steve bosworth | 27 Jan 14:31 2015
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(9) APR: Steve's 9th dialogue with Richard Fobes (Steve)

(9) APR: Steve's 9th dialogue with Richard Fobes (Steve)

> From: election-methods-request <at> lists.electorama.com
> Subject: Election-Methods Digest, Vol 127, Issue 9
> To: election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
> Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2015 10:33:38 -0800
>
>
> 1. Re: (8) APR: Steve's 8th dialogue with Richard Fobes
> (Richard Fobes)
>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2015 10:33:32 -0800
> From: Richard Fobes <ElectionMethods <at> VoteFair.org>
> To: election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
> Cc: steve bosworth <stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [EM] (8) APR: Steve's 8th dialogue with Richard Fobes
> Message-ID: <54C3E57C.8050700 <at> VoteFair.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1254; format=flowed
>
R:  Steve, in response to several questions you have asked below, please
> note that my responses involve two separate topics.
>
> One topic is that IMHO ("in my humble opinion") you need to write a
> clear description of your APR method in order for us (here on the forum)
> to give you feedback. That description is different than what you
> probably want to write for other purposes. The description we need must
> be based on the facts of how your method works. If you continue to
> clutter this description with claims and goals, and omit important (to
> us here on the election-methods forum) details about how your method
> works, then I'll need to give up on providing further feedback.

 

S:  I very much want to describe exactly how APR works to your satisfaction. To do this, it would be really helpful to me if you could please ask me a specific question about each of the parts of APR that you see as needing better “factual” descriptions.

 

Perhaps I am too familiar with my earlier APR descriptions in my draft article to see how  these are not easily understood by others.  Therefore, your specific questions would really help me focus on those parts that need better descriptions.  I look forward to receiving you questions.  [PS: Of course, if anyone would like to pin point their questions in relation to the formulations in that draft article, I would be very happy to email them a PDF copy-- stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com].

 

S:  Next, I will respond to your request in the following paragraph:

R: Based on recent clarifications you have provided, my guess is that the
> primary ballot for your APR method will need to list hundreds, and
> possibly thousands, of organizations that are seeking to become official
> "associations," …

 

S: Yes.

 

R: … and I am looking forward to seeing -- in your
> step-by-step description -- how you envision your method handling such a
> large number of organizations.

 

S:  You asked for this clarification after reading my following paragraph:

 

PRE-PRIMARY STAGE:  Before the primary, each voluntary organization in the society should
> > carefully consider whether or not it wishes directly to elect reps to
> > the assembly during the next general election.  If they do, they must
> > formally apply to The Central Electoral Commission to this effect, e.g.
> > providing its name, address, current officials, mission statement,
> > etc.  Then, this Commission will automatically put each of these applicant
> > organizations on the list for the primary.  Citizens will then ranking any of these
> > organizations to determine which ones will become recognized as “official electoral associations”.

Now, I will add the following:

 

This large number of applicant organizations would include each organization that had decided that it wants to be allowed to elect at least one rep to the legislative assembly during the general election. Each would have had to make this decision well before the date of APR’s primary election. These organizations need not be geographically defined. 

 

Each would apply to APR’s central electoral commission to be placed on the list that would be available to all citizens to rank, i.e. all who choose to participate in the primary.  Each citizen could rank as many or as few on this list as they might wish.  For example, these rankings would determine in the US, the 435 or smaller number of “associations” that would together elect all the members of the House of Representatives during the later general election.  These rankings would also determine exactly how many reps each association would be allowed to elect, i.e. the more popular associations would elect more reps (see below). 

 

Equally these rankings would determine through which association each citizen’s later rankings of candidates during the general election would be channelled, i.e. each citizen would become a voting member of the association of their choice for general election purposes.  An association that had receive at least one 435ths of these voting members in the US would elect one rep, two 435ths – 2 reps etc. (also see Endnote 5).

 

Returning to the question of how these many thousands of applicant organizations could be handled,

1)      Firstly, to qualify to be put on the list for the primary, each organization’s application must include a substantial returnable money deposit (e.g. $100,000), in addition to its name, address, list of officials, list of members, mission statement, etc. 

2)      The deposit would be returned to an organization after the primary if it had received a ranking from at least 0.1% of all registered voters in the country.  These somewhat arbitrary conditions for applying should help to ensure that the only organizations that had some realistic chance of receiving the status of an “association” would apply.

3)      In preparation for the primary, the central electoral commission would make a complete list of these organizations.  These would be arranged in alphabetical order and each would be given a unique number. 

4)      This list, including the relevant details about each organization, would be widely published at least 4 weeks before the date of the primary.  The content of the primary ballot paper would also be published at the same time.

5)      Before the day of the primary, each participating citizen could then make their own ranked list of as many, or as few, of these organizations as they might wish.  Then, on election day, each could simply copy this list onto the ballot paper, i.e. the ballot paper formulated by the electoral commission and given to him by an election administrator within the geographical area in which he lives.

S: Next, let me respond to your following explanation of why you fear that APR reps would be more vulnerable to money bribery than each rep in systems that would have only one vote each:

>
R:  In my previous message I listed ways in which media-owning wealthy
> people can take advantage of the fact that your method gives extra
> influence to some representatives (and comparatively reduced influence
> to other representatives). This difference gives increased leverage to
> tactics that focus money on undermining/weakening those extra-influence
> representatives who oppose what the wealthy people want, and that focuses
> money on promoting/strengthening the extra-influence representatives who
> are more receptive to the group's money-backed agendas. By contrast,
> when all the representatives have the same voting influence, money must
> be spread out across all the representatives.

 

S:  I can see that the “media-owning wealthy” might well think that the amount of resources they have decided to devote to influencing the assembly would most efficiently be spent by focusing it on the reps who have the largest weighted votes.  This could be true even though no ARP rep could have more than 10% of all the weighted votes.  This might be thought to be the most efficient strategy because it might be simpler to bribe fewer reps to secure the sought after majority vote in the assembly.

 

However, against this presumption, we should consider the counter argument that each APR rep would be less likely to accept such bribes.  This is because of the probable closer and clearer ideological bond, on average, between her and her electors.  This greater bond is likely because each citizen would have had many hundreds of candidates from which to choose.  At the same time, each candidate would have sought to make her own scale of values as distinct and clear as possible so as to attract as many rankings from the electorate as possible.  This would mean that the behaviour of any rep who approached having up to 10% of the weighted votes would probably be scrutinize more carefully by more citizens than reps with lower percentages, and especially more, on average, than reps elected by other systems which structurally encourage candidate and citizens, on average, to be less accountable and less clear ideologically.  Consequently, on average, it would be more difficult for any APR rep publicly to justify any of her bribed votes (i.e. those that deviate from what their electors would have expected given her well known scale of values).  Thus, the whistle could be more easily and quickly blown on a corrupted APR rep.  Also, APR would allow a corrupt rep to be more efficiently punished by her electors during the next election.  This is because APR continues to offer them many more suitable reps to which they could transfer their votes.  In addition to these calculations, it might also be argued that the fact that a given rep has received more weighted votes, provides some evidence that she is trusted by more citizens.  This also suggests that she is more likely that she is worthy of this trust, i.e. that she would refuse to be bribed.  What do you think?


> …………………………………………………>
R:  In advance, thank you for taking the time to clarify to those of us in
> this forum how your APR method works.
>
> Richard Fobes

 

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Andy Jennings | 25 Jan 00:04 2015

Choosing a speaker or chairperson

If the political spectrum were one-dimensional, the ideal speaker would be the median member of the body.  But in the legislatures I've seen, the majority meets behind a closed door and decides on the speaker without any input from the minority.  (Later, when the legislature officially votes on a speaker, the majority votes as a bloc to enact their decision.  Though sometimes there are surprises:
http://archive.tennessean.com/article/20090118/NEWS0201/901180380/How-Kent-Williams-became-House-s-new-speaker )

If we assume that the majority caucus chooses their median member, that puts the speaker somewhere in the 25th to 30th percentile (on the political spectrum) for the whole legislature.

Can we do better?  I want a majority voting as a bloc to _not_ have complete control over the outcome.  The votes of the minority should be able to affect the outcome.  This seems to be pretty rare among the voting systems that we study.

In a two-party system, you could enact a "cut-and-choose" rule.  If there are 99 legislators, one party must nominate 50 legislators for speaker and the other party must choose among them.  But a general solution should support more than two parties, independents, and a multi-dimensional political spectrum.

Here is my proposal for a general solution:
1. Each legislator turns in a ranking of all legislators, from least-preferred as speaker to most-preferred.
2. A voting method (probably Bucklin) is used to choose one legislator to eliminate.
3. Each time a legislator is eliminated, his ranking is used to choose the next legislator to eliminate, until only one remains.

This should create a back-and-forth effect, with the least liked legislators in each party getting eliminated until only the most palatable legislators of the majority party remain.  Then, even if everyone in the majority party had voted as a bloc, they can only choose among those deemed "most palatable" by the rest of the legislature.

I realize it would be difficult for members of the US House to rank all 435 members, but I'm mainly thinking of smaller legislators, like the Arizona Senate (30) and House (60).  Even so, I think it's reasonable to ask a US representative, who represents nearly a million people, to rank 435 legislators.  And since the method is designed to be robust against bloc voting, I don't really care if they just get their ranking from a party leader or someone else they trust.

(I'm not claiming this will fix all forms of dysfunction in legislatures.  But I do think that more moderate leadership would improve them, on margin.)

What do you think?
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Richard Fobes | 24 Jan 19:33 2015

Re: (8) APR: Steve's 8th dialogue with Richard Fobes

Steve, in response to several questions you have asked below, please 
note that my responses involve two separate topics.

One topic is that IMHO ("in my humble opinion") you need to write a 
clear description of your APR method in order for us (here on the forum) 
to give you feedback.  That description is different than what you 
probably want to write for other purposes.  The description we need must 
be based on the facts of how your method works.  If you continue to 
clutter this description with claims and goals, and omit important (to 
us here on the election-methods forum) details about how your method 
works, then I'll need to give up on providing further feedback.

The other topic is that I have given feedback about the parts of your 
method that you have explained well enough to make your method clear. 
This feedback consists of my judgments and opinions, which you have 
explicitly requested.

In my previous response I was responding to two different messages you 
had written, and I chose to reply to the one that had a growing 
description in it.  I did not change the subject because that destroys 
the linkage that some forum readers rely on.  To see what this means, 
please take a look at the following webpage and notice that each time 
you change the subject a new thread is created, whereas each time one of 
us responds to your message we keep the subject the same in order to 
link the messages into the same thread.

 
http://lists.electorama.com/pipermail/election-methods-electorama.com/2015-January/thread.html

In my previous message I listed ways in which media-owning wealthy 
people can take advantage of the fact that your method gives extra 
influence to some representatives (and comparatively reduced influence 
to other representatives).  This difference gives increased leverage to 
tactics that focus money on undermining/weakening those extra-influence 
representatives who oppose what the wealthy people want, and that focus 
money on promoting/strengthening the extra-influence representatives who 
are more receptive to the group's money-backed agendas.  By contrast, 
when all the representatives have the same voting influence, money must 
be spread out across all the representatives.

Instead of inserting specific responses to what I have said here (none 
of which is really new), please present a just-the-facts step-by-step 
description of your APR method, making use of what I and others have 
recommended in earlier messages.  As an additional clarification, please 
use names -- not numbers -- for the steps because numbers would change 
when a new step is added (whereas names remain the same).  Your latest 
message introduces some clarifications that were missing from earlier 
descriptions, so please add those clarifications to the full description.

Based on recent clarifications you have provided, my guess is that the 
primary ballot for your APR method will need to list hundreds, and 
possibly thousands, of organizations that are seeking to become official 
"associations," and I am looking forward to seeing -- in your 
step-by-step description -- how you envision your method handling such a 
large number of organizations.

In advance, thank you for taking the time to clarify to those of us in 
this forum how your APR method works.

