Election Methods project

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Election Methods project

This project examines alternative Election Methods that correct the well-known flaws of Plurality Voting, with focus on research, practical demonstrations, policies, outreach and education.

Practical Democracy

A bottom-up political process built on reason rather than emotion, focused on careful examination of candidates before they are elected.

Polling station

The members of this site each have their own Polling Station to keep track of ongoing polls, changes in results and of whether they have already voted or not.

Election Methods project

The Election Methods project is the main project hosted at this site. This is the project's home page.

Discussion

Check the latest content.

Election Methods

We aim to cover all the Election Methods that exist:

Weighted methods

Approval Voting, Range Voting, Emocracy, etc.

Ranked methods

Condorcet and its many variants, IRV, etc.

Other

Other solutions, such as Practical Democracy.

Research
Share your expertise

As a member of this site, you may have a personal book where you can share your area of expertise in details.

Collaboration

We also want to facilitate collaborative research. We provide the tools for Election Method advocates to research solutions and promote them together.

Policy

Help us complete our map of worldwide policy initiatives and legislative efforts to introduce better election methods in public elections. See below for those we are already aware of.

Demonstration and outreach

This site implements: Plurality voting, Approval voting, Range Voting (range up to 100), Emocracy voting (range up to -5 ~ +5).
Use this site's polling feature to create alternate polls to use as demonstration and for advocacy purposes.

Work in progress

Feel free to add links to blog entries on work requiring community involvement.

Election method criteria

This is a collectively editable wiki page. Be bold and improve it by adding any relevant information you may have.

See sub-pages.

Gallagher index

This is a collectively editable wiki page. Be bold and improve it by adding any relevant information you may have.

External resources

Later-no-harm criterion

This is a collectively editable wiki page. Be bold and improve it by adding any relevant information you may have.

External resources

Election methods

This is a collectively editable wiki page. Be bold and improve it by adding any relevant information you may have.

This section will eventually cover all election methods: ranked methods, weighted methods, etc.

Condorcet Method

This is a collectively editable wiki page. Be bold and improve it by adding any relevant information you may have.

Condorcet Voting is a ranked election method.

Condorcet calculator, allowing ties among candidates:
http://robla.net/1996/politics/condorcet-front.html

External resources

Emocracy

This is a collectively editable wiki page. Be bold and improve it by adding any relevant information you may have.

Emocracy is a weighted election method.

The voter can rate each single candidate. On an emocracy ballot, there are as many negative ratings are there are positive ratings. In addition, there is an "I don't know option", which is counted the same as the lowest negative rating, but which helps in interpreting the results of the poll.

Emocracy vs. Score Voting

Emocracy is a variant of Score Voting. The differences are thus:

1) It has as many negative ratings as positive ones (hence the name "Emocracy", which is Emotions + Democracy: one can like as well as dislike; one may want to bury one candidate as much as one may want to promote his favourite). It means that the range in Score Voting is moved halfway down, towards the negative. 0~10 becomes -5~+5. Thus, to describe Emocracy as 0~2 is inaccurate, first because it should be -1~+1. Although it makes no difference mathematically, it does make a difference in what the voter perceives. Secondly, unlike what the current implementation of Emocracy on this site might suggest, Emocracy is not restricted to 3 levels. It can also be -5~+5, -10~+10, etc.

2) Emocracy has the added option "I don't know", discussed below.

According to http://scorevote.com/, Emocracy is the same as Score Voting:

The Pirate Party of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous of Germany’s 16 states (population: 18 million), uses Score Voting (on a -3 to +3 scale) to elect their Board of Directors. On May 13, 2012, the NRW Pirates won 7.8% of the vote in the state elections, winning 20 of the 237 seats in state parliament. (Their party list had itself been selected via multi-winner Approval Voting.) They subsequently held their first Score Voting Board of Directors election on May 29, 2012.

