steve bosworth | 7 Feb 04:44 2016
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APR (7): Steve?s 7th dialogue with Sennet (Steve Bosworth)


 APR (7): Steve?s 7th dialogue with Sennet (Steve Bosworth)

 

> From: election-methods-request <at> lists.electorama.com
> Subject: Election-Methods Digest, Vol 140, Issue 5
> To: election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
> Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2016 11:33:32 -0800
>

[….]

> 1. Re: APR (6): Steve?s 6th dialogue with Sennet (Sennet Williams)

> Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2016 09:14:21 +0000 (UTC)
> From: Sennet Williams <sennetwilliams <at> yahoo.com>
> To: steve bosworth <stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com>,
> "election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com"
> <election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com>
> Subject: Re: [EM] APR (6): Steve?s 6th dialogue with Sennet
> Message-ID:
> <1712157418.1610451.1454577261757.JavaMail.yahoo <at> mail.yahoo.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>
W: > I'll try to address your questions, but not in the same order.1st, I consider votes "wasted" if the candidates are not beholden to everyone, not just the people who voted for them.

 

S:  Of course, each rep is morally responsible (“beholden”) to all citizens for their own speeches, voting, and behavior. However, only the citizens who helped to elect him are able to punish him during the next election for any failures to represent them faithfully.  This is true for every electoral system.

 

W: ??2nd, when IRV is used to elect two winners on the same ballot, the proper system is run the ballots through again after the 1st winner is selected. ?Depending on the law, either all ballots are run through again, ?OR just the ballots that were ?not used to select the winner are run through again. ?

 

S:  Perhaps you are not aware that APR is different from ordinary IRV in that it elects hundreds of reps at the same time for a legislative assembly, i.e. each with a “weighted vote” in the legislative assembly equal to the number of citizens who helped him to be elected, and no vote is “wasted” in the sense that I define “waste”.  To explain this more fully, separately I am sending you a copy of my article that systematically explains how APR works.

 

W: So, with your example ....this is a wasted exercise. ?

 

S:  Which part do you consider to be “wasted”?


W: > 3rd, What really matters is that your example is so unrealistic that it is pointless to consider, ….

 

S:  Neither Kristofer nor I saw this example to be “realistic” in your sense.  Instead, it was useful to clarify both what I mean by “waste”, and how APR, including its use of “Asset voting” allows each citizen to guarantee that her vote will not be wasted.

 

W: …. so I prefer to consider this:  3a- In a real IRV election, voters will rank at least 3 candidates: ?The people who ranked B second would not be disenfranchised.

 

S:  With APR, no citizen would not be “disenfranchised” mathematically or quantitatively, but they would be partly “disenfranchised” qualitatively.  If B were elected in this example, the 11 who preferred C to B would feel that B is less likely to represent them faithfully (i.e. the quality of their representation would be reduced).  Also, APR’s Asset feature allows the 10 who preferred A to B could require A to give their 10 vote to the weighted vote of C or D, which ever A believes will best represent both him and these 10 citizens.  What do you think?

 

W: 3b- ?In a real IRV election, there are usually a lot more candidates. ? SF and Oakland generally have about 10 candidates if the seat is vacant vs 3-4 using simple plurality. ?Since B's issues have the widest support, you can be sure that there will be another candidate (E) with almost the same platform as B, which has almost twice the support of A, C or D. ? Realistically, B and "E" would win with that platform. ?But A, C and D would also have different platforms. (if they understood IRV) ?But it seems unlikely that any of those minor candidates could double their support to compete with B.

 

S:  These are your own thoughts about your local situation.  However, I see APR as offering the electoral reform that would allow each of the SF and Oakland citizens a vote that is most likely to enable each to feel as enthusiastic as possible about the member of the city council each had helped to elect.  If you disagree, please explain. 


W: > ? From what I have seen with PR, I don't think that voters are two happy with "their" winning candidates, and the elected politicians are more concerned about negotiating with the other (opposing) parties' representatives so that a new election will not be called.

 

S:  Most of the European states have a variety of “party-list” PR and they are generally more satisfied with that system than are Americans with its “plurality” (or First Past the Post (FPTP)) systems.  APR would be even better than other PR systems because it allows each citizen as much power as possible to determine which of the many members of the legislative assembly will receive her one vote within his “weighted vote” in the assembly.

 

W:  ? Personally, ?If B's ?platform is about twice as acceptable as any of the minor candidates, I would rather not having A, C and D making laws that affect me. ?But, in real IRV, those candidates would not be taken very seriously. ?So they would either have more popular platforms or else they would know that they have no chance of actually winning. ?(Some candidates in IRV run to promote their special cause and hope that the major candidates adopt it, but they know that they have no chance of winning themselves. ?In the 1st Oakland mayor's race using IRV, there were 6 or 7 candidates who had never even been councilmembers (or higher office) before.

 

S:  I do not claim that APR is the best system for electing one winner, e.g. mayor, governor, president.  Instead, I see the variety of “ranked-pairs” called Maximize Affirmed Majorities (MAM) as best for this purpose.  It does not eliminate any candidate until it is mathematically discover which candidate is preferred to every other candidate by more citizens than any one of the other candidates (see www.alumni.caltec.edu/~sepply).

W: None of the minor candidates had anywhere near majority support. ?The
> three major candidates all had much wider support, but the ballots only allowed 3 rankings. ?So many ballots were exhausted on minor candidates that we just don't know how many would have also shown their support for the 3 major candidates if they could.

 

S:  In contrast, MAM allows use to “know” this and no citizen’s vote is “exhausted” until the one winner is discovered.

 

W: ?I believe that Kaplan and Perata probably both had supermajority support, but Quan ran a more effective campaign. ?Luckily for all the people who didn't vote, most of the local politicians elected using IRV were the best candidate for the job. ?They focused on outreach to everyone, not just one group and campaign money is practically irrelevant. ?
> The fact is, to win an IRV/condorcet election generally requires the widest support of any election system, which means that more voters "matter" than any other system, their votes are not wasted.

 

S: For a single-winner election, MAM Condorcet (not IRV) wastes fewest votes.  At the same time, APR would allow each of the 435 congresspersons to be enthusiastically supported by their respective electorates, i.e. with no citizen’s vote being wasted in the sense I have defined.

 

S:  I look forward to our dialogue.

 

Steve

 
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steve bosworth | 2 Feb 21:42 2016
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APR (6): Steve’s 6th dialogue with Sennet

 

[EM] APR (6): Steve’s 6th dialogue with Sennet


> Date: Sun, 31 Jan 2016 11:16:54 +0000 (UTC)
> From: Sennet Williams <sennetwilliams <at> yahoo.com>
> To: "election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com"
> <election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com>
> Subject: [EM] A, B. C, D: all votes were wasted
> Message-ID:
> <1636243449.3062727.1454239014437.JavaMail.yahoo <at> mail.yahoo.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

To Sennet (W) from Steve (S):

 

S: I would like to understand why you asserted in your last post copied below that “In fact, all votes would be wasted”.  Please also note that, within [square brackets], I have added a full copy of the relevant paragraph to which you were responding but had shortened.

Please recall that this was one of Kristofer’s examples to discover what I mean by a “wasted vote”.  What I mean is any citizen’s vote that does not add to the voting strength in the legislative assembly of the elected candidate that citizen favors and has ranked (voted for).  With this definition, do you agree that my response explains how APR would allow no votes to be wasted in this “2 seat” election, e.g. for the election of the 2 Senators from a given state?

Perhaps you are using a different meaning of “waste”.  Please explain.  Why did you believe B should have been elected when the 10 citizens who wanted B preferred A and the 11 that wanted B preferred C.  If this were an election of 2 Senators, i.e. C and D, 23 of the 33 citizens would be happy that they will be represented respectively by their first choice candidates.  How would your election of B be better? Which candidate would you elect for the 2nd seat?  Why?  What is your definition of an ideal but possible “democracy”?  Does it honor the principle of "one-person-one-vote"?

 
> K: > >> For something like
> > >>
> > >> 10: A>B
> > >> 11: C>B
> > >> 12: D
> > >>
> > >> and two seats, electing A and C wastes votes (12 of them to be exact),
> > >> but electing B and D doesn't.
> > >
> > > S: No. In this case, APR would elect C with a ?weighted vote? of 11 and
> > > D with a weighted vote of 12. The 10 votes given to A would be wasted ….

[S: No.  In this case, APR would elect C with a “weighted vote” of 11 and D with a weighted vote of 12.  The 10 votes given to A would be wasted only by ordinary IRV using “weighted votes”.  APR would not waste these 10 because it gives each citizen who fails to rank any candidate that is elected the option of requiring her 1st choice but eliminated candidate to transfer her one vote to the elected candidate who that eliminated candidate trusts most (e.g. see the Sample Secret Ballot at the end of the article).]  
W: > In fact, all votes would be wasted.? The voters are left disenfranchised with two opposing paid office-holders (C & D)? when in fact the most voters supported B.? C & D would take office and negotiate with each other for what they want regardless of what the voters wanted.?
> In a more U.S. realistic scenario (one winner), the serious politicians would all have followed the priorities of the most voters, like "B", and the best looking candidate with B's priorities would win and take office and break their promises so that she could promise them again in the next election.?
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steve bosworth | 31 Jan 19:28 2016
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Re: APR complements Practical Democracy (PD) best (Steve Bosworth)

[EM] Re: APR complements Practical Democracy (PD) best (Steve Bosworth)
 

> From: election-methods-request <at> lists.electorama.com
> Subject: Election-Methods Digest, Vol 139, Issue 23
> To: election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
> Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2016 06:54:49 -0800
>
[….]

