Different uses for voting
need different types of voting.
Free simulation of Fair-share Spending

Loring Allocation Rules

Fair-share funding, advanced ballot
Some optional methods for fair-share rules are complex and some involve subtle distinctions.  Please, always keep in mind that the act of voting is easy: Each voter ranks or grades most of the proposals and may give them preferred budgets, period.  Voters do not need to know details of the tally rule or its foundations in theory and research.  They should judge it by its results, comparing it with alternatives just as they judge most social or technical tools.

The Loring Allocation Rule (LAR) makes comparison of results routine by holding a second vote to pick the final set of winning projects from 4 or 5 sets.  Some sets come from variations in the vote quota for Movable Money Votes (MMV) and the ratio of funds allocated by a centrist tally rule or a fair-share rule.  But some sets of winners may be the results of other fair-share allocation rules.  (Non-proportional rules may not be used because majorities often would select the non-proportional sets and keep all power rather than share it more democratically.)

Condorcet + STV

Majority rules applied to funding tend to rob minority tax payers.  Minority funding rules tend to reward free riding.  The Loring Allocation Rule (LAR) tries to balance these 2 tendencies.

LAR builds on the foundations of the Condorcet and STV rules, just as the Loring one-winner and ensemble rules do.  Returning to an earlier case, LAR voting could control a co-operative journal, video, or Internet channel.  This lets the subscriber-voters directly allocate funds for columnists, feature writers, supplement editors, and cartoonists; serials, specials, sports, and news.  All subscribers get to read all items that get funded.

Some of the comics' fund is awarded by a central Condorcet Allocation Voting (CAV).  The comics are ranked as first Condorcet winner, second, third and so on.  The CAV part of the budget should be enough to fund several broadly-popular comics.  A winner receives the median of the preferred budgets given it by voters but supporters lose no MMV weight.  The rest of the budget then goes to the MMV tally.

Funding some Condorcet winners before MMV reduces the free-rider incentive.  For example, Voter: “I know Calvin and Hobbes is going to win.  Why should I waste part of my weight supporting it?” Pollster: “If it is sure to win, it probably will during CAV.  Supporters' MMV shares won't be reduced.  You probably cannot predict later winners of MMV voting.  So you just need to think about rating your honest preferences.” Then software easily handles the tally, including any MMV options.

This way most popular projects win funding before FS.  This majority voting tends to fund basic needs while the fair-share rule decides only which extras to buy.  Free rides are not a great concern because no one gets free basics while saving money for extras.  This reduces the reward for free riding and all that goes with that: bluffing, cynicism, and the under funding of those shared items.

A single ballot serves both CAV and MMV tallies because both rules ask voters to give first preference to the most cost-effective option, 2nd to the 2nd most cost-effective and so on.

(CAV might be replaced by MMV with a very high quota, perhaps over 50%.  Voters who support the winners of this first tally would be charged less than the full costs of the winning items.  With the threshold for winning over 50%, a bare majority cannot spend this money by itself.  They must gain the assent of others.  But a small minority might have less influence than they do with CAV.)

How many people should be required to back a project paid for with public funds?  In setting quota, consider the shares of votes in current interest groups.  Even a quota of 50% cannot make MMV a pure majority rule; because each voter has a share of money, the majority cannot have it all.  But a high quota can leave much of a minority's money unspent, useless.

CAV has some of the same as problems as old rules: lack of strict accountability on each rep for her spending, and lack of incentive toward efficiency.
But CRA lets all minority voters help select the items that win the strongest majorities.  That is because even a voter who does not favor the most popular items can rank them relative to each other, and thus have a vote in deciding which of them wins.

Notes: An organization whose charter, constitution, or by-laws require majority support for allocations can use CAV and include &lddquo;Fund no more” on the ballot.  An item that does not win a majority over &lddquo;Fund no more” will not be funded.

Some groups choose to vary their tally rule from time to time.  They might use the full fund for CAV one year and MMV the next.