The "I don't know" option

Emocracy has the option "I don't know". How this option should be rated will largely depend on the context and the type of poll. A scoring method may be appropriate for a type of poll but not for another one. The way this option can be interpreted will also vary accordingly. See also implementation details below.

Lowest score

The "I don't know" option amounts to giving the candidate the lowest available score (i.e. -5 in a -5~+5 emocracy poll).

In this case, the option simply means: "I do not have enough information about this candidate, I don't know him/her enough to make a judgement anyway.". A voter cannot like or dislike a candidate he/she doesn't know. At the same time, it is not conceivable to elect a candidate who is largely unknown but supported by a small core of fans. The difference that this extra option makes is in the way the results are interpreted. The media can then make a difference between a candidate who is well known but thoroughly disliked and a candidate who is simply unknown but has some faithful supporters.

The option "I don't know” explains the reason for some down vote (as in: "it's not that I don't like the candidate, but I don't know enough to decide either way").

Not counted (non-vote)

In contexts other than the election of a representative (e.g. president, legislator), it often makes more sense to count a "I don't know" vote as a non-vote. For example, we could use an emocracy poll on movies and vote "I don't know" on a movie that we have not seen without it pulling down the overall rating of the movie. If the the "I don't know" vote is not counted at all, the voter could use it to let other voters decide (e.g.: "I have not seen this movie, so I abstain from rating it.")

Zero

A third option is to count "I don't know" as zero, whatever the range (i.e. "I don't know" = 0 in a -5~+5 emocracy poll).

Origin

It is currently unknown who invented the term and the method 'emocracy'. Augustin learned of it in the early 2000's on a now defunct site from an apparent Portuguese language source.

Implementation

In early 2017, the implementation of emocracy voting in this site was improved: the hard-coded range of +1 ~ -1 was replaced with a setting allowing to select a range from 1 to 5. Also, hard-coded "I like" and "I don't like" labels were replaced by numeric labels.

The implementation could be further improved so that emocracy polls can be used in an even wider range of topics. Currently, an "I don't know vote" is counted as the lowest rating (-5 in a -5~+5 emocracy poll). It is planned to add another setting so that the poll creator can decide how to count it (lowest rating, zero, or non-vote). This way, we could use an emocracy poll on movies and vote "I don't know" on a movie that we have not seen without it pulling down the overall rating of the movie. Meanwhile, the break-down of votes is given in every emocracy polls, so it is easy to calculate by hand the score using a method different from the default implementation.

Plurality voting

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Plurality voting is an election method where voters can only select or vote for one candidate amongst a plurality of candidates.

There are several variants of plurality voting:
- in a single member district, plurality voting is also known as first-past-the-post.
- in some places like France, and Louisiana, USA, there are two rounds of voting, with the top two from the first round being qualified for the second round.
- proportional representation often uses plurality voting. In a multi-member district, voters can only select or vote for a single party list. There are proposed variants of proportional representation that do not use plurality voting.

Almost all countries around the world use one variant or another of plurality voting.
Plurality voting is known to be one of the worst election methods. Many of the shortcomings of our modern democracies can arguably be directly or indirectly attributed to the use of plurality voting.
The Election Method Project aims to research and promote better election methods.

External resources

Proportional representation

This is a collectively editable wiki page. Be bold and improve it by adding any relevant information you may have.

Proportional representation is usually thought of as using plurality voting. As such, it would carry all the intrinsic flaws of plurality voting.

It is possible to have proportional representation using a weighted election method.

External resources

Electoral reform

This is a collectively editable wiki page. Be bold and improve it by adding any relevant information you may have.

What is this section for?

In the pages listed below, you will find information about electoral reform advocacy groups who are actively promoting better voting systems.
If you know of more information that is not here, let us know and we will add them (or you can do it yourself: see below).

Why this directory?

The members currently agree to use this web site to Promote better voting systems.

Also, creating a directory of relevant USA action groups is a good practical way to pursue this aim.

