Single & multi-winner systems
My name is Bart Ingles, and I am a software engineer in San Jose, CA,
and LP member for about 2 years. My interest in voting systems began
several years ago, partly in frustration with the "lesser evil" dilemma
when I would have liked to vote for a legitimate 3rd party candidate,
and partly in disgust at the Reform party, whose primary reason for
existence seems to be to spoil presidential general elections.
I have been a member of another listserv dealing with election methods
for a little over a year now, and have learned a lot from participating
in that forum. In 1998 I wrote an article advocating Instant Runoff for
my local LP (Santa Clara County) newsletter, but have since discarded
that method for a better (IMO) and much simpler method called Approval
Voting. More on that in another message.
I am fairly lukewarm on PR itself, partly because I believe single-winner
reform is the more critical issue right now, and partly because I would
like to see what happens to the existing system with a good single winner
system in place -- i.e. change one variable at a time.
That doesn't mean I am opposed to PR, but my primary interest is in
single-winner elections. That said, the PR method that to me appears to
be the most promising in the U.S. is Cumulative Voting with 3-member
districts, as was used in Illinois until fairly recently. I doubt that
Australian-style STV elections will ever fly in this country.
I note that STV is used in only two places in the U.S. -- Cambridge,
Mass., and the NYC school board elections. And NYC tried to abolish it
there, but was prevented from doing so by the Justice Department because
the method chosen to replace it was deemed "unfair to minorities".
- I know most of your are fairly well settled into the abbreviation PR but
with a journalist sitting at my side and messages flying back and forth on
Press Releases and Public Relations for our candidates (we began our
petitioning process for the ballot on Oct 1st here in CA), you can see why it
is confusing for me and perhaps others actively working with media to call
Proprotional Representation PR. I use PR in a completley different sense
Is there a even remote possibility the abbreviation could be changed. I
favor Pro Rep. It not only is different from PR (Publice Relation or Press
Release) but it says something. We are, Pro Representation, We Favor
Just a thought.
California Libertarian for U.S.Senate, Y2K
> Is there a even remote possibility the abbreviation could be changed. IYes, I can see the problem. And actually it is a bigger problem than you think, because proportional representation is only one of the types of mechanical voting reform that I would like to see the LP focus on.
>favor Pro Rep. It not only is different from PR (Publice Relation or Press
>Release) but it says something. We are, Pro Representation, We Favor
For example, the recent post on approval voting is not really a method of PR, but is certainly appropriate to this list. In 1998 I tried to change the LP national bylaws to use approval voting for the Judicial Committee elections, but failed in committee.
Another example of mechanical changes to the voting laws is to allow same-day registration. North Dakota and Minnesota seem to be using it ok, and it will give us a big advantage in getting younger voters out. And younger voters tend to be more Libertarian, from what I've seen.
Another example is to eliminate the "party lever", which is a lever on a voting machine that votes for all the party's candidates, or a spot on a paper or other ballot that does the same thing. This has been done in a number of states as I understand it.
The advantage for us is in the lower races. With a party lever most of the votes for state rep or dogcatcher are not really cast consciously. People don't really vote for the dogcatcher, they just pull the party lever. Without a party lever the voters have to actually vote for the state rep, and many voters will not do that. Fewer votes against us, means an easier time getting people elected.