP. MPs might have their own areas of expertise and interest, and I might want to contact someone about something outside my own MP's areas of interest. In general, if I supported a party, I would probably contact my local party MP, but this wouldn't always be the case.

S:  If this all you want then APR and PAL would seem equally to satisfy your own personal preferences.  However, unlike APR, PAL does not also allow each other citizen to guarantee that his or her own vote will continue most efficiently to help shape the binding decisions of the state, i.e. each citizen who knows more exactly his or her own scale of values and those of the associations and their candidates.  Why deny other citizens this guarantee?

 

T:  This is one reason why I generally speaking prefer proportional approval and score systems to STV systems. In approval/score systems, your opinion of all candidates is taken into account in the electoral process, so it should give a more accurate proportional result overall.

 

S:  How can it be “more accurate”?  With an approval/score system, none of your favoured candidates might be elected.  Thus, your one vote might be wasted. In contrast, APR allows you to guarantee that one of the MPs is either most favoured by you, or is most favoured by your most favoured but eliminated candidate.

 

 T:  In STV, it just starts at the top of your list and only goes down as far as it has to, so it takes less into account. For example, some people might be lucky and like a lot of MPs that their vote hasn't been transferred to. Some people might be less lucky. STV can't take this into account. Approval/score systems can do this better.

 

S:  Unlike APR, ‘luck’ is a necessary feature of approval/score systems. 

 

T: …….. while unsure at the moment, but I think it could work. For example, if I'm happy to delegate to my preferred candidate, I simply cast a vote for them. This counts as a maximum score (say 10 out of 10). This candidate has a pre-declared score for other candidates, and this is taken as my score for them. Alternatively I could score the candidates myself. Those I ignore would just score 0. My own scores could be prepared in advance in some manner to simplify the election process for the voter. For example, I could prepare a vote anonymously in advance on an official computer, and when I enter my ballot, ………

 

S:  Again, in effect, APR gives you essentially these same options.  What advantages would this, as yet to be worked out system, have over APR?

 

 

T: ………it gives me something like a 10-digit code that the system saves against that ballot. That wouldn't count for anything but then I can just write in this code on my ballot paper in the election. Obviously how it would work is up for discussion and we'd have to consider all possible security concerns.

 

S:  Please explain exactly how you would want it to work.

 

……………….
> ?> S: It seems to me that the fundamental question is, do you want an electoral system that treats each citizen equally or not? In the above, you seem to >want one that happens to give you some advantage over others, that allows your vote mathematically to have more decision-making power than another >citizen?s vote with whom you disagree. How would you justify that?

> ?T: > You've missed the point here. You phrased your own question in terms of voters' wanting to have their own candidate to have lots of power - i.e. a selfish advantage for them??..

> >>>5S:? Such a ?want? need not be ?selfish?, it might only express a desire for equal respect in an election for each elector.? In addition, some citizens ?want? may be entirely altruistic, a desire for their own concept of the ?common good? to be proportionately represented.

T:   Maybe, but this part of the discussion is purely about whether people in general (who have no specific interest in electoral systems) would like the idea of differing power for MPs. And for many, the gains of having someone they like with more than the average MP's amount of power might be outweighed by the fear of someone they hate having this extra power. It's something I might consider (and see below on UKIP).

S:  Any electoral system you propose could produce some MPs you “hate”.   The only way APR could elect them is if a sufficient number of your fellow citizens favoured them.  You seem to want to deny these citizens their right to vote, or at least to make a system that will ensure that their votes will be wasted?  Is this so?  Also, remember that APR allows you to guarantee that your vote will be added to the weighted vote of that MP who will work hardest and vote against those MPs that you hate.

 

> >>>6S:? Please give me your reasons for thinking that proportionate representation by any candidate within the 10% limit could be ?too much??

T:  In the UK, we have the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). UKIP is largely dominated by one man - Nigel Farage. Under your system, most of the UKIP votes would be for him, and it's possible he could even get somewhere near the 10% [limit]. Some people consider him to be a nasty man and UKIP to be a nasty party. And I think all this power for one man in the party rather than spread out over several MPs could be a more "scary" state of affairs…..

 

S:  I also oppose Farage.  However, how could you justify making some of his supporters waste their votes?  Also, remember that even in the worst case scenario, UKIP’s weighted votes in the Commons most probably would also be opposed by more than 50% of the weighted votes in the Commons.