Richard Fobes

On 1/22/2015 12:51 PM, steve bosworth wrote:
> (8)[EM] APR: Steve's 8th dialogue with Richard Fobes, but Richard
> strangely used the 5^th dialogue as his starting point.
>
> To Richard and everyone,
>
> Did you not receive my contribution to our 7^th dialogue?I ask because
> you seem here to be responding to our 5^th , rather our 7^th, dialogue.
>
> In any case, my most recent responses below are tagged with “XS:”
>
> Finally, just in case our 7^th dialogue somehow got lost in cyber
> space,I have attached another copy of it at the very end of this post.I
> would also very much appreciate you being able to find the time to
> respond to this 7^th dialogue as well.
>
> Thank you,
>
> Steve
>
>>  Date: Sat, 17 Jan 2015 10:11:26 -0800
>>  From: ElectionMethods <at> VoteFair.org
>>  To: election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
>>  CC: stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com
>>  Subject: Re: (5)[EM] APR: Steve's 5th dialogue with Richard Fobes
>>
> R:I'll try a different approach to pointing out the disadvantages I see in
>>  your APR voting method. (Yes, the method also has advantages.)
>>
>>  If I were hired to point out how money could be used to influence a
>>  government that used your APR method, here are strategies I would
> recommend:
>>
>>  1: Assuming "you" (the wealthy puppetmaster) own media sources (such as
>>  radio stations, a TV network, newspapers, etc.), arrange to promote the
>>  elected politicians whose weighted voting is high and who are willing to
>>  listen to your advocacy in exchange for campaign contributions.
>>
>>  2: Use the same media ownership to report scandals involving the
>>  politicians whose weighted voting is high and who have voted against
>>  what you want.
>>
>>  3: Give campaign contributions to the elected politicians who are the
>>  chairmen/chairwomen of a committee of importance (to you), and make sure
>>  that all bills (proposed laws) contain some of what you want, in
>>  addition to also containing what many voters want. This strategy
>>  greatly reduces the influence of a "celebrity" MP (member of Parliament)
>>  who is not on the committee, and who opposes what you want. (This
>>  concept is related to the greatly reduced influence of women in U.S.
>>  Congress because women have not yet risen into committee chairmanship
>>  positions.) …
>
> XS:Below you say that this “3” takes “advantage of fairness weaknesses
> of your APR”.Please explain.What “fairness weakness”?For example, APR
> would allow women most efficiently and proportionately to guarantee
> their election to the assembly and eventually receive “committee
> chairmanships”.They could do this by forming a Women’s Association.What
> do you think?
>>
>>  4: Contribute money to several of the (seat-wise) most popular
>>  associations, for the purpose of shifting their agendas at least
>>  slightly in your direction. This is similar to what "Republicans"
>>  started doing in the United States in the 1980s to influence
>>  Democratic-party candidates during primary elections (without also
>>  giving much more than token money to Democratic candidates during the
>>  "general"/runoff election).
>>
>>  5: Get involved in the development process when a promising new
>>  association forms, especially if the association has lots of voter
>>  support but not much financial support. Exactly how this is done
>>  depends upon information about the APR voting method that has not yet
>>  been explained.
>>
>>  6: Give donations to churches and other organizations that are willing
>>  to encourage their members to vote for your financially-backed
>>  "celebrity" politicians (who are the ones promoted by your media
>>  sources). Also give money to people who have ties to drug dealers and
>>  white-collar criminals, who in turn share some of the money with voters
>>  who vote for your preferred celebrity politicians.
>>
>>  7: Very importantly, make sure that as many of your financially
>>  supported politicians get to participate in the negotiation process that
>>  forms a ruling coalition. Support those politicians with expert
>>  negotiators whose hidden agenda is to favor your political interests. …
>
> XS:Again, you say that this “7” takes “advantage of fairness weaknesses
> of your APR”.Please explain.What “fairness weakness”?For example,
> earlier I have suggested that the greater average trust that would
> probably characterize the relations between each citizen and their rep
> would assist each rep to be a more successful “negotiator”.Each rep is
> more likely to be trusted to negotiate any necessary compromises because
> of the greater clarity of the scale of values which each is seen to
> share with his electors.What do you think?
>>
>
> XS:Of course, I would expect the rich to use all 7 of the above
> strategies in an attempt to influence both the election and decisions of
> any assembly elected by APR, or by any other system you might
> favour.What I do not yet understand is why you think APR is any more
> vulnerable to these democracy distorting strategies than other
> systems.Do you think this is the case?If so, please explain.
>
> In particular, I have not yet received your response to my earlier
> suggestions that APR’s primary, associations, and its guarantee that
> each citizen’s vote will be retained within the weighted vote of her
> favoured rep would seem to reduce their vulnerability to these 7.This
> would seem to follow from the increased degree of identity and
> accountability that would be provided, and probably felt, between each
> citizen and their APR rep.What do you think?
>
>
> R: … In case you don't recognize the pattern, these strategies -- except
> for
>>  numbers 3 and 7 -- take advantage of fairness weaknesses of your APR
>>  voting method. The strategies numbered 3 and 7 work in existing voting
>>  methods, yet they become more effective under the APR voting method.
>>
>>  My purpose in using this approach to point out disadvantages of your
>>  method is to help you understand the earlier comments that I and others
>>  have written.
>>
>>  I don't have time to do direct editing on your summary description, but
>>  I do have specific suggestions for how you can improve it:
>
> XS:Thank you.
>
>
> R: * Insert an extra step before the primary election that explains what
>>  happens before the primary election. Currently "Step 1" covers both the
>>  primary election itself and events leading up to the primary.
>
> XS:Before the primary, each voluntary organization in the society should
> carefully consider whether or not it wishes directly to elect reps to
> the assembly during the next general election.If they do, they must
> formally apply to The Central Electoral Commission to this effect, e.g.
> providing its name, address, current officials, mission statement,
> etc.Then, this Commission will automatically put each of these applicant
> organizations on the list for the primary and the ranking of all these
> organizations by citizens will determine which ones will become
> recognized as “official electoral associations).
>
>
> R:* Your description does not clarify how a non-seat-holding organization
>>  without candidates on the ballot can become qualified to have candidates
>>  on the ballot. Also it does not clarify what is needed for an
>>  association to win its first seat. …
>
> XS:Please see Flow Chart 2, pages 5-7, and Endnotes 5 for the
> details.Briefly:
>
> 1)Every organization will be “non-seat-holding” unless it is receives
> enough registered voters in the country during the primary to become a
> recognized “association”, e.g. an association that had received at least
> 0.2% (i.e. one 500^th ) of all the registered voters would elect one
> rep. in a 500 member assembly.There is no other “qualification” other
> than to have received at least this number of electors.
>
> 2)The rep elected to this “seat” months later during the general
> election would have a voting power in the assembly exactly equal to the
> number of citizens who had helped her to be elected.
>>
> R: * Avoid fractions! The average voter barely understands percentages.
>>  If you do use percentages, put them in parentheses. For example you can
>>  refer to "one representative out of 500 representatives (0.2%)" as a
>>  threshold criteria.
>
> XS: Yes, thank you.
>>
> R: *Replace the following words with clear and unambiguous words: "contain
>>  all citizens as their voting members"
>
> XS:As a result of the primary, every citizen would be an official
> elector in one of the “associations” for general election purposes, i.e.
> the group of organizations who become “associations” as a result of the
> primary would together "contain
>>  all voting citizens as their voting members”.
>
>
> R: *Replace the following words ...: "proved not to be sufficiently popular"
>
> XS: Yes: "proved not to be sufficiently popular", i.e. to have received
> less than 0.2% of the counties citizens as their applicant voting members.
>>
> R: *Replace the following words ...: "if it has attracted at least one
>>  500-th of all the registered voters as its official electors"
>
> XS:Yes: "if it has attracted at least 0.2% of all the registered voters
> as its official electors"
>
>
> R: * Remove the unneeded words: "would retain all the votes they had
>>  received. Thus each"
>
> XS:These words are meant to recall the difference between these reps and
> the reps who have received more than 10% of all the votes cast.Any such
> very popular APR rep must publish exactly how she has distributed her
> extra vote to trusted colleagues.
>>
> R:* Remove the goals and judgments that you continue to re-insert into
>>  your descriptions. Just state the facts. If this request isn't yet
>>  clear, assume that a computer programmer needs to read your description
>>  and then be able to write software that implements your method. …
>
> XS:Of course, I agree that a clear “description” of the steps and
> procedures required by APR.Also, I have assumed that any person would
> have no interest in reading any proposed electoral system unless it also
> claims to offer more benefits than other systems from her point of view,
> e.g. “APR allows each citizen to guarantee that her vote will
> mathematically continue equally to count in the assembly”.Is it not a
> fact that APR offers this and at least some citizens would desire it?
>
> Similarly, I see it as entirely appropriate that you also freely seem to
> reveal your own “goals and judgments” above by using such phrases
> as:“the disadvantages I see”, “how money could be used to influence a
> government”, and “wealthy puppet master”.Am I mistaken about this?What
> do you think?
>
> R: … When you have revised your summary description, please post it for
>>  further feedback on this forum. I'm guessing that as your description
>>  becomes clearer, then feedback from myself and others will become more
>>  useful to you.
>>
>>  Your APR voting method does have some interesting advantages in spite of
>>  its disadvantages. As I've said before, it might be useful for use in
>>  some organizations.
>
> XS:Again, if you still see these “disadvantages”, please explain your
> reasons.
>
>
>>  Richard Fobes
>>
>>  On 12/28/2014 4:56 AM, steve bosworth wrote:
>>  > ...
>>  >
>>  > Hi Richard,
>>  >
>>  > Thank you for being willing to spend the time to start the writing of a
>>  > more simple presentation of APR.I would also be grateful if you and
>>  > others could offer any more criticisms and suggestions in regard to the
>>  > additions I have made below in an attempt to complete your summary with
>>  > equal simplicity.Your original suggestions are printed using Courier New
>>  > Font, while my additions use Calibri Font:
>>  >
>>  > *Positive Voting Guaranteed*
>>  >
>>  > If you would like to be sure that your own vote will continue to have
>>  > equal weight in the legislative assembly through the rep you trust most,
>>  > use Associational Proportional Representation (APR).
>>  >
>>  > Step 1: APR’sPrimary election allows you to choose which voluntary
>>  > organization you want to help you make your vote count more efficiently
>>  > during the later general election.You choose from the list of applicant
>>  > organizations who wish to send their own reps to the legislative
>>  > assembly.These would probably include all the political parties, many of
>>  > the existing electoral districts, and many interest groups (e.g.
>>  > business, labor, professional, social, environmental, recreational,
>>  > ethnic, or religious).You may rank as many, or as few, of these
>>  > organizations as you wish. Rank first the one you believe is likely to
>>  > offer the most attractive candidates for you to rank during the later
>>  > election.
>>  >
>>  > The Primary counts all these citizen preferences to discover the group
>>  > of organizations who are sufficiently popular both to contain all
>>  > citizens as their voting members and to elect all the reps during the
>>  > general election.Each organization in this group becomes an official
>>  > electoral “associations”.Also as a result, you (and each other citizen)
>>  > become a voting member of one of these associations for the general
>>  > election.
>>  >
>>  > If a citizen’s first choice organization proved not to be sufficiently
>>  > popular, his application to be a member will be shifted to his next
>>  > choice organization until one is found to be sufficiently popular to
>>  > become an association.If a citizenprefersnot to participate in the
>>  > Primary ornot to rank any association beyond their favorite, that too is
>>  > acceptable. If none of the organizations a citizen has ranked proves
>>  > sufficiently popular, they will automatically remain a registered voter
>>  > in the district in which they reside.
>>  >
>>  > Step 2: Counting the primary election ballots also determines how many
>>  > legislative seats will be awarded to each association.If, for example,
>>  > the legislative assembly is to have 500 members, an association will be
>>  > awarded one seat if it has attracted at least one 500^th of all the
>>  > registered voters as its official electors.It will be awarded two seats
>>  > if it as attracted two 500^th , etc.(See Endnote 5 and Flow Chart 2 in
>>  > the article).
>>  >
>>  > Step 3: In the general election, you (and each citizen) is asked to vote
>>  > by rankingas many, or as few, candidates as they prefer. The ballot
>>  > paper is designed to allow each voter easilyto rank any candidates in
>>  > any associations in the country.
>>  >
>>  > Step 4: Counting these ballots determineswhich candidates win the seats
>>  > that were awarded to eachassociation. For example, the candidate who
>>  > received the most votes in an association allowed to elect 1 rep would
>>  > be elected, the two candidates receiving the most votes in an
>>  > association allowed to elect 2 reps would be elected, etc.
>>  >
>>  > Step 5:Each elected rep would retain all the votes they had
>>  > received.Thus, each will have a “weighted vote” in the assembly exactly
>>  > equal to the number of votes received.In this way, each citizen’s vote
>>  > continues to count during the assembly’s deliberations (see the Sample
>>  > Ballot, Endnotes 3 & 4, and Flow Chart 1 in the article).
>>  >
>>  > END OF SUMMARY
>>  >
>>  > R: Notice that, unlike your descriptions, this sample summary does not
>>  > contain any claims, opinions, judgments, or even intended goals. You
>>  > already know how to write that kind of promotional material.
>>  >>
>>  >> After it becomes clearer how your method works, then we can further
>>  > discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your method.
>>  >
>>  > S: Yes please.
>>  >
>>  > R:In case I forget, your method involves an additional complication that
>>  > I have not yet mentioned. The fact that seats would be awarded to many
>>  > associations means that a ruling/majority coalition would need to be
>>  > formed, and the process of forming a coalition always involves back-room
>>  > compromises that undermine the most important political priorities of
>>  > many voters. The long-term solution to this issue is to improve the
>>  > voting methods that are used within the legislature/parliament, and then
>>  > your associations would not need to form a ruling coalition.
>>  >>
>>  >> Richard Fobes
>>  >
>>  > S:I look forward to our future dialogues both with regard to the
>>  > formation of a “majority coalition” and the above summary.
>>  >
>>  > S:My reply with regard to your above remarks about the formation of a
