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Primary

The “One Person One Vote” democratic ideal fulfilled The “One Person One Vote” democratic ideal fulfilled

By treating all votes cast in each election as “Delegated, Active & Effective Votes”(DAEV) every Citizen's vote will be eligible to be counted in all votes taken in the resulting Governing Body for the full mandate of that body. Every Citizen’s vote counts all the time!

“Equal and Effective Votes” “Equal and Effective Votes”

While the Absolute Representation Electoral System is applicable to any democracy, it was conceived in Canada where it has the specific benefit of fulfilling the "equal and effective vote" requirement of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which the existing FPTP system doesn’t do and which PR systems can only approximate.

Absolute Representation Absolute Representation

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. Most importantly it is an absolute proportionality that rises directly from the Citizenry rather than one imposed by the apportionment formulas or party lists of PR systems.

 

Improved Voter Representation

Every Delegated, Active & Effective Vote counts at all times Every Delegated, Active & Effective Vote counts at all times

Winning Candidates in each election, become Sitting Members in the resulting Governing Body until the next election. As such they can serve their constituencies by casting all the Delegated Votes they received in the election directly in all votes taken in the Governing Body for the full mandate of that body.

Losing Candidates, become Constituency Members, who can serve their Constituencies by assigning the Delegated Votes they received in the election to any Sitting Member they want and may subsequently re-assign them to some other Sitting Member.

In any vote on any issue taken in the Governing Body from one election to the next Sitting Members then cast all the votes assigned to them by Constituency Members along with their own Delegated Votes. FPTP + DAEV = Absolute Representation.

Elimination of any degree of voter disenfranchisement Elimination of any degree of voter disenfranchisement

The delegated, active and effective voting aspect of AR leaves every voter fully enfranchised at all times.

    Note: Under FPTP alone any Citizen who votes for a losing Candidate is effectively disenfranchised until the next election. Under PR such Citizens are at least partially disenfranchised with the degree dependent on the form of PR in place. Beyond that, under either FPTP or PR, Sitting Members cast only one vote in any vote 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.

Active representation between elections Active representation between elections

Win or lose all Candidates can use the power of the Delegated Votes cast in their favour to influence the outcome all votes taken in the Governing Body from one election to the next. This opens up possibilities for active representation for all members of all constituencies at all times that neither FPTP alone nor any of the various PR systems can come close to matching.

Motivated Sitting Members Motivated Sitting Members

Between elections Sitting Members will have strong motivation to take into account the evolving wishes of the electorate as expressed by the Constituency Members through assigning, and re-assigning their Delegated Votes they received in the election.

Motivated Constituency Members Motivated Constituency Members

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 the Citizenry in general, with their own constituencies and with 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 have no possibility of providing under FPTP alone or under any PR system.

    Note: Constituency Members who aren’t motivated to run again can serve their constituency’s interests by either:
    • acting as described above on behalf of their constituencies until the next election to whatever degree they are willing and able.
    ~ or, at the very least, by ~
    • assigning their Delegated Votes to a Sitting Member who they believe is most in harmony with their constituency’s interests and then leaving them there until the next election.

Motivated Citizens Motivated Citizens

Having their Delegated Vote active and effective via their Constituency and/or Sitting Member will substantially reduce, and possibly eliminate, voter apathy among the Citizenry. That will, in turn, increase voter turn-out for elections. It will also increase the Citizenry’s awareness of, interest in and desire to participate in political action between elections simply because such action will have a greater likelihood of being effective than ever before.

Increased freedom of choice in Candidates Increased freedom of choice in Candidates

Each Citizen’s Delegated, Active and Effective Vote cast in favor of a Candidate in any election delegates their power as a Citizen to that Candidate. Each voting Citizens’ knowledge that, win or lose, their Candidate can then ensure their Delegated Vote will be counted in any vote taken in the Governing Body, will free all Citizens to vote for the Candidate they truly prefer

Strategic voting minimized or even eliminated Strategic voting minimized or even eliminated

Knowing that their chosen Candidate, win or lose, will have the power to actively and effectively represent their views from election will make strategic voting pointless.

Increased small party and independent representation Increased small party and independent representation

The Citizens’ increased freedom of choice in Candidates, and the lack of need for strategic voting, will result in more power in the form of delegated, active and effective votes flowing to small party, and independent, Candidates.

Responsive & Responsible Government Responsive & Responsible Government

The actions of a Governing Body that is continually answerable to a broad range of effective, and continuous, representation on behalf of voters by Constituency Members will be motivated to pay attention to those members. The discussions in, and decisions by, that body will, as a result, 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.

Absolute Representation Absolute Representation

One Person One Vote from Citizen to the Governing Body for the full mandate of that body through the use of Delegated, Active And Effective Voting will result in an Absolute Representation in that body.

