Different uses for voting need different types of voting.

Point voting rules to set budgets

Budget Coalitions

Review voting rule for 5 elections.

This page shows how a group's share of seats affects its card costs under a square-root influence rule. The table below is copied from the Guide page of the Excel ballot.

Below are four scenarios for setting the budget of one agency. The majority party, A, initiates a change in funding for this agency. The minority party, B, tries to keep the agency's budget constant. Last year's budget for this agency was $20,000. So a "neutral grant" for each of the 100 reps is $200; that is how much each ballot initially gives. (Numbers below are round to the nearest penny.)

The scenarios show 1) a large coalition needs only modest grant changes by each member to counteract larger changes by each member of a small coalition. That is unsurprising. 2) But this rule makes card costs increase as grants gets further from neutral. So the majority has lower costs for each change than the minority. Therefore a minority will run out of cards long before a majority does -- letting the minority support only a few agencies.

When adjusting many agencies, money and cards are limited, so each party must prioritize its spending goals.

 

 Majority for decreasing budget Change  
  Party   Reps Grants Cards Budgeted per card Notes
A
B
55
45
$171.71
$234.58
(4.0)
6.0
$9,444
$10,556
($7.07)
$5.79
 
Total 100     $20,000    
 
 Bigger majority for decreasing budget Change  
  Party   Reps Grants Cards Budgeted per card Notes
A
B
60
40
$171.72
$242.42
(4.0)
9.0
$10.303
$9,697
($7.07)
$4.71
This smaller minority
must use 50% more cards.
Total 100     $20,000    
Neither major party can starve a department that the other strongly supports. But the minority reps will soon run out of cards. So they can maintain budgets for only a few of their favorite agencies. The smaller the minority, the fewer departments it can support.

 Majority for increasing budget Change  
  Party   Reps Grants Cards Budgeted per card Notes
A
B
55
45
$220.
$175.56
2.0
(3.0)
$12,100
$7,900
$10.00
($8.18)
 
Total 100     $20,000    
 
 Bigger majority for increasing budget Change  
  Party   Reps Grants Cards Budgeted per card Notes
A
B
60
40
$220.
$170.
2.0
(4.5)
$13,200
$6,800
$10.00
($6.67)
This smaller minority
must use 50% more cards.
Total 100     $20,000    


A small group cannot reduce the budget of even a single agency because it may not give less than zero. Lacking allies, all it can do is demonstrate to the voters what its values are and what changes it would make if voters gave it more power.

A small party has little or no power on its own, but it may achieve substantially more than its share of power through negotiations playing off the major parties -- even if it doesn't hold the balance of power (the ability to turn either major party into a majority). Together, the coalition could have more than their share of power to set budgets. But no group would have all of the power as majority coalitions do under the old agenda process.

A rep's budget votes must become public so her constituents can decide whether or not to vote for her. If her budget votes were anonymous until well after the budget is set, it might free her of some pressures from her party's leaders and lobbyists. Those pressures can conflict with her duty to her constituents.

Reducing the power of parties to discipline members would reduce the influence of coalitions and make this rule even more accurately fair-share.

If votes are not secret, instant messaging and online auction software can help reps trade legislative votes and record those trades.

Process Notes

If budgets are not stable after a time, a simple majority may end the voting.  It should stop smoothly, not abruptly.  The chair might announce "Between one and two o'clock, your changes will be limited to 16% of each grant's value as of one o'clock.  Between two and three o'clock, changes will be limited to 8%."  This continues down to 1%.

The bylaws may require a majority vote to enact the final result.  This prevents small groups from cutting or funding departments with last-second surprises.  If a majority votes to reject the result, then voting continues for a set time.

A complex budget that must be broken into distinct sessions on different topics allows no carryover of a rep's unspent funds from one ballot to the next.  When decisions are unavoidably sequential, the majority must not run low on funds, and minorities must not be able to accumulate funds to dictate the last decisions.  Median Voter Process

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