>>  > “majority coalition” will be contained in the 6^th edition of our
>>  > dialogue which I will sent next.
>>  >
>>  > Steve
>>
>
> Re: (7) APR: Steve’s 7th dialogue with Richard Fobes
>
> To Richard and others:
>
> I’ve tagged my most recent contributions with “SS:”
>
> Steve
>
>>  Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2015 09:39:37 -0800
>>  From: ElectionMethods <at> VoteFair.org
>>  To: election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
>>  CC: stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com
>>  Subject: Re: (6) APR: Steve’s 6th dialogue with Richard Fobes
>>
>>  On 12/28/2014 5:07 AM, steve bosworth wrote:
>
> S: .... They might fear that such assemblies would find it too difficult
> to form a majority coalition both to pass laws and to support and
> monitor an effective government.
>>
> R: You seem to have misunderstood what I (Richard) wrote:
> ... your method involves an additional complication that I have not yet
> mentioned. The fact that seats would be awarded to many associations
> means that a ruling/majority coalition would need to be formed, and the
> process of forming a coalition always involves back-room
> compromises that undermine the most important political priorities of
> many voters.
>
> SS:I hope I have explained below why I think APR reps would be less able
> to get away with the above feared and real anti-democratic behaviour.At
> the same time, I know of no electoral system or no voting system within
> the assembly that could all together remove the possibility of
> “back-room compromises” or deals.However, I see APR as so structured as
> to maximize the awareness on the part of citizens and the consequent
> pressure that they can exert on their reps to require them to bring the
> details of any such compromises and deals into the public domain.
>
> R: … The long-term solution to this issue is to improve the voting
> methods that are used within the legislature/parliament, and then your
> associations would not need to form a ruling coalition. …
>
> SS:Please describe the “voting methods” you have in mind that could
> remove such “back-room” deals or remove the “need to form a ruling
> coalition”.
>
> R: … An example might help to clarify this issue. Suppose there is an
> "animal rights" association, and suppose that 60 percent of the voters
> who successfully supported that association are "dog lovers", and the
> other 40 percent "oppose bear traps". (Yes, unrealistically simple -- to
> make the concept clearer.)
>
> In the backroom coalition-forming meetings, suppose that a majority
> coalition is created, and one of the concessions by the "animal rights"
> association is to drop the issue of opposing bear traps. This compromise
> is made so that the association can pass laws that the "dog lovers"
> support. This leaves the "opposed-to-bear-trap" voters completely
> unrepresented by "their" animal-rights association.
>
> These kinds of hidden-in-backroom-deals compromises become more numerous
> as the number of associations or political parties increase.When there
> are only 2, 3, or 4 political parties (or "associations"), most of these
> kinds of compromises are worked out in public dialogs, not backroom
> meetings.
>
> SS:I hope I have explained below why I think that APR is more likely to
> enable electors to discover these “backroom-deals” etc., and to punish
> them when necessary.
>
> More fundamentally, the key reason that a “ruling majority” is necessary
> in practice is in order to maximize the chances that none of the many
> separate laws passed by the assembly and none of the executive decisions
> made by the executive (government) will conflict with each other. A
> state needs its binding decisions to form a complicated unity, a unity
> between all of its legislative decision, its executive decisions, and
> between these 2 types of decisions. For example, without a ruling
> majority, one majority in the assembly may vote for laws and the
> establishment of institutions and projects, while another majority
> refuses to authorize the taxation necessary to fund the enforcement of
> these laws, institutions and projects.If so, neither majority would need
> to take responsibility for the failure of this assembly.
>
> R: Switching to a different topic (that you bring up in your reply):
>
> S:... in the face of a fragmented majority in an assembly elected by any
> electoral system, the head of state (monarch or president) could be
> given the reserve power to appoint the member who seems to be most
> supported by the assembly as the head of government (prime minister
> (PM)), even when this support is composed only of a minority.
>
> R:The whole point of the parliament choosing their own leader is that it
> overcomes the gridlock that happened when the king of England chose the
> person who communicated between himself and parliament.
>
> SS:Yes, I have no reason to doubt this history.At the same time, I also
> want to argue that this is the best practice from a democratic point of
> view.However, when it happens that a majority party or coalitiondoes not
> exist in the legislative assembly and proves unable to form itself, the
> next best temporary solution from a democratic point of view is for the
> head of state (e.g. the monarch) to have the constitutional obligation
> to appoint the PM (i.e. the chief of the state’s executive council).I
> see this as the best democratic solution in these circumstances because
>
> 1)it continues to guarantee the existence of a legal sovereign executive
> (government) to maintain the peace, and to coordinate the administration
> and enforcement of the existing laws,
>
> 2)at the same time, it prevents the head of state (e.g. the monarch)
> from personally taking that chief executive position for herself,
> instead, and
>
> 3)this both helps to secure law and order in the state, and
>
> 4)thus provides the time and relative peace which might all the above
> optimal democratic situation to re-assert itself, i.e. for a majority
> party or coalition to emerge within the assembly, and
>
> 5)this majority would be constitutionally capable of ensuring that the
> PM (and his or her government) will administer the law as expected by
> that majority.
>
> R: Another topic:
>
> S: ... the head of state could be given the authority to sustain a
>>  > minority government even against a formal majority vote of no confidence
>>  > by the assembly provided only that that majority remained too divided
>>  > also to elect a new PM....
>>
> R: The whole point of improving elections is so that a parliament does
> not get to a point of needing the "no confidence" option.
>
> SS:Yes, and I want to argue that APR maximizes the chances both that
> each citizen will be satisfied with their representative in the
> assembly, and that a majority party or coalition in the assembly (in a
> parliamentary system) will be satisfied with the persons who compose the
> government (i.e. the executive organ of the state).
>
> S:... Gridlock between Congress and the US President is not uncommon.
> Unfortunately, the US Constitution’s separation of powers also allows
> any gridlock to be sustained between the House of Representative and the
> Senate.
>
> R: Gridlock in Washington DC occurs because elected politicians have been
>>  bribed into keeping things as they are. The way things are is that the
>>  biggest campaign contributors have been given sweet advantages over
>>  their competitors, and the bribes serve the purpose of maintaining those
>>  business advantages. U.S. gridlock is just a symptom, not a cause.
>>
>
> SS:Yes, money and bribery is a major problem in the U.S. (and elsewhere)
> and I assume we both would want publically financed electoral campaigns
> largely to replace their existing domination by private financing.
>>  > ...
>>
> S: Consequently, the above practicalities and suggested constitutional
>>  > arrangements make it clear to every rep that unless they can help to
>>  > build and maintain a majority coalition in the assembly, the binding
>>  > state decisions will still be made without them, and perhaps against
>>  > their own agenda. At the same time, I hope the above has successfully
>>  > suggested why APR reps are more likely than other reps to respond
>>  > creatively to the political imperatives to construct a majority
>>  > coalition (or party) in which they will be an essential member. …
>>
> R:Again, the issue is not about the ease with which a majority coalition
>>  can be formed.
>
> SS:I would prefer to say that this is an “issue”, but certainly not the
> only important issue.
>
> R:… The main issue is about whether an election method leads
>>  to the election of politicians who pass laws that the voters want, …
>
> SS:Of course!However, the passing of such laws would seem to be most
> likely if the reps of the assembly would both be as structurally
> accountable as possible to their electors and when each citizen’s vote
> is contained in the weighted vote of the rep whose scale of values is
> closest to his own.Both of these conditions would seem to be best
> provided by APR.Each citizen’s knows exactly who his rep is and each rep
> both knows that each of his electors know him and can complain directly
> to him if he does not give a satisfactory explanation of any of his
> votes that an elector sees as contrary to the rep’s professed scale of
> values.Also, each rep ultimately knows that with APR, each of his
> electors will be easily able, instead, to give his or her vote to any
> one of the future reps during the next general election.
>
> Also, I have tried to explain how APR’s primary and associations should
> help to reduce the power of the money that currently distorts democracy
> in the ways you describe.I see this as likely given that fact that APR’s
> ‘associations’ would presumably have some 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
> 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.
>
> Also, I hoped that the explanations repeated between the +++++++sbelow
> (1st offered in our 6th dialogue) make the validity of the above claims
> more understandable:
>
> ++++++++++++++++
>
> The most obvious advantage that each APR rep has is that he knows that
> he has been elected by citizens who trust him to work and vote to
> promote their common scale of values. Thus, APR seems maximally to
> provide the human resources and the conditions for the kind of
> productive debates and negotiations in the assembly that would be most
> conducive to the formation of such a majority.
>
> Firstly, in comparison to other systems, the way APR recruits and elects
> the reps makes this more likely. Its general election enables each
> citizen to guarantee that their vote will be added to the ‘weighted
> vote’ in the legislative assembly of their most favoured representative
> (or the one most favoured by their first choice but eliminated candidate).
>
> Moreover, this qualitative advantage would seem to be increased by the
> earlier discovery by APR’s Primary election of the most popular
> voluntary organizations in civil society that will be recognized as the
> official electoral ‘associations’. At the same time, this primary
> determines the number of representatives each association will be
> allowed to elect to the assembly. To the extent that this would both
> help politically to energize these popular associations and stimulate
> more attractive candidates to seek office in the general election, the
> average quality with which all citizens would be represented in the
> assembly should be raised.
>
> Consequently, each rep’s “weighted vote” will have been determined by
> each of his electors who believes that he is the best rep among the many
> hundreds of candidates in the country. Moreover, APR’s associational
> structure would seem to assist the development of a much closer identity
> between each elector and his representative, a more intense personal and
> mutual bond. Thus, the ideological fit between each set of APR’s
> associations, electors, and representatives is likely to be much closer,
> on average, than that between the more defuse and vague relations
> between the agendas of each set of parties, districts, electors, and
> representatives in other systems.
>
> The evolution of these closer relationships in APR might grow partly as
> a result of the time between APR’s two elections. Firstly, the
> “bottom-up” Primary might prompt more electors to start to familiarize
> themselves with the existing members, officials, and other potential
> candidates of their preferred organizations. Thus, each APR
> representative might be more likely to have been known and explicitly
> favoured by his electors at least several months before the general
> election.
>
> This bond would help each rep’s focus and work in the assembly to be
> both clear and clearly known to be backed by his association and his
> electors. The goals toward which each rep is working within the assembly
> should be more evident, and each would be more likely to have the skills
> to present the strongest possible case for his own legislative proposals
> to be adopted by the assembly. An assembly composed of such able,
> different, well informed, clashing, and focused reps would provide an
> optimal debating and negotiating chamber for the production of decisions
> based on evidence and rational thought. The wisdom of any decisions
> resulting from this deliberative process is also likely to be aided by
> the fact that it would take place in an assembly whose composition most
> accurately reflects the real variety and intensity of the concerns of
> all citizens.
>
> If so, this assembly would also be better able to respond to the
> imperative to form a working majority in the assembly. Without such a
> majority coalition, any wise legislative solutions to problems that such
> deliberations might have discovered could not be passed into law. Also,
> the fact that each APR representative, on average, is more likely to be
> focused and trusted by her electors would seem better to enable her also
> to arrive at any necessary compromises between the contending parties
> and representatives in order to achieve their common ends through the
> establishment of a working majority coalition. A trusting citizen is
> more likely to believe his rep’s claim that the compromises were necessary.
>
> These APR reps are also more likely to appreciate the other need for
> them to be an essential part of a majority coalition so they can ensure
> that the government will be lead by executives who can be trusted to
> apply the laws as expected.
>
> Each APR rep is more likely to see that if their own coalition is not
> the majority that will shape these binding decisions, their own agenda
> will not be advanced, especially by an opposing majority coalition.
> Also, given the above constitutional guarantees, even when no majority
> coalition can be formed within the assembly, many of these decisions
> will still be authoritatively made by the president in a presidential
> democracy, or by a government appointed and sustained by the head of
> state in a parliamentary democracy.
>
> Consequently, the above practicalities and suggested constitutional
> arrangements make it clear to every rep that unless they can help to
> build and maintain a majority coalition in the assembly, the binding
> state decisions will still be made without them, and perhaps against
> their own agenda. At the same time, I hope the above has successfully
> suggested why APR reps are more likely than other reps to respond
> creatively to the political imperatives to construct a majority
> coalition (or party) in which they will be an essential member.
>
> The wider appreciation of this imperative would also help each APR
> association and its electors to organize their combined resources more
> efficiently to help shape the binding decisions taken by the state.
>
> +++++++++++++++++
>
> R:… or whether, instead, the elected politicians give/maintain
> advantages to
>>  the businesses that are owned by the biggest campaign contributors.
>>  Another important issue is whether politicians make concessions that
>>  voters would reject if they (the voters) knew about those compromises.
>
> SS:Again, as I see it, no electoral system by itself can entirely remove
> these fears and realities.I just see the above features of APR as
> tending to inhibit such anti-democratic behaviour on the part of reps as
> much as possible.
>>
> R:I'm still looking for time to reply to your other message, regarding
>>  improving your description of your APR method.
>>
>>  Richard Fobes
>>
>