T:  ….Of course, if we had APR as a system, the political climate in general would be different, so this might not happen in practice…..

 

S:  Yes.

 

T: …. So as I think Juho said, it would be interesting to see it tried out on a smaller scale. So instead of replying to all your following individual comments on the differing power part of APR, I will say that I'm open to the possibility of it, but I still have certain doubts. ….

 

S:  It would help me understand your “doubts” if you would describe your imagined worst case scenario that might be produced by using APR.  Also, please describe your preferred alternative electoral system that would entirely avoid this “scary” outcome, while still fully respecting each citizen’s vote.

 

T: ….If I was writing my blog post again (the one that formed part of this discussion), I probably would mention APR as a system that has possible benefits.

 

S:  Please send me a copy of your “blog”.  I have not seen it.
>
> T:> I suppose I might say that the goal is to maximise societal utility. I would generally argue for proportional systems because I think they would help to do that. I think they would help to create a more dynamic political landscape for one thing, but I think APR might hinder it in that the celebrity politicans might become hard to shift and hog the power.

> >>>15S:? By what process do you have in mind for arriving at an operational definition of ?societal utility?.? For myself, I see APR as providing an essential element of the wider optimal institutional arrangements for a society to make binding, evidence based and rational decisions for itself.? I would expect such tentative sovereign decisions largely both to define and to serve such ?societal utility?.? The other optimal elements in my view include: a parliamentary rather than a presidential constitution, publically funded university education for all able citizens desiring it, freedom of speech, press, and association, the removal of poverty, etc.

T:  Essentially I want laws that are fair, logical, consistent, non-arbitrary etc. When there is a debate on a piece of potential legislation, I might take a side. The side I take is unlikely to be related to where the majority of the population stand on it. That is to say that a democratic process doesn't always produce the "best" result. Of course, other systems are likely to produce even worse results. So I would want a system that is likely to produce legislation that fits my above criteria.  I think a more dynamic electoral process that isn't dominated by two parties will help. So that's why I'm in favour of proportional representation. But would APR produce even better results than a system that gives all MPs equal power? I don't know.

 

 

S:  What do you think of the reasons I have given explaining how APR is most “likely to produce legislation that fits [this] criteria”?  Please consider again the above at “<<<<15S:”, the below at “*S >S:”, and especially the last paragraph of the following:

 

APR, more than other systems, would seem to assist the development of a much closer identity between each elector and his representative, a more intense personal, ideological and mutual bond.  This would seem to contrast, on average, with the more defuse and vague relations between the agendas of each elector and the representatives elected by other systems.

 

Again, the evolution of these closer relationships between electors, associations, and representatives would grow partly as a result of the time between the two elections.  Firstly, the “bottom-up” Primary might prompt more electors to start to familiarize themselves with the association’s officials, activists, and other potential candidates of their preferred organizations.   Thus, each APR representative is more likely to have been known and explicitly favoured by his electors at least several months before the general election.  Consequently, the ideological fit between each set of APR’s associations, electors, and representatives is likely to be much closer than that between each set of parties, districts, electors, and representatives in other systems.

 

As a consequence of this bond, the focus of each APR representative’s work both within the assembly and with his electors and association is more likely to be clear.    This increases the probability that each elector of a given association’s representative(s) will also be represented more efficiently in the assembly, that the quality of representation offered by APR is likely to be better than that provided by other systems.

 

Moreover, a legislative assembly composed of such different, clashing and well focused reps would seem more likely to provide an optimal debating and negotiating chamber for the production of laws based on evidence and rational thought. This is because it would more accurately reflect the real variety and intensity of people’s concerns.  If so, this assembly would also be better able to respond to the imperative to form a working majority in the assembly in order to produce wise legislative solutions to problems, solutions also agreeable to a majority of the people.  The fact that each APR representative, on average, is more likely to be focused and trusted by his or her electors would seem better to enable them also to arrive at any necessary compromises between the contending parties and representatives to achieve their common ends.

 

S:  We agree that the “side” in such a “debate” that each of us should take would not be determined by the distribution of votes in the Commons but on the “force of the available arguments based on the critical evidence and rational thought”.  What do you think of the above case I have made for seeing APR as providing an essential part of the optimal conditions for the production of the type of “laws” we both want?