The Schulze method and Tideman's Ranked Pairs each create a ranked list of winners.  So they are good rules to use for CAV.  To get this power, the voter must rank almost all of the proposals.  That will be true for any rule that lets minority interest groups help select items favored by majorities.

The tally software may create 4 or 5 sets of winners.  Each set would use a different ratio of central CAV to distributed MMV funds and size(s) of quota.  All sets would include some items funded by minority ballots.  Voters would have the final choice in a Condorcet tally selecting the most popular set.

But Condorcet is a majority rule and those have often failed to protect minority rights.  So the minority's right to discretionary funds must be protected in the by-laws by setting a minimum amount for the MMV share of funds and an upper limit on quota.

A group with few people or little money might decide to allocate half or more by a central rule.  But a city would probably allocate most discretionary funds by a fair-share rule.

Evaluating of sets of winners

If a tally option turns out bad results, voters will enact a different set of winners in the final choice among 5 sets of winners.  In that vote, a voter will base his preferences mainly on what he sees for himself in each set.  But he should be given summary information to help him see how the sets compare for other voters.  Each year we may throw out the worst rules and introduce variations on the good ones, making the sets of winners more alike and more competitive.

Table 3 compares 2 sets of winners by listing each winner's budget times the number of voters who ranked it as a first or second choice.

Table 3: Utility Example
$100 × Voters
    Rank     Set 1 Set 2
1st Choice $19 × 32
$18 × 35
$15 × 37
$19 × 37
$18 × 35
$13 × 31
2nd Choice $19 × 32
$18 × 38
$19 × 32
$18 × 30
No top choice $  0 × 20 $  0 × 21

Evaluations of Ballots with Scores

as Used on the Advanced Ballot

Utility1 Sum for all ballots: contribution to winner × ballot's score for it.  No utility added for items which ballot did not contribute to.
Utility2 Sum for all winners and all ballots: winner's budget × score on each ballot.  No utility added for items which ballot did not rate.
Any method of summing utility scores given by diverse voters is highly questionable because of the wide variation in voter definitions of “100 points” or “grade B”.
Utility Curve utility values from curves like those on the MMV ballot.  A ballot's utility score adds areas for top preferences which won.
Utility = - item's X [position along x] / sum($Votes) [width of x axis] + 2
A straight line from (2 pts,$0) to (0 pts,sum $Votes).
All $Votes can be much more than budget.
No utility added for unranked items or lacking $Vote.
[We cannot know how far down the curve to score them.]

Equity: 2 graphs for each set of winning projects:
Sort voters by the total Utilities of each
1) Utility up Y axis.  Voters along X axis; voter with the lowest utility on the left.
Readers can easily compare the height of the poorest voter's column to that of the richest voter.
2) Lorenz curve showing the running total of voter utility scores.  A Lorenz curve is concave upward.  On the left, the line is rather flat as it adds small utilities for poor voters.  On the right the line points up sharply as it adds utility scores for rich voters.  The more concave it is, the less equal the results were.  If each voter won the same amount, the line would be straight.  This may give less emphasis to extremes than graph 1.

100%|                   +*
    |                 + *
  D |               +  *
  O |             +   *
  L |           +   *
  L |         +   *
  A |       +   *
  R |     +  *
  $ |   + *
 10%| +*                 .
    10%     VOTERS      100%
+ Perfect equality
* Actual winnings
Equity number # 1: difference between a (straight line minus the Lorenz curve scores) / number of voters.
Equity number # 2: Subtract the utility scores of the 5 poorest ballots from the 5 highest-winning ballots of set 1.  Compare that with the differences in sets 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Equity number # 3: sum the 5 largest unspent accounts.
Unspent money.

The fundamental qualities of LAR come from 2 works of genius: the Condorcet and STV rules.  Although the new rule is untried, its building blocks are the 2 most highly-regarded voting rules.  The key question is not whether LAR will work, but whether a group dares to give some spending power to minorities.

Most groups need budget-setting rules only once a year.  The Fair-share Spending and Loring Allocation Rules can handle these difficult decisions with efficiency and fairness, producing stable, high-value results.

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