----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
steve bosworth | 11 Jan 21:48 2015
Picon

(7) APR: Steve’s 7th dialogue with Richard Fobes

(7) APR: Steve’s 7th dialogue with Richard Fobes

To Richard and others:

 

I’ve tagged my most recent contributions with “SS:”

 

Steve

 

> Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2015 09:39:37 -0800
> From: ElectionMethods <at> VoteFair.org
> To: election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
> CC: stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com
> Subject: Re: (6) APR: Steve’s 6th dialogue with Richard Fobes
>
> On 12/28/2014 5:07 AM, steve bosworth wrote:

S: .... They might fear that such assemblies would find it too difficult to form a majority coalition both to pass laws and to support and monitor an effective government.
>
R: You seem to have misunderstood what I (Richard) wrote:
... your method involves an additional complication that I have not yet mentioned. The fact that seats would be awarded to many associations means that a ruling/majority coalition would need to be formed, and the process of forming a coalition always involves back-room
compromises that undermine the most important political priorities of many voters.

 

SS:  I hope have explained below why I think APR reps would be less able to get away with the above feared and real anti-democratic behaviour.  At the same time, I know of no electoral system or no voting system within the assembly that could all together remove the possibility of “back-room compromises” or deals.  However, I see APR as so structured as to maximize the awareness on the part of citizens and the consequent pressure that they can exert on their reps to require them to bring the details of any such compromises and deals into the public domain.

 

R: … The long-term solution to this issue is to improve the voting methods that are used  within the legislature/parliament, and then your associations would not need to form a ruling coalition. …

 

SS:  Please describe the “voting methods” you have in mind that could remove such “back-room” deals or remove the “need to form a ruling coalition”.

 

R: … An example might help to clarify this issue. Suppose there is an "animal rights" association, and suppose that 60 percent of the voters who successfully supported that association are "dog lovers", and the other 40 percent "oppose bear traps". (Yes, unrealistically simple -- to make the concept clearer.)

 In the backroom coalition-forming meetings, suppose that a majority
coalition is created, and one of the concessions by the "animal rights"
association is to drop the issue of opposing bear traps. This compromise is made so that the association can pass laws that the "dog lovers" support. This leaves the "opposed-to-bear-trap" voters completely unrepresented by "their" animal-rights association.
 
These kinds of hidden-in-backroom-deals compromises become more numerous
as the number of associations or political parties increase.  When there are only 2, 3, or 4 political parties (or "associations"), most of these kinds of compromises are worked out in public dialogs, not backroom meetings.

 

SS:  I hope I have explained below why I think that APR is more likely to enable electors to discover these “backroom-deals” etc., and to punish them when necessary.

 

More fundamentally, the key reason that a “ruling majority” is necessary in practice is in order to maximize the chances that none of the many separate laws passed by the assembly and none of the executive decisions made by the executive (government) will conflict with each other.  A state needs its binding decisions to form a complicated unity, a unity between all of its legislative decision, its executive decisions, and between these 2 types of decisions.  For example, without a ruling majority, one majority in the assembly may vote for laws and the establishment of institutions and projects, while another majority refuses to authorize the taxation necessary to fund the enforcement of these laws, institutions and projects.  If so, neither majority would need to take responsibility for the failure of this assembly.
 
R: Switching to a different topic (that you bring up in your reply):

S:  ... in the face of a fragmented majority in an assembly elected by any electoral system, the head of state (monarch or president) could be given the reserve power to appoint the member who seems to be most supported by the assembly as the head of government (prime minister (PM)), even when this support is composed only of a minority.

R:  The whole point of the parliament choosing their own leader is that it overcomes the gridlock that happened when the king of England chose the person who communicated between himself and parliament.

 

SS:  Yes, I have no reason to doubt this history.  At the same time, I also want to argue that this is the best practice from a democratic point of view.  However, when it happens that a majority party or coalition  does not exist in the legislative assembly and proves unable to formed itself, the next best temporary solution from a democratic point of view is for the head of state (e.g. the monarch) to have the constitution obligation to appoint the PM (i.e. the chief of the state’s executive council).  I see this as the best democratic solution in these circumstances because

1)      it continues to guarantee the existence of a legal sovereign executive (government) to maintain the peace, and to coordinate the administration and enforcement of the existing laws,

2)      at the same time, it prevents the head of state (e.g. the monarch) from personally taking that chief executive position for herself, instead, and

3)      this both helps to secure law and order in the state, and

4)      thus provides the time and relative peace to allow the above optimal democratic situation to re-assert itself, i.e. for a majority party or coalition to emerge within the assembly, and

5)      this majority would be constitutionally capable of ensuring that the PM (and his or her government) will administer the law as expected by that majority.

 

R:  Another topic:

S:  ... the head of state could be given the authority to sustain a
> > minority government even against a formal majority vote of no confidence
> > by the assembly provided only that that majority remained too divided
> > also to elect a new PM....
>
R: The whole point of improving elections is so that a parliament does not get to a point of needing the "no confidence" option.

 

SS:  Yes, and I want to argue that APR maximizes the chances both that each citizen will be satisfied with their representative in the assembly, and that a majority party or coalition in the assembly (in a parliamentary system) will be satisfied with the persons who compose the government (i.e. the executive organ of the state).

 

S:   ... Gridlock between Congress and the US President is not uncommon. Unfortunately, the US Constitution’s separation of powers also allows any gridlock to be sustained between the House of Representative and the Senate.
 
R:  Gridlock in Washington DC occurs because elected politicians have been
> bribed into keeping things as they are. The way things are is that the
> biggest campaign contributors have been given sweet advantages over
> their competitors, and the bribes serve the purpose of maintaining those
> business advantages. U.S. gridlock is just a symptom, not a cause.
>

SS:  Yes, money and bribery is a major problem in the U.S. (and elsewhere) and I assume we both would want publically financed electoral campaigns largely to replace their existing domination by private financing.
> > ...
S:  Consequently, the above practicalities and suggested constitutional
> > arrangements make it clear to every rep that unless they can help to
> > build and maintain a majority coalition in the assembly, the binding
> > state decisions will still be made without them, and perhaps against
> > their own agenda. At the same time, I hope the above has successfully
> > suggested why APR reps are more likely than other reps to respond
> > creatively to the political imperatives to construct a majority
> > coalition (or party) in which they will be an essential member. …
>
R:  Again, the issue is not about the ease with which a majority coalition
> can be formed.

 

SS:  I would prefer to say that this is an “issue”, but certainly not the only important issue.

 

R:  … The main issue is about whether an election method leads
> to the election of politicians who pass laws that the voters want, …

 

SS:  Of course!  However, the passing of such laws would seem to be most likely if the reps of the assembly would both be as structurally accountable as possible to their electors and when each citizen’s vote is contained in the weighted vote of the rep whose scale of values is closest to his own.  Both of these conditions would seem to be best provided by APR.  Each citizen’s knows exactly who his rep is and each rep both knows that each of his electors know him and can complain directly to him if he does not give a satisfactory explanation of any of his votes that an elector sees as contrary to the rep’s professed scale of values.  Also, each rep ultimately knows that with APR, each of his electors will be easily able, instead, to give his or her vote to any one of the future reps during the next general election.

 

Also, I have tried to explain how APR’s primary and associations should help to reduce the power of the money that currently distorts democracy in the ways you describe.  I see this as likely given that fact that APR’s ‘associations’ would presumably have some 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 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.

 

 

Also, I hoped that the explanations repeated between the +++++++s  below (1st offered in our 6th dialogue) make the validity of the above claims more understandable:

 

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

The most obvious advantage that each APR rep has is that he knows that he has been elected by citizens who trust him to work and vote to promote their common scale of values. Thus, APR seems maximally to provide the human resources and the conditions for the kind of productive debates and negotiations in the assembly that would be most conducive to the formation of such a majority.

Firstly, in comparison to other systems, the way APR recruits and elects the reps makes this more likely. Its general election enables each citizen to guarantee that their vote will be added to the ‘weighted vote’ in the legislative assembly of their most favoured representative (or the one most favoured by their first choice but eliminated candidate).

Moreover, this qualitative advantage would seem to be increased by the earlier discovery by APR’s Primary election of the most popular voluntary organizations in civil society that will be recognized as the official electoral ‘associations’. At the same time, this primary determines the number of representatives each association will be allowed to elect to the assembly. To the extent that this would both help politically to energize these popular associations and stimulate more attractive candidates to seek office in the general election, the average quality with which all citizens would be represented in the assembly should be raised.

Consequently, each rep’s “weighted vote” will have been determined by each of his electors who believes that he is the best rep among the many hundreds of candidates in the country. Moreover, APR’s associational structure would seem to assist the development of a much closer identity between each elector and his representative, a more intense personal and mutual bond. Thus, the ideological fit between each set of APR’s associations, electors, and representatives is likely to be much closer, on average, than that between the more defuse and vague relations between the agendas of each set of parties, districts, electors, and representatives in other systems.

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

This bond would help each rep’s focus and work in the assembly to be both clear and clearly known to be backed by his association and his electors. The goals toward which each rep is working within the assembly should be more evident, and each would be more likely to have the skills to present the strongest possible case for his own legislative proposals to be adopted by the assembly. An assembly composed of such able, different, well informed, clashing, and focused reps would provide an optimal debating and negotiating chamber for the production of decisions based on evidence and rational thought. The wisdom of any decisions resulting from this deliberative process is also likely to be aided by the fact that it would take place in an assembly whose composition most accurately reflects the real variety and intensity of the concerns of all citizens.

If so, this assembly would also be better able to respond to the imperative to form a working majority in the assembly. Without such a majority coalition, any wise legislative solutions to problems that such deliberations might have discovered could not be passed into law. Also, the fact that each APR representative, on average, is more likely to be focused and trusted by her electors would seem better to enable her also to arrive at any necessary compromises between the contending parties and representatives in order to achieve their common ends through the establishment of a working majority coalition. A trusting citizen is more likely to believe his rep’s claim that the compromises were necessary.

These APR reps are also more likely to appreciate the other need for them to be an essential part of a majority coalition so they can ensure that the government will be lead by executives who can be trusted to apply the laws as expected.

Each APR rep is more likely to see that if their own coalition is not the majority that will shape these binding decisions, their own agenda will not be advanced, especially by an opposing majority coalition. Also, given the above constitutional guarantees, even when no majority coalition can be formed within the assembly, many of these decisions will still be authoritatively made by the president in a presidential democracy, or by a government appointed and sustained by the head of state in a parliamentary democracy.

Consequently, the above practicalities and suggested constitutional arrangements make it clear to every rep that unless they can help to build and maintain a majority coalition in the assembly, the binding state decisions will still be made without them, and perhaps against their own agenda. At the same time, I hope the above has successfully suggested why APR reps are more likely than other reps to respond creatively to the political imperatives to construct a majority coalition (or party) in which they will be an essential member.

The wider appreciation of this imperative would also help each APR association and its electors to organize their combined resources more efficiently to help shape the binding decisions taken by the state.

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

 

R:  … or whether, instead, the elected politicians give/maintain advantages to
> the businesses that are owned by the biggest campaign contributors.
> Another important issue is whether politicians make concessions that
> voters would reject if they (the voters) knew about those compromises.

 

SS:  Again, as I see it, no electoral system by itself can entirely remove these fears and realities.  I just see the above features of APR as tending to inhibit such anti-democratic behaviour on the part of reps as much as possible.
>
R:  I'm still looking for time to reply to your other message, regarding
> improving your description of your APR method.
>
> Richard Fobes
>

 

----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
Kristofer Munsterhjelm | 11 Jan 19:36 2015
Picon

Weighted candidate methods with fixed seats

Say we have a weighted candidate method, and we want two winners. 
Furthermore, everybody votes like this (ranked, but rated is equivalent):

A > B > C > D > ...

Should the method ignore the two-seat constraint and pick only A? 
According to every voter, A is the best candidate. But if the method 
ignores the two-seat constraint in this case, that leaves the door open 
that it may ignore the constraint in other cases as well.

On the other hand, if we force the election of two candidates (thus 
obeying the constraint), then the next question becomes what weight to 
give the second candidate. It seems pretty obvious that if we have to 
have two candidates, they should be {A, B}: if either is of lower rank 
than A or B, we can switch that candidate by one higher rank, and this 
will make everybody better off.

But the same reasoning holds for A vs B. Assume that B has some rating x 
 > 0. Then we can transfer some eps, 0 < eps < x, from B to A and this 
will make everybody better off according to the ranking. But taking that 
reasoning to its conclusion leads to B having a weight of zero.

So it seems that there are situations where a weighted candidate method 
can't help electing fewer candidates than the number of winners it is 
told to elect. But are these "complete consensus" situations the only 
cases where it would have to diverge?

At first impression, an example like:

9999: A
1: D

would seem to indicate otherwise, because this is not very far away from

10000: A

where only A should be elected. But I think a strict weighted method 
optimized for quality under honesty would elect both A and D here, with 
weights {0.9999: A, 0.0001: B}. Whether such a result would be useful 
for what purposes the weighted election method is put to is a whole 
different question, of course.

Perhaps one could squeeze by with a technicality. In the unanimity 
example with two seats, the method *could* return:

{A: 1, B: 0}

which would give a smooth transition into votes of the type

1 - eps: A > B
eps: B > A

For comparison purposes: my Bucklin-like method fails to elect more than 
one in an unanimity setting. Party list methods also seem to elect only 
one, but they don't have a fixed number of winners.
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steve bosworth | 8 Jan 16:15 2015
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APR (14): Steve's 14th dialogue with Toby (Steve)

 

APR (14): Steve's 14th dialogue with Toby (Steve)

 

Date: Sat, 3 Jan 2015 12:36:57 +0000
From: tdp201b <at> yahoo.co.uk
To: stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com; election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
Subject: Re: Subject: APR (13): Steve's 13th dialogue with Toby (Steve)

 

To Toby and everyone

 

My newest comments are tagged by “XXS:”  Also, to ease cross referencing, I have numbered all the paragraphs.