 
> ?T:? > I'm still not 100% convinced. …………………….

 

> >>>18S:? Remember that the number of MPs that each ?association? (e.g. ?movement? or ?party?) will elect has been determined in advance of the general election by APR?s Primary.? Also, the candidates for a given association could individually or collectively ?predeclare? that, if elected, they will, in effect share all their combined votes equally.

T:   Is this correct? Assuming people don't go against their chosen association between the primary and the general election, then I agree that the proportion of power that an association will have has been determined in advance………

 

S:  No, each association’s proportion of MPs is entirely determined by the Primary but its proportion of the weighted votes is entirely determined only by the general election.

 

T:  ….. An association might have 2% of the electors, but that doesn't mean they'll have 2% of the MPs, because they might all vote for one candidate in the association who then gets all the 2% of the power. ……..

 

S:  Let me correct your above 2 sentences: The exact number of MPs each association must elect during the general election is entirely determined in advance by APR’s Primary (as fully explained by page 6 and Endnote 5 in my article).  The combined weighted vote of an association’s MPs elected later during the general election is entirely determined by the number of citizens’ votes given to them directly or indirectly (see pages 5 & 6 and Endnotes 3 & 4).

 

T: …. So as far as I can see, they still might be left without allies in parliament.

 

S:  Whether a given MP has or does not have “allies” in the assembly should only be the result of the different ideological positions of the MPs and their different skills at freely creating and negotiating alliances with each other.  The job of an electoral system is to ensure that all citizens are mathematically and qualitatively represented in the assembly.  Of course, it should also encourage such alliances but it should not attempt to manufacture them.

 

*S:  >S:  Let me try to explain more fully why I think that APR without its Primary and its resulting associations would only be a second best APR option.? APR?s Primary and associations allow all citizens to give a proportionate extra recognition, standing and political function to the most popular organizations of civil society. Citizens know these organizations through their work, profession, and/or daily lives and activities throughout the year. As a consequence, these organizations (associations) have some communication and mobilization resources that are independent of the richest sections of society, celebrity, and the mass media. These living connections help people better to know how to vote and how otherwise to participate politically in accord with their own valued life experiences. These relations would enable many citizens to choose the sufficiently popular organizations that would become the official electoral associations as a result of APR?s Primary. Each such citizen would rank highest the organization that accords best with his own values and interests.

Consequently, I think APR, would also help to reduce the relative power of the rich, the media owners, and celebrity. This is because APR?s Primary allows each citizen instead to channel their vote through the civil society organization (and its candidates) he or she sees as most consistently working to promote and protect their own abiding interests and values.? This would make mass media, celebrity, and money somewhat less important in determining how people will vote.? (Also see 21S:,23S: & 26S: in the previous post)

T:  I would certainly hope that any reasonable voting system would encourage citizens to become more engaged with the electoral process anyway. Possibly the association system would also help a bit on top of this, but it still encourages rigid thinking/lazy voting? to the extent that people are encouraged to some extent to vote for candidates purely in the association that they have voted for in the primary. …

 

S:  I do not understand why you think APR would “encourage rigid thinking/lazy voting”.

After all, any citizen that participates in its Primary has chosen to do so and then they are prompted to devote additional time and effort to study and consider the districts and the many civil society organizations in order to rank some of them to become an elector in one of them.  This additional effort would seem not to be a sign of “laziness” and these many prompted considerations would instead seem to challenge rather than foster “rigidity”.  

 

T: ….With a standard geographical ballot, they are obviously also presented with a set list of candidates, but they are not made to feel that they should vote for any of them on the basis that to do otherwise would be some sort of a U-turn. …

 

S:  I expect that there would be 3 different types of citizen that would participate in the Primary:  one purely enthusiastically, one bribed, and one coerced.  The enthusiast would happily see the Primary as liberating them both to help increase the political influence of “good” organizations, and to allow their own vote in the general election to be added to the weighted vote of their most trusted MP.   The enthusiast would also see Section B of APR’s general election ballot as freely allowing them secretly  and guiltlessly to change their mind in the light of any new thoughts, arguments or evidence received after the Primary.

