Voting and Democracy Introduction


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This site shows the best voting methods for elections and meetings.
The results are inclusive, well centered, and decisive.
Free software makes the voting and tallies easy!

On This Page: one-winner Condorcet's Rule,
multi-winner Proportional Representation,
inclusive and centered Loring Ensemble Rules.
At This Site: Site Map, Newer Easy-Math Edition,
Download: Print Edition, and Free PoliticalSim Games!!!

Humor: Who said, “He is a barbarian and thinks the customs of his tribe are the laws of nature.”
1) George Bernard Shaw 2) Mark Twain 3) Trent Lott or 4) Pat Robertson  ? 

 Democratic Solutions

This Web site explains improvements for democracy in any size from classroom
to nation, and at all steps from nominating candidates to allocating funds.
The concepts build from one voting task to the next:
Single-Winner Elections:  Pick a central and broadly-popular chairperson.
Multi-Winner Elections:  Fill a diverse board of directors, sub-committee or legislature.
Policy Decisions:  Vote once to create a central policy out of many options and motions.
Project Selection:  Vote once to select and budget several winning projects.  New
Budget Setting:  Vote to simultaneously adjust each ongoing budget.  New

 Tragedies By Design

These tragedies were caused by the most common voting systems, used by nations and towns, co-ops and corporate boards.

A. In South Korea's 1987 presidential election, 2 liberals faced the heir of a military dictatorship.  The liberals got a majority of the votes but split their supporters, so the conservative won under a plurality vote-counting rule.  These rules elect whoever gets the most votes; 50% is not required.  The militarist party claimed a mandate to continue its repressive policies.  Defeated at the next election years later, its leaders were convicted of treason for ordering the tragic shooting of pro-democracy demonstrators.

B. For over 100 years, elections by the plurality rule denied repre­sen­ta­tion to African-Americans in several southern states.  In North Carolina they had enough voters to fill 2 election districts.  But they were a 25% minority spread over 8 districts.  So they won no federal repre­sen­ta­tion.  Without representation, several generations were invisible as voters.

C. The U.S. Pacific Northwest has been ripped apart for 30 years by repeated reversals of environmental laws.  Hasty logging in times of low regulation lays waste to resources.  Periodic bans on logging bankrupt workers and small businesses.  A political pendulum swings, cutting down forests and species, then families and communities.  Governments and businesses often lose wealth when a legislature changes hands and changes laws.  These reversals are a major reason for war-like politics.

Why we need new rules     after George H. Hallett Jr.

Our defective voting rules come from the failure to realize there are different types of election which require different methods of voting. “We try to carry over to more complicated situations a method which is only suitable in deciding the simplest sort of issue, that is, whether a question with only 2 possible answers shall be answered 'yes' or 'no'.”  “For such an issue a simple majority election is, of course, sufficient.”

As soon as 3 candidates present themselves for a single office (or 3 answers to a single question) the situation becomes more complicated and a simple yes-no vote is no longer suitable.

When what we want is not a single officer or decision among alternatives, but a council fit to represent the voters, something quite different is required.  What is needed is not a system of dividing the voters into winners and losers but a system of condensing them in the right proportions into their chosen leaders.


Eras, Voting Rules and Typical Councils

Plurality Council with 2 uneven groups of reps

1800s:   Winner-Take-All Districts lead to Off-Center Councils
Several English-speaking nations still use the ancient plurality rule.  They elect just 1 person to represent the plurality or largest group in each small district.  So only the plurality has the right to representation.  This rule tends to produce 2 political parties; voters get only 2 options, and politics cover a narrow range of issues and viewpoints.  The largest party (blue in picture) rules the council.  A small change in 1 district's popular vote can shift power, making laws and policies swerve from side to side. This is a war of winner take all.

PR Council with distributed reps

1900s:   Fair-Share Representation leads to Off-Center Majorities
Proportional Representation (PR) was invented in the late 1800s to avoid some of the many problems caused by plurality rule.  During the 1900s, most democracies adopted PR.  They elect several people to represent each large district.  PR can give a party that wins, for example 10% of the votes, 10% of the council seats; thus PR always gives large groups their fair shares of representation.  It leads to broad representation of issues and viewpoints.  But usually there is no central (C in picture) party and the 2 biggest parties rarely work together.  So the side with the most seats (blue and black) forms a ruling majority which then enacts policies skewed to 1 side.

Ensemble Council with 2 central reps

2000s:   Ensemble Councils lead to Broad, Centered Majorities
New ensemble councils will have PR seats plus seats filled by a central voting rule (C in picture).  To win by the central rule explained below, candidates must have broad appeal and views near the middle of the electorate -- and accordingly near the middle of a council proportional to the electorate.  So they hold the council's decisive swing votes.  Their broad constituency demands policies with broad support, well balanced around the political middle.