 

Steve.

 

1T: I suppose because a score system doesn't work on the same elimination basis as APR, it wouldn't be able to work in exactly the same way.

 

2XXS:  Exactly how does your “score system’s” elimination process work?  This same question is asked or discussed in different ways below in paragraphs 32, 34, 38, 39, 48, 50, 51, 56, 57, 58, 60—63, 66, 67, 69, 70, 73, and 75.

 

3T:  But what you could do is allow the following three options for voters. One would be for the voter to give scores to as many candidates as they like (anyone candidate they ignore gets a default 0) and not transfer any power to their favourite candidate or anyone else. …

 

4XS: Do you agree that this option would not guarantee that your vote would not be entirely wasted, i.e. not even positively counting in the Commons through the vote of the MP could have otherwise been given your score by any eliminated candidate you had scored?


5T: Yes. It is possible that none of the candidates you give a positive score to will be elected. However, see below.

 

6T: … They would also have the option of simply voting for one candidate and using that candidate's entire score set of the other candidates.

 

7XS: Please clarify. Do you mean this one candidate if eliminated would be required (some how) to give the score you gave to him to an MP?  If so, how exactly?


8T:  What I mean is that each candidate would have a pre-declared set of scores for all the other candidates. They would rate the other candidates in advance of the election. Then if I as a voter don't want to individually rate the candidates, then I cast a vote for my favourite candidate and indicate that I want to use their ratings of the other candidates rather than rate them myself.

 

9XXS: Do you indicate your “favourite candidate” simply by giving the top score only to one candidate?

Also, your above answer might imply that you now favour score over approval voting. Is this so?

If so, are you also now adding the following feature to your preferred system, i.e. a score system: 

If you give your top score only to one candidate and none of the candidates you have given a positive score to is elected, then that top but eliminated candidate must continue sequentially to give your top score to each candidate on his rank ordered pre-declared list until one is elected?

 

If so, this could be almost the same as APR’s default voting.  However, what if none of the candidates to which your top but eliminated candidate gave your top score could be elected?  Would this still be your preferred system?

 

10T: … The other option would be for a voter to give scores (including zeros) to as many candidates as they want (these would be the ones they have specific views about), and then leaving the ratings of every other candidate to their indicated favourite candidate. As for whether I'm in favour of it, yes, I think it should work well.


11XS: Again, do you agree that this option would not guarantee that your vote would not be entirely wasted, not even positively counting in the Commons through the vote of the MP given your score by this eliminated candidate whom you had scored?


12T:  It's possible that none of the candidates you give a positive rating to will get elected. Or, if you are using your favourite candidate's ratings, it's possible that none of the candidates they have given a positive rating to will be elected. However, under APR, unless you (or your favourite candidate) has given a complete ranking list of all candidates then this can happen in APR as well. …

 

13XXS:  Endnote 4 to the article explains an alternative APR procedure that would also guarantee that your vote will be added to the weighted vote of the MP most favoured by your first choice but eliminated candidate. 

Secondly, also remember

1)     that since APR has the advantage that its MPs can have weighted votes (not just one vote each) this allows them more easily to receive and keep any extra votes that might be offered to them from any first choice but eliminated candidates; and

2)     that APR’s primary enables each citizen both to ensure that more attractive candidates (i.e. for his preferred association) will be available to be ranked in the general election, and that a pre-established number of these candidates must be elected.

 

Finally, are the “ratings” you mention above “scores” or “rankings”?

 

14T: … Also if none of my ranked candidates are elected, but my favourite candidate's 78th ranked candidate is elected as my representative, I might well be justified in feeling that I'm not really represented in any way. The fact that someone gives a complete ranking does mean that someone will become their official representative, but it offers no guarantees about how well someone will feel represented by them. …

 

15XXS:  I largely accept the point you are making here.  However, I believe it would still be correct to say that APR maximizes the chances that each citizen will be represented as well as possible, given currently unchangeable circumstances.

 

16XS: Still you fail to give a mathematical definition of “proportional”. Without this, you cannot explain why the information below APR’s transfer line is important to you. Similarly, you have not provided me with the formula by which all the information that would be provided by your approval/score voting would allow you to calculate what you would see as the optimal, “overall proportionality” in the Commons as a result of any such election. Can you not provide this information? [I see you have attempted to provide this information below.]


17T:  Yes, I did provide the information below. I also described it (albeit more briefly) in previous e-mails and linked to a mathematical description of the approval system. It's probably best to read the whole e-mail before saying things like this. And also, if you weren't happy with the previous descriptions, you should have said that you weren't happy with them rather than ignoring them and just stating that I hadn't provided an explanation.

 

18XXS:  I apologise for misunderstanding these earlier brief references as attempting fully to provide this information.  Thank you for providing the more compete mathematical information below.  Unfortunately, however, I still need the additional details asked for in paragraphs 2.

 

……………………………

 

19XS: Again, do you accept that according to your system it is possible that none of the candidates you have approved will be elected? However, if any of these are elected, will each voter be able to know exactly to what “extent” he is represented by each of these MPs? Will this also work for score voting? If so, please explain how.


20T: When the results of the election are published, the number of approvals or total score given to a candidate would be part of what is published, so you can know from that.

 

21XXS:  Given this information, I see how each citizen could eventually calculate her total share, if it were the case that the 500 most popular candidates are elected by approval or score voting, i.e. as your next paragraph in this dialogue also seems to imply.  However, perplexingly in your 31T: paragraph below, you say  that “this is not how it works”.  At that point, I ask you fully to explain how it does work.

 

22T: The basic definition of proportionality is unchanged (each voter has equal representation), but how we calculate it is different from APR or STV methods generally. With approval voting, it is fairly simple. Each MP's representation is equally split [????shared????] among all the voters that have voted for them.  With score voting, it is split proportionally to the score each voter gives. For example, candidate A is elected and has 1/500 of the parliamentary power. Two voters approved candidate A, so they each effectively have 1/1000 of the total parliamentary representation each plus whatever they might get from other candidates.

 

23XXS:  This is an equal share for each approval (and a proportionate share for each score) only with regard to the one vote of the relevant elected MP.  It is not provide the much more important equal proportionality guaranteed by APR, i.e. with regard to all the votes in the Commons.  This second kind of “proportionality” which is guaranteed by APR is what I would term “a perfect level of proportionality”.  Do you mean the same thing by this phrase in your 26T: paragraph below?

 

……………………………

 

24/2T:  It is correct that those represented by MP-A would in this situation have better representation than those represented by MP-B, and this disproportionality would be measured by the system. ,,,

 

 

25XXS:  Will this “measurement” be fully explained by the details of the caIculation I request later in paragraph 32XXS: below?

 

 

26T: …The overall most proportional set of candidates would be the set elected, but I am not claiming that you would be able to find a set of candidates that gives a perfect level of proportionality.  Voters' levels of representation for all candidates are added up. Exact proportionality is when every voter has the same amount of representation. …

 

27XXS: I.e. “exact proportionality” only in relation to the one vote of each of their elected MPs (not in relation to all the votes in the Commons)?

 

28T: …. That is what I mean by proportionality. The total of the voters' levels of representation will always be the same whatever the result (because it always equals the total parliamentary power), and so the average will always be the same. …

 

29XS: The meaning you give to the above words must be different from the one I see in them because I take them as just another way of expressing what APR offers. However, I would like you to comment on my following attempt to rewrite your above words to show you how they could be used correctly to characterize approval, score, and APR systems from the point of view of each voter:

 

30XS: In your countrywide approval election of a 500 member Commons, the 500 candidates who receive the most approvals are elected as MPs. The share that each approving citizen will have in the total power of the Commons is discovered by adding together each of the shares he has of each of the MPs he approved. The more such MPs he has approved, the larger will be his share of total voting power in the Commons. Because citizens may approve different numbers of candidates, and thus different numbers of MPs, approval voting (unlike APR voting) by no means guarantees that each voting citizen will have “the same amount of representation”, or any representation at all.


31T:  That's not how it would works. It's not simply the 500 candidates with the most approvals that are elected. It would be the 500 MPs that would minimise the disproportionality as I have described it. For example, if 51 people approve A and B and 49 approve C and D, and two are elected, then it would be one of A/B and one of C/D, even though A and B have the most approvals.  We can therefore measure disproportionality by adding up the squared deviations of representation levels of the individual voters from the mean level of representation.

 

32XXS: I understand this, but would not APR’s solution for this example better?  Assuming 51 citizens ranked A and B 1st and 2nd, and 49 citizens ranked C and D 1st and 2nd, A and C would be elected and have 51 and 49 weighted votes respectively, each citizen being entirely satisfied and represented with exact mathematical proportionality.  Your solutions gives each vote of the 49 a slightly higher and disproportionate weight in the Commons.

 

In any case, it seems to me that to use an example of an election with only 1-3 winners is not very useful when we are talking about a system that would in practice elect 500 MPs, from thousands of candidates, by millions of citizens.  Therefore, please fully explain the formula and how in practice these 500 MPs would be elected by approval or score voting by these millions of citizens (i.e. 500 “minimally disproportional” MPs,(or better, the 500 MPs that would have the smallest total of “squared deviations”).

 

Presumably, it will help me to understand this future explanation if you could also note the following questions and points with regard to the seemingly relevant part of your contributions to dialogue 13:

 

Extract from Steve’s 13th dialogue with Topy (with 14th dialogue (XXS:) additions):


33T:  OK. The phrase "provided the elected candidate has had non-zero support" simply refers to the fact that electing an MP that has no support would mean that the total representation from the MPs is less in this case and you'd have a different mean to calculate deviation from. …

 

34XXS:  Correct me I am misunderstanding this by my following report:  As I see it, “electing an MP that has no support” is impossible.  Please explain how “the total representation from the MPs is less in this case and you'd have a different mean to calculate deviation from.”

 

35T: … The system wouldn't work properly in this case. …

 

36XXS: What “system wouldn't work properly in this case”?

 

37T: …The squared difference isn't really part of the definition of proportionality, but just how you'd measure disproportionality in an approval/score case.

 

38XXS:  I agree that they are not the same thing.  Still, if so, how do you propose to define “perfect proportionality” other than to say it is when the sum is zero when you add

1)     the “squared difference” between each citizen’s actual share and the average share of each citizen in the total voting power in the Commons

2)      to the similar squared difference in each of all the other citizen’s actual and average votes. 

Do you agree that this sum would be zero for APR? 

 

Are you willing to compare APR, approval voting, and score voting systems according to the same test, e.g. the one mentioned in the previous paragraph (and which might also be the one you already want to use for testing the latter two systems), or any other test of “proportionality you may be willing to define and explain?

 

At the same time, I believe that your calculations (starting several paragraphs below) of these squared differences is not mainly focused on determining how much a given election falls short of “perfect proportionality”.  Instead, I see it as focused on discovering the fraction of each citizen’s vote which might be wasted (i.e. might deviate from the average share of each citizen’s vote in the votes in the Commons), and thus also enable us to discover the total number of votes wasted by all citizens in a given election.

 

Instead, for me, a “perfectly proportional” election in practice would be,

1)     if the electoral system used gives us every reason to believe that each of the various scales of values held by a percentage of the voting citizens in the country is supported by the same percentage of votes in the Commons, and

2)     if we currently cannot think of any other system that would align these two percentages more completely.

Of course, admittedly, the more a system wastes votes, the more reasons we have to doubt that it is fully proportional.  At least with respect to wasting votes, do you agree that APR has the advantage of allowing each citizen to guarantee that her vote will not be wasted, that it will at least be added to the weighted vote of the MP pre-declared to be most preferred by her first choice but eliminated candidate?

 

39T: To give a simple example:


2 to elect (with equal power), approval voting


3 voters [approvals]: A, B
1 voter [approval]: C


We can say that the representation that a voter gets from a candidate is 1/number of voters for that candidate. In this case, because there are two elected candidates and four voters, the [desired] average representation level would be 2/4 or 1/2 (the total representation being 2 candidates). …

 

40XXS:  I added “desired” average because the actual denominator of the fraction producing the average would be smaller to the extent that some of the voter’s votes might be wasted.


41T: …If we elect AB, three voters each have a representation level of 2 * (1/3) or 2/3 and the other has 0. If you add up the squared differences from the average (1/2), you get 3*(2/3 - 1/2)^2 + 1*(1/2 - 0)^2 = 1/3. …

 

42XXS:  Yes.


43T: …If we elect AC, three voters have a representation level of 1/3 and the other has 1/1 or 1. The total of the squared differences from 1/2 is 3*(1/2 - 1/3)^2 + 1*(1 - 1/2)^2 = 1/3.


So this is a tied result. …

 

44XXS: Yes.


