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Voting by delegable proxy (Read 29254 times)
freediver
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Voting by delegable proxy
Jan 13th, 2013 at 2:24pm
 
This is a draft article I am putting together for the website. It will form part of my submission to the current QLD electoral reform consultation process.


Voting by delegable proxy is a form of direct democracy that allows the entire voting population to vote on each bill before parliament by electing a sitting member to vote on their behalf. Rather than sitting members casting one equal vote each, they cast all the votes of the people who have delegated their vote to them. So a sitting member may represent 1 million voters and thus cast one million votes on their behalf.

Voting by delegable proxy combines the best features of direct and representative democracy. It allows people to choose between being represented in parliament or to vote on each bill, or to combine these options as they see fit.

In electing a sitting representative, voting by delegable proxy allows people far more options than the current system, which to a large extent disenfranchises people who do not support their local representative.

The system can include provisions for citizens to directly vote on a bill rather than to delegate a proxy. It can also include provisions to easily change the delegate at any time, which would effectively allow people to change their vote on specific bills where they disagree with the intentions of their current delegate. This is particularly true where electronic voting is incorporated.

The main problem usually associated with direct democracy is the effort required for each individual to vote on each proposal before parliament. Voting by delegable proxy avoids this issue. By not requiring periodic voting, the system may reduce the burden of voting even compared to the current representative democracy system, for those people who are happy to stick with the same delegate for a long period of time.

Voting by delegable proxy alleviates some of the concerns associated with compulsory voting, by reducing the burden associated with voting, while still requiring people to perform their civic duty by participating in democracy. It also eliminates the most common argument given in favour of optional voting – that people do not support any of the available candidates.

Voting by delegable proxy allows people to be represented based on local issues, ideological grounds, party lines or all three. This avoids the trade-off in current two house systems that force people to be represented by a single local member in the lower house and by a party in the upper house under a proportional representation system. Instead of relying on multiple senate members from a party (who may not all be known or trusted) to reflect the strength of the party under the current system, a strong party may be reflected by one or a small number of sitting members with a large number of proxy votes delegated to them.

An ideal place to trial voting by delegable proxy would be the state Senate in Queensland. Queensland abolished its senate in 1922. Reintroducing the senate would present a unique opportunity to trial this system.

Voting by delegable proxy could use electronic voting in parallel with a paper based system, allowing citizens to choose between being on the electronic roll and getting the full range of options, or being on the paper roll and delegating their vote once every few years. The number of representatives could be adjusted as it is likely that a coalition of five or so members with significant backing could gain control of parliament. A politician’s salary could be made proportional to their support base. This would give very popular members a significant income and allow them to pay ‘ministers’ to advise them on each issue. The sitting members with the least support would likely have far less than 1% of the vote each.

There would still be a role for political parties under such a system, as parties are far more than a group of candidates and elected representatives. Political parties could add stability to the system if enough people felt this was necessary. Political parties could help to coordinate the activities of politicians across local, state and federal legislatures and provide easily identifiable policy platforms.
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gold_medal
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Re: Voting by delegable proxy
Reply #1 - Jan 13th, 2013 at 3:38pm
 
Isnt the biggest - and fatal - flaw of this idea is that there is no obligation on the sitting member to vote according to the wishes of the electorate? Parties still rule and vote as a bloc. If a member were obligated to vote according to the wishes of the people then Tony Abbott would be PM and oakeshott and windsor would have voted for him.

an MP who has to vote according to the wishes of the voting electorate also has no real value. you could replace him with... no one.

on the same forum where you have people that dont want to vote at all, the only people who will vote in this manner are fringe groups and special-interest groups which by definition are non-representative.

unless the community truly embraced the notion (and they wont) it simply makes the system of govt more hijackable by the noisy minority.
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Re: Voting by delegable proxy
Reply #2 - Jan 13th, 2013 at 3:49pm
 
Why have an MP involved at all?
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freediver
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Re: Voting by delegable proxy
Reply #3 - Jan 13th, 2013 at 4:00pm
 
Quote:
Isnt the biggest - and fatal - flaw of this idea is that there is no obligation on the sitting member to vote according to the wishes of the electorate?


