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  • This topic has 20 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by Alan E. Dunne.
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    Alan E. Dunne
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    is a controversial study of violent versus nonviolent efforts to overthrow governments and systems of governments. The point I thought relevant to us is the finding that no government or system of government survived if as many as 3.5% of its population became involved in even mild activity to oppose it. This could lead to an argument that the Greens, or other minor parties, already have the numbers to bring the whole system crashing down if they put their minds to it, so it would be wise to give them representation within it and reduce their incentive to do that.

    In searching citations of this I found more expounding its significance than trying to replicate or extend the finding.

    may, or may not, contain such replication and extension.

    Mark Henschel
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    I get regular emails from the ERS “over ‘ome” and one included a link to an article that was of interest. It argued that for most voters one party doesn’t quite represent them in all their rich diversity of thought:

    Most of us don’t agree with a single party across all issues

    If you scroll down the page you can see a comment I posted. However like this board, the ERS doesn’t allow images and since my argument had a significant graphic (geometric) component I’m going to need you to use your imaginations (or ask George how to insert jpgs!)

    — — —

    Over here in the colonies we have a tool that can both illustrate the observations in this article and help argue for the solution. It’s called the Vote Compass.

    Designed as an aid for voters to make an informed decision at the polls it asks users a bunch of pertinent questions and then plots your resultant “point” on a “landscape” together with the corresponding loci of the parties. Within the scope of the questions — and, of course, the honesty of the answers! — the Compass indicates where you stand with respect to the parties’ representations and makes it evident which one is closest to your stance. Like this:

    [There should be an image of a Vote Compass graphic here.]

    But take a look at these sites. You can give it a spin and see what one looks like.

    A couple of observations:

    1. Not every consideration is represented. The Vote Compass is just a sketch of what might go into the decision-making process by a voter.

    2. The actual electoral “space” is multi-dimensional. The early Vote Compass plots were two-dimensional but later ones have been three. Of course voters can and do make their decisions on a multitude of bases. Each plot is personal.

    3. Where are the candidates? If voters have unique points to plot then so must the candidates because they embody many important and germane personal criteria: experience, knowledge, critical thinking ability, judgment, community connection, etc.

    Elections are often described in terms of voters “having their say”. When the results are announced the media trumpet that “the people have spoken”. However, the Vote Compass demonstrates that voting can actually be a very crude medium for voters to “make their point” and to be heard. For it to actually facilitate voter expression, voting should serve to more precisely define each voter’s “point”; it must be more articulate.

    What the Vote Compass does do is demonstrate that at the level of the voter, the problem of “having your say“, of “making your point“, of having a voice… your voice… count in the debates and decisions in our parliaments, is essentially geometric. A voter’s position in the electoral landscape can only be defined electorally by its relationship to the other points she can reference… those of the choices to be made.

    A voter’s point might be defined by the closest party point. But is she left or right of that party? A second choice can help specify that.

    A voter’s point might be more accurately approximated by a candidate’s position. Again, second and third choices can serve to localize the voter’s point — his “say” — more precisely. This can be illustrated on the Vote Compass where candidate points are drawn as “coordinates” with respect to voter choice. Like this figure from my ERRE submission illustrates:

    [Here I wanted to insert an illustration from my ERRE brief, page 7]

    It should be evident that one articulate expression of voter intent is a set of ranked candidates. This is what we generate in an STV election.

    Where several of these candidates will be elected there is the opportunity for the system to be actually listening. System acuity depends on the counting methodology.

    To sum up the argument:

    1. Having intra-party candidate choice potentially delivers significantly closer alignment of voter intent to representation… so long as there is a reasonable intersection of what’s on offer on the ballot with what voters want. It can be more meaningfully articulate. So…

    2. Voting must be candidate-centric and not by party. “PR” — aka party-centric, party-functioned systems — is not enough because everyone is different and in a democracy people matter. (Note: This does not negate “party” as a key determinant of voter choice)

    3. Intrinsic inclusivity of representation — the underlying principle of proportionality — requires multi-member districts and inherently avails voters of intra-party choice so long as votes are meaningfully cast for candidates.