45T: … There is actually a complication I haven't mentioned with score voting. If a voter gives a candidate 1/10 and it's the only score the candidate gets, then according to what I've said, this voter would be considered to have the full representation from this candidate and it would count towards their total level of representation even though they don't like the candidate very much. So with score voting, I would suggest "splitting" each voter into 10 parts (or whatever the score is out of). The "top tenth" only approves candidates given a score of 10, the next tenth approves candidates with a 9 or a 10 and so on. …

 

46XXS:  I think you would want to omit “or a 10” here.

 

47T: …So only one tenth of a voter’s [vote] approves the candidate with a score of 1 out of 10.

 

48XXS:  As I see it, your above complicated attempt at an explanation does not remove the validity of the following conclusion I offered for your consideration in dialogue 13:

You have admitted that “individual voters” will have “deviations of representation levels from the mean”, i.e. each citizen’s vote may not count equally in an approval or score election, i.e. in the Commons.

 

Again, in the light of the above attempt to rewrite your words, your above “measure of [wasted votes] disproportionality” would usually show that there is some [wasted votes] “disproportionality” in approval or score systems but none in APR.  This is true of APR because the total voting power in the Commons would be equal to the total number of voting citizens, each citizen’s vote being present in the weighted vote of his MP, i.e. each citizen’s voting power is one – exactly one of the voting population.

 

If you think this conclusion is not correct, please explain.

 

End of Extract from Dialogue 13

 

49XS: In any case, while the resulting voting power of each approving citizen for different MPs may be different, the total voting power either of all approval, score, or APR MPs “will always be the same whatever the result because it always equals the total parliamentary power”. At the same time, “the average” voting power of each approval, score, or APR MP will be one 500th of this same total. However, of these three voting systems, only APR also guarantees that this total will also equal the total number of voting citizens in the country.


50T:  It only makes such a guarantee by defining some of the information out of existence when it comes to defining proportionality.

 

51XXS:  Yes, APR assumes that only the highest available preference of each citizen for a candidate should determine how each citizen’s one vote should equally count in the election of each MP and the whole Commons.  Of course, lower preferences could be fruitfully studied by later analysts of any such election but supporters of APR do not believe any of these lower preferences should elect any MP.  To do so, would be to violate citizens’ intentions, i.e. to be represented by the MP whose scale of values seems to be closest to his own.  (Please also see paragraphs 66, 70 and 71.)

 

We probably agree that with the addition of “asset voting”, both to APR and score voting (i.e. “default” or “delegated” voting in the hands of the first choice or top scored but eliminated candidate), score voting could also guarantee that the score given to the eliminated candidate would be given to the total score of a pre-declared candidate (and elected) most favoured by that eliminated candidate. However, the share of that MP’s one vote could easily be more or less than “one”, i.e. the weight of “one” which each APR citizen’s vote would have in the Commons.

 

Also by contrast, approval voting prevents citizens from distinguishing between their highest preference candidate, one that is only tolerable, and any in between, i.e. it excludes information that most people would think is very important in any election.  At least, score voting has the advantage over approval voting of allowing citizens to express preferences.  However, unlike APR, neither approval nor score voting can guarantee that the whole of each citizen’s vote (and only “one” vote) both will be counted, and will only have the same mathematical weight within the Commons.

 

52XS: Here you are admitting that “individual voters” will have “deviations of representation levels from the mean”, i.e. each citizen’s vote may not count equally in an approval or score election, i.e. in the Commons.


53T:  Yes. Proportionality would never be perfect in a system that uses this amount of information.

 

54XXS:  I’m a bit confused here. You seem to believe that APR is not perfect because it ignores important information.  Now you are also saying that your system cannot be perfect because it offers too much information.  I need you to explain both of these claims more fully. Please start by defining what you mean by “perfect” because it seems to contain the prime value by which you are judging both systems.  Would the “perfect” guarantee no squared difference between the average and the actual mathematically expressed share each voter has in the voting power in the Commons?

 

55XS: Again in the light of the above attempt to rewrite your words, your above “measure of disproportionality” would usually show that there is some “disproportionality” in approval or score systems but none in APR. This is true of APR because the total voting power in the Commons would be equal to the total number of voting citizens, each citizen’s vote being present in the weighted vote of his MP, i.e. each citizen’s voting power is one – exactly one of the voting population.


56T: There would be no disproportionality in APR, but onl
y under APR's own measure. That there will always be some disproportionality? Yes, but this would also happen in APR if measured by the same metric.

 

57XXS:  I am open to being convinced of this upon receipt of your full explanation of this “same metric”.

 

58XXS: We should be aiming to use the same “measure” and the one I would propose starts with the definition of “perfect proportionality” I define above in 38XXXS:.  Would your proposal be different?  If so, please explain how and why.

 

Secondly, has your measure ever been used anywhere?

 

59T: … As I have said previously, some voters might get chance extra representation by being better represented by MPs that are not their official representative. If I polled the voters in an APR election to find their scores (out of e.g. 10) for each candidate, and measured the APR result as if it was the result in a proportional score election, I would find disproportionality under that measure.

 

60XXS: Again, in order to understand this, I look forward to receiving your full explanation, requested above, of how this could be calculated for an election of 500 MPs, from thousands of candidates, by millions of citizens.


………………

 

61XS: Also, because your mathematical explanation would be much more difficult for most citizens to comprehend, in contrast to the relative mathematical simplicity of APR, I would see it, instead, as proving an argument that APR should be preferred both over approval or score systems.


62T:  It's something to consider, but I don't think citizens all understand how STV works, and it is used in some places anyway. 

 

63XXS:  Yes, but do you believe your full score system with the above “measure” is also easier than existing STV (with their quotas, fractional transfers of votes, many iterations, etc.) systems to understand? In any case, APR’s count with weighted votes is easier to understand than previous STV systems because it only transfers whole votes from eliminated candidates without losing any votes.

 

64XS: Please specify and explain the “flaws” in APR that you still see in the light of all the above points.


65T:  Well, the bottom line is that APR doesn't use all the information about what voters think of the candidates. …

 

66XXS: Please see paragraphs 51, 70, and 71 which asks about the relative importance of this extra information.

 

If I was coming at this afresh, without having a system already in mind, I would have thought that the more voter preference information that is used, the better the result can potentially be, without worrying exactly how to define "better" or "more proportional". …

 

67XXS:  If you want to convince other people about the value of your suggestions, you really need to offer objective definitions of “better” and “more proportional”.  Otherwise, such words only label your own subjective feelings.

 

68T: … This is why I have suggested score voting. Whether the particular method I described does the job or not is beside the point, because this is really a discussion about APR. …

 

69XXS: It is not “beside the point” if we are attempting to discover the best practical electoral system.

 

70T:  …The main point is that APR doesn't use all the information and another system (whether the system I described or not) might, so APR could end up lacking something as a result, including in the examples I gave in previous e-mail about some voters getting chance extra representation that isn't officially recognised by APR.

 

71XXS:  I thought we previously agreed that all systems can produce “chance extra representation” for some voters.  Do we not agree about this now?

 

Secondly, what do you have in mind when you imply that such extra representation is “officially recognised” in score voting but not in APR? 

 

Is the “recognition” you have in mind any more than the fact that any researchers could analyse all the scores given by all citizens and, as result, summarize the information that might not be obvious if one only studied the scores that elected the 500MPs?  I accept that such summaries could be interesting but you also seem to believe that they should be essential determinants of which candidates are to be elected.  If so, how and why?

 

Thirdly, if for the sake of the argument, we were to agree that they are essential, why would you say that these summaries would be more revealing or more important than the similar summaries that could be made as a result of equally rigorous analyses of all the citizens’ rankings in an APR election?


72T: …It would be interesting to compare APR with a proportional score system in the following way: have an election held under APR, but also poll the voters on what scores they would have given to the candidates if it had been a score voting election to find what would have been the winning result under these circumstances. Then measure the proportionality of each result using the score system to see which does better.

 

73XXS:  Again, I need your definition of “better” and the details of how you propose to measure it.

 

74T: … You might say I'm stacking the odds in favour of the score system by using the score system to measure proportionality, and it's right to an extent, but it would be interesting to see how much the weighted power feature of APR worked in its favour.

 

75XXS:  Of course, before we could compare the two systems in this way, you would need, as requested in paragraph 32, to explain all the essential details of how these calculations could be done in practice for an election of 500 MPs, from thousands of candidates, by millions of citizens.  Will you do this?


Toby

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Kristofer Munsterhjelm | 5 Jan 23:57 2015
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Extent of quota violation in Webster

It's well known that Webster may violate quota. But (because of my 
investigations into more sophisticated "manageable" party list methods), 
I'm curious as to how far from quota it can go.

Does anyone know how severe a quota violation Webster can have? Is it 
limited to one seat maximum due to the locally optimal allocation 
property of Webster itself - i.e. that you can't alter a single 
assignment and make everybody better off? Or can Webster violate quota 
to a greater extent than this?
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steve bosworth | 2 Jan 23:38 2015
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Subject: APR (13): Steve's 13th dialogue with Toby (Steve)

Subject: Re: APR (13): Steve's 13th dialogue with Toby (Steve)

Date: Thu, 1 Jan 2015 23:52:41 +0000
From: tdp201b <at> yahoo.co.uk
To: stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com; election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
Subject: Re: APR (12): Steve's 12th dialogue with Toby (Steve)

To Toby and everyone.

 

My new comments are tagged by”XS:”

 

Steve:

 

SSS: True, but please explain how your highest scored but eliminated candidate is going to pass on your one vote to an elected rep. Are you in favour of this addition to a score system?


T:  I suppose because a score system doesn't work on the same elimination basis as APR, it wouldn't be able to work in exactly the same way. But what you could do is allow the following three options for voters. One would be for the voter to give scores to as many candidates as they like (anyone candidate they ignore gets a default 0) and not transfer any power to their favourite candidate or anyone else. …

 

XS:  Do you agree that this option would not guarantee that your vote would not be entirely wasted, i.e. not even positively counting in the Commons through the vote of the MP could have otherwise been given your score by any eliminated candidate you had scored?

 

T:  … They would also have the option of simply voting for one candidate and using that candidate's entire score set of the other candidates.

 

XS: Please clarify.  Do you mean this one candidate if eliminated would be required (some how) to give the score you gave to him to an MP?  If so, how exactly?

 

T: … The other option would be for a voter to give scores (including zeros) to as many candidates as they want (these would be the ones they have specific views about), and then leaving the ratings of every other candidate to their indicated favourite candidate. As for whether I'm in favour of it, yes, I think it should work well.


XS:  Again, do you agree that this option would not guarantee that your vote would not be entirely wasted, not even positively counting in the Commons through the vote of the MP given your score by this eliminated candidate whom you had scored?

 

T: I would say that a proportional approval/score system could well mean that it is less likely that some people would get extra representation by mere chance because it takes into account your rating of every candidate, not just the one that's deemed to be yours. Therefore it wouldn't have the problem I highlighted in the example (quoted from a previous e-mail below).


SSS: Please explain how you might objectively predict that more chance extra votes would be given to APR reps than to approval/score reps. I do not yet see that this is possible.


T:  The chance nature in APR comes from the fact that it ignores the information about candidates below the transfer line. Approval/score systems use all the information provided by voters and they calculate the most proportional result from this. So any disproportionality comes from the unavoidable fact that perfect proportionality would be impossible rather than the pot luck of what happens to be in the unused information in APR.

 

XS:  Still you fail to give a mathematical definition of “proportional”.  Without this, you cannot explain why the information below APR’s transfer line is important to you.  Similarly, you have not provided me with the formula by which all the information that would be provided by your approval/score voting would allow you to calculate what you would see as the optimal, “overall proportionality” in the Commons as a result of any such election.  Can you not provide this information? [I see you have attempted to provide this information below.]


T: Approval/score can give better levels of proportionality by using more information, so it doesn't make it more probable that any given individual will have their views better represented in parliament, but I would argue that it reduces the chances of people being over or under-represented making it fairer overall.


SSS: As it stands, this seems only to be your own vague and subjective opinion. I keep asking you to define what you mean by "proportionality" mathematically in an objective way but you have not yet done so. Why?


T:  I have! In my last post, and previously as well. But I'll give it again with some background. Lots of sources define proportionality in terms of parties or groups of voters, but I think it's best defined in terms of individual voters. If we look at each MP's representation as split among their voters, the basic definition of proportional representation is that every voter has, as close as possible, equal representation. This definition tallies up with other definitions perfectly well, except that it doesn't have to talk about groups of voters, which often aren't clear-cut anyway. For example, under APR if two people vote for candidate A and one votes for candidate B, A has twice the parliamentary power of B. But because A's power is split between two voters, every voter ends up with equal representation. …

 

XS:  This correctly understands APR but I think it would be clearer to say that “A’s power is provided by two voters” rather than “split between two voters”.  Also, do you again agree that this option would not guarantee that your vote would not be entirely wasted, i.e. it will be wasted if none of the candidates you have approved or scored is sufficiently popular to be elected?