No. The idea is that they vote according to the wishes of the people who delegate their votes to them. Failing to do so would be a fast ticket out of a seat in parliament.

Quote:
an MP who has to vote according to the wishes of the voting electorate also has no real value. you could replace him with... no one.


And get direct democracy?

Quote:
on the same forum where you have people that dont want to vote at all, the only people who will vote in this manner are fringe groups and special-interest groups which by definition are non-representative.


I am not sure what you are getting at here. Everyone would vote.

Quote:
unless the community truly embraced the notion (and they wont)


Can you explain what you mean by 'truly embrace'?

Quote:
Why have an MP involved at all?


Because most people do not want direct democracy. They do not want to be involved in every piece of legislation that passes through parliament. They want a representative to act on their behalf.
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gold_medal
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Re: Voting by delegable proxy
Reply #4 - Jan 13th, 2013 at 4:57pm
 
freediver wrote on Jan 13th, 2013 at 4:00pm:
Quote:
Isnt the biggest - and fatal - flaw of this idea is that there is no obligation on the sitting member to vote according to the wishes of the electorate?


No. The idea is that they vote according to the wishes of the people who delegate their votes to them. Failing to do so would be a fast ticket out of a seat in parliament.

Quote:
an MP who has to vote according to the wishes of the voting electorate also has no real value. you could replace him with... no one.


And get direct democracy?

Quote:
on the same forum where you have people that dont want to vote at all, the only people who will vote in this manner are fringe groups and special-interest groups which by definition are non-representative.


I am not sure what you are getting at here. Everyone would vote.

Quote:
unless the community truly embraced the notion (and they wont)


Can you explain what you mean by 'truly embrace'?

Quote:
Why have an MP involved at all?


Because most people do not want direct democracy. They do not want to be involved in every piece of legislation that passes through parliament. They want a representative to act on their behalf.


actually... no it wouldnt. the people voting by proxy will only ever be a minority of the electorate and in places like australia, a very small minority. Thereofre at election time the MP will still be appealing to non-proxy voters in the vast majority.

But what is the motivation for the MP to vote according to the proxy? If enforced it renders the value of the MP and his party affiliation pointless and that DEFINATELY destroys his career.
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gold_medal
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Re: Voting by delegable proxy
Reply #5 - Jan 13th, 2013 at 4:59pm
 
freediver wrote on Jan 13th, 2013 at 4:00pm:
Quote:
Isnt the biggest - and fatal - flaw of this idea is that there is no obligation on the sitting member to vote according to the wishes of the electorate?


No. The idea is that they vote according to the wishes of the people who delegate their votes to them. Failing to do so would be a fast ticket out of a seat in parliament.

Quote:
an MP who has to vote according to the wishes of the voting electorate also has no real value. you could replace him with... no one.


And get direct democracy?

Quote:
on the same forum where you have people that dont want to vote at all, the only people who will vote in this manner are fringe groups and special-interest groups which by definition are non-representative.


I am not sure what you are getting at here. Everyone would vote.

Quote:
unless the community truly embraced the notion (and they wont)


Can you explain what you mean by 'truly embrace'?

Quote:
Why have an MP involved at all?


Because most people do not want direct democracy. They do not want to be involved in every piece of legislation that passes through parliament. They want a representative to act on their behalf.


hang on... you want ALL people to vote on ALL Bills?  like the 200+ in the last parliament? Do you seriously expect people will ever agree to that?
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gold_medal
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Re: Voting by delegable proxy
Reply #6 - Jan 13th, 2013 at 5:03pm
 
Forget that. I misread. however the system does sound exhaustively complicated while making effective govt more difficult.I cant see how it would reduce the amount of voting done by anyone since surely a delegable proxy would need to be restated at every election - the effective equivalent of voting.
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Peter Freedman
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Re: Voting by delegable proxy
Reply #7 - Jan 13th, 2013 at 5:58pm
 
gold_medal wrote on Jan 13th, 2013 at 5:03pm:
Forget that. I misread. however the system does sound exhaustively complicated while making effective govt more difficult.I cant see how it would reduce the amount of voting done by anyone since surely a delegable proxy would need to be restated at every election - the effective equivalent of voting.

Must say I agree with GM, and that won't happen often!