 

On the other hand, some citizens may have been either bribed or coerced to join a particular association.  The bribed could welcome the opportunity to make some money, especially because they could securely calculate that the secrecy of the general election will, in practice, allow them still to vote according to their own preferences, not as promised to the briber.   Similarly, the coerced could see the general election as allowing them, in practice, to escape having to continue to support the association into which they had been coerced.  Both of these participants in the Primary would also welcome the “U-turn” opportunity offered by Section B.

 

 

T: ….But this is something that I would also like to see in practice on a small scale, to see if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages (added complication of an extra election and possible encouragement of rigid thinking).

 

S:  Exactly what kind of evidence do you think could be collected from such a “test” in order to prove the questions one way or the other?

> >>>24S:? If so, given all the above explanations, would you also agree that APR offers more of what you want than does PAL?

T:  Well, PAL isn't the only option for me (as discussed above). There are some good arguments for differing MP power and for APR's primaries that you've made, but as you can see I still have some concerns. I'd like to see it in practice. But if I had to pick an election system right now, I probably would still on balance go against differing power and associations!

 

S: If so, how would you justify your alternative electoral system which also would waste at least a few citizens’ votes, both mathematically and qualitatively?

> Toby

 

----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
steve bosworth | 28 Nov 22:32 2014
Picon

(4) APR: Steve’s 4th dialogue with Juho


[EM] (4) APR:  Steve’s 4th dialogue with Juho



> > Steve will email a copy of his draft article explaining how APR works to you upon request: (stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com)
> >
> > Each of Steve’s most recent responses are tagged by “S:”


Hi Juho,


 


Thank you again for your feedback.  To minimize the length of this post, I have taken the liberty of deleting the exchanges about which we seem to agree.


 


Also, at the end of this post, I have added a more complete explanation of why the removal of APR’s Primary would only be a 2nd best option.


 


Steve


> >


> Message: 10
> Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2014 03:10:38 +0200
> From: Juho Laatu <juho4880 <at> yahoo.co.uk>
> To:
election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com > < -methods <at> lists.electorama.com>
> Subject: Re: [EM] (3) APR: : Steve Bosworth?s most recent reply?s to
> Juho?s feedback
> Message-ID: <5943CA8A-C79C-4391-ACEF-33A0FB5C28B2 <at> yahoo.co.uk>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1254"
>
> On 11 Nov 2014, at 11:17, steve bosworth <stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com> wrote:
> > 
> > >>S: Thank you for this feedback. However, would you also be interested in arguing for the system you most favour?
>
J:  > Yes, although there is no such single system. I think different methods are ideal for different needs, and different reforms make sense and are possible in different societies. The answer thus depends on what the need is.
>
S: Perhaps you would be willing to focus on and explain your own electoral recommendations with regard to a specific country: your own, the UK, the USA, or ???????????  That would help me better to understand your current position.


 


> >S:  What prime value motivates your choice of a system?>


 


J:  > In the current state of affairs, globally, in multi- winner systems. In most cases I'd support good proportionality (could be political, geographical and others if needed), avoidance of obvious strategic incentives an fraud, good responsiveness to voter opinions, and good understandability. I thus want to see working democracies around.
>


S:  It would help even more if you would clarify what you mean by “good” in each of the above phrases.  I think you already understand that for me, an electoral system is “good” to the extent that it fully respects the equality of each citizen by allowing each to guarantee that his or her vote will never be wasted, that it will continue positively to count in the assembly through the weighted vote earned by the rep most trusted by this citizen (or most trusted by the 1st choice but eliminated candidate of this citizen).  Thus, I see APR as maximizing “proportionality”, “responsiveness to voters’ opinions”, and it helps to maximize “democracy”.  Also, it is not too difficult to “understand”.


 


Most fundamentally, I see these as “good” because they provide some of the essential conditions by which a society can rule itself by making evidence based rational decisions.  This is more fully explained in my longer discussion of the benefits of APR’s Primary at the end of this post.



> >S: Would you not want a system that allowed you (and each citizen) to guarantee that your vote would continue to count in the legislative assembly through the weighted vote given to the rep you most trust?
>
J:  That is one approach to making a sensible system. I'd like to see the weighted vote approach tested somewhere.


 


S:  Of course, I would also like to see it tested.  However, before such a test, do you see any specific reasons to think that it would at all be dangerous or destructive?  I don’t.
> > >
> > S: APR's general election ballots would allow each elector to rank as many candidates in the whole country as they might wish.
>
> > J: I note that if the whole country is handled as one district, that is likely to lead to disproportional results in the sense that central cities would get disproportionally large part of the seats.