"Centrist policy" denotes a narrow point of view that excludes other opinions and needs. "One-sided policy" also means ignoring rival ideas. "Compromise policy" may imply hostile resistance to opponents on every point and mechanical averaging of values into mediocre or irrational combinations. "Balanced policy" suggests blending the best ideas from each side.

A broad central majority works to enact broad central policies -- which give the greatest chance for happiness to the greatest number of people.  Excellent policies are a goal of accurate democracy; that excellence may be measured by the median voter's quality of life: freedom, education, income, health and leisure.

Ensemble councils are inclusive, well centered, and decisive.  Most important, they avoid the tragedies of earlier, one-sided majorities.

Humor 1 answer:
1) English playwright G. B. Shaw satirized the chauvinist pride and ignorance in some leaders of the British Empire. Back to question

Humor 2: Marlene Dietrich said “I love men who try to impress me; they make me laugh.”
Who courted laughter with the impressive claim “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”
1) Mahatma Gandhi, 2) Abe Lincoln, 3) Henry Kissinger, 4) Adolph Hitler  ? 

 A.  Organize Voters

A common problem in a vote-counting rule is too many candidates dividing a group of voters.

We can solve that by asking each voter to rank the candidates.  For a voter the solution is as easy as saying 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice.  The people who count ballots can then use Condorcet's rule to elect the 1 candidate who can top each of the others in a series of 1 on 1 tests.

If more voters prefer (rank) A over B than vice versa, A passes that test.  Each ballot's rank of A relative to B concerns us; the number of first-rank votes is not important.  The winner of A versus B is tested with C.

This is sometimes called the "Pairwise" voting rule or "tournament voting" because it is like a round-robin tournament during which every contestant must play every other contestant.

The following example shows 7 voters choosing 1 winner from 4 candidates or proposals -- which are labeled A, B, C and D.

Table 1  lists ballots from the 7 voters.  Looking at Uri's ballot we see that he prefers A over the others; so in the 6 tests his ballot will count for: A in A versus B, A versus C, or A versus D. It will count for B against C or D, and for C over D.You can all highlight the totals he adds to by clicking his preferences.

 Table 1
7 Ballots

4 Ranks








Table 2  tests all 4 candidates; each cell records 1 side of a 1 on 1 test.  Its number tells how many voters preferred the name in the row heading over the name in the column heading.  For example, 3 voters ranked A higher than B on their ballots; 4 ranked B above A.  So B passes that test and A fails.  Passing a test requires winning at least 4 of the 7 ballots.

Click a number in table 2 to check which ballots add to it.  You can see there are many different majorities even in this group with only 7 voters.  A candidate may say she won a majority; but she cannot honestly say she won the majority.  The Condorcet winner, C, wins a different majority over each rival.

 Table 2,   Pairwise Tests of 4 Candidates
Votes Against
for A - 3 2 2   2 prefer A over D.
for B 4 - 3 4   4 prefer B over D.
for C 5 4 - 4   4 prefer C over D.
for D 5 3 3 -
C can top any rival, so C wins.
Who wins by the plurality rule?
Click here to reset the ballots and the Condorcet Pairwise table.

Merits of Condorcet's Rule

Condorcet's rule is the best for finding the most-central candidate.  In order to win, a candidate does not need firsts but she must be a high choice for most voters.  In a 1 on 1 test, the candidate with opinions favored by the most central voter usually wins a majority (the central voter plus all voters on 1 side).  But if she appeals only to centrists, the moderate and fringe voters on all sides can give higher ranks, and the election, to someone whose appeal is wider.  Wide appeal and policy positions close to the median voter's make this the most appropriate candidate to moderate debates.

A group with several candidates does not splinter.  Its members may rank all of their nominees above other candidates.  Then each nominee gets all of that group's ballots when tested 1 against 1 with an outsider.  Finally, if another rule picks a different winner, the Condorcet winner ranks higher on most ballots and would win a majority, 1 against 1.

There is usually 1 who can top all others.  But sometimes no one passes all of her Pairwise tests.  Such ties can be broken by many rules including the IRV rule described next.

Another way to avoid splitting groups of voters, called Instant Runoff Voting or IRV, has been used in Australian elections since 1919.  IRV uses the same preference-rank ballots as Condorcet's rule.  But the way it counts ballots is totally different.

Here is an analogy:  Each candidate puts out a box.  A voter puts his ballot in his favorite candidate's box.  The ballots are counted.  If the box gets a majority of the ballots, it wins. If not, the voter moves his ballot to another candidate's box.  Or, he waits, hoping others will move their ballots to his favorite box.  To break that deadlock, we have a rule:  If a round of counting ballots finds no winner, the box with the fewest votes is eliminated.  Its ballots go to each voter's next (2nd) choice -- probably someone with similar views and more popularity.