Much more important is to move away from antiquated voting system to some form of PR where every vote counts.
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Andrei.Hicks
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Re: Voting by delegable proxy
Reply #8 - Jan 13th, 2013 at 6:05pm
 
Ridiculously over complicated.

No. Don't like it.
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Re: Voting by delegable proxy
Reply #9 - Jan 13th, 2013 at 6:10pm
 
Swagman wrote on Jan 13th, 2013 at 3:49pm:
Why have an MP involved at all?

Yeh, I want to be a caveman so I can be big and strong like all the lib voting pretenders!
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*Sure....they're anti competitive as any subsidised job is.  It wouldn't be there without the tax payer.  Very damned difficult for a brainwashed collectivist to understand that I know....  (swaggy) *
 
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gold_medal
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Re: Voting by delegable proxy
Reply #10 - Jan 13th, 2013 at 6:36pm
 
Peter Freedman wrote on Jan 13th, 2013 at 5:58pm:
gold_medal wrote on Jan 13th, 2013 at 5:03pm:
Forget that. I misread. however the system does sound exhaustively complicated while making effective govt more difficult.I cant see how it would reduce the amount of voting done by anyone since surely a delegable proxy would need to be restated at every election - the effective equivalent of voting.

Must say I agree with GM, and that won't happen often!

Much more important is to move away from antiquated voting system to some form of PR where every vote counts.


why shoudl every vote count? a democracy is at its care decisions my the majority. if you arent part of the majority then your vote didnt count. thats just how it works. PR has its good points but in the end if it allows the minority to rul over the majority then it is a bad way of doping things. our current PR syetm is not bad but you stll get examples of the person who came third winning the seat (eg Wilkie). I dont see that as anything like fair or democratic.
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Re: Voting by delegable proxy
Reply #11 - Jan 13th, 2013 at 6:50pm
 
gold_medal wrote on Jan 13th, 2013 at 6:36pm:
Peter Freedman wrote on Jan 13th, 2013 at 5:58pm:
gold_medal wrote on Jan 13th, 2013 at 5:03pm:
Forget that. I misread. however the system does sound exhaustively complicated while making effective govt more difficult.I cant see how it would reduce the amount of voting done by anyone since surely a delegable proxy would need to be restated at every election - the effective equivalent of voting.

Must say I agree with GM, and that won't happen often!

Much more important is to move away from antiquated voting system to some form of PR where every vote counts.


why shoudl every vote count?
a democracy is at its care decisions my the majority
. if you arent part of the majority then your vote didnt count. thats just how it works. PR has its good points but in the end if it allows the minority to rul over the majority then it is a bad way of doping things. our current PR syetm is not bad but you stll get examples of the person who came third winning the seat (eg Wilkie). I dont see that as anything like fair or democratic.

i THINK YOU MEAN 'REPESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY' YOU SCAM ARTIST!
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*Sure....they're anti competitive as any subsidised job is.  It wouldn't be there without the tax payer.  Very damned difficult for a brainwashed collectivist to understand that I know....  (swaggy) *
 
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Peter Freedman
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Re: Voting by delegable proxy
Reply #12 - Jan 13th, 2013 at 7:17pm
 
gold_medal wrote on Jan 13th, 2013 at 6:36pm:
Peter Freedman wrote on Jan 13th, 2013 at 5:58pm:
gold_medal wrote on Jan 13th, 2013 at 5:03pm:
Forget that. I misread. however the system does sound exhaustively complicated while making effective govt more difficult.I cant see how it would reduce the amount of voting done by anyone since surely a delegable proxy would need to be restated at every election - the effective equivalent of voting.

Must say I agree with GM, and that won't happen often!

Much more important is to move away from antiquated voting system to some form of PR where every vote counts.


why shoudl every vote count? a democracy is at its care decisions my the majority. if you arent part of the majority then your vote didnt count. thats just how it works. PR has its good points but in the end if it allows the minority to rul over the majority then it is a bad way of doping things. our current PR syetm is not bad but you stll get examples of the person who came third winning the seat (eg Wilkie). I dont see that as anything like fair or democratic.


Australia doesn't have PR. It has an FPP system with preferences added. A party can win government with around 35% of the primary vote. How can that be proportional representation?