 

T: … Under an approval/score system (or certainly one I would advocate) each voter doesn't have just one representative but is represented to some extent by any MP that they have approved or given a non-zero score to. …

 

XS:  Again, do you accept that according to your system it is possible that none of the candidates you have approved will be elected?  However, if any of these are elected, will each voter be able to know exactly to what “extent” he is represented by each of these MPs?  Will this also work for score voting?  If so, please explain how.

 

T:  The basic definition of proportionality is unchanged (each voter has equal representation), but how we calculate it is different from APR or STV methods generally. With approval voting, it is fairly simple. Each MP's representation is equally split [????shared????] among all the voters that have voted for them. With score voting, it is split proportionally to the score each voter gives. For example, candidate A is elected and has 1/500 of the parliamentary power. Two voters approved candidate A, so they each effectively have 1/1000 of the total parliamentary representation each plus whatever they might get from other candidates.

 

XS:  Correct me if my following understanding is mistaken:  Let us assume that your candidate A received only a number of approvals equal to one 500th of all the citizens voting in the country.  In this case, each citizen who approved MP-A has 1/500 of one vote in the Commons.  Again, assume that  this one 500th of all the voting power in the Commons was produced by 3,000 approvals.  However, a different group of citizens might elect MP-B with 4,000 approvals.  If so, each voter in this second group of citizens who gave their approvals to candidate B will have a smaller share in the one vote in the Commons held by MP-B.  This means that the share of the voting power in the Commons held by each of the voters for MP-B is less than the share held by the voters for MP-A.  Is this correct? 

 

If so, each citizen’s vote is not equal, “each voter does not have equal representation”.  For simplicity, I have assumed that each of the citizens voting for these two MPs only approved of one candidate.  However, the possibility of this inequality of representation would remain even if each had approved of more than one candidate.  Please explain why you agree or disagree.


T: …Voters' levels of representation for all candidates are added up. Exact proportionality is when every voter has the same amount of representation. That is what I mean by proportionality. The total of the voters' levels of representation will always be the same whatever the result (because it always equals the total parliamentary power), and so the average will always be the same. …

 

XS:  The meaning you give to the above words must be different from the one I see in them because I take them as just another way of expressing what APR offers.  However, I would like you to comment on my following attempt to rewrite your above words to show you how they could be used correctly to characterize approval, score, and APR systems from the point of view of each voter:

 

In your countrywide approval election of a 500 member Commons, the 500 candidates who receive the most approvals are elected as MPs. The share that each approving citizen will have in the total power of the Commons is discovered by adding together each of the shares he has of each of the MPs he approved.  The more such MPs he has approved, the larger will be his share of total voting power in the Commons.  Because citizens may approve different numbers of candidates, and thus different numbers of MPs, approval voting (unlike APR voting) by no means guarantees that each voting citizen will have “the same amount of representation”, or any representation at all. 

 

In any case, while the resulting voting power of each approving citizen may be different, the total voting power either of all approval, score, or APR MPs “will always be the same whatever the result because it always equals the total parliamentary power”.  At the same time, “the average” voting power of each approval, score, or APR MP will be one 500th of the total.  Of these three voting systems, only APR also guarantees that this total will also equal the total number of voting citizens in the country.

 

T: … The only exception to this is if a candidate is elected with no support, because there are no voters to split the support between.

 

XS: An approval, score, or APR candidate “with no support” could not be elected unless the total number of candidates is equal or less than the number of MPs to be elected.


T: …We can therefore measure disproportionality by adding up the squared deviations of representation levels of the individual voters from the mean level of representation.

 

XS: Here you are admitting that “individual voters” will have “deviations of representation levels from the mean”, i.e. each citizen’s vote may not count equally in an approval or score election, i.e. in the Commons.

 

Again in the light of the above attempt to rewrite your words, your above “measure of disproportionality” would usually show that there is some “disproportionality” in approval or score systems but none in APR.  This is true of APR because the total voting power in the Commons would be equal to the total number of voting citizens, each citizen’s vote being present in the weighted vote of his MP, i.e. each citizen’s voting power is one – exactly one of the voting population.

 

What do you think?


……………………………….

 

SSS: Correct me if I have misunderstood you: Assuming that each MP has one vote in the Commons in your voting system, this means each MP's "total amount of representation [voting power] is always the same". At the same time, each approving elector for an MP would have an equal share of this power. Alternatively, each scoring elector would have a proportion of this power equal to the score he gave to this MP.


T: Yes.


SSS:  However, I do not yet understand your phrases: "provided the elected candidate has had non-zero support"; "proportionality is measured by the voters' total squared difference from the mean amount of representation". I need these phrases to be explained. Please explain this calculation using examples both for approval/score and APR.


T:  OK. The phrase "provided the elected candidate has had non-zero support" simply refers to the fact that electing an MP that has no support would mean that the total representation from the MPs is less in this case and you'd have a different mean to calculate deviation from. The system wouldn't work properly in this case. The squared difference isn't really part of the definition of proportionality, but just how you'd measure disproportionality in an approval/score case. To give a simple example:


2 to elect (with equal power), approval voting


3 voters: A, B
1 voter: C


We can say that the representation that a voter gets from a candidate is 1/number of voters for that candidate. In this case, because there are two elected candidates and four voters, the [desired] average representation level would be 2/4 or 1/2 (the total representation being 2 candidates).


If we elect AB, three voters each have a representation level of 2 * (1/3) or 2/3 and the other has 0. If you add up the squared differences from the average (1/2), you get 3*(2/3 - 1/2)^2 + 1*(1/2 - 0)^2 = 1/3.


If we elect AC, three voters have a representation level of 1/3 and the other has 1/1 or 1. The total of the squared differences from 1/2 is 3*(1/2 - 1/3)^2 + 1*(1 - 1/2)^2 = 1/3.


So this is a tied result.


There is actually a complication I haven't mentioned with score voting. If a voter gives a candidate 1/10 and it's the only score the candidate gets, then according to what I've said, this voter would be considered to have the full representation from this candidate and it would count towards their total level of representation even though they don't like the candidate very much. So with score voting, I would suggest "splitting" each voter into 10 parts (or whatever the score is out of). The "top tenth" only approves candidates given a score of 10, the next tenth approves candidates with a 9 or a 10 and so on. So only one tenth of a voter approves the candidate with a score of 1 out of 10.

 

XS:  As I see it, your above complicated attempt at an explanation does not remove the validity of the conclusion I offered for your consideration in my above “XS:” comment immediately preceding this one.  If you think that conclusion is not correct, please explain.

 

Also, because such a mathematical explanation would be much more difficult for most citizens to comprehend, in contrast to the relative mathematical simplicity of APR, I would see it, instead, as proving an argument that APR should be preferred both over approval or score systems.


SSS: Yes, your score voting system (not your approval voting system), like APR, might require your highest scored but eliminated candidate to pass on your score to an MP on his “list of favourite candidates”. If so, the system would seem to do all that is possible to guarantee the voting satisfaction of each citizen. However, do you see this is also like APR in guaranteeing that no part of any citizen’s full vote will be wasted? If so, explain how your score voting could achieve this. Would this now be an essential part of your preferred system?


T:  I think with the suggestion I made at the top of this post, it does as good a job as APR at ensuring your vote isn't wasted. …

 

XS:  If you still believe this please explain why.

 

T:  ….I'm not completely against ranked voting for proportional representation. I think it has flaws, and my current thinking is that score voting in particular would have less but it's always open to evidence and argument.

 

XS:  Please specify and explain the “flaws” in APR that you still see in the light of all the above points.


Toby

 

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steve bosworth | 1 Jan 19:58 2015
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APR (12): Steve's 12th dialogue with Toby (Steve)


 


Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2014 13:19:06 +0000
From: tdp201b <at> yahoo.co.uk
To: stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com; election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
Subject: Re: APR (11): Steve's 11th dialogue with Toby (Steve)

 

Toby (and everyone).

 My most recent responses are tagged by "SSS:"

 

T: It would only not represent someone at all if they only gave a score/approval to very few candidates and none of these were elected. This can happen in APR too.


SS: No. Remember that if all of the candidates ranked by an APR elector are eliminated, his “default” will be given to the first choice MP of the elector’s first choice but eliminated candidate.


T: But that's not a defining difference between APR and approval/score. We could just as easily set up an approval/score system where your approvals/scores are put into the hands of your favourite candidate if yours are all eliminated.

 

SSS: True, but please explain how your highest scored but eliminated candidate is going to pass on your one vote to an elected rep. Are you in favour of this addition to a score system?


T: I would say that a proportional approval/score system could well mean that it is less likely that some people would get extra representation by mere chance because it takes into account your rating of every candidate, not just the one that's deemed to be yours. Therefore it wouldn't have the problem I highlighted in the example (quoted from a previous e-mail below).


SS: I do not see how we can say that any system will have either more or less “extra” presentation when it happens purely by chance in any system. Chance means unpredictable.


T: Different systems can have different amounts of predictability.

 

SSS: Please explain how you might objectively predict that more chance extra votes would be given to APR reps than to approval/score reps. I do not yet see that this is possible.


SS: If I am correct that approval/ score voting cannot guarantee that you will have even one MP that you like, neither can it guarantee (or even make it more probable) that your “views are represented by parliament overall”.


T: Approval/score can give better levels of proportionality by using more information, so it doesn't make it more probable that any given individual will have their views better represented in parliament, but I would argue that it reduces the chances of people being over or under-represented making it fairer overall.


SSS: As it stands, this seems only to be your own vague and subjective opinion. I keep asking you to define what you mean by "proportionality" mathematically in an objective way but you have not yet done so. Why?

 

SS: There is no removable “chance nature” in APR. APR ignores the “information below the transfer line" because the APR citizen has given greater importance to the information above the transfer line.


T: Indeed. There is no removable chance nature. But there is this unremovable chance nature intrinsic to APR that is less present in systems of proportional score/approval.

 

SSS: As I see it, it is impossible for you to show that it is less present in score/approval systems than in APR without you first mathematically defining "proportional" (or "overall proportionality", i.e. the goal that seems to be most important to you with regard to electoral systems).

SS: “Overall proportionality” is still too vague to be helpful. Can you not give it a mathematical definition?


T: As I said in the previous post an MP's representation (and yes this is the amount of weight they have) is split among voters who support that candidate to some degree. It's split equally in approval voting or proportional to the score received from each voter in score voting. From this, each voter then has a numerical score for the amount of representation they have. The total amount of representation is always the same (provided the elected candidate has had non-zero support), and proportionality is measured by the voters' total squared difference from the mean amount of representation.

 

SSS: Correct me if I have misunderstood you: Assuming that each MP has one vote in the Commons in your voting system, this means each MP's "total amount of representation [voting power] is always the same". At the same time, each approving elector for an MP would have an equal share of this power. Alternatively, each scoring elector would have a proportion of this power equal to the score he gave to this MP.

 

However, I do not yet understand your phrases:  "provided the elected candidate has had non-zero support";  "proportionality is measured by the voters' total squared difference from the mean amount of representation". I need these phrases to be explained.  Please explain this calculation using examples both for approval/score and APR.

 

T: It is true that someone won't necessarily get their favourite elected. But for example, if I scored one candidate 10/10 and two others 9/10 each, I'd rather get the two 9s than the one 10 (assuming for now that each MP has equal weight).

 

SSS:  Surely, "One good bird in the hand is better than two less good birds in the bush”. 

 

Yes, your score voting system (not your approval voting system), like APR, might require your highest scored but eliminated candidate to pass on your score to an MP on his “list of favourite candidates”.  If so, the system would seem to do all that is possible to guarantee the voting satisfaction of each citizen.  However, do you see this is also like APR in guaranteeing that no part of any citizen’s full vote will be wasted?  If so, explain how your score voting could achieve this.  Would this now be an essential part of your preferred system?


Toby

 

 

 

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Kristofer Munsterhjelm | 1 Jan 14:19 2015
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A Bucklin-like Range weighted candidate/party list method

Here's a (seemingly simple) sketch of a weighted candidate/party list 
method that looks a lot like Bucklin, but isn't since it reduces to 
Range in the one-seat case.

I am, as usual, bad at giving names to methods, so any suggestions for a 
name would be appreciated.

If you want to know how I constructed this method, or what it's based 
on, ask. I won't write that here, as it might distract from the method 
itself :-)

I also have a Python implementation of the thresholded election routine 
below. Again, ask me if you'd like to have it.

---

First we need to define a "thresholded election routine":

Let r[c][v] be voter v's rating of candidate c, and let rmax be the 
maximum possible rating. Let p be a given threshold penalty. Start with 
set V being the set of every voter, and let a variable b (for "barrier") 
start at b = rmax.

A candidate may be unelected or elected, and every elected candidate has 
at least one voter assigned to him. Each candidate starts off unelected 
with no voters assigned to him.

The inputs are the r matrix (number of candidates by number of voters) 
and p. The actual routine goes like this:

1. While there are voters left in V (i.e. V is not the empty set):

1.1. If there exists some unelected candidate i so that
(sum over every v in V: max(0, r[i][v] - b)) >= p:
	elect i.

1.2. For every voter v in V that rates some elected candidate c greater 
than or equal to rating b:
	assign v to c and remove v from V.

1.3. If neither any voters nor any candidates were found (i.e. no change 
has occurred), decrement b by some small amount (somewhat akin to how 
Bucklin or QLTD works).

