Fair Vote Ginger stuff

Here is some stuff I posted to the FVC list about a week ago. It has been sitting on my desktop. I guess it is worth putting on my blog.

1) comment about progress of this list and the web page, and stripping quotes.

2) about approval voting

3) about gay pride day and new information about takeover defense.

4) about electoral reform proposals at city council

1) comment about progress of this list and the web page, and stripping quotes.

I checked over the stats and the archives for this list and web site. Visits to the website are way down compared to last month. May it was 89 visits, 44 uniques, meaning that people who visited did so 1.97 times. In June, only 30 visits, 17 uniques, so people were visiting 1.76 times.

However, the email list is doing pretty good. In June there were 55 postings, and 28 came from somebody besides me. For some reason I can't find out who all logs into the archive. But this is triple the previous month.

Just lately it has been dead. I hope a have not scared people off with my admonitions to strip out stale quotes. When people keep batting a topic back and forth, just typing and hitting reply, you end up with messages that are hundreds of KB in size, but contain only one new sentence. Then somebody like me has to go into the control panel and approve them manually when they trip the size limit. Also, most mailer programs will block messages above a certain size. Or worse, from my moderating perspective, bounce them back.

I have noticed in the past when I was moderating lists that some people get very hostile when you try to get them to strip old quotes. But other people get very annoyed when they get these messages with the huge, limit exceeding tails.

This is why I wonder if a discussion board format is not superior. But I have no feedback from people about what they might like.

2) about approval voting

Someone sent me a message asking me about a report somebody else had read about a study of single member voting methods, and how AV stacked up among them. because I had cut the real senders tail down and resent it, she thought it was coming from me. I was busy with other matters at the time and I forgot about this until I read over the e-mails.

I found the report on Jstor. Here is the problem now with academic writing; you can't get at it. Everything is copyright. This has serious negative effects on the dissemination of new knowledge. I managed to get a PDF of the article into a form I can store on my hard drive. I can attach it to an e-mail , but I am not sure if everyone interested will be able to open it.

This gave me an occasion to look into single member voting systems as I have been meaning to. What I discovered, or rather rediscovered, is a fondness for the approval voting idea. Approval voting is simply about marking an X beside every candidate who you approve of; not just one, and not ranking them. Of course, the candidate with the most votes wins. Here is what FVC should be presenting in opposition to the AV nonsense, if we have to accept an elected mayor at all. I also have been doing research into appointed mayors, especially in France.

Now, as for Merrill's analysis of these voting methods, he finds it ironic that the most commonly used voting methods give the worst result according to his methods of analysis. Basically, he checks whether the winner would have won under the Condorcet system. ( Maybe we should adopt Condorcet voting, hey?)

Plurality was the worst, of course. Somewhat higher is the runoff and the AV system, which Merrill calls "Hare". The next best is approval voting, and the best are Black, Coombs, and Borda voting, which are rarely used. I invite you to go googling if you want to know more about these.

Approval voting has its critics. It can be subject to tactical voting by "bullet" and "compromise" voting. The former is voting for just one candidate, the latter is not voting for what you really like for fear something else might win. Yes, but so are most systems and so what? Many other forms of tactical voting or cheating are cut off by approval voting.

There is an interesting story of a university which stopped using approval voting to choose its governing board because the alumni thought the people elected were not "centrist" enough. It is also interesting that Fair Vote USA does not like approval voting because someone who might win an absolute majority in a plurality system might lose under approval. These are the people who supposedly want to move away from plurality systems, so what is that about?


To sum up Merrill's findings; he finds the best single member voting system to be a couple of exotic systems which are very complicated and rarely used, followed by approval, followed by Hare and Instant Runoff, with plurality last.

3) about gay pride day and new information about takeover defense.

Oh, well, what the hell. I went out and helped staff the FVC-T table at gay pride day last Sunday. It wasn't such a bad experience; I picked up some useful information about FVC's situation relative to the hostile takeover and I will get into that a bit.

What I hate about gay day is that it provides certain types of people with the excuse to be, not gay, but totally vulgar and tacky. I mean fat fifty year old people walking around in jockstraps and thongs. One guy just had a little thingie around his thingee, leaving his ass completely bare. He is such an ass hole that he wants the world to see his asshole. Blech! But I got him to sign the petition.

There are some compensations; some of the lezzies look pretty good with few clothes on. But I do not get it about jock straps; aren't you supposed to be twenty and have ripped abs and pects out to there, not fifty a gut out to where, to wear one in public?

You might ask why, since I have been so critical of the petition, I went out for this? It seems there is something like a plan for what to do with it; they want to have each MP hand in a few. I do not know if the clerk at the petition office will go for that; lots more work for them.

At least it shows the flag, shows that FVC is still around, and helps to spread the message. There are always people who haven't heard of it. At least I did not have some lame brain come up to me saying " proportional rep? Right on! I like that Alternative Vote System. Isn't that Meslin a great guy?" I did not have an FVC t-shirt so I dug out my old "Vote MMP" shirt and I had people saying "MMP, right on". They still remembered.

I filled up several sheets fairly quick. The key is to move around; standing in one spot does not work. I do not move around so much anymore; my feet were pretty sore by time I was done.

A lot of people do not want to leave their addresses, but there is a space for e-mails. If I was signing it, I would leave my snail address blank and give my e-mail. It is a reliable way of contacting people and protects privacy better than anything.

I found out some more from the zip lipped FVC-T crowd. It seems they are still talking about dissolving themselves and working as an action group instead. I think they should get on with that. As for canvassing the other FVC chapters, it seems something has been done in that regard. However, they are not under a hostile takeover themselves and do not see what the problem is at the national level.

I know some people who are involved in activism nationally. The hijackings and hostile takeovers do not happen so much in smaller communities. They are mostly the result of hard core leftists who want to create fronts for "the revolutionary party". They are publicly shunned, but covertly used, by the NDP. And Liberal types often adopt their methods. In Quebec, there seems to be a cultural difference which jus does not tolerate this kind of behavior.

So, the hubs for aggressive, takeover type activism is Toronto and Vancouver. I know less about Vancouver, but I hear about some problems with the B.C. version of Fair Vote. There is a separate organization out there which I have little information about but is apparently full of zealots.

Yet as I have often said, the key to getting FVC going again is with the chapters. They need to understand that the system at the national level does not work, it is being taken over by people who do not really agree with the PR principle, and FVC needs to be restructured as a federation of local chapters.

4) about electoral reform proposals at city council

"Thank you for your interest in city council and its committees," says the e-mail from a city bureaucrat. Attached was the final report of the governance committee. The wording does not look good for FVC. It is;

"City Council request the Province of Ontario to amend the Municipal Elections Act to authorize the use and establish the framework of Ranked Choice Voting to permit Toronto City Council to use ranked ballots and instant runoff voting in municipal elections."

In other words, there is no recognition of other solutions and no confining AV to the mayoral contest. They want to have AV for the whole city council. If voting reform activists in Toronto do not soon get their shit together, they are going to get it.

Right now they are tied down in an endless procedural war with the AV lobby's agents. This is part of the AV lobby's strategy. The proponents of fair voting need to get out of this and get back on the attack. In other words, you can't win if you are constantly on the defensive.

I want to see a meeting of local activists like soon. tr