Re: Anonymous Voting Referendum

On Mon, 13 Sep 2004, James Henstridge wrote:

> Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2004 15:11:04 +0800
> From: James Henstridge <james jamesh id au>
> To: Alan Horkan <horkana maths tcd ie>
> Cc: foundation-list gnome org
> Subject: Re: Anonymous Voting Referendum
> On 09/09/04 22:05, Alan Horkan wrote:
> >I cannot help thinking that it would be more useful to switch to a system
> >of proportional representation.  Anonymous voting may be a factor but I
> >think the first past the post system has a more significant impact on how
> >people vote.  Of course this could be done as well as anonymous voting,
> >but now is as good a time as any to mention it if we are talking about
> >improving the voting mechanism.
> >
> >

> I assume that you don't actually mean proportional representation here,

I do mean proportional representation but perhaps it has different
connotations than I think it does because of the way it is used here in

> Maybe you are thinking of preferential voting?


Did a quick search and what Australia calls preferential voting
is definately what I'm talking about.

According to Wikipedia "Proportional Representation (PR) describes
_various_ multi-winner electoral systems" hence the confusion.

> >Due to the quotas in place preventing more than a certain amount of people
> >from any one organisation the last election was effectively nothing more
> >than deciding which candidates from Ximian to eliminate.

> Well, that was as much a problem with a lack of candidates as the limits
> on corporate representation.

Interesting choice of words, I dont see the coporate limits as a problem.
It makes things a little more difficult for Novell/Ximian/Suse at the
moment but I think it works exactly how it was intended to work.

> You won't get an accurate picture of who members want on the board when
> the number of candidates is 2 more than the number of seats, no matter
> what vote counting system is used.

If people ranked candidates in order of preference rather than yes/no (or
nothing) vote for each candidate it would be more accurate and more fair.

Preferential voting tends to have a moderating effect, which I think is
appropriate for a system electing a board members.

Ranking candidates in order of preference would also indirectly help
offset the effects of the perceived problem of people voting for their
friends over the best candidates.

> I hope we have more candidates in the coming election.

Me too.

Perhaps it is the language barrier but I'm largely unaware of how
well Gnome is doing outside of North America and Europe, it would be
great if a more global selection of candidates came forward and
people tried to vote for wider representation.

> Looking at the 2003 election results
> (,
> you can see that the winning candidate with the most votes (Owen) had 63
> more votes than the winning candidate with the least votes.  So some of
> those votes could have been allocated differently without Owen losing
> his seat.  Given how close some of the other candidate's totals were,
> this could have given a different result.
> Systems like "single transferable vote"
> ( get around this
> by giving each ballot the same power.  If a particular candidate gets
> more votes than they need to get in, the ballots of people who voted for
> the candidate are redistributed to the next preference at a reduced
> strength (proportional to how far over the quota the candidate was).

I think Single Transferable Vote also accurately describes what I am

> >Proportional representation is a little bit harder to count but I am the
> >system needs to automated anyway and it is the fairest possible democratic
> >system.

> If people think that it is a bit too close to the election to consider
> such a change, one thing that might be worth considering is to ask
> people to list all candidates on their ballots in order of preference.

I was thinking more that it could be included as well as the issue of
Anonymous voting rather than changing the system this year.

> The top 11 candidates on the ballot could be taken and used for the
> current vote counting algorithm.  But it would also provide information
> necessary to perform an STV vote count, which would be useful in
> deciding whether it is worth changing.

I am not sure results are the best way to measure if the change should be
made but I think that at moment the limits on coroporate representation
have a greater effect on the results than anything else.

I think we should be using preferential voting on the principle that is
the fairest way to do things.

> >I hope you will all consider it carefully and seriously.

> I've asked about this in the past, so I think it is worth considering.

Thanks for your time


Alan Horkan

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