> 1. Re: Practical Democracy (Frank Martinez)
>
> Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2016 09:54:46 -0500
> From: Frank Martinez <frankdmartinez <at> gmail.com>
> To: Fred Gohlke <fredgohlke <at> verizon.net>
> Cc: "election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com"
> <election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com>
> Subject: Re: [EM] Practical Democrach
[….]

 

From Steve to Fred and everyone:

 

M: > On Monday, January 25, 2016, Fred Gohlke <fredgohlke <at> verizon.net> wrote:
>
> > PRACTICAL DEMOCRACY
> >
> > Abstract
> > --------
> > When we speak of government by the people, 'the people' is not an
> > amorphous mass. It is an abundance of individuals: some brilliant, some
> > dull; some good, some bad; some with integrity, some deceitful. To achieve
> > government by the people, we must sift through this diversity to find the
> > individuals with the qualities needed to address and resolve contemporary
> > public concerns.
> >
> > In a truly democratic political process, the entire electorate will
> > participate in defining the issues the government must address and
> > selecting the individuals best equipped to resolve those issues. The size
> > of the electorate and the varying level of interest in public affairs among
> > the populace make the matter of including everyone a challenge.

 

S: Fred, I see your voluntary Practical Democracy’s (PD’s) triadic and multi-leveled process as very valuable.  It wisely suggests how as many of the citizens of a country as are willing could agree to work together to improve their political knowledge, skills and opportunities. It would help give them as much influence as possible on the binding decisions-made formally by a state’s legislative assembly and government (or any level of jurisdiction within that state).  The more citizens who participated, the more democratic and wise are these decisions likely to be.

 

At the same time, I want to argue that the formal electoral system which would maximize the likelihood of PD being successful in making these decisions fully democratic is Associational Proportional Representation (APR). For example, APR’s primary election allows

1)      all citizens directly to decide which applicant organizations will be the electoral “associations” through which all candidates will be selected to run during the later general election, and

2)      APR’s general election allows each citizen to guarantee that her one vote will be added to the “weighted vote” of the one elected candidate in the legislative assembly whom she trusts to represent her own values and concerns. I am emailing the article to you separately which systematically explains how APR works:  “Equal Voting Sustained”.  I will also email it to anyone else who requests it (stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com).

 

Please let me know whether or not you also find APR to be the electoral system that would complement PD best.

 

Below, are listed some of the phrases from your own ABSTRACT which most strikingly suggest to me that PD and APR would entirely complement each other:

1)      >>…. to identify the individuals most motivated and best qualified to address and resolve the people's concerns;

2)      >> When the people are only allowed to choose from party-chosen options, the
> > ability to vote for one of them is neither free nor democratic.

3)      >> In spite of the dangers inherent in partisanship, we must recognize that
> > it is a vital part of society. People differ, and it is essential that
> > they should, because we advance our common interest by examining
> > conceivable options. Differing people seek out and align themselves with
> > others who share their views. In the process of doing so, they hone their
> > views to help form a consensus. That is the way they give breadth, depth
> > and volume to their voice.

4)      >> …. open inquiry

5)      >> Intelligent decisions require discourse; assertions must be examined, not
> > in the sterile environment of a televised debate, but in depth. The
> > electorate must be able to examine candidates and discuss matters of public
> > concern, and, with the knowledge so gained, make decisions.

6)       >> New machinery to support a democratic political process
> > must enable and encourage dialogue and deliberation on
> > political issues among the electorate.

7)      >> What choices are available to the voters when the only names on the ballot
> > are those chosen by the parties? When the dominant party repeatedly
> > chooses the same candidate and the opposing candidate is an unacceptable
> > alternative, the people have no way to bring new minds to their
> > government. Systems that let organized groups decide who can be a
> > candidate for public office are profoundly undemocratic.

8)      >> Dynamic systems require fresh minds. The current and emerging problems
> > facing the electorate change constantly. The inability to select new
> > representatives equipped to resolve contemporary issues injures the entire
> > community. In addition, rot thrives in a closed environment. Just like
> > with apples in barrels, corruption flourishes when incumbents are
> > repeatedly returned to office.

9)      >> New machinery to support a democratic political process
> > must include a way for the people to change their
> > representatives, as they deem appropriate.

10)  >> The challenge of democracy is to find the best advocates of the common
> > interest and raise them to positions of leadership. To meet that
> > challenge, given the range of public issues and the way each individual's
> > interest in political matters varies over time, an effective electoral
> > process must examine the entire electorate during each electoral cycle,
> > seeking the people's best advocates.
> >
> > Machinery that gives the entire electorate a voice in the political
> > process must accommodate the fact that the desire to participate in
> > political affairs varies from one individual to the next. Some have no
> > desire to participate, some will participate for altruistic reasons, some
> > will participate to advance their self-interest, and some will be
> > indifferent. To reconcile this diversity, a democratic process must be
> > open to all, without coercion.
> >
> > We cannot know what treasures of political ability will be unearthed when
> > people are invited to deliberate on their common concerns - with a
> > purpose. Some, who start out unsure of their ability, will, as they learn
> > they can persuade others of the value of their perspective, gain confidence
> > in their ability to influence the political process. In doing so, the
> > people gain the internal goods that can only be attained through the
> > practice of politics.

11)   >> New machinery to support a democratic political process
> > must be inclusive. It must be a bottom-up arrangement
> > that lets every member of the community influence political
> > decisions to the full extent of each individual's desire and
> > ability.

12)  > > Political systems are always an embodiment of human nature. Since we
> > cannot divorce our political institutions from our own nature, the new
> > machinery to support a democratic political process must harness our
> > nature. It must make the qualities needed to represent the common interest
> > desirable attributes in those who seek political advancement.
> > Given the wide range of desire and ability among the members of society,
> > an inclusive environment must be arranged to encourage the greatest
> > participation.

13)  >> Pogrebinschi
> > found that "... policies for minority groups deliberated in the national
> > conferences tend to be crosscutting as to their content. The policies tend
> > to favor more than one group simultaneously..."[8]
> >
> > If we are to create an environment for effective political dialogue, we
> > must create a framework in which all citizens are encouraged to discuss
> > their political concerns with their peers. Such inclusiveness can be
> > achieved by arranging the voters in small groups where people with
> > differing views discuss issues that concern them.
> >
> > Since public issues are inseparable from the people who resolve them, the
> > groups must identify the individuals in their group who best represent
> > their interests. The people so chosen can deliberate with the choices of
> > other groups to identify the community's most pressing issues and the
> > individuals best suited to address them.

14)  >> The purpose of the process is to advance the best advocates of each
> > group's perspective on contemporary problems, in a pyramidal fashion, to
> > deliberate with the selections of other groups.

15)   >> Viewed this way, we can say that when selecting representatives of the
> > public interest, a system that encourages dialogue is preferable to one
> > that relies on a monologue [….]

16)  >> People that do
> > not declare group membership are automatically assigned to
> > a set of people with no affiliation. Triads will be
> > created from members of the same interest group [same “electoral association”], as long as more than two members of the group exist.

17)  >> The final phase of the Practical Democracy (PD) process, electing
> > candidates to specific public offices, is omitted from this outline because
> > that task is implementation-dependent. [Steve claims that the optimal “final phase” would be the use of APR to elect the legislative assembly.

18)  >> The PD process lets particular interests attract supporters to
> > their cause and elevate their most effective advocates during each
> > electoral cycle. Advocates of those interests can proclaim their ideas and
> > encourage discussion of their concepts. Some will be accepted, in whole or
> > in part, as they are shown to be in the common interest of the community.

19)  >> Most people expect their elected officials to represent their interests.
> > The difficulty is that communities are made up of diverse interests and the
> > relations between those interests can be contentious. Constructive
> > resolution of political issues requires, first of all, lawmakers with the
> > ability to recognize the value in the various points of view, from the
> > people's perspective. That is impossible for legislators elected to
> > represent partisan interests.

20)  >> PD focuses on selecting representatives who will resolve adversarial
> > encounters to the advantage of the commonweal. During the process,
> > participants necessarily consider both common and conflicting interests,
> > and, because PD is intrinsically bidirectional, it gives advocates of
> > conflicting interests a continuing voice. At the same time, it encourages
> > the absorption of diverse interests, reducing them to their essential
> > element: their effect on the participants in the electoral process.

21)   > > PD is a bottom-up process that lets every member of the community
> > participate to the full extent of each individual's desire and ability,
> >
> > 1--> it incorporates partisanship without letting partisans
> > control the process;
> >
> > 3--> it enables and encourages dialogue and deliberation on
> > political issues among the electorate;
> >
> > 4--> it includes a way for the people to change their
> > representatives as they deem appropriate; and
> >
> > 5--> it is a bottom-up arrangement that lets every member of
> > the community influence political decisions to the full
> > extent of each individual's desire and ability.
> >
> > That is the essence of a democratic political process.

