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> Proportional representation is not an improvement. The effect is that you end up voting for a party instead of a candidate and you end up with all the hard party line behavior seen in Europe.

You're describing party-list proportional representation, but the parent post was about PR-STV, under which voters rank candidates and don't vote for parties.

> But it's also not true that you can't do multi-winner voting with approval voting. It's completely trivial -- you have fifteen candidates and five seats and the five candidates with the highest approval get seats.

> The problem is, that has the same issue as using RCV with multi-winner elections -- it disenfranchises people. To have multiple winners you have to combine districts. Then all the candidates get chosen by what 51% of the voters in the combined district want when before 20% of the seats could have gone to a different party because those voters had majorities in their old smaller districts. Now they get nothing and have no voice at all.

Proportional representation (with or without party lists) would prevent minority rule and provide minority representation. I'm not sure your suggestion of multi-winner approval had either of these benefits.




> You're describing party-list proportional representation, but the parent post was about PR-STV, under which voters rank candidates and don't vote for parties.

Party lists make the problem much worse because it's de jure but any multi-winner system devolves into de facto voting for parties. More choices means that party branding plays a bigger role in voter choice, and even if a voter has a preferred candidate, they have to support that candidate's other party members in order for them to be effective once elected. Which makes it easier for parties to enforce party loyalty.

> Proportional representation (with or without party lists) would prevent minority rule and provide minority representation.

I don't think I'm adequately explaining what I mean by disenfranchise.

Suppose a factory is polluting the lake, or the old County Bridge needs to be repaired, or the the local police are corrupt.

If a party needs to resolve those issues to win the district then that's what they'll do. But if you put those voters in a big pot with a million other people who vote for parties based on things like abortion and taxes, nobody in the legislature is going to care anything about the local problems. So those people get disenfranchised -- nobody cares about them because no individual legislator is going to keep or lose their seat based on how people in only that one district vote.

> I'm not sure your suggestion of multi-winner approval had either of these benefits.

The point is that all multi-winner systems are bad. Legislators need to be elected by their own district or they won't actually care about those people.


> even if a voter has a preferred candidate, they have to support that candidate's other party members in order for them to be effective once elected. Which makes it easier for parties to enforce party loyalty.

If that's true, it isn't consistent with another supposed disadvantage of PR-STV: that under it competition between candidates of the same party undermines party unity. Either way, if you approve of democracy, why not majority rule and increased voter choice?

> Suppose a factory is polluting the lake, or the old County Bridge needs to be repaired, or the the local police are corrupt.

> If a party needs to resolve those issues to win the district then that's what they'll do. But if you put those voters in a big pot with a million other people who vote for parties based on things like abortion and taxes, nobody in the legislature is going to care anything about the local problems. So those people get disenfranchised -- nobody cares about them because no individual legislator is going to keep or lose their seat based on how people in only that one district vote.

What you want can be achieved with proportional representation. Effective local government (itself elected proportionally) with appropriate powers should address local issues.

> Legislators need to be elected by their own district or they won't actually care about those people.

Under FPTP, too many legislators are elected without a majority of votes cast in their electoral districts, thwarting democracy even at that level. The problem typically accumulates over a whole chamber; if you need a third of votes in an electoral district to win it, you only need a sixth of votes nationally to control the whole chamber.


> If that's true, it isn't consistent with another supposed disadvantage of PR-STV: that under it competition between candidates of the same party undermines party unity.

Unfortunately it's possible to do both at the same time. The fact that the party can kick people out for not sticking to the party line doesn't mean there won't be friction when two members of the same party are campaigning against each other for a seat.

> Either way, if you approve of democracy, why not majority rule and increased voter choice?

"Majority rule" is the problem representative democracy exists to solve. With direct democracy (or anything that sufficiently approximates it) you get bad choices because if you put something on the ballot that will give +1 to 51% of people and -10 to 49% of people then it passes.

> What you want can be achieved with proportional representation. Effective local government (itself elected proportionally) with appropriate powers should address local issues.

The only way that could work is if each level of government was only in charge of things that affect each of its constituents uniformly, which is not possible. For example The Feds have to regulate pollution because pollution generated in West Virginia can affect New York, but that also means that the interests of people in West Virginia are different than the interests of people in New York and so they each need their own representatives.

And it goes all the way down the stack. Zoning regulations affect the whole city but affect different neighborhoods differently, so each neighborhood should have its own representative on the city council.

> Under FPTP, too many legislators are elected without a majority of votes cast in their electoral districts, thwarting democracy even at that level. The problem typically accumulates over a whole chamber; if you need a third of votes in an electoral district to win it, you only need a sixth of votes nationally to control the whole chamber.

I don't think anybody is arguing that FPTP is not terrible. Approval voting or range voting fixes it without having to combine districts.


> Unfortunately it's possible to do both at the same time. The fact that the party can kick people out for not sticking to the party line doesn't mean there won't be friction when two members of the same party are campaigning against each other for a seat.

Parties' candidates already work with each other under STV, so party disunity isn't an unacceptable problem.

Expelling politicians should only affect candidates' chances of getting elected if voters want it to. There is no vote-splitting under STV. STV doesn't discriminate against independents. Expelled politicians might take their votes with them if voters choose to follow them.

I don't mean to suggest that the problem of party disunity isn't real, only that it's outweighed by STV's advantages. However, I don't consider excessive party control under STV at all significant; the voters can decide whether to back rebellious candidates.

> "Majority rule" is the problem representative democracy exists to solve. With direct democracy (or anything that sufficiently approximates it) you get bad choices because if you put something on the ballot that will give +1 to 51% of people and -10 to 49% of people then it passes.

I don't consider government democratic if it isn't proportional, but I agree about the advantage of representative democracy over direct democracy. We need representative government to deliberate on our behalf and we need proportional representation to make it democratic. The voting system can do little more than choose between majority and minority; it can't protect against tyranny of the majority, but it can replace it with tyranny of the minority.

We need many civil society protections against the tyranny of the majority. One is subsidiarity.

>> What you want can be achieved with proportional representation. Effective local government (itself elected proportionally) with appropriate powers should address local issues.

> The only way that could work is if each level of government was only in charge of things that affect each of its constituents uniformly, which is not possible.

There's a difference between optimal and perfect. Unfortunately the best we can do is still imperfect.

> And it goes all the way down the stack. Zoning regulations affect the whole city but affect different neighborhoods differently, so each neighborhood should have its own representative on the city council.

Part of the problem is geographically dispersed interest groups. It's not only political parties; under any single winner system, ethnic groups, professions, LGBT people, the disabled, the poor, etc. are vulnerable to under-representation (or a clean-sweep, if they are numerous enough and distributed in a particular way).

> I don't think anybody is arguing that FPTP is not terrible. Approval voting or range voting fixes it without having to combine districts.

I agree that single-winner cardinal voting systems such as approval voting and range voting would be an enormous improvement over FPTP. I think Reweighted Range Voting (the proportional variant of range voting) would be an enormous improvement even over single-winner range voting. The reason I'm not calling for RRV is that I don't know a single example of its use to elect a government. Without that I don't see how RRV can be implemented in countries such as the US, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.




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