These transfers let voters condense into large groups supporting strong candidates.  Ballots are counted again to see if any candidate gets half of the current top ranks.

In practice, each voter ranks the candidates as 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd etc.  Then officials move ballots between boxes or a computer tallies them.

Ranking a second choice can't hurt your first choice -- the second does not count unless the first choice has lost.

Here again are the ballots for our example.

Table 3
7 Ballots
4 Ranks Uri Nic Mo Lil Kit Jo Gil

In step 1 below, no one gets a majority.  Candidates A and C each have only 1 ballot so they are tied for last.C ranks higher on most ballots so in step 2 we eliminate A and move Uri's ballot to his next choice, B.

Table 4,     Ballots for candidate Action: ballot goes to
IRV steps A B C D voter's next choice.
First 1 2 1 3   Move Uri's ballot from A to B.  
Second - 3 1 3   Move Lil's ballot from C to B.  
Third - 4 - 3 B wins a majority.

The ballot transfers organized these voters into large groups supporting strong candidates.  Who wins by plurality rule?  Hint: look at step 1.

Four of the 7 ballots rank IRV winner B over plurality winner D.  But a different 4 of the 7 voters ranked Condorcet winner C over B.  The Condorcet rule finds the majority which is unbeatable, the "top majority". Thus Condorcet's Pairwise rule is sometimes better than the IRV elimination rule for electing a single central winner.  (Both rules pick the same winner in most contests.  And sometimes there is no candidate who can top every single one of the rivals.)

In the Korean example, ballots for the weaker liberal could help elect the stronger one under both IRV and Condorcet.

Accurate single-winner elections are explained more in Merits, Graphics, Ballots, Tactics, Districts, and Merits of IRV.

Condorcet rules appear again in pages on selecting one policy from many motions.

The Australians and Irish use IRV in many elections and call it Preferential Vote or Alternative Vote.  When used for multi-winner contests it is called Choice Voting, Hare's rule, or Single Transferable Vote (STV).  And that is the next topic.

Humor 2 answer:
2) Kissinger evidently felt political power was his sexist part. Back to question

Humor 3: According to Ashley Montague, “It is the mark of the cultured man
that he is aware of the fact that ___ is an ethical and not a biological principle.”
1) equality 2) interdependence 3) succession 4) survival of the fittest.  ? 
(All answers are arranged from left-wing egalitarian to right-wing authoritarian.)

 B.  Represent Everyone

Another common problem in an election rule is electing representatives for only the largest group of voters.

We can solve that by using a Single Transferable Vote or STV voting rule again, but here a box needs less than half the ballots to win a seat on the council. To win 1 of 5 seats requires the top rank on only one-sixth of the ballots plus one ballot or about 17%. An interest group with 17% of the voters will win 1 seat after moving their ballots to their strongest candidate, no matter how many extra candidates they start with. A group with 51% of the voters will win 3 seats and only 3. That is their fair share and their Proportional Representation (PR). If a candidate gets more than enough votes, a share of the extra votes goes to each supporter's next choice.

This multi-winner system is used by Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, Cambridge Massachusetts, and Cambridge University, among others.

STV is explained best through pictures on linked pages. To play the game, click the pile of ballots that must transfer. A correct click jumps to the next step of the tally. (If you don't like to play, you can page down to the next step.)

STV protecting rights of the majority           STV protecting rights of the minority

STV Charts from PoliticalSim

Merits of Proportional Representation

Women usually win more seats on PR councils than on councils elected by older rules. The U.S. and England, for example, use the ancient plurality rule and only about 10% of their reps are women. In contrast, the oldest democracies in Europe use PR rules adopted in the Twentieth Century and 30% of their reps are women. Nations that use both rules elect more women by PR than by plurality.

Why? Because most parties nominate some women in each PR district to attract particular voters. And a PR party that offers an all-male slate of nominees looks corruptly sexist. But 1 man campaigning in each one-winner district does not look as sexist. A PR party's slate may also reveal any ethnic or religious bias.

Women in some countries considered starting their own parties. Under plurality rules, new parties divide the side and lead to certain defeat. But PR gives seats to a new party supported by a large minority. This reasonable threat forced the old liberal parties to decide that political experience was not as important as gender balance. They dropped some experienced men to make room for women on their lists of nominees. And they won. They are now incumbents with experience, power and allies.

Inclusive rules elect a broad variety of representatives and thus encourage a wide range of candidates and issues, and a great turnout of voters -- Australians see 90% vote compared with the USA's 50%. Turnout is high also because 83% of the voters help winners. Quota there is 16.6% for each of 5 seats. The quota for 5 U.S. winners is just 50% of each district and thus 50% overall. Other votes are wasted on winner surpluses or on losers; they do not affect the results. It seems that ranking the candidates is both worthwhile and easy!