S:  I look forward to any replies, comments, criticisms, questions, or counter arguments.

 

Steve

 
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Sennet Williams | 31 Jan 12:16 2016
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A, B. C, D: all votes were wasted

K: > >> For something like
> >>
> >> 10: A>B
> >> 11: C>B
> >> 12: D
> >>
> >> and two seats, electing A and C wastes votes (12 of them to be exact),
> >> but electing B and D doesn't.
> >
> > S: No. In this case, APR would elect C with a ?weighted vote? of 11 and
> > D with a weighted vote of 12. The 10 votes given to A would be wasted

In fact, all votes would be wasted.  The voters are left disenfranchised with two opposing paid office-holders (C & D)  when in fact the most voters supported B.  C & D would take office and negotiate with each other for what they want regardless of what the voters wanted. 
In a more U.S. realistic scenario (one winner), the serious politicians would all have followed the priorities of the most voters, like "B", and the best looking candidate with B's priorities would win and take office and break their promises so that she could promise them again in the next election. 
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Ross Hyman | 31 Jan 01:31 2016
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formatting

I give up.  How do you make it so that the version that appears on the list isn't messed up?
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Ross Hyman | 31 Jan 01:22 2016
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A simple Approval PR method with no fractions

Here is a simple Approval PR method with no fractions.
I think Phragmen Approval is the best droop proportional representation system for approval ballots.  
But here is a version of PR approval that produces a proportional list like Phragmen, but it is simpler. It
uses only integers.  No fractions.   Each stage is like a regular approval election except that ballots can
have vote values equal to integers larger than 1.  Because of this restriction it is not Droop proportional
but I think the differences are slight when the number of seats is small where strict proportionality is
impossible anyway.  

Method:Ballots are approval style.  The vote value of each ballot is initially set to 1.
1. Calculate the total vote for each non-elected candidate by adding the vote value of each
ballot that approves of a candidate to each candidate’s total.  Do this similarly to the way one would for
majoritarian approval, using the same vote value for each approved candidate on a ballot regardless of how
many candidates the ballot approves.  The only difference from regular approval is that ballots can have
vote values larger than 1.
2. Elect the candidate with the most votes.
3. Reset the vote value of all ballots that approved of the elected candidate to 0.
4. Add 1 to the vote value of all ballots.
5. Return to step 1 until all candidates have been elected.

Example elect 105 a1 a2 a3….
3 b1 b2 b3 ….

2 c1 c2 c3 …

Below, the total vote for each party (A,B, or C) is shown at each stage.  The elected candidate at each stage is
indicated by the total number candidates now elected from that party.

A              B              C5,1            3              2
5              6,1            4
10,2           3              6
5              6              8,1
10,3           9              2
5              12,2           4
10,4           3              6
5              6              8,2
10,5           9              2
5              12,3           4

For 10 seats this gives the desired result: 5 seats for A,  3 seats for B and 2 for C.  However if the number of
seats were very large the method awards 50% to A, 25% to B and 25% to C but it should be 50%, 30%,20%.  But I think
its simplicity makes it worthy of consideration when the seat number is small.
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Kristofer Munsterhjelm | 27 Jan 22:48 2016
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Re: [ApprovalVoting] Self-Gerrymandering, Fairness, Extremism, & Electability

On 01/20/2016 11:12 PM, Jeffry R. Fisher wrote:
> On 01/15/2016 03:31 AM, Walabio <at> MacOSX.COM [ApprovalVoting] wrote:
>>
>> On Jan 15, 2016, at 9:46 AM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm
>> <km_elmet <at> t-online.de> wrote:
>>
>>> Suppose you have a districting system that is supposed to follow the
>>> borders of natural communities, and that is supposed to be fair. Now
>>> suppose that cities vote predominantly for X, and rural areas
>>> predominantly for Y. Then there's no way of squaring the circle: if you
>>> use a method that is fair, the method will clip through communities
>>> because the communities are so lumpy. On the other hand, if you use a
>>> method that follows communities, e.g. the borders make sense from the
>>> point of view of a group, then you get safe seats. At least one has to
>>> go.
> 
> Good analysis. That's why proxies (transferable votes) are attractive:
> Voters are freed from geographic districts. Isn't geography an archaic
> basis for voting in the Internet age anyway?

If we take as an ideal of democracy that every person should have a say
in a decision proportional to how he would be affected by it, then there
would still be a place for geography because local events have a greater
impact on the people who live there than do global events, all else equal.

If you start at the extreme of geographical representation by using
single-winner districts, you can probably get a significant improvement
in political representation by sacrificing only a small amount of
geographical quality, e.g. by going from single-winner to multiwinner
districts. A similar observation applies to party list: biproportional
representation can improve national political proportionality at only a
slight cost of local political proportionality.

At some point, the trade-off is no longer worth it. I have no idea
exactly how large the ideal district would be, though; it probably
depends on factors like economies of scale and the preferences of the
people.

In the absence of such knowledge, it probably makes sense to consider
location to be another property that should be given some degree of
proportional representation. If political PR is of the shape that "if
10% of the people prefer this group of candidates to everybody else,
then 10% of the candidates should be elected", then geographical PR
would be similar to "if 10% of the voters live in the vicinity of a
certain city, then 10% of the representatives should live in the
vicinity of that city too". The trade-off is a matter of how strict the
proportionality on either should be, when tightening the proportionality
on one will degrade the proportionality on the other.
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steve bosworth | 27 Jan 19:18 2016
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(26) APR: Steve's 26th dialogue with Richard Fobes


 [EM] (26) APR: Steve's 26th dialogue with Richard Fobes

 

> Date: Sat, 9 Jan 2016 20:49:19 -0800
> From: ElectionMethods <at> VoteFair.org
> To: election-methods <at> lists.electorama.com
> CC: stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com
> Subject: Re: [EM] (25) APR: Steve's 25th dialogue with Richard Fobes

From Steve to Richard and everyone:

 
R> Steve, I'm beginning to conclude that you are viewing election-method
> reform in terms of needing what I think of as an incremental
> improvement. In particular, perhaps you developed your APR method as an
> answer to the question "How can election results be improved?"

 

S: Yes.
>
R:> In contrast, because of my creative-problem-solving background, I
> developed VoteFair ranking by essentially questioning every aspect of
> elections, and attempting to answer the question "How will elections be
> done hundreds of years from now when civilization has evolved to use
> higher levels of democracy?"

 

S:  No, my aims are the same as yours in this regard.
>
R:> Your APR method addresses two common concerns:
>
> * Small political parties not getting sufficient access to a legislature
> or parliament

 

S:  Yes, but more exactly, my concern is than many citizens are not represented at all, or at least not proportionately.
>
R:> * The common problem of a voter living in a district that is
> "represented" by a politician who is in a different political party and
> who has very different political view
> Of course any good method must solve these problems, yet there are other
> important challenges to solve too.
>
> Very importantly, the method must not be vulnerable to corruption.
>
> > R:> Even worse, just 6 representatives -- a majority of the 10
> "celebrity" representatives -- can pass any laws they want.
> >
> > S: You seem to be forgetting that with APR, “any laws they want” are
> > most likely to be laws that are also wanted by a majority of
> > citizens. What is your democratic objection to this?
>
R:> Those six representatives would have been elected because of their
> personalities, not because they actually share the political positions
> of the voters who mark them as "their" favorite.

[….]

> Also, voters are not logical in how they mark ballots.

S:  If you assume that most citizens are inevitably this politically stupid, we would have to conclude that every proposed democracy is doomed, e.g. one using VoteFair as well.  As a democrat, my assumption is that given education and a rational constitution, most people are caring and rational enough to make majority rule work for the common good.

>
R: > You seem to deny that voters will behave in the illogical way of
> choosing "their" representative as someone who is in a different
> political party ("association").  [….]

 

S: I do not deny that some voters may behave illogically and no system can prevent all illogical behavior.  However, I see APR as allowing each citizen to vote most logically, i.e. to give her one vote to the rep in the whole assembly whose ideology matches hers most closely.

 

R: >As you correctly recognize, your APR method would "shake things up" in
> positive ways.
>
> However, where your APR method is weak is that after that approach has
> been in existence for a while — as opposed to suddenly being imposed as
> a temporary improvement — your APR method becomes very vulnerable to the
> corrupting influence of money -- in the ways I've already explained.

 

S: Unfortunately, I only remember that you have asserted this “vulnerability” several times but I do not recall you ever pinpointing exactly why APR would be more vulnerable than VoteFair in this regard.  In any case, I do care very much about the danger of money corruption to any system.  Consequently, separately I will email to you and anyone else who might request them, the following 3 available appendices to my article that systematically explains how APR works (“Equal Voting Sustained”):  Appendix  4: “Independent Electoral Commission”, APPENDIX 5:  Working Majorities in APR Assemblies, and APPENDIX 7:  Protecting Democracy from Corruption by Private Wealth.  Perhaps these will complement our dialogues.
>
R: > Your APR method asks voters, "Which of the elected candidates best
> represents your political views?"  On the surface, to most people, that
> sounds like a good idea. Why? Because under current conditions every
> voter can look at a group of elected politicians and find at least one
> or two elected politicians who they like better than the others.

