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ABSOLUTE REPRESENTATION
BENEFITS

 

 

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DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES TO BE MET
as set out in the Mandate for the
Special Committee on Electoral Reform
struck by the Parliament of Canada on June 7, 2016

1) Effectiveness and legitimacy: that the proposed measure would increase public confidence among Canadians that their democratic will, as expressed by their votes, will be fairly translated and that the proposed measure reduces distortion and strengthens the link between voter intention and the election of representatives;

2) Engagement: that the proposed measure would encourage voting and participation in the democratic process, foster greater civility and collaboration in politics, enhance social cohesion and offer opportunities for inclusion of underrepresented groups in the political process;

3) Accessibility and inclusiveness: that the proposed measure would avoid undue complexity in the voting process, while respecting the other principles, and that it would support access by all eligible voters regardless of physical or social condition;

4) Integrity: that the proposed measure can be implemented while safeguarding public trust in the election process, by ensuring reliable and verifiable results obtained through an effective and objective process that is secure and preserves vote secrecy for individual Canadians;

5) Local representation: that the proposed measure would ensure accountability and recognize the value that Canadians attach to community, to Members of Parliament understanding local conditions and advancing local needs at the national level, and to having access to Members of Parliament to facilitate resolution of their concerns and participation in the democratic process;

PLEASE NOTE: The numbers inserted in brackets after sections of text below indicate which of the above Principles that text addresses.

 

ABSOLUTE REPRESENTATION BENEFITS

PRIMARY BENEFITS

  • Adding “Delegated Active & Effective Voting” (DAEV) to First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) under an Absolute Representation (AR) electoral system fulfills the Democratic ideal of “one person one vote” with each vote cast in an election by an individual citizen eligible to be counted in any vote taken by the resulting Governing Body for the full mandate of that body.  Every vote counts!  (1)

  • A fully realized AR Electoral System will encourage and support the development of an abundantly better informed and more active and effective electorate than any FPTP or PR system is capable of and will, thereby, transform demographic governance for the better wherever it is adopted.  (1-5)

IMPROVED VOTER REPRESENTATION BENEFITS

  • AR opens up possibilities for active representation for all members of all constituencies at all times that neither FPTP alone or any of the PR systems can come close to matching.  It would “evolutionize” how actively voters are able to influence their Governing Body between elections. (1, 2)

    • It will be an evolution rather than a revolution in our electoral process as the Absolute Representation sytem will augment our current First-Past-The-Post system not remove it.  In adding the Delegated Active and Effective Vote system described on this site's home page no changes to FPTP will be required (though some may be desirable) to the processes, rules and costs of existing FPTP elections and their simplicity, functional systems, tested infrastructure and existing legal framework will be retained. (1 & 4)

    • Each citizen’s vote remains “active” and “effective” from the day it is cast to the date of the next election. (1, 2 & 4)

      • The methodologies and technologies to accomplish this smoothly, efficiently, accurately and relatively inexpensively already exist and all that is needed is the political will to apply them.

      • For example: In addition to the Parliamentary web site's current offerings of various of types of information to the general public there must be information that is currently only available to the Sitting Members and other information that is only available to those actually Administering the functioning of Parliament plus some overlap between the two.  There is no reason why, as long as the will exists, that the site couldn't be augmented to offer access to appropriate information to the Constituency Members, and to gather information from those members about their activities to be shared, as deemed appropriate, with other Constituency Members, the Sitting Members and the Administrators. (4)

    • The number of votes eligible to be cast in any vote taken by the Governing Body, during the mandate of that body, is “absolutely proportional” to the votes originally cast in the election. (1)

      • Most importantly it is an absolute proportionality that rises directly from the citizenry rather than a proportionality imposed by the apportionment formulas or party lists of PR systems. (1)

    • Every voter’s right to choose who they want to represent them is supported by giving the Candidates they choose the power to represent them actively and effectively whether as Sitting, or Constituency, members. (1 - 5)