Turnout for many US primaries is only 20%. Most voters ignore primaries. But later, many feel the 2 finalists offer little choice. STV combines the primary with the general election: Each party offers more nominees than it can elect and voters in the general election decide which nominees are best. A liberal rep must compete against similar reps and challengers for the favor of liberal voters. (Sabbatical terms also make elections more competitive, forcing current liberal reps to run against former liberal winners.) This lets voters have real choices.

Politicians often "gerrymander" the boundaries of voting districts to pick their constituents before voters pick reps. The liberal party designs districts with a liberal majority of voters. In exchange, the conservative party designs districts with a conservative majority. This creates "safe seats": it leaves rivals no chance and voters no real choices. Gerrymanders are easy and common with one-winner districts but not with a few big multi-winner districts.

If any group is excluded or expelled from a council, they are not likely to view the government or its laws as legitimate. And when a plurality-rule council includes reps for only 2/3 of the voters, its majority represents barely 1/3. So PR is essential to ensure that a council's majority represents a majority of voters.

PR is used by most stable democracies including: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden ...

In 1993, New Zealanders voted to drop plurality rule for "party list" PR. Like the USA, New Zealand had inherited plurality rule while it was a colony of Great Britain -- which was the first large nation to hold elections. Vote counting has evolved in newer democracies. The British themselves have been edging toward PR; they use it to elect reps to the European Union and for the new legislatures of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Most people want PR when they understand its effects. Many British and Australian Universities have used STV for years. Free software now makes the STV tally easy for any group.

In the North Carolina case, 4 PR districts of 3 reps each would tend to elect 10 whites and 2 blacks.

The next PR page tells why STV may promote campaign competition and values-based politics while reducing regional polarization, district pork projects, and negative ads.

More effects of PR elections are shown in More merits, Election of women & voter turnout

Humor 3 answer:
3) Montague wrote of political equality. Back to question

Humor 4: Who said “Our job is to convince the voters
that Democrats are the enemies of normal Americans.”
1) Abraham Lincoln 2) Dwight David Eisenhower 3) Newt Gingrich 4) Tom Delay  ? 

 C.  Center Majorities

The most common flaw in election methods is creating councils with off-center majorities and one-sided policies. Even with Proportional Representation, government power goes to whichever side, left or right, has the most reps. Other reps and their supporters are usually powerless.

An innovation here could shift the nature of politics from a war of win or lose toward a reasoned negotiation. A council's decisive swing vote should not belong to the left or the right. It should belong to a central chairperson: the Condorcet winner. To give her the swing vote, the rule must distribute the other reps fairly and evenly around the center. STV has been adapted to do that.

Loring Ensemble Rules

Loring Ensemble Rules for electing councils combine Condorcet's rule with STV. If these rules are not used, the central Condorcet candidate, surrounded by moderates and centrists, might get few first-rank votes and be eliminated during an STV tally -- in spite of the fact that she is the overall favorite. STV would then elect no central candidate, or merely a centrist with a narrow appeal. (The reps would then elect the chairperson, usually from a majority coalition's center, off center from the council and voters.)

Loring Ensemble Rule a (LERa) makes the Condorcet winner exempt from elimination during the STV tally. Some ballots will move to her as other candidates are eliminated. In the end, she will win a seat surrounded by reps that received ballots from less-central voters. Simulation research shows LERa is the best rule for consistently making the Condorcet winner the middle rep on a council.

LERa can use any variation of STV rules for quotas and transfers. It only requires helping the Condorcet winner avoid elimination. LERb elects her before the STV tally. Thus LERb gives a majority group 1 more than its share of seats. Separate elections for the chair and reps also give the majority an extra seat and make the roles of reps and moderators more distinct for voters.

All ensemble rules tend to produce well-balanced councils, like the 1 pictured previously, and the bold names on the PoliticalPoliticalSimSim chart below. LER's preference-rank ballots cost more to count than yes-no ballots, but far less than the costs of one-sided majorities.

LERa helps find the middle ground even if voters are split 65:35. This council's swing vote must belong to a rep from the majority. But if the majority has no clear favorite, the minority may cast the deciding votes. That chair knows she owes her victory, in part, to her popularity among minority voters.

Ensemble Majorities

Electing a central chairperson does not let a central minority of voters and their reps dictate the laws. The Condorcet rule lets all voters influence which central candidate wins, and it will elect only about 1 out of 5 council members, so the PR reps may try to negotiate a ring majority with no centrists. As reps discuss an issue, the chair offers her views. If her policy is narrowly centrist, some reps may negotiate a broader policy, balanced with acceptable ideas from their rivals and key ideas of their own.