S:  Yes, and this belief would at least seem to supports our adoption of APR.

R: > But again, "better" is relative compared to the special-interest-puppet
> politicians who currently win elections.

S: Both in the beginning and later, APR would give each citizen the best opportunity to give her one vote to one of the “politicians she likes better” rather than to any such “puppet”.
>
R: > That's improvement. But it's not enough of an improvement.
>
> A great method must elect the best candidates to all of the seats.

S:  The “best” in the eyes of their electorate.

R: > The problem with your APR method is not that you allow a voter to shift
> support to a different candidate, but rather the fact that you allow all
> the voters to concentrate their shifted weighted vote to just a few
> candidates.
>
> To better understand this point, consider what would happen if there was
> a method that elected two politicians from each district and each voter
> in that district was allowed to indicate which of the two elected
> politicians got their portion of a weighted vote.
>
> This approach would eliminate the "celebrity" weakness of the APR
> method.

S:  Not necessarily, might not one or both of the winning candidates be a “celebrity”.  In any case, the last paragraph of the above mentioned Appendix 5 again explains why I see APR as likely to be less corrupted by “celebrity”.

R: Yet it solves the frustration that exists in gerrymandered
> districts where the elected representative actually represents less than
> half the voters in that district.

S: Yes, this would reduce this “frustration” but APR would remove or at least minimize it.
>
R: > VoteFair ranking elects two representatives for each district. This
> allows voters from the two most popular political parties (which can
> vary by district) to be able to identify one of their district's
> representatives as representing them both politically and geographically.

S:  Again, this “frustration” would be reduce more by APR than this VoteFair plan.   This is because your VoteFair would only allow each citizen to add her vote to the “weighted vote” of the better of the 2 winners.  APR would allow her to give it to the best of all the elected candidates in the whole assembly, i.e. either the one she, or her first choice but eliminated candidate in the whole country, sees as most likely to represent her faithfully.

> > S:Why do you see these APR “seats” to be “wasted” when they would still
> > continue to be in the position proportionately to represent each and
> > every citizen who had helped to elect them?
>
R: > I'll repeat what I said before regarding the fact that APR measures
> preferences for both (1) candidates and (2) parties. Both of these
> measurements cannot be represented proportionally without some compromises.
>
> Specifically the first step of your APR method carefully achieves "full
> proportionality" regarding political parties ("associations") […]

S: No, this primary only determines the number of reps each association will be allow to send to the assembly after the later general election.

 R:  …but then
> that proportionality is completely abandoned in order to implement the
> shifting of weighted votes to specific candidates. So you cannot claim
> that APR achieves full proportionality regarding "associations"
> (political parties) when the APR counting process itself abandons that
> proportionality in its second step.

S:  Far from the “second step” abandoning proportionality, it makes it realistically more exact.  Firstly, the total secrecy of each citizen’s vote in the general election maximally assures us that these votes express the real preferences of each voter.  The same cannot be said of all the votes in APR’s primary.  This is because, as a result of the primary, each citizen publically reveals her seeming preference for the “association” through which she will vote later in the general election.  However, she may have been coerced or bribed to rank the applicant organizations as she did during the primary.  If so, the “second step” allows her secretly to escape that coercion or to rank the candidates she secretly likes rather than to vote according to the promise she has given to the briber.

Secondly, the real character of any “association” is in practice determined by the people who act in its name.  To know the effective agenda of a given association, it is necessary also to know its officials, internal members, candidates, and the political track records of its previously elected reps.  This is in addition to the promises or claims that are currently made by all the candidates seeking to represent that association.  An acquaintance only with an organization’s published statements, literature, or plans is not enough. 

This is why I want to disagree with your above claim that “measurements” of both “(1) candidates and (2) parties … cannot be represented proportionally without some compromises” in the mind of each rational citizen.  As a result of all the additional information that such a citizen will have acquired by the time of the general election, she will try to identify the candidates who seem likely energetically, skillfully, and faithfully to represent her in the assembly.  Thus, the results of the primary may have provided only a roughly proportional indication of the different worldviews held by the electorate.   In contrast, the results of the general election have the best chance of providing an exactly proportional and accurate specification of the sets of values really held both by each “association” and by each candidate who has been officially elected to represent it.  This complex dialectic between an association and it elected representatives has the best chance of clarifying rather than “compromising” the real agenda for which the citizen is voting.

 R: > For perspective, consider the numbers from an earlier non-extreme
> example, in which we suppose that about 10 out of the 20
> majority-control representatives are likely to be from the most popular
> "association." That can easily occur even though that most-popular
> association is not likely to have support from fifty percent of the voters.

S:  Perhaps I have not understood your example here.  However, perhaps you are firstly thinking of an assembly composed of a possible number of 39 “weighted votes”.  Secondly, it is possible that purely on the basis of APR’s primary election, one “party” (association) might be estimated to be likely to control “20  of these weighted votes”, i.e. a combination of all the separate weighted votes of each of it elected candidates are likely to win in the later general election.  However it is entirely possibility that the actual number of “weight votes” earned in the general election might be 10 rather than 20.  As a result, the “party” predicted to be the majority proves not to be so.  Yes, this is how APR would works.  

For the reasons I have given above, it is not import to me that this party may not have received the same number of votes (i.e. registered voters) during APR’s primary.  Why would it be important to you?

R: > Let's say that under APR, 20% of the seats are filled with politicians
> from association "C." Those association "C" representatives do not have
> 20% of the weighted votes! They probably have closer to 15% of the
> weighted vote because many of the voters in the C party are likely to
> give their weighted vote to a politician in a different party.

S:  I would prefer you to say “possibly” rather than “probably”.  In any case, if it is 15%, then that is democratically the most accurate proportion.
[….]

S: > > ... In contrast, you have already admitted that VoteFair would
> > exclude the “White Party” from the assembly even though it was supported
> > by 10% of the electorate. This excludes the additional diversity offered
> > by this 10%.
>
R: > In this situation the 10% White party (where the other parties are named
> the Blue party and the Red party), voters have 20% influence in choosing
> the winner of the second district-specific seats.
> It's true that this is not enough influence to necessarily elect someone
> from the White party, but this is enough influence to change which
> Blue-party or Red-party candidate will win the second seat.

S:  Thank you for accurately reporting this feature of your VoteFair proposal.  At the same time, it is an admission that VoteFair may “waste” some votes both quantitatively and qualitatively when judged from the vantage point of APR.  APR allows all citicens to waste no votes.  Do you have a democratic justification for this failure on the part of VoteFair to treat each citizen’s vote as equally as does APR?

R: > Again, the broader perspective is that when two dimensions are measured,
> it is seldom possible to completely proportionally match both
> dimensions. And this two-dimensionality is just the tip of the iceberg
> for what I have tried to explain about politics being multi-dimensional,
> not just two-dimensional.

S:  I believe that I have always agreed that politics is “multi-dimensional”.  If you still think I do not, please try again to explain the exact respect(s) in which you think I am not doing so.
>
R: > Both your APR method and VoteFair ranking ask for preferences for both
> party and candidates. Your APR method gives a very high priority to
> candidate preferences, whereas VoteFair ranking balances the candidate
> preference with party preferences.

S: No, instead I see parties and candidates as 2 realities that help to define the complex unities that they can dialectically form together.   Of course it is possible that APR might elect some candidates that effectively have no party before the general election, e.g. representing a geographically defined “electoral association”.  Like all the other APR voters, I believe that each citizen who has helped to elect such a candidate would have good reason to expect that their representative is the one among all the elected candidates who is most likely to speak, act, work, negotiate, and vote on her behalf in the assembly.  This equality is what representation means to me.  Does yours differ?
>
R: > My concern is that candidates are less stable, and less well-vetted
> compared to political parties.

S:  Possibly but not necessarily.
[….]
R:> Your APR method concentrates power into the hands of fewer people, which
> is why it's less stable, and less likely to fully represent the voters.

S: Stated more accurately, within its 10% limit, APR allows the electorate to determine the degree to which power will be distributed or concentrates in the assembly.  For example, in California a fully democratic majority in the assembly of 80 reps could be composed of at least as many as 41 reps but no less than 6 very popular reps.  I do not yet see why if you object to such a democracy.

[….]

S: > > each VoteFair member will be elected because he has received more
> > preferences of any intensity from all voting Californians than received
> > by any of the candidates who were not elected. In an extreme case, this
> > number of preferences could be composed entirely of preferences of the
> > lowest possible intensity (i.e. preferring the second to last choice
> > candidate over the last choice candidate). ...
> > ... In this special case, all the
> > citizens who had given their lowest intensity preference to this member
> > would be much less likely to see him as likely to represent their own
> > hopes and concerns rather than his.

R: > This would be unlikely. Yet the same argument could be used against
> APR, because a voter's first choice of association or candidate is not
> always honored.