How can you participate?

If you are interested in contributing information to this directory, or in editing some of the pages therein to make them more complete and accurate, you can manifest your interest in the forums.

Currently there is no democratic mechanism for granting more rights (like the right to create and edit the pages in this handbook) to some members. When the site becomes more active, with more contributing members, the members themselves could decide on a reasonable procedure to allow some/many of them to have more rights without compromising security.

Electoral reform in Canada

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Ralph Anderson made several proposals to the Canadian House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform, advocating for a modified version or IRV.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_House_of_Commons_Special_Committe...

Electoral reform in France

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See: http://fr.minguo.info/

Discussion:
French presidential elections, 2017
http://en.minguo.info/blogs/augustin/french_presidential_elections_2017

Electoral reform in Switzerland

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The Swiss Electoral Studies - Selects
http://www2.unil.ch/selects/

Electoral reform in the UK

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Frome

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Frome

Frome is a small town in Somerset, UK, with 25,000 inhabitants.

Independents for Frome (IfF)

Disappointed with traditional parties, and their management of the local community, Peter Macfadyen, who has been living in Frome for over 30 years, decided to take action. He banded with other local activists and formed a new, local party, the Independents for Frome and decided to run candidates for every seat in the town Council. The members of the newly formed local party recognized that they formed a group of very diverse people, and that disagreement were bound to happen. But, moved by a common desire to do what's right for the community, they found a way to work together.

Elections

2011 town Council election

At the local elections of 2011, the Independents for Frome (IfF) took 11 seats out of 17. Mel Usher became mayor.

2015 town Council election

On 7 May 2015, the Independents for Frome took all 17 seats on Frome’s town council, 7 women and 8 men. Peter Macfadyen succeeded Mel Usher as mayor.

Discussion

External resources

Electoral reform in the USA

This is a collectively editable wiki page. Be bold and improve it by adding any relevant information you may have.

The following are web sites that are promoting better voting systems across the USA:

  • The Declaration of Election-Method Reform Advocates: This declaration, signed by election-method experts from around the world, publicly denounces the use of plurality voting in governmental elections. They recommend Approval voting, most of the Condorcet methods, Majority Judgment, and Range voting.
  • scorevote.com provides a list of resources about Score Voting (#ScoreVoting on twitter).
  • The Democracy Chronicles: a 24/7 Internet newspaper focused on the ongoing effort to establish, and strengthen free and fair elections across the globe.
  • The Center for Range Voting: it is a great, very active web site with plenty of information on various election related topics.
  • The Center for Election Science: a nonpartisan organization dedicated to the scholarship of group decision making and election systems. They advocate Score and Approval Voting for single-winner elections.
  • The Citizens for Approval voting (see the official handbook). They are currently not very active but they have a nice informational web site.

Electoral reform in California

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Activist groups in California:

  • Clay Shentrup is campaigning very actively for better EM. He is a libertarian, vegan, musician, web developer, with a
    passion for election reform. He accepts proxies.
  • All About Voting: the blog of a voting systems and election reform activist from Sacramento.

Electoral reform in Colorado

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The following concerns the Colorado Voter Choice:

Here is an introduction by Jan Kok:

Colorado state representative John Kefalas is leading efforts to adopt
better voting methods in Colorado for state and federal-level
elections. He sponsored the Voter Choice Act HB07-1162 which would
have created a committee to study voting methods and run pilot
projects in some local elections in 2010. That bill was killed due to
lack of funding. However, Kefalas has created a Voter Choice Task
Force to study various voting methods and make recommendations to the
2008 General Assembly. The first monthly meeting has been held.