LER does not give chairs the power and celebrity of European prime ministers or American presidents and mayors. A PM dominates a ruling party. A mayor commands the executive branch. But LER's chair often is not the center of a ruling party; she cannot command; she moderates a dynamic council.

A Condorcet chairperson interested in re-election must try to balance each policy. A narrow or off-center policy exposes her to electoral defeat by a stronger moderator.

All moderate reps have some power in majorities balanced around a chairperson who wants to stay broadly popular on both sides of the center. A one-sided majority includes only half the moderates. Thus moderates benefit from ensembles. The losers are people whose income or self-worth is measured by war-like politics.

The sole chairperson should serve the whole populace, while the various reps advocate for narrower interest groups. Their election rules should heed those constituencies.

This accurate democracy makes the council's views as similar to the electorate's as practical. Matching the median is very important because policies tend to balance around the views of a council's swing voter.

It is ironic that broad Proportional Representation helps
a central Condorcet winner own a council's swing vote.
It shows that political diversity can be a source
of balance and moderation as well as perspective.
A central swing voter can lead a diverse PR council
to broaden its policies to include all moderates.

Merits of Balanced Majorities

Some people fail to see the benefits of ensemble councils. Proponents of STV have said “I don't see any value in a central chairperson.” And some who favor elections by Condorcet's rule say they don't see any value in broad representation. But such rules lead to narrow and one-sided policies.

"Centrist policy" denotes a narrow point of view that excludes other opinions and needs. "One-sided policy" also means ignoring rival ideas. "Compromise policy" implies hostile resistance to opponents on every point and mechanical averaging of values into mediocre or irrational combinations. "Balanced policy" suggests blending the best ideas from each side.

Balanced majorities avoid policy reversals and thus save money and maintain credibility. They avoid policy changes that are random or excessive and thus reduce the game-of-chance and hysteria in politics. They show the rule of reason not of whim, thus inspire confidence in legitimate leadership. They do not let fringe reps steer policies, a common fact in one-sided majorities.

Popular belief that government exists for the general good not just for the strongest factions is hurt by one-sided policies. But balanced policies favor all moderates thus increase satisfaction and reduce political conflict. They have broad appeal and thus help the organization attract members.

Stability is not rigidity: Well-balanced majorities and stable policies might seem to increase the danger of continuing a policy even when it stops working. But ensemble stability comes from accurately representing the voters, and not ignoring or exaggerating shifts in their opinions as old methods do when the majority shifts from one side to the other.

In the Pacific Northwest case, many jurisdictions are politically polarized, split almost 50:50, with no great concentration of voters in the center. The result has been intense hostility between poles, policy reversals and willfully irreversible policies. That pattern would be changed by ensemble rules. Neither pole could hope to capture a legislative majority. Reps would find that to win anything, they must work with the center and some moderates of the other side. The new pattern may change our concepts of voting and government from tools for cultural war to tools for administering diversity and its freedoms.

[ footnote: LERa may resolve the debate about which quota rule is best. It can use Newland and Britton's quota, Voters / (Seats + 1), for the chairperson and for reps use the remaining voters and seats in Hare's quota, Voters / Seats. Newland and Britton's quota ensures a majority most of the seats while Hare's makes every vote count. Thus LERa gets the best of both quota rules. ]

Inclusive and well-centered councils are explained more in pages listed on the site map.

Humor 4 answer:
4) Gingrich seems to think domestic politics is a new cold war. Back to question

Humor 5: Who said, half jokingly, “The illegal we do immediately.
The unconstitutional takes a little longer.”
1) Abbey Hoffman, 2) Jimmy Carter, 3) Gerald Ford, 4) Henry Kissinger  ? 

 D.  Resist Manipulation

Often, a few reps can manipulate agenda voting to enact a policy that most reps do not want.

In the 1970s, mathematicians proved every voting system can be manipulated, sometimes. The question then was, can some rules be manipulated more easily or more often than others? Chamberlin, Cohen, and Coombs found “The most striking result is the difference between the manipulability of the Hare [IRV] system and the other systems.” (in Journal of Politics 46 1984: 479-502). IRV resists strategic votes, such as punishing a major rival with last rank, by looking only at (current) first ranks.

But research also found IRV poor at electing the most central option; it is often encircled by rivals, gets few first-rank votes, and is eliminated in an early IRV step.

For legislative votes, Loring One-winner Rule (LOR) elects the Condorcet winner if there is one. If there is none, LOR uses the candidates tied in the voting cycle for an IRV tally and to pick the chairperson's favorite. Then it tallies a runoff between these two.