S:  Yes, something like this could also occur in APR but it would be less likely with APR.  Because VoteFair does not give, and APR does give priority to a citizen’s higher preferences, this makes it less likely that an APR citizens’ lowest preference will be used to help to elect anyone.  This advantage is also increased by APR’s rule that any highly popular candidate must keep all the votes received from his enthusiastic supporters within his larger than average weighted vote (i.e. provide it is not larger than 10% of all the weighted votes in the assembly).  Another difference is that each APR citizen whose vote had to be added only to one of her lower preference elected candidates would at least know that he still is the one in the assembly who is most likely to represent her hopes and concerns faithfully.

R: > In this kind of situation it would be the voter's party preference that
> would have a significant effect on the VoteFair results.

S:  Yes, this feature of VoteFair would probably quantitatively and qualitatively reduce somewhat the number of citizens’ wasted votes.  In contrast, APR allows each and every citizen to guarantee that their votes will not be wasted at all.
>
R: > Again I'll say that when a ballot asks for both candidate preferences
> and party preferences the results cannot be exactly proportional for
> both measurements -- unless both measurements happen to be exactly
> consistent, which is highly unlikely in real voting.

S: In light of my above much earlier reply, I see APR as “exactly consistent” as a result of its general election.
>
R: > The low odds of exact consistency can be understood by attempting to
> design an algorithm that is proportional for gender AND income AND race
> AND religion, etc. Don't you understand that this is impossible? 

S: I do understand that this would be possible but it would not necessary solve the problem.  I do not dispute that “gender … income … race … and … religion are important to the electorate.  However, I see APR as the best method for discovery the exact degree to which each and other issues are important for the electorate.  These actual degrees may be very different from the degrees assumed by the “designer of the algorithm” you have in mind.

S: > > ... Consequently, some of the candidates
> > elected by VoteFair could be seen to be “lowest common denominator
> > members”, not enthusiastically supported members. These VoteFair
> > electors are more likely to see their own diverse perspectives as not
> > being accurately represented in California’s assembly.
>
R: > No, you don't seem to fully understand that VoteFair ranking elects the
> most representative candidates from the most representative parties.

S:  Your VoteFair proposal only elects the 2 most representative of all the relatively small number of electors in each geographically defined “district” you have in mind.  These 2 are more likely to be “lowest common denominator members” than each member elected by APR.  This is because APR allows a similarly small number of ideologically similar electors in the whole of California collectively to give each of their votes to the “weighted vote” of the one of all the 80 elected members who they enthusiastically support.

R: > Keep in mind that you don't want to find yourself arguing that "nuts" --
> mentally challenged voters -- are not proportionally represented. This
> topic is discussed in another thread within this forum. The starting
> message wisely points out that giving proportional representation to
> "nuts" is not a good idea.

S:  The difficulty with a system that is designed to exclude “nuts” is that it might well mean simply trying to exclude all the fellow citizens with which the designer happens to disagree passionately, subjectively, or arbitrarily.  Instead, do you have a well respected scientific definition of the “nuts” you would want to exclude?  If so, would you want this definition to be the foundation of a law which would openly exclude such people according to a defined judicial process? Would this definition and process respect the human right that each person has to be treated with equal rational consideration?

As I see it, if such a definition and process did not satisfy these conditions, it would violate some of the fundamental principles upon which democracy rests, e.g. toleration; freedom of the press, speech, and association; and the belief that most people are caring and rational enough to allow majority rule to work for the good of all.

What do you thnk?

R: > VoteFair ranking is designed to facilitate collaboration and compromise
> during the election, and during the refinement of a political party's
> positions on various issues. This results in fewer surprises compared
> to the APR approach of hoping for collaboration and compromise during
> legislative voting.

S: In the above mentioned Appendix 5: “Working Majorities in APR Assemblies”, I again explain why I see such “collaboration and compromise” to be even more “facilitated” by APR both before and after the election. e.g. “This greater clarity and focus would seem to help each APR congressperson to present the strongest possible case for his legislative proposals to the other members of the House.  Consequently, an assembly composed of such able, different, well informed, clashing, and focused representatives would seem to provide an optimal debating and negotiating chamber for the production of creative and evidence based solutions to common problems. The wisdom of any decisions resulting from this deliberative process is also likely to be aided by the simple fact that it would take place in an assembly whose composition most accurately and proportionately reflects the real variety and intensity of the concerns of all citizens.”    

Please explain the flaws you see in this argument.
>
R: > >> The representatives in the bottom third (or so) of this list are the
> >> ones that I've previously referred to as "wasted representative seats."
> >
> > S:Why do you see these APR “seats” to be “wasted” when they would still
> > continue to be in the position proportionately to represent each and
> > every citizen who had helped to elect them?
R: > The elected representatives who are least popular (based on weighted
> voting) do NOT have proportional representation. Remember that the
> second step of your APR method abandons the proportionality that was
> carefully established in the first step of choosing who fills the
> legislative seats.

S: Perhaps you did not understand that APR’s “elected reps” are not elected by “weighted voting”.  Instead, each receives a “weighted vote” in the assembly exacting equal to the number of citizens who helped to elect them, i.e. the weighted vote both of each “least” and more “popular elected reps is exactly “proportional” to this number.

Also, provided each rep votes in the assembly in the same way on any given issue with the other reps elected to represent his association, the combined weighted vote of these members for their association will also be exactly proportional.  This combined number expresses its proportion of voting power in the assembly.

Does this clarify the issue for you?  If not, perhaps this is because I may have neglected to send you a copy of my article that systematically explains how APR works:  “Equal Voting Sustained”.  Just in case, separately, I will email to you an up to date copy of this article (and to anyone else who requests that I do so:  stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com).
>
[….]>
> > S:  My view is that a “seat” is wasted when its occupant is not
> > enthusiastically and proportionately supported by its electorate.
>
R: > Yes!
> My view is that when a voter enthusiastically supports his/her chosen
> legislator, the enthusiasm may only be relative to current conditions
> where most voters find it difficult to identify any elected
> representative who really represents them.

S:  Exactly, that is a key reason why I see APR as superior to VoteFair for electing multi-winners.  In APR, a citizen can choose from as many of the hundreds of candidates that she might know about.  This makes it more likely that she will be able to give her one vote to the weighted vote of an elected candidate she “enthusiastically supports”.  In contrast, the number from which each VoteFair citizen can choose is much smaller.

S: Thank you again for your time and questions. We are learning from each
> > other and I look forward to your next post.
> >

Steve (stevebosworth <at> hotmail.com)

 

 
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Andrew Myers | 25 Jan 20:56 2016
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Re: Practical Democrach

> So, the "tl;dr" version is roughly: Voters get together in groups of 
> 3, choose the best of the 3 to represent Them at the next stage, 
> selected Representatives then lather and rinse and repeat, yes?

This seems like a terrible system that will lead to tyranny. In a system 
with n levels, you need only something like (2/3)^n of the leaf voters 
on your side to win. With 7 levels that's 6%.

-- Andrew
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Fred Gohlke | 25 Jan 15:35 2016
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Practical Democrach

                       PRACTICAL DEMOCRACY

Abstract
--------
When we speak of government by the people, 'the people' is not an 
amorphous mass.  It is an abundance of individuals: some brilliant, some 
dull; some good, some bad; some with integrity, some deceitful.  To 
achieve government by the people, we must sift through this diversity to 
find the individuals with the qualities needed to address and resolve 
contemporary public concerns.

In a truly democratic political process, the entire electorate will 
participate in defining the issues the government must address and 
selecting the individuals best equipped to resolve those issues.  The 
size of the electorate and the varying level of interest in public 
affairs among the populace make the matter of including everyone a 
challenge.

This paper describes a method of dividing the electorate into very small 
groups and letting each group decide which of their members best 
represents the group's interests.  Those so chosen are arranged in 
similar groups to continue sifting through the electorate to identify 
the individuals most motivated and best qualified to address and resolve 
the people's concerns.  The described approach ensures that candidates 
for public office are carefully examined by their peers before they are 
chosen as the people's representatives.

                       PRACTICAL DEMOCRACY

Overview
--------
The realities of life, particularly our economic needs, tend to distract 
us from serious thought about public concerns.  These circumstances have 
allowed the political infrastructure in the United States to gradually 
deteriorate until, as Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page[1] conclude, 
"America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously 
threatened."  One of their striking findings is:

   "... the nearly total failure of 'median voter' and other
    Majoritarian Electoral Democracy theories.  When the
    preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized
    interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the
    average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero,
    statistically non-significant impact upon public policy."

These results should not be surprising.  Justice Louis Brandeis is 
quoted as saying, "We may have democracy, or we may have wealth 
concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."[2] 
Organized political power and concentrated wealth feed off each other. 
The political process in the United States epitomizes this relationship.

If we wish to change our entrenched system, we should start by heeding 
John Dewey's guidance[3]:

   "The old saying that the cure for the ills of democracy
    is more democracy is not apt if it means that the evils
    may be remedied by introducing more machinery of the
    same kind as that which already exists, or by refining
    and perfecting that machinery."

Creating new machinery that differs from existing machinery in important 
ways requires an understanding of the flaws in the existing machinery.

Partisanship
------------
Democracy is not a team sport.  Even though partisanship is natural for 
humans, political systems built on partisanship are destructive.

George Washington warned us, in his Farewell Address, that political 
factions would enable "cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men" to 
"subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins 
of government"[4].  In spite of his warning, those "cunning, ambitious, 
and unprincipled men" created top-down political organizations that let 
them set the agendas and choose the candidates for which people may vote.

