Thankyou for your discussion.
I just pick-up on two or three points. People often think of first,
really want. A fifth choice in a large multi-member constituency,
single vacancy. I'm not considering necessary conditions of campaign
polling station, etc.
an empty seat. I agree that this is a voters right, but it only came
about in this system, as a necessary condition of the logic of its count.
representation. I believe that (social choice theory, or what have you)
loser, in no way invalidates the reasonableness of democratic elections.
Post by Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
Richard, thanks for the advice. How to apply it is mysterious to me.
So I'll just look at what you wrote, on what I wrote about.
The essence of genuine democratic representation is choice. I may, for
most affairs in life requiring my decision, designate a proxy, when I
can't be there to make a decision myself.
In designating a proxy, the only relevant factor is my choice, my
decision to name a person. I may revoke this designation at any time,
but it generally stands until revoked (either deliberately or by the
lapse of some specified time.)
Needing to meet a quota is contrary to the fundamental principle of
choice in representation, but it may be made as a compromise. So, we
decide that, to have a seat in an Assembly, the seat must be supported
by a quota of voters, who agree to the person serving in that way, for
them, and if this is fully democratic, then those voter choices are
not coerced. It is possible for a voter to designate a series of
choices, i.e., my first choice is A, my second choice, if A cannot
serve, is B, etc. However, this leads to a fairly complex system and
Dodgson (Carroll) found a far better way, far more suitable for
ordinary voters, who, after all, have busy lives. STV systems only
work because of party candidate lists, otherwise most voters, as
Dodgson pointed out, really only know their favorite, and there is a
far simpler way, that allows the exercise of choice in a slightly
Rather, a basic principle of leadership is understanding how to
delegate authority. The skill of serving as a representative will be
associated with skill in designating someone to serve. In the system I
have described, electors will focus on politics and may be able to
develop personal relationships with those who end up with seats. That
is, they will not merely be depending on media impressions, and the
corrupting power of money is politics is largely related to the cost
of dominating media coverage.
So, in an Asset election, the voter need only choose one person, the
person the voter most trusts, out of all those willing to serve as
public voters. Obviously, anyone who is a candidate is so willing to
serve, since votes in the Assembly will be public.
By some means, a quota is chosen. I use the Hare quota because it is
very simple to understand, and the only problem with Hare is that it
is likely, given real-world phenomena, that the Hare quota will fail
to elect the full number of seats. There are many ways to solve this
problem, and an Assembly that is missing a seat for a time can still
function with little harm.
One of the facts often overlooked is that under standard parliamentary
procedure, any assembly makes its own rules. All it takes to make --
or remove -- a rule is a majority vote. If one doesn't like that, tell
it to Robert's Rules, or the parliamentarians. It is a basic right of
the majority in any democratic assembly to make its own rules. For
lots of reasons, the rules tend to be not changed very much. But the
"nuclear option" in the U.S. Senate reflects this very old principle,
being abused because of the party system. The party system has
corrupted many basic democratic processes, including the U.S.
It is not that parties are Bad. It is that the Iron Law of Oligarchy
is very real and to design fully democratic institutions we need to be
aware of it and factor for it. There is a way, and the path has been
blazed, but few pay any attention to it. Rather, most people run with
the standard assumptions about democracy, it's all they have heard for
their entire lives.
So ... suppose we use the Hare quota. So there are one (or less
likely, more) seats that are not filled. So then the Assembly, if it
cares about those voters whose votes have not been applied, can decide
to allow some kind of representation. Perhaps "observers" can be
allowed. Perhaps they might have fractional votes, which they could
use, perhaps to break ties. And there are many, many possibilities.
I see a common reaction to new ideas for election methods, and it was
repeated in these discussions. A proposal was made that seats have
voting power proportional to the votes they received. Immediately it
is pointed out that what, in delegable proxy systems I called a
superproxy, someone who represents a majority of voting members, could
make any decision unilaterally. Yes, they could, if the rules allowed
it. Any system coupled with a well-designed set of Stupid Rules could
create a disaster.
But Asset systems that I wrote about create a peer assembly, with
anything different from that only on the edges, and easily handled
with sane rules.
Use of the Droop quota is based on the idea of election by majority.
In such an election, there are losers, who do not end up with chosen
representation, and that is by design. Our election systems were
designed for district representation, where districts are represented
by someone chosen by a plurality. Used to be that the representative
was chosen by the Sovereign. Maybe the people were consulted, and
Any number could be picked as an election quota. Key to a fully
democratic system, though, is that seats, elected by the same number
of voters, have equal voting power (setting aside vote-weighting
systems, which would still be democratic). And then we can deal with
the "dregs," the votes not yet assigned to a seat. Right now, such
people have zero representation, unless a seat decides to serve them
anyway (which members of assmblies often do).
It would take very minor adjustments to rules and procedures to create
what would amount to full representation, or which would, at least,
What is often missed in considering this is communication in the other
direction. Amalgamation is thought of as a one-way process, where the
voters "express their will," albeit in a primitive way. Human
communication can be far, far more than that. An Asset seat would know
who voted for him or her, and could directly communicate, could
explain his or her stand on issues, could ask for advice, and could,
in fact, ask an elector to communicate with his or her voters.
But, wait, electors won't know who they voted for. No, not formally,
but yes, often, and voters know who they voted for and will be able to
talk to their electors, unless they are dumb enough to vote for . . .
