Different uses for voting need different types of voting.
Other Ensemble Rules
A few other voting rules are likely to produce inclusive and well-centered councils.
1949. Germany's parliament has reps from one-winner districts and reps from party-list PR. It is a very successful election system. It is almost an ensemble but: The districts are not huge and heterogeneous; they use plurality rule so off-center candidates win most districts. These reps do not form a central balance point for majorities. Instead, the largest party usually forms a ruling majority with a minor party -- excluding all reps of the second-largest party from decision making.
Here is another level of accuracy for democracy: Each candidate lists a policy for each issue —
But what if a person wants one from column A, two from column B and one from column C? In a restaurant he can order what he wants, if it is on the menu. In an election the menu has only 2 or 3 choices
The same problem is faced by a voter who wants “liberal” social policies and “conservative” foreign policies - no candidate with a chance of winning espouses the right combination.
“Direct Rep” allows a voter to move his weight only once a year and sets a minimum and maximum on the rep’s weight. It is like STV but the minimum quota required to win a seat is lower than the maximum quota which requires surplus votes to transfer.
This allows the waiting strategy used under STV: Don’t commit to any likely winner early in the voting. If other voters give your favorite a surplus, the small surplus fraction of their weights will go to their next choice(s) whereas your whole vote can go to your next candidate.
Vivarto allows the voter to move his weight at any time and to select different reps for different issues. Some compare selecting one rep for all issues with having to select food by the full grocery bag rather than having a choice of which groceries to put in the bag.
Voluntary delegation by James Green-Armytage is a blueprint for a “hybrid of direct democracy and representative democracy, in which citizens can vote directly if they wish, and name a representative (or proxy) of their own choosing otherwise. These provisions follow from the premise that, in a democracy, representation should be voluntarily sought by voters rather than imposed by the electoral system.” He explains how it can work with virtual committees and continual consideration of issues.
My proposal for proxies is this: Continue to follow the constitution, electing the usual number representatives in the usual way, preferably an ensemble rule. Later, a voter can move his proxy for each issue to a different rep (at set times, perhaps). This will give us a council with professionals more informed than a direct democracy's many amateurs who cannot afford the time to study every issue. But now these professional legislators cannot get away with unpopular votes on some issues by conspicuously promoting popular positions on other issues, nor ignore their campaign promises.
Local elections try to approximate these ideals in some jurisdictions. A voter may cast ballots for Mayor, Auditor, Sheriff, Fire Chief, and Judges; and for City Council reps, School Board, Planning Board, and Health Board members. Recall elections are an awkward step toward continual consideration of issues.
A direct-representation council varies the weight each rep has in legislative voting. When such inequalities appear on a small council, some reps may have zero power according to analysis with a “power index”. A rep with no power in this sense does not have enough weight to turn a minority coalition into a majority. When others realize this, they ignore the weak rep. Phillip Straffin gives several excellent examples from the early Common Market to small towns in New York State. The voters linked to a powerless rep have wasted their votes.
For example, let’s say a council has 7 reps. Six each have 15% of the council’s voting weight, but Ann has only 10%. She can turn any minority of 45% into a majority. She has as much power as any of the reps with 15% voting weight so her voters are over represented.
The Future Rules page sketches several possible ensemble rules. It also explains some merits and problems in giving unequal legislative weight to reps elected by list Proportional Representation or Single Transferable Vote. A few PR systems would let a voter give his weight directly to his favorite rep. This leads to some reps having more voting weight than others.
|Electoral Systems||Legislative Systems|
Condorcet + STV
Notes & quotes