PR came to NZ because the people were sick of being governed by minority dictatorships.

Elections in Australia are won by a relatively small number of swinging voters in marginal seats. The system suits the two major parties, which would fight like hell against PR ruining their cosy club.
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God grant me the patience to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and, above all, the wisdom to tell the difference.
 
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gold_medal
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Re: Voting by delegable proxy
Reply #13 - Jan 13th, 2013 at 8:05pm
 
Peter Freedman wrote on Jan 13th, 2013 at 7:17pm:
gold_medal wrote on Jan 13th, 2013 at 6:36pm:
Peter Freedman wrote on Jan 13th, 2013 at 5:58pm:
gold_medal wrote on Jan 13th, 2013 at 5:03pm:
Forget that. I misread. however the system does sound exhaustively complicated while making effective govt more difficult.I cant see how it would reduce the amount of voting done by anyone since surely a delegable proxy would need to be restated at every election - the effective equivalent of voting.

Must say I agree with GM, and that won't happen often!

Much more important is to move away from antiquated voting system to some form of PR where every vote counts.


why shoudl every vote count? a democracy is at its care decisions my the majority. if you arent part of the majority then your vote didnt count. thats just how it works. PR has its good points but in the end if it allows the minority to rul over the majority then it is a bad way of doping things. our current PR syetm is not bad but you stll get examples of the person who came third winning the seat (eg Wilkie). I dont see that as anything like fair or democratic.


Australia doesn't have PR. It has an FPP system with preferences added. A party can win government with around 35% of the primary vote. How can that be proportional representation?

PR came to NZ because the people were sick of being governed by minority dictatorships.

Elections in Australia are won by a relatively small number of swinging voters in marginal seats. The system suits the two major parties, which would fight like hell against PR ruining their cosy club.


my bad... i thought PR was preferential voting. th highlighted bit is a bit of a joke tho. now they are governed by more minorities than they had before. Anyhow, I still think of propertional representation as the Special Olympics of democracy where every competitor receives a medal for competing.  I really prefer to be governed by parties that actually WON. the only people that like PR are the minor parties because they cant compete on the level playing ground and want an artifical leg up. This is  the same system that garantees seats for a particular ethnic minority so that now you dont even have to compete to win - just put your name on the list.

PR - the Special Olympics of Democracy.
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Re: Voting by delegable proxy
Reply #14 - Jan 13th, 2013 at 9:44pm
 
Quote:
Forget that. I misread.


Both posts?

Quote:
however the system does sound exhaustively complicated while making effective govt more difficult.


I don't think it is any more complicated than the current system. It's just that you are more familiar with the current system.

Effective government may be even simpler, due to the fewer people that need to be involved. However, I would suggest using the system in the upper house rather than the lower house.

Quote:
I cant see how it would reduce the amount of voting done by anyone since surely a delegable proxy would need to be restated at every election - the effective equivalent of voting.


There may need to be elections if that is the only practical way to do it, but I doubt that would be the case. If you can change your delegation at any time, there is no actual need for regular elections.

Quote:
Much more important is to move away from antiquated voting system to some form of PR where every vote counts.


This would also achieve that. The difference is that instead of achieving PR by adjusting the number of sitting MPs in a party, it is achieved by adjusting the voting authority of as little as one sitting MP. Why have a second or third 'hanger on' MP if one MP can do the voting. This system actually gets far closer to true proportional representation than typical implimentations of PR.

Quote:
why shoudl every vote count? a democracy is at its care decisions my the majority. if you arent part of the majority then your vote didnt count. thats just how it works. PR has its good points but in the end if it allows the minority to rul over the majority then it is a bad way of doping things.

PR does not result in minority rule. I don't think he was referring to that with 'not counting'.

Quote:
Australia doesn't have PR.


We do in the senate.

Quote:
It has an FPP system with preferences added.


That is an absurd way to describe it. We do not have FPP, except in a few local council elections.

Quote:
A party can win government with around 35% of the primary vote.


If you are referring to the issues with single member electorates, it is theoretically possible to win office with as little as 25% of the vote.

Quote:
the only people that like PR are the minor parties because they cant compete on the level playing ground and want an artifical leg up


There is nothing artificial about it.
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