 


S:  I can see why you might say that the “central cities would” have “more” seats, but it is pejorative to say this is “disproportionate”.  What value do you have in mind to make you see these “more seats” to be “bad”?  Again, I see APR’s proportionality as “good” because it means that large groups of people receive more representation than small groups.
>  >
> > >>S: It seems that your preferred understanding of _proportional_ partly or wholly refers to land area rather than to numbers of people? Is that so? For me, land is only important to the extent that it is valued by people.
>
J:  With geographical proportionality I don't mean proportionality with respect to where the land is but proportionality with respect to where people live.


 


S:  Is not this “proportionality” determined by the number of people who live there?


 


 


J:  That is the common approach. Political/party proportionality is normally more important than geographical proportionality.


 


S:  Again, is not this proportionality also determined by the number of people who voted for each party?


 


J: You can have both at the same time. In some places also the land area is used in a proportional way [i.e. to determine the number of reps allowed to represent these hectors], but that is to my understanding very rare.


 


S: Do you think that this could ever be properly justified?


 


J: The normal interpretation of geographical proportionality is that each region/district should get representatives roughly in proportion to the size of its population.


 


S:  Why isn’t APR’s exact, rather than “rough”, proportionality better?
> 
> > J: The reason behind that is that the best known candidates often live in the large cities, and small town people typically vote city candidates more often than city voters vote for the small town candidates. Many countries use multi-winner districts because of this reason.


S:  True, but is this better than the representation through the electoral “associations” offered by APR?


 


S: Above and below, you are accurately describing some various electoral practices in the world but I am waiting to understanding your prime value or hierarchy of values which might guide you to decide on which reforms would best suite different unsatisfactory circumstances.  Perhaps this will be clarified in the light of the explanations of exactly what you might mean above by “good”.
> >
> > >>S: I see this as another way of explaining why one might favour the effective countrywide multi-winner district offered by APR.
>


 


……………………..


> I'm not proposing to use land area as one basis of proportionality in this case.  In most countries the approach of using "where people live" is one basis of proportionality. This means that those system put less weight on "who values those areas" (and more on "who lives in those areas").
>


S:  Do you see any justification for ignoring what these residents value?


 


J:  …………If one … wants to let the voters decide, then one can take the "who values those areas" approach….  My claim is that in the USA, if only one single district is used, Hollywood, Washington D.C. and New York would probably get more representatives than their relative size of the population is, and Montana, Idaho, and non central areas within each state less.
>
S:  Do you see this as a problem, provided also that each American citizen would have a rep in the US House of Representatives with a weighted vote who he or she trusts most?


> >
> > S: The article suggests the somewhat arbitrary limit of 10% of all the votes. Any very popular reps with more than this limit would have to publish how they will non-returnably pass on their 'extra' votes to their trusted fellow reps.
> >


…………………………..



J:  > I still have the same question. Isn't it possible to determine all this at one round, without the primary?
>
> Of course you would not then get the allocation of voters to different associations, but do you really need that allocation? Maybe the voters could just vote whomever they want at the actual election day.
>
> Are there some compelling reasons? Maybe you e.g. want to make sure that no votes are wasted because some voters might rank only candidates of such associations that will not get any seats.


S:  Again, please see if my last explanations in the post below answer your above and following questions.
> >
> > J: Some additional primary related notes:
> >
> > In the USA people may be happy with having their preferences (associations, parties) publicly registered. In many other countries that would be unacceptable (because of privacy in general and because people do not want to publicly announce their membership e.g. in associations like "for better mental healthcare").


…………


 


J:   One could have also association specific ballots freely available somewhere. Or maybe neutral ballots + some advice from the association on whom to vote would do. My preference would be to have fully neutral ballots and no direct involvement of the associations on the voting process.
> >
> > >>S: Any citizen who does not _want to publicly announce their membership_ would simply not participate in APR?s primary and thus by default continue to be a registered voter within their local geographically defined _association_.
>
J:   Does that mean that if I do not want to tell others that I support e.g. the ex convicts' association, then the system makes it more difficult for me to vote for them? I want my vote to fully support them and not the geographically determined association, but I'm shy to tell that i support them.
>
S:   Slightly more difficult.  Before the general election you could easily make a list of the code given to each of the “ex convict association’s” candidates that you wish to rank, and then copy these codes into Section B of the ballot.