      • This will free the citizenry to vote their conscience in favour of their preferred candidate whether or not that candidate is perceived to have a chance of winning the election and that will eliminate the "wasted vote" syndrome. (2)

    • The DAEV system will minimize the tendency of voters to strategically vote "against" candidates that they don't want in power and it will maximize their freedom to vote "for" the candidate they believe best represents their interests and, they can do so in the full knowledge that whoever they vote for will, win or lose in the election, have the ability to act constructively on their behalf between elections. (1-5)

      • This will increase the viability of independent candidacies and it will, therefore, expand the range of effective options available to the voters. (5)

      • It will result in Governing Bodies that accurately represent the will of the voters. (1)

      • It will also avoid the entrenched bias toward established parties found in some, if not most, of the varieties of PR systems.

    • For Canadian voters it fulfills the "equal and effective vote" requirement of their Charter of Rights and Freedoms better than the existing FPTP system or any PR system.

    • No voters are dis-enfranchised by having the Candidate they supported lose the election leaving them with no influence on the Governing Body. (1 & 5)

    • All votes of all voters have equal weight in the Governing Body. (1, 2 & 5)

      • Under FPTP on its own:

        • Sitting Members cast one vote in any poll taken in the Governing Body but represent different numbers of voters in their various Electoral Areas.  This means that the votes of citizens from more populous Electoral Areas have less weight per voter in the Governing Body than those from less populous areas.  AR with its DAEV component eliminates this partial disenfranchisement.

    • Between elections Sitting Members will have strong motivation to take into account the evolving wishes of the electorate as expressed by the Constituency Members who can, at their own discretion, assign Delegated Active & Effective Votes to them and subsequently re-assign them to a different Sitting Member should they decide it is in the interests of their constituency to do so. (1-5)

    • Constituency Members wishing to remain politically active in order to run again in the next election will have a strong motivation to communicate, and interact, with their constituencies and other Constituency Members as well with Sitting Members in order to be as effective in their role as possible. In doing so they will inevitably provide a level of on-going representation for their constituency of voters that losing Candidates can’t provide under FPTP or any PR system. (2)

    • Having a politically active body of Constituency Members based in their electoral area will give the voters ongoing access to the Candidate they voted and motivation to keep themselves informed about what that candidate is doing with their vote between elections. (2)

    • Constituency Members not wanting to remain politically active after losing an election are still able to serve the constituency that voted for them by simply assigning their delegated votes to the Sitting Member they believe to be most in harmony with their constituencies interests and leaving them there until the next election. (1 & 5)

    • The actions of a Governing Body that is continually answerable to a broad range of effective representation in each electoral area due to the Delegated Active & Effective Vote system will much more accurately reflect the wishes of the electorate than one elected under a stand-alone First-Past-The-Post electoral system or any Proportional Representation system. (1 & 5)

    • Sitting members who have to be absent for tightly contested polls taken by the Governing Body will have the ability to assign the votes delegated to them in the election to another sitting member to cast on their behalf. (1 & 5)

      • This ability also contributes to ensuring absolute representation for the voters since the absence the Sitting Member they voted for would not prevent their vote from being counted. (1 & 5)

      • Timely notification from the Sitting Member absenting him/hersef to the Constituency Member(s) who assigned their delegated votes to her/him allow the affected Constituency Member(s) to re-assign those vote to a different Sitting Member so that they to would be counted. (1 & 5)

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INFORMED AND ACTIVE ELECTORATE BENEFITS

  • While there will be no more requirement that voters be politically active between elections than there is under FPTP voters under an AR system will have significantly more opportunities and motivation to stay actively involved for the very simple reason that they can actually be effective. (1 & 5)

  • The AR system will encourage Constituency Member's to improve existing, and create new, on-going support systems and groups in their electoral areas which would in turn make them increasingly accessible to the voters in their electoral areas and which would serve to create a much better informed, and more actively involved, electorate. (2)

  • Between elections each voter will have ongoing access to the locally based, politically active Constituency Member who best represents their political philosophy as well as the Sitting Member who physically represents their electoral area in the Governing Body. (2)