The only way to manipulate Condorcet's rule is to create a "voting cycle". (If voter 1 in our example changes his ballot to rank C below D, we find a voting cycle in which D beats C, C beats B, and B beats D. Each wins by 4 ballots to 3.)

IRV is manipulable rarely. The chairperson's ballot and the 1 against 1 runoff are not manipulable.

If the majority option is in the final runoff, it will win. For LOR to fail, Condorcet, IRV, and the chair all must fail to find the central option. Of course, they could fail simultaneously. But the chance of that is less than the chance of failure for the best element of LOR.

The 4 tallies: Condorcet's rule, IRV, the chair's tiebreaker, and the runoff are all tallied from the preference ballots. A voter casts 1 ballot and the series of tallies is automatic.

Most formal and informal meetings follow an elimination path similar to IRV. Thus, like IRV, they risk missing the most central option. (But even the simple show of hands can make 1 on 1 tests: A versus B, the winner versus C and so on. The final winner must be tested against all rivals: Test C against A even if A had lost to B. This checks for a voting cycle.)

Merits of Preference Ballots and LOR

Yes-no ballots promote false dichotomies and social polarization. Preference ballots, on the other hand, let reps rank many versions of a bill. This cuts sequence effects, and tricks such as freeloader and poison-pill amendments. It speeds voting and reduces deadlocks.

Breaking Deadlocks: The USA faces a budget crisis as baby-boomers retire and pension payments overwhelm taxpayers. Several solutions have notable supporters but none has a majority so no action has been taken. Most reps say this deadlock is worse than any of the proposals. Condorcet's rule would find the 1 policy which beats each rival.

The abortion controversy shows how an issue can polarize communities. It is a complex ethical issue, but most proposed policies fall along a one-dimensional line with various restrictions added from left to right. It is likely that 1 of the middle positions is a Condorcet winner, with a narrow yet clear majority over the next closest policy. That should not end the ethical debate, but it should end the debate over which policy has majority support. Our current electoral and legislative voting rules fail to reveal the majority position. Instead, we see hysteria and threats of big policy reversals in every election.

[ footnotes: Every candidate in the cycle set beats every candidate who is not in the cycle. This is called the "Smith set".
A majority may delete motions to table or postpone. But the no change option is not removable. That vote unfairly puts 1 policy, the status quo, against all rivals at once, not 1 at a time.]

Accurately setting policies will be explained more in Motions, Ballots, Tactics, Cycles, and LOR.

Humor 5 answer:
5) Kissinger's wit lost some of its charm as reporters uncovered the political-campaign crimes known as Watergate. Back to question

Humor 6: Who said “We have always known that heedless self-interest
was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics.”
1) FDR, 2) Boris Yeltsin, 3) Ronald Reagan, 4) Newt Gingrich  ? 

 E.  Empower Everyone

Most democracies have recognized the minority citizen's right to vote and the minority voter's right to representation. But even democracies that include proportional representation of minorities let only the legislative majority allocate funds. For too many people, representation does not lead to power. We may yet evolve a limited right to fair-share spending of discretionary funds by all reps.

Fair-share Spending (FS) lets geographic or other groups within a jurisdiction fund their own projects without new layers of taxes and bureaucracy. For example, in a city-wide vote, each neighborhood or interest group funds a few school and road improvements. The city's taxes then pay for the winners as the School and Road Departments administer the contracts. Every neighborhood and interest group has spending power; no one is shut out. This makes (hidden) empires less profitable.

When the majority controls all discretionary spending, their last allocation adds little to their happiness. After they spend $900... on their favorite projects, the next $100... funds a low priority. But that same $100... could fund the top priority for a large minority -- making the minority much happier.

In economic terms, distributing a small amount of spending power increases the utility value purchased, and it distributes opportunities and incentives as well. In political terms, a more equitable distribution promotes legitimacy, compliance, and co-operation. The organization serves and appeals to more people.

Fair, efficient funding rules can increase respect for co-operative and public funding. That may re-balance our private affluence and public squalor. But organizing buyers does not replace market mechanisms for competitive pricing, efficiency, innovation, and investment.

A majority that becomes a minority can still fund some priorities -- so their budgets rise and fall smoothly. Most reps contribute to at least 1 project that wins with less than a majority of contributors.

As now, some reps may spend public funds on political pork. But with PR and FS, reps can waste only their supporters' share of money; a fact that may discourage pork projects.

A project that breaks policies is subject to majority veto. Vetoes ideally occur before the funding vote. But the first group to use FS puts all proposals on the ballot then debates blocking only if a controversial item wins. This avoids many debates. If opponents win, the ballots are tallied again without the item.

Fair-share spending is unlikely to give minorities too much power. All agency budgets are set by majority rules. All policies are enacted by majority rules. This means agencies spend their budgets supporting majority policies. Only a small part of the budget is discretionary and available for fair-share spending. Finally, most FS funds will be spent by the majority.