2. Each elected candidate is a winner, and each elected candidate's 
weight is equal to the number of voters assigned to him.

---

Second, we define the weighted method or party list proper:

For the weighted method, given a desired number of winners, s, perform a 
binary search on the thresholded election routine. Greater p leads to 
fewer candidates being elected, and this effect is monotone, so simply 
first find the value of p which gives a single winner (call it pmax), 
then run a binary search (or other bracketed root-finder) on the 
interval [0...pmax] to get the outcome for w winners.

For the party list method, the execution is similar.
Let the "candidates" in the thresholded election routine be the parties. 
Voters then rate the parties, and the r matrix consists of the voters' 
ratings of the parties. Let s be the total number of seats in the assembly.

Define the "Websterized thresholded election routine with s seats" as a 
function that calls the thresholded election routine with given inputs, 
runs the output through Webster with s seats, and returns the result for 
each elected party.

Then, taking advantage of monotonicity as above, find the least value of 
p for which every elected party gets at least one seat. Return the 
assignment given by the Websterized thresholded election for s seats and 
this value of p.

---

Note that there's no mention of how to deal with ties. This is simply 
because I haven't found out which tiebreaker is the best. The two tie 
situations that may happen is that more than one unelected candidate is 
eligible in step 1.1. but that the voters overlap so that once the 
voters were assigned to one of the candidates, the others would no 
longer be eligible; and that in 1.2., a voter might rate more than one 
elected candidate greater than or equal to b.

Possible tiebreakers might be:
	- Choose every candidate in 1.1. and use a fractional assignment in 
1.2. E.g. if v rates two candidates at or above b, each gets assigned to 
half a voter. Exact (ratings-wise) clones should then harmlessly split 
the vote, but this might cause the binary search to fail, e.g. if almost 
every candidate is a clone and we need exactly 2 candidates, then a low 
p will elect every clone and a high p will elect none.
	- Choose one candidate at random in 1.1. and use any kind of assignment 
in 1.2.
	- Choose one candidate at random in 1.1. and likewise in 1.2.
	- Choose every candidate in 1.1. and use a fractional ratings-weighted 
assignment in 1.2. This might cause discontinuity or monotonicity problems.
	- Choose a subset of candidates in 1.1 somehow depending on p (lower p 
leads to a greater subset being picked), and use fractional assignment 
in 1.2., so as to fix the binary search failure problem.

In general, I don't think the assignment values should be weighted by 
ratings in any way. The election and assignment processes themselves 
check if the ratings are good enough. If they are, then the voter is 
fully (or fractionally) assigned to the candidate (or candidates, 
depending on tiebreak).

---

What properties does this method exhibit? Well, it reduces to Range. I 
prefer median methods, so it's not ideal. (I initially thought I was 
generalizing Bucklin, but while testing with a Python script, found that 
was not the case!) But if you like Range, there's a lot the method above 
has going for it.

- It seems to be monotone. Assume you raise a candidate X. In 1.1., this 
can only elect X earlier. In 1.2., this can only assign you to X 
earlier. So you can't harm X unless the optimal value of p changes. But 
if it does (increases), then it will drop candidates inferior to X 
before it drops X, so again, you can't harm X.

- It resolves the LCR situation properly. Consider the following setup:
	3: L: 10, C: 5, R: 0
	3: L: 0, C: 5, R: 10
	1: L: 6, C: 10, R: 0
	1: L: 0, C: 10, R: 5

With p = 9, L and R are elected at b=6.999, and the L- and R-voters are 
assigned at this value of b. Then, at b=5.999, the left centrist is 
assigned to L, and at b=4.999, the right centrist is assigned to R.

With p = 30, C is elected at b=2.5 and all the voters are assigned to him.

- The party list variant could probably be pretty easily adapted to 
biproportional representation. In 1.1., we can consider
	(sum over every v in V: max(0, r[i][v] - b)) >= p
to be equal the same as
	(sum over every v in V: max(0, r[i][v] - b)) >= p * w[i]

where w[i] is a weight for party i. And since greater p makes it harder 
for a party to be elected, and this relation is monotone, increasing 
w[i] will decrease the number of seats party i gets.

---

It is not perfect, though.

- It is not summable, or if it is, I can't see how. (Since the 
membership of V is altered as the process continues, we need to take 
nonlinear sums over very different subsets in 1.1.)

- It's not strictly speaking polytime. Let there be |C| candidates and 
|V| voters. By heap or priority queue tricks, one can run the 
thresholded election routine in (|C|+|V|) log (|C|+|V|) time. But |V| 
may increase exponentially for a fixed |C|. One might argue that this 
problem exists in any method (even in Condorcet, you'd need to count |V| 
ballots...), which is why I say "strictly speaking".

- Although the method seems similar to STV (a bunch of relatively simple 
procedural rules to do over and over), hand counts would probably be 
impractical.

- I can't see if the weighted candidate method is cloneproof (in the 
sense that expanding or contracting a clone set should keep the total 
weight within the set equal). It might be - at least with the proper 
tiebreakers - but I'm unsure.

- The party list method is a bit of a hack. Excess votes that go to 
parties that wouldn't get any seats instead contribute to parties that 
do/will: voting for a fringe party is thus mostly harmless. But if a 
party gets a single seat, yet the voters vote in excess of one seat's 
worth, the excess votes won't help any other parties.
Say, for instance, that the left-wing voters in an election vote for a 
bunch of parties, and each party gets 1.4 seats' worth. If the voters 
had coordinated and the 0.4 for each had voted for only a single of 
them, the slices might have added up to another seat's worth. So the 
party list method clearly isn't cloneproof.

The problem might be solvable through Meek-like iteration. But I think I 
have a better idea of how to make a party list method that is more 
clone-compliant (as well as how to make a median version). It'd take a 
lot of time to actually design, though. An individual candidate method 
would be even trickier and probably involve local search, which would 
make it pretty inelegant. As for summability or polytime, I wouldn't 
know where to start.
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steve bosworth | 30 Dec 13:11 2014
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APR (11): Steve's 11th dialogue with Toby (Steve)

APR (11): Steve's 11th dialogue with Toby (Steve)

Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2014 23:25:02 +0000
From: tdp201b <at> yahoo.co.uk
To: stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com; election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
Subject: Re: APR (10): Steve's 10th dialogue with Toby (Steve)

 

Hi Toby (and everyone)

 

Here's my latest reply. My new replies are tagged with SS:.)

 Steve

 
-----------------------------------


T: Well, even under APR, someone's favourite candidate might not be elected.

 

1S: Correct. However, each APR citizen’s vote can be guarantee to be added to the weighted vote in the Commons of the MP most trusted by him, by his most trusted but eliminated candidate, or by his very popular MP. Is your preferred system or any other system that you know about able equally to guarantee this?


T:  It wouldn't make the same guarantees, but an approval/score system makes different guarantees - someone's rating of every elected candidate can be considered when calculating the how proportional that slate of candidates is.

 

SS:  Correct but this not a guarantee that each elector will be represented.  None of the candidates he scored or approved may have been elected.

 

 

T: It would be impossible to equalise it completely. But the system I referred you to is an example of a system that uses the difference in representation as the measure it tries to minimise, so it's likely to minimise it better than APR.?

 

2S: The problem with your suggestion is that by minimising these differences in this way, you could elect an assembly that represents each citizen equally badly, and some not at all. Therefore, APR has the advantage of guaranteeing that each citizen will be represented as well as possible by at least one MP.


T:   It would only not represent someone at all if they only gave a score/approval to very few candidates and none of these were elected. This can happen in APR too.

 

SS: No. Remember that if all of the candidates ranked by an APR elector are eliminated, his “default” will be given to the first choice MP of the elector’s first choice but eliminated candidate.

 

> 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: Again, some systems allow it to a greater extent than others. It's not all or nothing.

 

3S: Are you saying that APR would allow it to a greater extent than your preferred system? If so, please explain how you have arrived at this conclusion. In any case, why would this continue to be seen as a valid criticism if APR also has the advantage stated above in 2S:?


T: I would say that a proportional approval/score system could well mean that it is less likely that some people would get extra representation by mere chance because it takes into account your rating of every candidate, not just the one that's deemed to be yours. Therefore it wouldn't have the problem I highlighted in the example (quoted from a previous e-mail below).

 

SS:  I do not see how we can say that any system will have either more or less “extra” presentation when it happens purely by chance in any system.  Chance means unpredictable.

 

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.

 

4S: Correct, APR would not 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: Happiness isn't guaranteed by having your favourite representative elected. …

5S: Of course, nothing can absolutely guarantee “happiness”. However, democratic elections are justified partly by the assumption that citizens should equally have the opportunity to elect a representative they trust, and that this will probably make them happier than if they could not do this.

 

S: In any case, does your preferred system not care whether citizens are satisfied with their representatives or not?


T:  Of course this matters, but I'd measure my happiness by looking at how well I feel my views are represented by parliament overall, not just by whether my favourite politician got in.

 

SS:  If I am correct that approval/ score voting cannot guarantee that you will have even one MP that you like, neither can it guarantee (or even make it more probable) that your “views are represented by parliament overall”.

 

T: … Someone's representative is just one part of a parliament that votes on legislation. In the example I gave, one person would have better representation than the other, so would likely end up with more of their favoured legislation getting passed.

 

6S: Yes. Why is this a problem for you? You seem to be forgetting that they could have this “better representation” using most any electoral system only because more of their fellow citizens have a scale of values similar to their own. APR’s weighted votes represent each scale of values proportionately (each citizen’s vote continues to have the same official weight in the Commons), i.e. exactly what a democratic election should offer. Do you not agree with this? If not, why not?


T:  I think you've missed the point here. Obviously if more people have a particular view than my view, then they would get more representation between them. But my example was not about that. It was about some people getting more representation by the chance nature of APR not looking at how well people are represented by MPs other than their own. APR ignores all information below the "transfer line".

 

SS:  There is no removable “chance nature” in APR.  APR ignores the “information below the transfer line" because the APR citizen has given greater importance to the information above the transfer line.

 

T: That is why a balance of voters' preferences across all MPs is desirable rather than simply having their favourite elected.

 

SS: Please give me your mathematical definition of “balance”. In any case, please explain why the points made above by 2S:, 3S: & 4S: should remove your preference for this balance.


T:  I suppose by "balance" I just mean overall proportionality and I'd refer you back to the definition implied by the approval system I mentioned earlier (but see bottom for a bit more detail).

 

SS:  “Overall proportionality” is still too vague to be helpful.  Can you not give it a mathematical definition?

 

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.

 

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


T: I think overall proportionality is important, and I think a definition of proportionality that can look at people's ratings of all elected politicians is better because it uses more information.

 

SS:  It seems to me that you must define “overall proportionality” in order to explain the use to which this ill defined “more information” could be put.

 

……………………

 

SS: Your preferred system does allow each citizen to record her score or approval given to as many candidates as she might wish but it does not guarantee that she will be represented even by a candidate she approves, let alone one she scores highest. Do you accept that this is true? If this is true, please explain why you or anyone else would prefer a system that would not offer APR’s guarantee to be represented by the MP you judge to be best?


T:  It is true that someone won't necessarily get their favourite elected. But for example, if I scored one candidate 10/10 and two others 9/10 each, I'd rather get the two 9s than the one 10 (assuming for now that each MP has equal weight).

 

SS: A good bird in the hand is surely better than two not so good birds in the bush.  Your preferred system does not guarantee that even one of your 9/10 candidates will be elected.  Is this not true?  If so, why would you prefer that system?

 

……………………..

 

SS: I still would like to receive your mathematical definition of an ideally “balanced/proportional result”. In practice, would your preferred system guarantee this result? Do you think this will both explain and justify why you want to reject the seemingly unique guarantee offered by APR?

 

SS: Finally, given that you accept “that it would be computationally insane” to use Forest Simmons’ method to “worked out the ideal proportions”, such a method would seem to be entirely irrelevant for practical purpose in our discussion assessing different systems for electing many winners by many voters. Do you agree?


T: To put it simply, if a candidate is elected with a certain amount of power,…

 

SS: Does “a certain amount of power” for you mean something other than “a weighted vote”?

 

T:  …… that MP's representation would be split among the voters that have voted for them - equally in approval voting, but proportional to the scores in score voting. Perfect proportionality is achieved if every voter ends up with equal representation. ….

 

SS: APR guarantees this “equal representation”, your preferred system does not.  Do you accept this as true?

 

T:  Otherwise it's measured on the total of the squared differences.


….ideal proportionality it would be computationally insane, but if you elect candiates sequentially, it would be quite doable and probably very close to the ideal result.


T:  And this is probably the most important point saved until last - I think I have given some valid criticisms of ranked PR systems. It might be that other systems end up with more problems of their own, so would be worse overall, but that doesn't negate the criticisms. Whichever system is the "best" is never going to be perfect. I didn't actually intend this to get into a big discussion of score v rank, but just merely to point out that APR does ignore certain information, information that I would argue a perfect all-knowing system would use.

 

SS:  Again, I think you need to give a mathematical definition of “overall proportionality” in order also to define what you mean by a “perfect all-knowing system”.  I hope you can do this.

 


Toby

 

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