  • Having a politically active body of Constituency Members based in the electoral area that increases the citizenry's overall level of political awareness, activity and effectiveness will substantially reduce, if  not eliminate, voter apathy. (2)

  • The disenchanted under-30 age group will also have reason to take an interest and get involved in our political process because they will know that their vote will actually count.  (2)

  • An electorate that has the means to make its wishes known at all times will have the motivation to be a well-informed electorate and the ability to be effectively active. (2)

  • A well-informed electorate will demand, and get, more effective representation in each electoral area. (2)

  • Volunteers and donors among the electorate will be more willing to support, financially and otherwise, the Candidates that they actually prefer even if that Candidate has no chance of winning a seat in the Governing Body because those Candidates will always have the power to influence even if they have no possibility of having the power to govern. (1, 2 & 5)

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EXPANDED CONSTITUENCY REPRESENTATION BENEFITS

  • Under-represented constituencies can run Candidates in the full knowledge that, even if they can't win a seat, any votes cast for their Candidate will give that Candidate continued influence on the Governing Body between elections as a Constituency Member that is absolutely proportional to the votes cast for him/her in the election. (3)

  • Voters with shared political philosophies that are not main stream will have motivation to develop ongoing political organizations because they will have the power to influence even if they have no possibility of having the power to govern. (2)

  • By making it more possible for a wider range of effective Candidates to run and by increasing the voters confidence that voting their conscience is a practical ideal we will all (Sitting Members, Constituency Members, the media and the electorate as a whole) have a more accurate picture of what we collectively want politically than we do under FPTP or could do under a PR system. (1-5)

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IMPROVED POLITICAL SKILLS & ORGANIZATION BENEFITS (1, 2 & 5 whole section)

  • Anyone motivated enough to become a qualified Candidate in an election can have influence on the Governing Body until the next election that is directly proportional to however many votes were cast in her/his favor whether he/she ends up as a Sitting Member or a Constituency Member.

    • The influence given to each Constituency Member in the form of delegated votes enables her/him to serve his/her Constituency as an interface between those who voted for them and the Governing Body’s Sitting Members to whatever degree they deem suitable.

      • From: Simply assigning their delegated votes to a Sitting Member who seems most in tune with their constituency and leaving them there until the next election.

      • To: Closely observing the ongoing activities and results of the Governing Body throughout that body’s mandate while interacting with active members of their constituency and periodically arranging assignments, or re-assignments, of their delegated votes in order to maximize their influence on the Governing Body on behalf of their individual constituencies.

      • Or anything between

    • The Constituency Members who choose to be pro-active during the mandate of the Governing Body for which they were a Candidate can, at their own discretion, make their observations:

      • Via any media format that suits their purpose.
      • Through communications, meetings and other interactions with voting members of their constituencies, with  other Constituency Members and with Sitting Members.

      • By any dedicated access and support methods or organizations that they can develop and maintain individually or together and/or by any such systems which are provided by the Governing Body.

    • Having the ability to influence the day-to-day decisions of the Governing Body between elections, whether or not they plan to run in the next election,  will motivate Constituency Members to keep politically active in their electoral areas between elections by:

      • continuously informing and interacting with their constituencies

      • developing and maintaining on-going support systems and groups in their electoral areas

      • continuously keeping the media informed of their activities

      • developing on-going relationships with other Constituency Members and with Sitting Members

  • Active Constituency Members wishing to run in the next election have even stronger motivation to communicate constantly and clearly with the voters of their electoral area about:  

    • Which Sitting Member they assigned, or re-assigned, their Delegated Active Votes to and why.
    • What relationships they are building and maintaining with other Constituency Members and what results they are achieving.

    • All their current activities and accomplishments on behalf of their constituencies specifically and their Electoral Area generally.

    • What they would do on behalf of the voter if the next election resulted in them becoming the Sitting Member for their electoral area.

  • Active Constituency Members working improve their vote totals in future elections will inevitably improve their organizational, political  and leadership skills.

  • The active participation of the Constituency Members with their supporters between elections will provide an excellent training and proving ground for their supporters future political activities and possible leadership roles.