Limited as it is, the right to spend some revenue is a major expansion in the concept of democracy, similar to earlier expansions in the right to vote and the right to representation.

Loring Allocation Rules

Better spending rules may use a Condorcet rule to fund central winners, then Movable Money Votes, like STV, to fund diverse winners.  For MMV, each rep's share of the fair-share fund is a separate account that rewards efficient use and is accountable to her constituents.  She rates each item and may change each recommended budget within limits.

A rep’s ballot offers each of her favorites some of her share.  Her offer to an item equals her preferred budget divided by the quota of offers it must win.  For example, if the rep’s budget for P is $300 and the quota is 10 offers, her offer will be $30.  One such offer gives the item one vote.

If P gets its quota of 10 offers, those offers become real contributions.  The item's final budget will equal this total amount contributed to it.  (Its total contributions equal the average of its supporters’ preferred budgets, just as if those budgets had been totaled and then divided by the quota).

final budget = total contributions = average preferred budget

Thus the quota of offers combines a number of supporters and the item's final budget.  These prove the intensity and breadth of support, to pay for the item and qualify it as a public good.  The minimum preferred budget for a project is set by the project's sponsor.  The quota of offers is set in the council’s by-laws.

The rep’s ballot offers money to its top-ranked items, as many as her share can afford.  The tally suspends and transfers offers from the weakest items one at a time.  It also transfers excess offers until all remaining items have exactly a quota, just as STV transfers excess votes.

Fair shares in selecting projects will be explained more in Uses, Need, and Ballot.
Free, open-source software for the Loring Allocation Rule is available for Macintosh and Windows PCs equipped with Microsoft Excel version 5 or higher. You can download it from the project tools page.
Fair-share budget setting for ongoing departments will be explained in Budgets.

Humor 6 answer:
6) President Franklin Delano Roosevelt saw the effects of heedless self-interest in the Great Depression. Back to question

Humor 7 for pols: In January, 1996, he declared: “The era of big government is over. ”
1) Vaclav Havel, 2) Bill Clinton, 3) Helmit Kohl, 4) George Bush  ? 

 Review Goals

The #1 goal is the greatest happiness for the greatest population.
The best means are centrally-balanced majorities and policies.
To enact inclusive, well-centered policies, councils
need diverse reps, central reps and valid voting.
The diverse reps form an inclusive and balanced council.
The central reps form a balance point for council majorities.
The policy rule finds the 1 bill a majority supports over any other.

Voting can create a form of democracy between adversarial and consensual: Multi-winner rules to elect reps and fund proposals give groups their fair shares of power without letting anyone block action. Policy decisions by ensemble councils and LOR also may follow a less adversarial path than winner take all.

Adopting ensemble rules should appeal to most voters. PR offers many benefits and ensembles add balanced policies.

Steering Analogy

When it comes to voting rules, a new Mercedes costs little more than an old clunker. The added cost is certainly worthwhile if the vote leads to important budgets or policies. A dollar for counting ballots can steer $1,000 in taxes.
Does your car have an 1890 "steering tiller" or a new, power-assisted steering wheel? Does your organization have an 1890 voting rule or a new, balanced and centered rule?
Today's drivers need the skill to use power steering -- but they do not need the skill to build a car or the math and logic to engineer one. Same with voters and voting rules.
To test drive voting rules and see how they perform, download the simulation software offered below.

3 Propositions for Accurate Democracy

Democracy's greatest risk may come from within: from systems that work poorly.
Teach your friends to make their votes work well:

Accurate representation selects central and diverse reps.
Accurate legislation enacts the 1 policy that beats all others.
Accurate democracy gives power in proportion to popularity.

Many people are excited to learn that democracy does not have to mean winner take all,
that it can lead to everyone having their fair share of representation and power.
It isn't hard and it works.

Humor 7 answer:
7) Yes, President Clinton did reduce the federal workforce and deficit
-- even so he must have had an unusual definition of the word "big". Back to question

Humor 8: According to Clare Boothe Luce “___ has done more to cause
the social unrest of the 20th century than any other single factor.”
1) Revolution, 2) Democracy, 3) Socialism, 4) Advertising  ? 

PoliticalSim   lets players taste 41 flavors of democratic voting. From Australia to Zuidland there are many ways to elect reps. Each country's voting rule creates hot spots on the electoral field. But the strong positions move if the voting rule is changed. Some rules elect only centrists, some elect moderates, and others are just erratic.

Simulated voters rank the candidates, giving 1st choice to the closest, 2nd choice to the 2nd closest, and so on. Their positions on the screen may represent geography or political opinions.

