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Re: [Membership] Could this actually be the horse? I.e. the answer?

On Thu, 11 Feb 1999, Eric Weisberg wrote:
> I do not think I have gotten my points on cumulative
> voting/proportionate representation/STV across to anyone.
> [snip]
> Isn't the opposite true--that cumulative voting mechanisms
> such as STV solve the "class" issue "naturally," and
> dynamically?

	I haven't been following this debate as closely as I'd like, and I
confess I don't understand STV, but I do understand simple cumulative
voting, and it seems to me that Eric's got an excellent point.  (Review:
In a bare-bones cumulative voting scheme, each voter might get nine votes,
and could then decide whether to cast one vote for each of nine
candidates, or nine votes for a single candidate, or four votes for one
and five for another, or whatever.)

	Such an approach would address one of the major flaws of
constituency voting schemes.  Constituency plans (say, requiring the
residents of each geographical region to vote for "their"  representative)
are problematic in that they incorporate a set of static, top-down
decisions as to where voters' bonds of common interest are, which may or
may not coincide with the voters' own preferences. Under cumulative
voting, by contrast, a South Asian Linux user can decide for himself if he
wants to cast his nine votes for the candidate running as a representative
of South Asians or the candidate running as a representative of Linux
users, and either way -- if enough of his fellow group members do the same
-- he has a shot at getting his representative on the Board.  (Yes, I
know voter interests aren't really going to cleave along operating-system
lines; it's just an illustration.)

	It seems to me that there are real advantages, in other words, to
using cumulative voting when you need to elect a multi-member board from a
voting population heterogeneous along zillions of different axes --
potentially, it enables the Board to represent that diversity without the
need to define "classes" at all.  Am I missing something?


Jonathan Weinberg
Associate Professor of Law
Wayne State University