When the people are only allowed to choose from party-chosen options, 
the ability to vote for one of them is neither free nor democratic.  On 
the contrary, since those who control the options control the outcome, 
it shows that the people are subjects of those who defined their 
options.  As Robert Michels pointed out, "... the oligarchical and 
bureaucratic tendency of party organization ... serves to conceal from 
the mass a danger which really threatens democracy."[5]

Over two hundred years experience with party politics informs us that, 
when politics is based on partisanship, the partisans form oligarchic 
power blocs that become an end in themselves and ultimately transcend 
the will of the people.  National Socialism and Russian Communism had 
features that attracted broad partisan support throughout a national 
expanse and both degenerated into destructive forces because their 
partisans gained control of their governments.

The danger in communism and National Socialism was not that they 
attracted partisan support; it was that the partisans controlled the 
government.  In general, partisanship is healthy when it helps give 
voice to our views.  It is destructive when it achieves power.  All 
ideologies, whether of the right or the left, differ from communism and 
National Socialism only in the extent to which their partisans are able 
to impose their biases on the public.

Party politics is a potent tool for those with a thirst for power but it 
does not foster government by the people.  It disenfranchises 
non-partisans and results in government by a small fraction of the 
people.  For the people as a whole, the flaws are devastating.  Their 
cumulative effect victimizes the public by the most basic and effective 
strategy of domination - Divide and Conquer.

In spite of the dangers inherent in partisanship, we must recognize that 
it is a vital part of society.  People differ, and it is essential that 
they should, because we advance our common interest by examining 
conceivable options.  Differing people seek out and align themselves 
with others who share their views.  In the process of doing so, they 
hone their views to help form a consensus.  That is the way they give 
breadth, depth and volume to their voice.

Such alliances are not only inevitable; they are a vital part of society 
- provided they are always a voice and never a power. The danger is not 
in partisanship, it is in allowing partisans to control government.

1--> New machinery to support a democratic political process
      must incorporate partisanship without letting partisans
      control the political process.

Political Campaigning
---------------------
Campaigning is the process of selling political candidates to the 
public.  It is a top-down technique and is conceptually unsound in any 
political system that purports to be democratic.

Campaigning is the antithesis of open inquiry.  It is a training course 
in the art of deception.  Candidates must continually adjust their 
assertions to appeal to the diverse groups whose votes they need for 
their election.  In the process, they become expert at avoiding direct 
answers to questions and diverting attention from unwelcome topics.  The 
result is one-way communication centered on deceit, misdirection and 
obfuscation.

Political campaigning incurs high costs.  Those who supply the money are 
not altruists; they demand a return for their money.  The only product 
the political parties have to sell is the laws their candidates will 
enact when elected.  This relationship is a major stimulus for the 
corruption that is destroying democracy in America.

2--> New machinery to support a democratic political process
      must function without political campaigns.

Passion Versus Intellect
------------------------
Political parties mount, finance and staff campaigns designed to inflame 
the passions of the electorate.  There is no genuine attempt to consult 
the public interest.  Instead, surveys are conducted to find "hot 
buttons" which generate a desired response and professionals use the 
information to mold "messages" which the candidates and the parties feed 
the public.  It is a rabble- rousing technique.

Intelligent decisions require discourse; assertions must be examined, 
not in the sterile environment of a televised debate, but in depth.  The 
electorate must be able to examine candidates and discuss matters of 
public concern, and, with the knowledge so gained, make decisions.  In 
the existing political environment, they have no opportunity to do so.

3--> New machinery to support a democratic political process
      must enable and encourage dialogue and deliberation on
      political issues among the electorate.

Incumbency
----------
"Few things in life are more predictable than the chances of an 
incumbent member of the U.S. House of Representatives winning 
reelection.  With wide name recognition, and usually an insurmountable 
advantage in campaign cash, House incumbents typically have little 
trouble holding onto their seats..."[9]

It is reported that incumbents in the U. S. Senate and House of 
Representatives are returned to office over 90% of the time even though 
Congress has an approval rating of less then 15%.[10] This circumstance 
obtains because the people have no options.

What choices are available to the voters when the only names on the 
ballot are those chosen by the parties?  When the dominant party 
repeatedly chooses the same candidate and the opposing candidate is an 
unacceptable alternative, the people have no way to bring new minds to 
their government.  Systems that let organized groups decide who can be a 
candidate for public office are profoundly undemocratic.

Dynamic systems require fresh minds.  The current and emerging problems 
facing the electorate change constantly.  The inability to select new 
representatives equipped to resolve contemporary issues injures the 
entire community.  In addition, rot thrives in a closed environment. 
Just like with apples in barrels, corruption flourishes when incumbents 
are repeatedly returned to office.

4--> New machinery to support a democratic political process
      must include a way for the people to change their
      representatives, as they deem appropriate.

Exclusivity
-----------
Political parties are top-down arrangements that are important for the 
principals:  the party leaders, financiers, candidates and elected 
officials, but the significance diminishes rapidly as the distance from 
the center of power grows.  Most people are on the periphery, remote 
from the centers of power.  They have little or no influence, as shown 
by Gilens and Page.[1]  As outsiders, they are effectively excluded from 
the political process.

Party-dominated political infrastructures deny the people the right to 
decide the issues they want addressed and the right to select the 
candidates they want to address them.  As a result, the people's 
political skills atrophy because the system gives them no meaningful 
participation in the political process.

The challenge of democracy is to find the best advocates of the common 
interest and raise them to positions of leadership.  To meet that 
challenge, given the range of public issues and the way each 
individual's interest in political matters varies over time, an 
effective electoral process must examine the entire electorate during 
each electoral cycle, seeking the people's best advocates.

Machinery that gives the entire electorate a voice in the political 
process must accommodate the fact that the desire to participate in 
political affairs varies from one individual to the next.  Some have no 
desire to participate, some will participate for altruistic reasons, 
some will participate to advance their self-interest, and some will be 
indifferent.  To reconcile this diversity, a democratic process must be 
open to all, without coercion.

We cannot know what treasures of political ability will be unearthed 
when people are invited to deliberate on their common concerns - with a 
purpose.  Some, who start out unsure of their ability, will, as they 
learn they can persuade others of the value of their perspective, gain 
confidence in their ability to influence the political process.  In 
doing so, the people gain the internal goods that can only be attained 
through the practice of politics.  That, as Alasdair MacIntyre[6] 
explained, benefits the entire community.

5--> New machinery to support a democratic political process
      must be inclusive.  It must be a bottom-up arrangement
      that lets every member of the community influence political
      decisions to the full extent of each individual's desire and
      ability.

The Machinery
-------------
Political systems are always an embodiment of human nature.  Since we 
cannot divorce our political institutions from our own nature, the new 
machinery to support a democratic political process must harness our 
nature.  It must make the qualities needed to represent the common 
interest desirable attributes in those who seek political advancement.

Given the wide range of desire and ability among the members of society, 
an inclusive environment must be arranged to encourage the greatest 
participation.  Esterling, Fung and Lee show that deliberation in small 
groups raises the knowledge level of the participants and their 
satisfaction with the results of their deliberations.[7]  Pogrebinschi 
found that "... policies for minority groups deliberated in the national 
conferences tend to be crosscutting as to their content.  The policies 
tend to favor more than one group simultaneously..."[8]

If we are to create an environment for effective political dialogue, we 
must create a framework in which all citizens are encouraged to discuss 
their political concerns with their peers. Such inclusiveness can be 
achieved by arranging the voters in small groups where people with 
differing views discuss issues that concern them.

Since public issues are inseparable from the people who resolve them, 
the groups must identify the individuals in their group who best 
represent their interests.  The people so chosen can deliberate with the 
choices of other groups to identify the community's most pressing issues 
and the individuals best suited to address them.

The inclusivity of the process depends in great measure on the size of 
the groups in which the people meet and discuss their concerns.  Groups 
must be large enough to make a decision and small enough to encourage 
those who are not accustomed to the serious discussion of political 
issues to express their views.

If we examine the dynamics of such a process, we find that, when a group 
of people meet to select one of their number to represent the others, 
there will be three kinds of participants:  those seeking selection, 
those willing to be selected, and those who do not want to be selected.

If none of the participants are willing to be selected, the group will 
not make a choice and will drop from the process in accordance with 
their own wishes.  Among groups that make a selection, those who are 
selected will be somewhere on the continuum from those willing to be 
selected to those seeking selection.

For simplicity, we will assume that the desire to be selected is 
equivalent to a desire for public office (as the people's 
representative) and that the people we mention as examples are at one 
end of the wish-willingness continuum or the other.  The reality is 
infinitely more complex, but the results will differ only in degree from 
what we learn by thinking about the people who are at the hypothetical 
extremes.

The purpose of the process is to advance the best advocates of each 
group's perspective on contemporary problems, in a pyramidal fashion, to 
deliberate with the selections of other groups.  In such an arrangement, 
it is reasonable to think that active seekers of advancement will be 
chosen more frequently than those who only advance because they are 
willing to be selected.  For that reason, after several iterations of 
the process, we can anticipate that all group members will be 
individuals seeking to persuade their peers that they are the best 
suited to advance.