Players take the roles of party leaders as they position rival candidates for maximum support. Moving a candidate requires paying for ads and answering interview questions can win donations. Four players managing candidates in 2 parties create a challenging mixture of conflict and cooperation. Elections for research or fun may have 2 to 16 candidates, competing for 1 to 7 seats.

Several Rules', Typical Councils on 2D Electoral Field In this sim election for a five-seat council, little stick figures a stick figure show the positions of voters. The ones with huge heads are the candidates.

Simulations show the LER voting rule is the best way to represent the center and all sides.  Here it elects Al then Bev, Di, Fred, and Joe. (Labeled in bold)

A Condorcet Series elects the 5 candidates nearest the central voter: Al, Bev, Fred, GG, and Joe.  Nobody in the lower-right wins so the council cannot balance around the central voter.  Bloc vote and Borda's rule elect the same off-center council.

The STV winners? Bev, Di, Fred, GG, and Joe.  No Al!  Only LER has Condorcet centering with STV balancing!

Discover PoliticalPoliticalSimSim

PoliticalPoliticalSimSim was created to make the effects of voting rules easy to understand through visual displays. You don’t need to do the tallies. You don’t need to calculate statistics. The merits of Condorcet or STV are easy to see and explain in everyday terms: consistently central or evenly spread out.

You can develop an intuitive feel for statistical patterns by playing with them. You can put voters in random, normal, uniform, or checkerboard patterns. You can spread the candidates out wide or cluster them near the center, developing a feel for "standard deviation" as you play.

Students, Activists, Professors and Pollsters: In addition to games that teach political science and statistics, PoliticalPoliticalSimSim creates slide shows for lectures. Users can record and recall the voters, candidates, and winning positions from typical and unusual simulations.

The sim can record a chart of voters' top choices for each step in a LER or STV tally. It also calculates a council's "utility" score and the percentages of voters with their first, second, or third choices elected. These statistics and more can be recorded from the results of several rules over many elections and later analyzed.

Voting Rules!

PoliticalPoliticalSimSim TM allows voting by all the widely used rules such as Australia's STV, Japan's SNTV, Finland's list PR, USA's open primary, England's plurality and France's runoff; plus limited, cumulative, and the often illegal bloc voting rules. You may add your own rules in Excel spreadsheets or macros. Microsoft Excel 4 or higher is required.

 Download PoliticalSim:

PoliticalSim   Free, open-source tools for games, research and lectures

Other Free Downloads:

The print version is just 8 pages. doc, pdf

This is the only site with tools for creating centrally-balanced councils, central policies and fair-share funding of projects and agencies.

Election software Lists two dozen programs found on the web. PolyVote TM tallies many voting rules. Its controls are simpler than PoliticalPoliticalSimSim's because PolyVote cannot run games, demonstrations, or research. New 98-04-20.(400K)

Allocation software   Movable Money Voting software is available as an Excel 5 program. It includes a highly-interactive ballot. Updated 2003-6-16. (78K) Fund.pdf explains MMV in an Acrobat document.

The Accurate Democracy Primer is a concise, well-illustrated version of this page, to hand out after workshops.  The Acrobat version is formatted for projecting.  The MS-Word version is made for printing as a quick 32-page booklet.  (Print sheets 1-4 on the backs of 5-8, cut, stack, staple and fold.)  Visit the print editions web page.

The Download directory has many documents and programs.

Other Web Pages:

A) The Math Lite edition   puts less emphasis on math. It is divided into short pages with more graphics than this old version.
The Site Map lists pages with more on the uses and effects of voting and elections; ballot design and counting; ways to manipulate plurality rules before and during voting; more on Proportional and Ensemble rules; why STV promotes campaign competition and political principles more than personalities while reducing negative ads, regional polarization, and district pork projects.
Here are the older compact site map  and the 1996 to 1998 site outline.

B) Setting Policies: why vote in meetings, ways to manipulate agenda rules, voting cycles, Loring One-winner Rule, combining rules of order with Condorcet's rule to choose one policy from many options.

C) Selecting Projects: NEW the need, uses and math for Fair- share Spending; ballots and tally programs to select and budget several winning proposals at once with allocation rules based on Condorcet and STV.

D) Adjusting Budgets: NEW increase and decrease many budgets at once with the Median Voter Process or Fair-share Influence Points.

The voting rules for policy, budget, and project decisions can speed work and improve results in most councils. But they perform best in an ensemble of diverse and central reps.

E) Software tools Voting software on the web.

F) Web links and bibliography The top web sites, resource groups, and readings.

Humor 8 answer:
8) American author and congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce heard in detail the effects of advertising while married to purveyor Henry Luce, publisher of Time and Fortune magazines. Back to question

PoliticalSim has hundreds of interview questions. Here is a small sample in a humorous online game, "Quotes and Authors".

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