> >
> > J: Why do you have association specific ballots?
> >
S:  Only to make it as easy as possible for each committed “association” elector to vote.
> >
> > >>S: To make it easier for the electors who mainly want to rank the candidates openly seeking to represent the values and interests of the association in which the citizen has officially chosen to be an elector.
>
J: If voters want to speak and support parties openly, they can always join them as members. My preference is also here to keep the election itself as neutral as possible. >


 


S:  Again, APR does not require anyone publically to declare their “party” or association affiliation.  However, those who do not mind this being public can give themselves the extra power to influence to which applicant organizations will be given the extra political status and electoral function of an association as explained at the end of this post.
> >
…………………………………..


 


………………………………..


>
J:  Does this mean that the ex convicts' association will get very few seats since so few of its supporters wanted to make their support public in the primary?
>
> I also note that the political opinion of the voters could be already quite different "months later".


S: Not necessarily in answer to both points.  APR allows all citizens entirely secretly to rank whoever they want and to change their votes at any time before the general election.


 


……………………………..


> >
> > >>S: I see APR_s current voting and counting arrangements, as well as the above alternative formulation of APR as prompted by your suggestion, as already 100% guaranteeing that there will be no wasted votes.
>
J:  I note that with the help of candidate specific inheritance order, also too short votes (= containing only candidates that will not be elected) [the voter] would be represented by some representative (unless there is an inheritance loop).


 


S:  There would be no “loops”.  (See Endnotes 3 & 4 and the relevant text in my article.)  This is because both the relevant 1st choice but eliminated candidates and the reps receiving more than 10% of the weighted votes would have to keep attempting to transfer their “default” and “extra” votes until the highest ranked and remaining nominees are elected.


 


J:  Maybe the voters could also have a right to cast short votes intentionally, i.e. no representative for them if none of the ranked candidates gets elected.


S:  Please see the 1st voting option offered by the Directions section of the Sample Ballot in my article:  It allows a citizen simply to vote for one candidate.



> Juho


How the Electoral Associations Produced by APR’s Primary Elections Increase Positive Voting


 


Let me try to explain more fully why I think that APR without its Primary and the ‘official electoral associations’ it discovers would only be a second best APR option.  Firstly and most obviously, APR would seem to help maximize the quality of representation for each citizen during the general election by making it relatively easy for each elector secretly to rank as many candidates in the whole country as each might wish.   This enables each to guarantee that their vote will be added to the ‘weighted vote’ in the legislative assembly of their most favoured representative (or most favoured by their first choice but eliminated candidate).  However, this qualitative advantage would seem also to be enhanced further by the consequences of APR’s Primary election.  The Primary discovers both the popular voluntary organizations in civil society that will be recognized as the official electoral ‘associations’, and the number of representatives each will be allow to elect to the assembly months later during the general election.  To the extent that this would both help to energize these popular associations politically and stimulate more attractive candidates to seek office in the general election, the quality of representation in the assembly would be raised.


 


APR’s Primary differs from the ones that are sometimes used currently, e.g. in the USA.  It would not decide which one of each party's candidates will run in the general election.  Instead, it allows each citizen to choose to become a voting-member of his or her most favoured electoral ‘association' for general election purposes.  These associations are established by citizens choosing them from the list of all the voluntary organizations in the country that want to elect at least one member of the legislative assembly directly.  This list would have been compiled previously by the central electoral commission.  These organizations need not be geographically defined and would probably also include all the political parties, many of the existing electoral districts, and many interest groups (e.g. business, labour, professional, social, environmental, recreational, ethnic, or religious).


 


Again, each citizen becomes an elector for the later general election through one of these associations by ranking as many of these applicant organizations as they might wish during the Primary.  A citizen would rank the organization first that he or she believes will offer the most attractive candidates during the general election, the organization that accords best with his own values and interests.  Any citizen that does not participate in the Primary is automatically registered as a voter in the geographically defined association (district) in which he or she resides.