I used to use Clint Eastwood as the model for this style of voting.
Vote for someone with whom you cannot have personal communication. Not
bright, in my book. But some people will do it. It harms nobody but
them, unless everyone votes for the Your Fired guy.
What? That can happen? Yes. That can happen with the present system,
because we only know candidates through the media.
We need to rebuild democracy from the ground up, and I suggest
creating advanced election methods and using advanced voting systems
in NGOs. That's an old suggestion of mine, and the Election Science
Foundation actually did it in an election, with the only known actual
Asset election in history. It worked spectacularly, as a voting
system. It did not create magic candidates who would kick ass and
change the world. It only created a steering committe that could have
advised the leadership and the active volunteers. Had they asked. They
never did. But that committee ended up, quite quickly (it took a few
days), representing every voter. There was one dissenter, who had not
understood that his vote might be transferred and he Didn't Like It.
He wanted his Favorite and the H with everyone else! But his Favorite
transferred all his votes.
But other than that one person, the election was Unanimous!
Richard, this is all simpler than you think. "Order" as a demand is
oppressive. In real life, I am indifferent between certain
possibilities, and so they are "equally ranked," and requiring a
choice be made is introducing noise into the system, not smart.
The quota set, with a certain number of voters, is designed to insure
the election of a consequential number of seats. it's based on an idea
that so many seats *must* be elected, and the demand that an election
produce a determined result has already lost a basic principle of
democracy, that a decision requires a majority; instead, in effect,
deterministic voting systems are undemocratic. A free people may
decide not to decide, or may act such that no decision is made.
(Arrow's theorem doesn't even consider nondeterministic systems as
"voting systems," thus ordinary, standard, Robert's Rules election
process is not a "voting system," which shows how crazy this field gets)
Post by Richard Lung
Regarding the quota, one of my four averages (in FAB STV) is the
Harmonic Mean quota which is the average of the Droop and Hare
quotas, which I invented in order to achieve a more representative
quota. (I won't go into details here.) Ranked voting is indeed
essential, because order is essential. Order in the vote and
proportion in the count are essential, because they are essential to
mathematics, not to mention civilisation, itself.
Order and proportion, the bases of science, have become political
footballs. Electoral science was founded in the age of the
Enlightenment and has foundered in this electoral age of the
I say this only as helpful advice. I don't mind if you don't take it.
Post by Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
Asset is totally out-of-the-box. It was reinvented on the Election
Methods mailing list in the 1990s, and by Warren Smith, who coined
the term "Asset Voting." Asset was designed to make STV work far
better. It works well if the voter only states the favorite, and, in
fact, my own analysis came to be that adding more candidates simply
complicates the process with no benefit.
The concept of a voting system that simply allows the voter to name
their most-trusted candidate, with nothing more needed, is
definitely not how people think!
You think that ranked choice is "essential" but that comes from an
assumption of contested elections. Asset with a Hare quota creates
fully cooperative elections. Nobody loses. Depending on specific
rules, the election might run a seat short. I actually prefer that
to using the Droop quota, which then creates wasted votes. With the
Hare quota, votes might seem "wasted" but only because those holding
them don't get it together to create a seat. Natural consequences,
and it becomes possible to allow a seat to be elected later, and
it's even possible to use the "electoral college" that Asset creates
to allow some level of direct democracy.
Asset used for single-winner elections would find a majority or
simply fail until the electors get it together. They eventually
will, that's history!
Asset can create a winner or winners that are not even on the
ballot. And, in fact, Asset doesn't need printed ballots and doesn't
need restricted candidate lists, but for simplicity I'd require
Warren's version of Asset was needlessly complicated, and he was
still thinking in terms of trying to select the "best" candidates
using amalgamation. Asset can do this much more directly and
Basically, if Asset is run properly, all voters are represented by a
person they freely chose (from among those willing to serve), either
actually by that person or -- for most elected seats -- by someone
approved by the person they chose. I call the collection of
candidates receiving any votes the "electoral college," because this
does resemble the original U.S. electoral college.
Again, Warren, writing that page, was still thinking in terms of a
party system. Asset could be truly revolutionary, making the party
system unnecessary. Most people, hearing about Asset for the first
time, simply don't get that with no wasted votes, there is no need
for strategy, no need to campaign, even, so no need for money to run
for office. Leaders will emerge, for sure, but will be clearly
responsible to those who vote for them.
I expect that ballots with names on them would disappear. With
Asset, you can decide to vote only for someone who will actually
talk with you, whom you know. Those who are actually elected will
know which electors actually voted for them, so there is, again,
responsibility, and a communication network would be naturally
created. You can talk with your elector, the one you voted for, and
your elector can talk to the seat, generally. Electors who only have
a few votes will turn them over to other electors, so the chain of
communication can become larger, but that's normal. It can still be
clear and reliable.
Post by Richard Lung
Thankyou for troubling to make so many comments. Have never heard
of Asset, even if it goes as far back as 1880. Have heard Charles
Dodgson mentioned but forget (am old). Indeed am unfamiliar with
the host of variations on methods. But have a few basic guidelines,
which I trust. (It surprises me but does not perturb me that many
experts don't think so.) A single-order vote, the x-marks the spot
vote is not sufficient for effective voting. A many-order vote
(ranked choice) is essential. Likewise a single majority count is
far less accurate than a many-majority count (like the Droop
quota). You will perceive a pattern here: the general system is a
many order vote for a many majority count.