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Ease Of Implementation

No change necessary to current FPTP electoral system No change necessary to current FPTP electoral system

The existing FPTP system can remain in place with no necessity to change its time tested and well-established systems, structures, administration and legislation. Some changes might, however, be deemed desirable at the time of implementation.

Easy FPTP to AR conversion Easy FPTP to AR conversion

The only change needed will be to augment FPTP with AR’s Delegated, Active and Effective Vote component which will primarily involve creating a system for tracking and administering the DAEV process from one election to the next.

  • The DAEV system could be kept quite basic 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.
  • Ultimately, to provide maximum efficiency for the Members using the system, as well as to maximize the benefits to the body politic from the activities of those Members, a DAEV Admin section could be added to the Governing Body’s existing web site.
    • Such a web based system will need to offer its users at least pertinent information, provide Member support services, opportunities for member interaction and include mechanisms for both tracking Delegated Vote assignments and for tabulating the Sitting Members’ votes on any question before the Governing Body.
    • The methodologies and technologies to implement such a DAEV Admin section relatively inexpensively already exist and all that is needed is the political will to apply them.

Economical to implement, maintain and update Economical to implement, maintain and update

Given the current cost to the Governing Body of maintaining and updating an already very large and very complex web site (group of interconnected sites?) the increased cost of adding a DAEV Admin section will likely be a only a small percentage of the total.

Can be phased in over time Can be phased in 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 AR’s Delegated Active & Effective Voting component can evolve and mature. For the first election or two the Admin Section on the Governing Body’s web site could be limited to tracking and tabulating of assigned votes with other features being added later as the need for them becomes clear and obvious.

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A Much More Active & Effective Citizenry

A More Engaged Citizenry A More Engaged Citizenry

Voters under an AR electoral system will have significantly more reasons to be politically aware, the motivation to stay actively involved and the ability to be effective than under other electoral systems. This is because AR has been intentionally designed to encourage and support Citizen engagement with the political process.

A New Body Of Engaged Constituency Members A New Body Of Engaged Constituency Members

AR’s Constituency Members will have reasons to improve existing, and create new, on-going support systems and groups in their electoral areas to inform, motivate and mobilize members of their constituencies. This will make them increasingly accessible to the voters in their electoral areas and will serve to create a much better informed, more actively involved and more effective electorate.

    Note: Between elections engaged Citizens, in addition to engaging with their own Constituency Member, will be able to interact with, and possibly influence, other locally based, politically active Constituency Members as well as their local Sitting Member.

More Engaged Sitting Members More Engaged Sitting Members

Sitting Members will have to pay attention to the needs, interests and views of Citizens in constituencies other than their own in order to attract, and retain, Assigned Votes from Constituency Members.

A More Engaged Media A More Engaged Media

A better informed, more actively involved and more effective electorate working through a body of Constituency Members will require, and will ultimately demand, substantial bottom up political coverage in addition to more of the traditional top down coverage. The needs, interests and views expressed by Citizens through their Constituency Members will become important news. Reports of the flow of Assigned, and Re-Assigned, Votes from Constituency Members to Sitting Members, and the reasons for changes in the flow will be grist for the editorial mill as well as for columnist/talking head analysis and speculation. All to the benefit of an informed, active and effective Citizenry

More Engaged Political Supporters More Engaged Political Supporters

Volunteers and donors among the Citizenry will be more willing to support, financially and otherwise, the Candidates that they actually prefer even if that Candidate has no chance of winning because those Candidates will always have the power to influence even if they have no possibility of having the power to govern.

Engaging The Disenchanted Engaging The Disenchantedn

Youth, minorities and other groups who are disenchanted with the political system because they are never able to elect a Sitting Member who is in harmony with their needs, interests and views will have ample reason to participate in the system by casting Delegated, Active And Effective Votes and through ongoing interaction with their Constituency and/or Sitting Members between elections.

Minimization of Voter Apathy Minimization of Voter Apathy

Under AR voter apathy will be limited to the truly apathetic. Those voters who are aware and interested but content to let their Constituency Members manage their vote between elections will be free to observe while getting on with other things in life. Voters who are currently frustrated by only having a political say once every few years at election time will (in a system that supports and encourages engagement from voter to Constituency Member to Sitting Members, and from election to election) be free and able to be as engaged in the political process as they want whenever they want.

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Expanded Constituency Representation

A More Level Political Playing Field A More Level Political Playing Field

Small parties, independents and special interest groups have a better chance to be visible to the Citizenry, to attract a constituency, to field Candidates and to grow in influence. Their Candidates can run in the full knowledge that, even if they can’t win a seat, any votes delegated to them can be used to influence the activities of the Governing Body in the service of their constituents. t

More Grassroots Organization More Grassroots Organization

The ability to influence government between elections, even when not having a seat in government, will provide small parties, independents and special interest groups with motivation to invest more time and resources in making themselves more visible in their communities and in serving their constituencies between elections. Rather than re-building and re-organizing for each election and lying fallow between them this will allow for building, learning and growing steadily from election to election. In turn that will result in a wider range of political views and goals to have influence on the Governing Body.