When persuasion occurs between two people, it takes place as a dialogue 
with one person attempting to persuade the other.  In such events, both 
parties are free to participate in the process. The person to be 
persuaded can question the persuader as to specific points, and present 
alternatives.  Under such circumstances, it is possible that the 
persuader will become the persuaded.

However, when persuasion involves multiple people, it has a greater 
tendency to occur as a monologue.  The transition from dialogue to 
monologue accelerates as the number of people to be persuaded increases. 
  The larger the number of people, the less free some of them are to 
participate in the process.  In such circumstances, the more assertive 
individuals will dominate the discussion and the viewpoints of the less 
assertive members will not be expressed.

Viewed this way, we can say that when selecting representatives of the 
public interest, a system that encourages dialogue is preferable to one 
that relies on a monologue, and dialogue is best encouraged by having 
fewer people in the "session of persuasion".  Under these circumstances, 
the optimum group size to ensure the inclusion of, and encourage the 
active involvement of, the entire electorate, is three.

Method
------
1) Divide the entire electorate into groups of three randomly
    chosen people.

    a) The random grouping mechanism must insure that no two
       people are assigned to a triad if they served together in a
       triad in any of the five most recent elections.  At the
       initial level, it must ensure that no two people are
       assigned to a triad if they are members of the same family.

    b) At any time up to one week before the process begins,
       people may declare themselves members of any interest
       group, faction, party, or enclave, and may create a new
       one, simply by declaring membership in it.  People that do
       not declare group membership are automatically assigned to
       a set of people with no affiliation.  Triads will be
       created from members of the same interest group, as long as
       more than two members of the group exist.  When a group has
       less than three members, the group's remaining candidates
       are merged with the largest set extant.

    c) For the convenience of the electorate, triad assignments
       shall be based on geographic proximity to the maximum
       extent practical, subject to the foregoing conditions.

2) Assign a date and time by which each triad must select one of
    the three members to represent the other two.

    a) Selections will be made by consensus. If consensus cannot
       be achieved, selection will be by vote.  Participants may
       not vote for themselves.

    b) If a triad is unable to select a representative in the
       specified time, all three participants shall be deemed
       disinclined to participate in the process.

3) Divide the participants so selected into new triads.

4) Repeat from step 2 until a target number of selections is
    reached.

For convenience, we refer to each iteration as a 'Level', such that 
Level 1 is the initial grouping of the entire electorate, Level 2 is the 
grouping of the selections made at Level 1, and so forth.  The entire 
electorate participates at level 1 giving everyone an equal opportunity 
to advance to succeeding levels.

Elective and Appointive Offices
-------------------------------
The final phase of the Practical Democracy (PD) process, electing 
candidates to specific public offices, is omitted from this outline 
because that task is implementation-dependent.  Whatever method is used, 
it is recommended that participants who reach the highest levels but do 
not achieve public office become a pool of validated candidates from 
which appointive offices must be filled.

Description
-----------
The local government conducts the process.  It assigns the participants 
of each triad and supplies the groups with the text of pending 
ordinances and a synopsis of the budget appropriate to the group.  In 
addition, on request, it makes the full budget available and supplies 
the text of any existing ordinances.  This enables a careful examination 
of public issues and encourages a thorough discussion of matters of 
public concern.

The public has a tendency to think of elections in terms of just a few 
offices: a congressional seat, a senate race, and so forth.  There are, 
however, a large number of elected officials who fill township, county, 
state and federal offices.  The structure outlined here provides 
qualified candidates for those offices.

As the process advances through the levels, the life of the triads (the 
amount of time the participants spend together) increases.  At level 1, 
triads may meet for a few minutes, over a back-yard fence, so-to-speak, 
but that would not be adequate at higher levels.  As the levels advance, 
the participants need more time to evaluate those they are grouped with 
and to research, examine and deliberate on the issues concerning them. 
(See "Time Lapse Example", below.)

Face-to-face meetings in three-person groups eliminate any possibility 
of voting machine fraud.  Significantly, they also allow participants to 
observe the non-verbal clues humans emit during discourse and will tend 
to favor moderate attitudes over extremism.  As Louis Brandeis said, "We 
are not won by arguments that we can analyze, but by tone and temper; by 
the manner, which is the man himself."[11]

The dissimulation and obfuscation that are so effective in 
campaign-based politics will not work in a group of three people, each 
of whom has a vital interest in reaching the same goal as the miscreant. 
  Thus, the advancement of participants will depend on their perceived 
qualities and demeanor as well as the probity with which they fulfill 
their public obligations.

PD is a distillation process, biased in favor of the most upright and 
capable of our citizens.  It cannot guarantee that unprincipled 
individuals will never be selected - such a goal would be unrealistic - 
but it does insure that they are the exception rather than the rule.

More than that, they achieve selection alone, not as part of an 
organized faction.  Once elected, acts they seek to inspire must attract 
the support of others over whom they have no partisan control.

Harnessing the Pursuit of Self-Interest
---------------------------------------
The initial phase of the PD process is dominated by participants with 
little interest in advancing to higher levels.  They do not seek public 
office; they simply wish to pursue their private lives in peace.  Thus, 
the most powerful human dynamic during the first phase (i.e., Level 1 
and for some levels thereafter) is a desire by the majority of the 
participants to select someone who will represent them.  The person so 
selected is more apt to be someone who is willing to take on the 
responsibility of going to the next level than someone who actively 
seeks elevation to the next level, but those who do actively seek 
elevation are not inhibited from doing so.

As the levels increase, the proportion of disinterested parties 
diminishes and we enter a second phase.  Here, participants that advance 
are marked, more and more, by an inclination to seek further 
advancement.  Thus, the powerful influence of self-interest is 
integrated into the process.

Those who actively seek selection must persuade their triad that they 
are the best qualified to represent the other two.  While that is easy 
at the lower levels, it becomes more difficult as the process moves 
forward and participants are matched with peers who also seek 
advancement.  The competitors will seek out any hint of impropriety and 
will not overlook unsuitable behavior.

The pursuit of self-interest is a powerful force.  Allowed free rein, it 
can produce an anti-social menace.  However, when it is an advantage for 
an individual to be recognized as a person of principle, one's natural 
tendency to pursue one's own interest is more than adequate to avoid 
improper acts.  The PD process gives candidates a career-controlling 
incentive to maintain their integrity.  Their own self-interest provides 
the motivation.

Practical Democracy harnesses the pursuit of self-interest by making 
integrity an absolute requirement in candidates for public office.

Bi-Directionality
-----------------
The process is inherently bi-directional.  Because each advancing 
participant and elected official sits atop a pyramid of known electors, 
questions on specific issues can easily be transmitted directly to and 
from the electors for the guidance or instruction of the official.  This 
capability offers those who implement the process a broad scope, ranging 
from simple polling of constituents to referenda on selected issues and 
recall of an elected representative.

Simplified Illustration
-----------------------
This table illustrates the process for a community of 25,000 voters. 
For simplicity, it omits interest group considerations and assumes each 
triad selects a candidate.  The process is shown through 7 levels. 
Those who implement the process will determine the number of levels 
necessary for their specific application.

                             Selected
                             Randomly
                               From
                  Full   Over  Prev.   Total  People
Level   People  Triads  Flow  Level  Triads  Chosen  Days
    1    25,000   8,333    1     0     8,333   8,333    5  (1)
    2     8,334   2,778    0     0     2,778   2,778    5
    3     2,778     926    0     0       926     926   12
    4       926     308    2     1       309     309   12
    5       309     103    0     0       103     103   19
    6       103      34    1     2        35      35   19
    7        35      11    2     1        12      12   26  (2)

1) If the number of candidates does not divide equally into
    triads, any candidates remaining are overflow.  Level 1 is a
    special case.  When there is overflow at Level 1, the extra
    person(s) automatically become candidates at Level 2.
    Thereafter, when there is overflow at any level, the number of
    people needed to create a full triad are selected at random
    from the people who were not selected at the previous level.

2) To avoid patronage, appointive offices, including cabinet
    positions, must be filled using candidates that reached the
    final levels but were not selected to fill elective offices.

Time Lapse Example
------------------
To give a very rough idea of the time lapse required for such an 
election, we will hypothesize triad lives of 5 days for the 1st and 2nd 
levels, 12 days for the 3rd and 4th levels, 19 days for the 5th and 6th 
levels, and 26 days thereafter.  To illustrate, we will start triad 
lives on a Wednesday and have them report their selection on a Monday. 
In a 7-level election (like the one shown above), the process would 
complete in 98 days:

     Level  Start     Report   Days
       1   01/07/15  01/12/15    5
       2   01/14/15  01/19/15    5
       3   01/21/15  02/02/15   12
       4   02/04/15  02/16/15   12
       5   02/18/15  03/09/15   19
       6   03/11/15  03/30/15   19
       7   04/01/15  04/27/15   26

Cost And Time Consumption
-------------------------
The cost of conducting an election by this method is free to the 
participants, except for the value of their time, and minimal to the 
government.  The length of time taken to complete an election compares 
favorably with the time required by campaign-based partisan systems. 
Even in California, with a voting-eligible population of about 
22,000,000, the process would complete in less than 12 levels, or about 
230 calendar days.