    4. STV is a good first approximation to the ideal where every voter gets the representation they voted for and every representative represents an equal number of voters — equality and inclusivity together.

    5. Standard STV counting methods — WIGM and Meeks — which include the critical surplus redistribution capability — can work to make representation optimally close (in the case of electing one candidate) and/or more fully representative if surplus transfers are triggered to share a voter’s “single” vote amongst several elected reps.

    6. However, a counting algorithm that always takes into account all the ranked choices made by each voter could better respect and reflect the greater articulation and richness of each ordinal ballot in a multi-member district and help populate legislative bodies with more faithfully representative (and accountable) representatives where the intent of each voter is better translated into representation and more voters obtain the representation they voted for. Something like Dummett’s QPS, perhaps? Then…

    7. Voters would mark their STV ballots as if they were picking their district team. And actually, that’s not all that different from what they would do in any event on their STV ballot… just with more justified expectation.

    I need to emphasize here that the importance of this arises out of the fact that we do elect parliaments where issues are debated first and then decided. The process of populating the deliberative body must be optimally inclusive of voices and not brutally exclusive (the way it often is). Accurately capturing the essence of the people’s voices is essential to legitimacy and the correct operation of a representative democracy.

    Alan E. Dunne
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      • Posts: 35 deals with the effect of electoral systems on the often high-profile issue of interest group lobbying. It has a narrow(one -country) empirical test and does not seem to have been systematically followed up yet, but some of its citations,,5&cites=10168052105008979346&scipsc=1 are interesting, particularly and

    • British Columbia
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    Alan, you have quite a number of posts here with only long hyperlinks and a very quick comment. Do you think you would be able to go back and edit your reply’s to include a Titles, Author and Descriptions for the studies you are posting here. A brief preamble about why you are sharing it here as well would be very valuable for others and might invite more conversation and dialogue from your posts.

    Alan E. Dunne
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    With Respect

    Policy-making power of opposition players: a comparative institutional perspective
    Simone Wegmann
    Published online: 04 Dec 2020
    Download citation

    Journal of Legislative Studies finds that the formal power of oppositions in parliaments is correlated with “election rules” rather than a couple of other things.

    Yours Sincerely

    Alan E. Dunne
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    With Respect

    Kenichi Ariga “When Do Political Parties Benefit from Incumbents’ Personal Votes? Comparative Analysis Across Different Electoral Systems” Electoral Studies 68(December 2020) 10221

    seems to be a large-N study of incumbent advantage in being elected in different electoral systems, finding that much depends on open v. closed lists and district magnitude.

    Paul Collier in Wars, Guns and Votes (2009)at page 36 says, without specific attribution that governments in OECD countries stood a less than even chance of being re-elected in any given election, those in the bottom billion countries had a three to one chance and those in bottom billion countries scoring in the lower half on the Polity IV measure an eight to one chance of being reelected.

    Mert Moral,H. Ege Ozen, Efe Tokdemir “Bringing the Incumbency Effect Into Question for Proportional Representation” Electoral Studies 40(December 2015): 56-65

    say that on Turkish party lists whether incumbent individual legislators have an advantage in getting elected depends on district size (I don’t know in what direction) and party instability (the more instability, the more incumbent advantage).

    Jens Olav Dahlgaard “You Just Made It: Individual Incumbency Advantage Under Proportional Representation” Electoral Studies 44(December 2016): 319-328

    says that incumbent Danish local councillors had an electoral advantage in being elected to “low salience” offices. For some reason they describe this as a situation in which incumbency effects could be expected to be weak.

    Priyanka Prahag Jha “Stark Contrasts in Incumbency Effects” (2017) All Theses. 2706

    sets out a contrast between incumbency advantage in the United States(“and other Western countries”, but the references given in the specific section refer only to the U.S.) and findings of incumbency disadvantage in Brazil, India and “some Eastern European countries” (members I think of neither the OECD nor the bottom billion) and studies five (SMP)parliamentary elections in India from 1998 to 2014, finding that incumbency was always a disadvantage, though how much of a disadvantage varied between elections.

    Yours Sincerely

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