 


Citizens know these organizations through their work, profession, daily lives, and/or their activities throughout the year. The daily living connections that people have with these organizations help them to know how to vote and how otherwise to participate politically in accord with their own valued life experiences.  The Primary’s counting of these rankings would reveal the ‘approximate’ mathematical importance given by the public to each of the geographically or non-geographically defined, applicant organizations with regard to political life.  Still, the ‘exact’ mathematical importance of each would instead be determined later by citizens’ secret votes during the general election, these being added to the weighted votes of each ‘association’s’ representative(s).  Each organization discovered to be one of the most popular organizations which together contain all citizens as their electors for general election purposes is officially recognized as an ‘association’.  The more popular an ‘association’ is discovered to be, the more representatives it will be allowed to elect (see p. 6 and Endnote 5 of my article).


 


In this way, APR’s Primary also enables all citizens and the state itself to discover which voluntary organizations should be officially recognized to have this proportionate extra political status and electoral function.  It would also be conducive to more rational participation on the part of citizens:  While choosing their voting membership during the Primary, each citizen is prompted to clarify their own scale of values and to decide on which organization most completely agrees with this scale.


 


At the same time, the recognition of these associations would provide an additional democratic channel for more enthusiastic participation in the political process both by these associations and their electors. This recognition also gives each association and its elected rep(s) an opportunity to plan and to focus their combined resources more efficiently to help shape the binding decisions taken by the state. 


 


The time difference as well as the division of functions between the Primary and the general election would increase the opportunities for this coordination and rational political thinking to take place on the part of all concerned. This time gap also gives each association time to invite and to finalize the list of candidates who wish to represent it. It also gives time for potential candidates to apply and to prepare for the general election. The general election then additionally prompts each citizen more carefully to rank the individual candidates by considering which ones are more likely to work and vote for laws and policies in accord with the citizens own scale of values.


 


In fact, such rational thinking would seem to be assisted by the important knowledge discovered by the Primary.  It would have more reliably discovered the degree to which each previously well known, less know, and unknown ideology, party, interest group, or club is, or is not, relevant to the real concerns of the people.  This knowledge would enable all citizens, associations, potential candidates, and representatives more efficiently to plan how each can help to shape the laws of the land during the coming general election and after.


As a result of the above arrangements, APR, more than other systems, would seem to assist the development of a much closer identity between each elector and his representative, a more intense personal, ideological and mutual bond.  This would seem to contrast, on average, with the more defuse and vague relations between the agendas of each elector and the representatives elected by other systems.


 


Again, the evolution of these closer relationships between electors, associations, and representatives would grow partly as a result of the time between the two elections.  Firstly, the “bottom-up” Primary might prompt more electors to start to familiarize themselves with the association’s officials, activists, and other potential candidates of their preferred organizations.   Thus, each APR representative is more likely to have been known and explicitly favoured by his electors at least several months before the general election.  Consequently, the ideological fit between each set of APR’s associations, electors, and representatives is likely to be much closer than that between each set of parties, districts, electors, and representatives in other systems.


 


As a consequence of this bond, the focus of each APR representative’s work both within the assembly and with his electors and association is more likely to be clear.    This increases the probability that each elector of a given association’s representative(s) will also be represented more efficiently in the assembly, that the quality of representation offered by APR is likely to be better than that provided by other systems.


 


Moreover, a legislative assembly composed of such different, clashing and well focused reps would seem more likely to provide an optimal debating and negotiating chamber for the production of laws based on evidence and rational thought. This is because it would more accurately reflect the real variety and intensity of people’s concerns.  If so, this assembly would also be better able to respond to the imperative to form a working majority in the assembly in order to produce wise legislative solutions to problems, solutions also agreeable to a majority of the people.  The fact that each APR representative, on average, is more likely to be focused and trusted by his or her electors would seem better to enable them also to arrive at any necessary compromises between the contending parties and representatives to achieve their common ends.


 


Finally, in addition to the above, it is relevant to note that many of APR’s ‘associations’ would presumably have communication and mobilization resources that are entirely independent of celebrity, the richest sections of society, and the mass media.  Thus, the addition of APR to an existing political system would probably help reduce the relative power of these sometimes anti-democratic forces in determining how people and their representatives vote.  This is because many citizens could more firmly, securely, and independently use the following opportunity provided by APR:  to see their favoured association and its representatives as providing an essential part of the best way to promote and protect their own abiding interests and values.


 


 


 


----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info

Gmane