  • The more enthusiastically a Constituency Member acts in service of his/her constituency between elections the more support systems and working relationships he/she will develop and the more influence she/he will have on the current Governing Body before the next election.

  • The words and deeds of the motivated and active Constituency Members outside the Governing Body will provide the Sitting Members with more rapid and accurate constituency feedback on their own words and deeds within that body than is possible under an FPTP system alone or under any of the various PR systems.

    • For example any time that a Sitting member says or does something in the Governing Body that results in an increase or decrease of delegated vote assignments from Constituency Members they will become more aware of the potential impact of their words and deeds and will, therefore, have a strong motivation to give their words and deeds careful advance consideration.

  • The active existence of Constituency Members in each Electoral Area, and their ability to influence the Governing Body, provides all voters who wish to remain actively involved between elections opportunities to act.  Opportunities which minimize voter apathy.

    • Apathy comes from a feeling of powerlessness.

    • Having the desire to act without the power to do so can only result in frustration and rather than be frustrated the all too human reaction is to stop caring.

    • Under the DAEV component of the AR system there will be no need for voters to stop caring as they will continually have the power to act effectively on their political desires in concert with their Constituency Members.

      • Voters who know that, under AR, they are able to act politically but choose not to are simply uninterested not apathetic.

    • In an electorate where apathy, is less likely and effective action more likely, anyone choosing to keep themselves well informed and/or to be actively involved will improve their own political and organizational skills.

  • The power to act will encourage voters with shared goals increase their political and organizational skills as work increasingly effectively, with each other and with their Constituency Members, between elections will also improve their ability to work on behalf of their chosen Candidate in the next election campaign.

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BETTER GOVERNANCE BENEFITS

  • A better informed, more active and more politically skilled electorate with the means to clearly and effectively express its wishes will inevitably encourage and facilitate better governance. (2)

  • Both opposition, and governing party Sitting Members, wanting to receive, and retain, Delegated Active & Effective Vote assignments will need to pay attention to the will of the voters as expressed by the Constiuency Members who have the power to make such assignments or re-assignments. (1 & 5)

  • The absolute proportionality of the AR system will have the power to actively and effectively counterbalance any unrepresentative governments resulting from unfortunate vote splits. (1 & 5 incl. all sub-sections)

    • In such a situation all the Constituency Member's, who were the losing candidates in the election, would have the option of assigning the Delegated Active & Effective Votes they hold on behalf of their constituencies to opposition Sitting Members to increase the significance of the opposition's vote in the Governing Body.

    • Where a governing party is elected to a majority seats with less than 50% of the total vote this could theoretically put the opposition Sitting Members in a position to out-vote the governing party’s Sitting Members. Any government faced with such a possibility would have to pay very close attention to what those opposition Constituency Members were saying on behalf of all those citizens who had voted for candidates that did not become Sitting Members for the Governing Body.

  • Governing Bodies faced with informed, active and politically skilled voters working with and through their Constituency Members would have to be more responsive than current governments and, therefore, more responsible in how they govern. (1, 2 & 5)

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EASE OF IMPLEMENTATION BENEFITS (3 & 4 whole section)

  • An existing FPTP system can initially remain in place with little, or no, systematic, structural, administrative or legislative changes required with minimal complication, cost and/or confusion.

  • The DAEV Component will primarily involve creating systems for utilizing, tracking and administering the votes cast in the election after the election.  
    • Implementation of these systems could be kept quite basic and inexpensive for the first election or two and then upgraded to more ideal forms based on the experience gained from observing the activities and needs of the voters, Constituency Members and Sitting Members as they communicate, connect and interact with each other.

    • This would allow the human, financial and technical resources needed to achieve an ideal informational and support system to be gathered and applied over time.
  • Under an Absolute Representation Electoral System the tried and tested FPTP benefits will be retained as a solid base from which the benefits of the Delegated Active & Effective Voting component can evolve and mature. 

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  Copyright © 2016 Bill Hanson for the Absolute Representation Electoral System