 From the perspective of those not motivated to seek public office, it 
is worth noting that, as each level completes, two-thirds of the 
participants can resume their daily lives without further electoral 
obligation.  At the same time, they retain the ability to guide or 
instruct their representatives to the extent and in the manner provided 
by those who implement the process. (See "Bi-Directionality", above)

Concept
-------
Practical Democracy springs from the knowledge that some people are 
better advocates of the public interest than others.  In Beyond 
Adversary Democracy[12], Jane Mansbridge, speaking of a small community 
in Vermont, says, "When interests are similar, citizens do not need 
equal power to protect their individual interests; they only need to 
persuade their wisest, cleverest, most virtuous, and most experienced 
citizens to spend their time solving town problems in the best interests 
of everyone."[13]

The fundamental challenge of democracy is to find those "wisest, 
cleverest, most virtuous, and most experienced citizens" and empower 
them as our representatives.  PD does that by giving every member of the 
electorate the right to be a candidate and the ability to influence the 
selection process, while ensuring that no individual or group has an 
advantage over others.

PD makes no attempt to alter the structure of government.  We have the 
venues for resolving adversarial issues in our legislatures and 
councils.  However, since the solutions that flow from those assemblies 
cannot be better than the people who craft them, PD lets the electorate 
select the individuals they believe will resolve adversarial issues in 
the public interest.

Peoples' interests change over time.  To achieve satisfaction, these 
changing attitudes must be given voice and reflected in the results of 
each election.  The PD process lets particular interests attract 
supporters to their cause and elevate their most effective advocates 
during each electoral cycle.  Advocates of those interests can proclaim 
their ideas and encourage discussion of their concepts.  Some will be 
accepted, in whole or in part, as they are shown to be in the common 
interest of the community.

Most people expect their elected officials to represent their interests. 
  The difficulty is that communities are made up of diverse interests 
and the relations between those interests can be contentious. 
Constructive resolution of political issues requires, first of all, 
lawmakers with the ability to recognize the value in the various points 
of view, from the people's perspective.  That is impossible for 
legislators elected to represent partisan interests.

Democracy's dilemma is to find those individuals whose self-interest 
encourages them to seek advancement and whose commitment to the public 
interest makes them acceptable to their peers. Such persons cannot be 
identified by partisan groups seeking to advance their own interests. 
They can only be identified by the people themselves.

Why Practical Democracy Works
-----------------------------
Practical Democracy gives the people a way to select Mansbridge's 
"wisest, cleverest, most virtuous, and most experienced citizens".  At 
each level, voters deliberate in small groups, where "... face-to-face 
contact increases the perception of likeness, encourages decision making 
by consensus, and perhaps even enhances equality of status."[14]

Academic studies have shown the value of deliberation in small groups. 
The PD process builds on these phenomena.  It lets people with differing 
views deliberate and seek consensus on political issues.  When triad 
members are selected to advance, those selected are the individuals the 
group believes best represent its perspectives.  This necessarily adds a 
bias toward the common interest.

PD works because it atomizes the electorate into thousands, or, in 
larger communities, millions of very small groups.  Each provides a 
slight bias toward the common interest.  As the levels advance, the 
cumulative effect of this small bias overwhelms special interests 
seeking their private gain.  It leads, inexorably, to the selection of 
representatives who advocate the will of the community.

Summary
-------
The described process provides the sorting and selecting mechanism 
required to implement Jane Mansbridge's "Selection Model" of Political 
Representation.[15]  It yields self-motivated representatives whose 
gyroscopes are aligned with the objectives of the people who select 
them.  It lets the people advance the individuals they believe have the 
qualities necessary to resolve public issues into ever-more deliberative 
groups to work out solutions from broadly differing perspectives.

PD focuses on selecting representatives who will resolve adversarial 
encounters to the advantage of the commonweal.  During the process, 
participants necessarily consider both common and conflicting interests, 
and, because PD is intrinsically bidirectional, it gives advocates of 
conflicting interests a continuing voice.  At the same time, it 
encourages the absorption of diverse interests, reducing them to their 
essential element: their effect on the participants in the electoral 
process.  There are no platforms, there is no ideology.  The only 
question is, which participants are the most attuned to the needs of the 
community and have the qualities required to advocate the common good.

Implementation
--------------
It is hard to achieve democracy because true democracy has no champions. 
  It offers no rewards for individuals or vested interests; it gives no 
individual or group an advantage over others.  Hence, it offers no 
incentive for power-seeking individuals or groups to advocate its adoption.

The best chance for something like the Practical Democracy concept to 
develop will be if it is adopted in a small community.  In May of 2015, 
the people of Frome in the U.K. rejected all party candidates and 
elected an independent city government.[16]  They might welcome a 
mechanism like Practical Democracy to ensure the election of independent 
individuals in the future.

Conclusion
----------
Practical Democracy is an electoral process through which the people 
actively participate in the conduct of, and impress their moral sense 
on, their government.  It creates a unique merger of self-interest and 
the public interest.  It completes more quickly and with less public 
distraction than existing systems, however large the electorate.

We have no shortage of competent, talented individuals among us.  The PD 
process gives us the machinery to sift through all of us to find the 
individuals with the qualities needed to address and resolve 
contemporary public concerns.  It lets the public discuss substantive 
matters - with a purpose.  It gives participants time for deliberation 
and an opportunity to understand the rationale for the positions of others.

PD is a bottom-up process that lets every member of the community 
participate to the full extent of each individual's desire and ability,

1--> it incorporates partisanship without letting partisans
      control the process;

2--> it functions without political campaigns or the marketing
      of candidates;

3--> it enables and encourages dialogue and deliberation on
      political issues among the electorate;

4--> it includes a way for the people to change their
      representatives as they deem appropriate; and

5--> it is a bottom-up arrangement that lets every member of
      the community influence political decisions to the full
      extent of each individual's desire and ability.

That is the essence of a democratic political process.

Respectfully submitted,

Fred Gohlke

Footnotes:
[1] Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page (2014). Testing Theories
     of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average
     Citizens.
https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

[2] Wikiquote, Louis Brandeis
https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Louis_Brandeis

[3] Search for the Great Community, p293
http://thehangedman.com/teaching-files/pragmatism/dewey-pp2.pdf

[4] Washington's Farewell Address
http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp

[5] Robert Michels, Political Parties, p27
http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/ugcm/3ll3/michels/polipart.pdf

[6] Political Philosophy of Alasdair MacIntyre,
http://www.iep.utm.edu/p/p-macint.htm

[7] Esterling, Kevin M., Fung, Archon and Lee, Taeku, Knowledge
     Inequality and Empowerment in Small Deliberative Groups:
     Evidence from a Randomized Experiment at the Oboe Town Halls
     (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN:
http://ssrn.com/abstract=1902664

[8] Pogrebinschi, Thamy, Participatory Democracy and the
     Representation of Minority Groups in Brazil (2011). APSA 2011
     Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN:
http://ssrn.com/abstract=1901000

[9] The Center for Responsive Politics
https://www.opensecrets.org/bigpicture/reelect.php

[10] PolitiFact.com
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/nov/11/facebook-posts/congress-has-11-approval-ratings-96-incumbent-re-e/

[11] Louis D. Brandeis
http://www.brainyquote.com/search_results.html?q=brandeis

[12] Beyond Adversary Democracy, Jane J. Mansbridge, The
      University of Chicago Press, 1980

[13] Beyond Adversary Democracy, p. 88

[14] Beyond Adversary Democracy, p. 33

[15] Jane Mansbridge, A "Selection Model" of Political
      Representation
https://research.hks.harvard.edu/publications/workingpapers/citation.aspx?PubId=5548&type=WPN

[16] How Flatpack Democracy beat the old parties in the People's
      Republic of Frome
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/22/flatpack-democracy-peoples-republic-of-frome?CMP=share_btn_fb
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Fred Gohlke | 25 Jan 14:16 2016
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Post for Kristofer Munsterhjelm

Good Morning, Kristofer

On January 16th, you wrote to Juho:

   "It's hard enough to think of how to effectively do basic
    electoral reform, but I have no idea how one would go about,
    say, replacing a representative democracy with one where the
    assembly is elected by lot, or one where the assembly is
    chosen recursively, e.g. in the manner Fred Gohlke advocates.

    (Come to think of it, the latter may be easier to do than the
    former: set up neighborhood level organizations and then
    organize them in turn.  But it'd take a pretty good
    organizational talent - and a lot of work - to pull it off.)"

Actually, my thought for representative democracy was that the local 
government would assign the community's voters to triads, record their 
choices and assign those chosen to new triads in a pyramidal fashion.

That would be a pretty simple and straightforward operation.  That's why 
I am interested in the events in Frome, UK.  They've shown an 
inclination to avoid party politics, and the report suggests other towns 
are considering similar actions.

Lest you fear special interests will be overlooked, I'd like to mention 
that the suggestion includes a means for partisan interests to select 
their best advocates to ensure the consideration of diverse special 
interests.  I plan to post the full description.  Perhaps it will 
attract a thoughtful critique.

Fred Gohlke

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Gmane