Accurate Representation In Government Accurate Representation In Government

By making it more possible for a wide 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 alone or could do under a PR systemt

Improved Political Experience & Skills

Political Action Is Political Training Political Action Is Political Training

When effective action is possible more action is taken by more people. The opportunity for losing Candidates to serve their constituencies as Constituency Members, and the increased possibility for sustained grassroots organization between elections, will create a larger body of Citizens with political experience & skills

Communicating A Political Message Is Political Training Communicating A Political Message Is Political Training

Increased numbers of Citizens and Constituency Members acting to get their political message out to the general community will continually improve their skills by interacting with the media and by organizing, promoting and running attention getting public events.

Gathering & Organizing Political Support Is Political Training Gathering & Organizing Political Support Is Political Training

As more Citizens are attracted to supporting a particular political goal, party or Candidate there will be more opportunities for some to take leadership roles in keeping the rest motivated, organized and active in the growing political movement

A Larger Pool Of Political Experience & Skills A Larger Pool Of Political Experience & Skills

The more of us who get politically active in support of our individual views:

  • The larger our pool of political experience and skills will be.
  • The more visible all our various views will become to each other.
  • The clearer our understanding of what we want collectively as a body of Citizens will become.
  • Many of those who stand as Candidates will bring with them the experience and skills gained in that process.
  • Most of those supporting those Candidates will do so with experience and skills gained in that process.
  • The more of us who gain, and utilize, such experience and skills the easier it will become to implement our collective goals.
  • The more of us there are who are actively involved in achieving our collective goals lighter the load will be on each of us involved in the process.

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Better Governance

A Counterbalance To Majority Governments Elected By A Minority Of Votes A Counterbalance To Majority Governments Elected By A Minority Of Votes

A government with 60% of the seats, for example, but only 40% of the votes could be out-voted on a contentious issue if enough Assigned Votes flowed to non-government party Sitting Members.

The Power To Influence Will Motivate Responsibility The Power To Influence Will Motivate Responsibility

The ability to assign and re-assign their Delegated Votes from one election to the next will motivate, to varying degrees, many Constituency Members (even those with no desire run again in the next election) to make such assignments responsibly on behalf of those who voted for them. The desire to attract assignments of Delegated Votes from Constituency Members will motivate Sitting Members to be more responsive, and responsible, to other constituencies besides their own.

The Power To Influence Will Motivate Action The Power To Influence Will Motivate Action

Most Members who want to run again in the next election, and some one time Constituency Members, will maximize their influence by taking actions beyond simply assigning, and re-assigning, their Delegated Votes with actions such as:

  • Continuously informing, and interacting with, members of their constituencies.
  • Developing and maintaining on-going support systems and task groups in their electoral areas.
  • Developing and maintaining relationships with politically active members of their constituencies, other Constituency Members, Sitting Members and the Media.
Many Sitting Members will see benefits in actively seeking on-going relationships with Constituency Members whose Constituencies have substantial degree of harmony with theirs and possibly short term relationships other Constituencies for votes on specific issues of mutual concern.

Transparency, Responsibility & Trust Transparency, Responsibility & Trust

To work together Constituency and Sitting Members will have to communicate clearly and that will require a greater degree of transparency than has traditionally been the case with two or three major parties competing with each other and ignoring the representatives of other constituencies. Both Constituency and Sitting Members will have to honour whatever agreements they make, and otherwise deal responsibly, with each other. To function smoothly they will need to build and maintain trust with each other as a system in which the flow of Assigned Votes will be tracked and tabulated is also one that will reveal who is trusted and who isn’t.

An Aware and Active Citizenry + Delegated, Active & Effective Votes = Better Government An Aware and Active Citizenry + Delegated, Active & Effective Votes = Better Government

The increased political experience and skills of the Citizenry, their Candidates and their Representatives under an AR electoral system will substantially improve the ability of the body politic to govern itself. AR’s DAEV component will ensure that the body politic has a clear view of which of the Citizenry’s various needs, interests and desires have sufficient general support for the Governing Body to act on. AR’s open Citizenry/Constituency Member/Sitting Member communication channel plus the fluidity of the Delegated Vote assignments, and re-assignments, will require higher degrees of transparency, responsibility and trust between those three levels of the body politic than can be achieved under the much more adversarial FPTP either PR systems. A better informed, more active and more politically skilled body politic with the means to clearly and effectively express its wishes will inevitably command better governance.

Fulfilling the democratic ideal Fulfilling the democratic ideal

One Person One Vote delegated, active and effective for the full life of each Governing Body will create better government than has ever before been possible.

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Copyright © 2017 Bill Hanson for the Absolute Representation Electoral System