I've been working with Kefalas since about Dec '06. Kefalas is mainly
interested in IRV, however, I persuaded him to include Approval and
Range Voting among the voting methods to be considered in the Voter
Choice Act and by the task force. I'm a member of the task force. I'm
pushing as hard as I can to get Approval Voting (which I am now
calling "vote for one or more" to stress the utter simplicity of the
idea) used in the Nov 2008 Colorado state and federal-level elections.
At this time I seem to be the lone voice calling for this. I would
love to have more people, especially Coloradoans, promoting this idea.
Of course it would be great to get this idea (vote for one or more in
Nov 2008 elections) moving in other states as well. (How about New
Hampshire? Any Free Staters listening?)

The Google group http://groups.google.com/group/COVoterChoice is
dedicated to discussing voting reform in Colorado. Please feel free to
join the group or link to it.

From the Colorado Voter Choice discussion group homepage:

his group is for discussions relating to Colorado State Representative John Kefalas' Voter Choice Act, HB07-1162. Although the bill was killed (for want of $25,000 to fund associated costs), a Voter Choice Task Force has met in June, 2007 and will continue to meet monthly. The Task Force will study several voting methods for possible use in Colorado elections, and make recommendations to the 2008 Assembly.

This Google group has no official status. One of the task force members (Jan Kok) will forward communications among task force members to this group. The general public may join this Google group and post messages. Some of those messages may be relayed back to the Task Force members, at the discretion of those Task Force members who also belong to this Google group.

The task force will study these voting methods, and possibly others, for implementation by 2010:
Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) a.k.a. Ranked Choice Voting (RCV): http://FairVote.org/irv
Approval Voting a.k.a. "Vote for one or more" (also being proposed for 2008): http://ApprovalVoting.com, http://ApprovalVoting.org, http://RangeVoting.org/Approval.html
Range Voting: http://RangeVoting.org
Proportional Representation (which includes many methods): http://www.fairvote.org/?page=37, http://rangevoting.org/PropRep.html

See also this article by Jan Kok at denver.yourhub.com: 2008 election fiasco is preventable.

Electoral reform in North Carolina

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Electoral reform in Texas

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About Texas, it is only known that Rock Howard, one of the founders of Citizens for Approval Voting used to be active to get the State of Texas to use Approval voting.

Further information would be appreciated.

Electoral reform in Washington State

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In Washington State, currently only one activist group is known.

In 2005 and 2006, they were rallying behind State Representative Nixon to promote Condorcet , a.k.a IIRV, for the state legislature.

Here is a quote for the group's homepage:

Our vision is to see IRRV (Instant Round Robin Voting, aka Condorcet's method) enacted and used successfully at or above the level of a US state or its foreign equivalent.

In 2005, then- state representative Toby Nixon planned to introduce IRRV legislation for the state of Washington in the 2006 session. Since WA had lost yet another electoral system to unconstitutionality, and since WA House rep Nixon was the ranking minority member on the relevant committee that would rewrite it, his intent was most auspicious.

Representative Nixon asked for a Condorcet (IRRV) "think tank". Its mission was to:

1) Recruit knowledgeable voting methods analysts and activists, including some WA state residents.

2)Winnow the field of voting methods fitting Condorcet's criterion

3) Neatly describe one practical proposal

4) Review staff translation into "statutory language"

5) Politely educate Washington State's decision makers (legislators and key lobbyists) throughout the legislative process

For those purposes, I created this Condorcet Yahoo group, and representative Nixon subscribed. We assembled our "think tank" and completed the next two goals. Unfortunately, legislative committee "leadership" thwarted the 2006 attempt to put IRRV on the calendar, and then Mr Nixon lost his 2006 bid for a state senate seat, effectively cutting this group adrift.

We are now in limbo pending a revised mission. We can still review statutory language if we can find an expert source (and former rep Nixon remains subscribed). We could also apply ourselves to any other IRRV initiative or legislative project in any jurisdiction or representational organization.

We were (and could again be) more than just a discussion, especially if Mr. Nixon returns to office. If you share our vision and can revitalize our mission, then please join this *work* group.

If you are interested in being active in Washington, you can contact the group owner, Jeffry R. Fisher (from Vancouver WA).