Jan 4, 2011

CO: Libertarians Make the Case for Approval and Score Voting

Colorado Libertarians are among the most vocal proponents of approval and score voting in the United States.  At the Blue Carp blog, David K. Williams, Jr., the State Chairman for the Libertarian Party of Colorado, often advocates the implementation of approval voting as superior to both instant run-off and plurality.  The Libertarian Party candidate for governor of Colorado in 2010, Jaimes Brown, is an outspoken proponent of the method, which he discussed in an interview with TPID last August.  Now, via Ari Armstrong comes a short Youtube interview with Frank Atwood, in which the former Libertarian candidate for State Representative in Colorado makes a pitch for approval voting.  Armstrong writes: "While I was skeptical of approval voting at first, Atwood convinced me that it's a good idea -- even better than the "instant runoff voting" I've previously praised."  Video:


DLW said...

but wdn't 3-seated PR state assembly elections be their best bet for getting elected as a 3rd party candidate with inevitably a smaller base of dedicated voters and less institutional and financial support?


Ross Levin said...

Those don't address the problem of how to elect people to executive positions.

Anonymous said...

And, indeed, proportional representation would be hard to obtain in the US without first escaping duopoly as a prerequisite. That's something that Score Voting and Approval Voting seem quite likely to do.


DLW said...

Ross, It is not necessary for third party folks to get their candidates elected in single-member elections for them to play a constructive role in our polity, moving the center and making the two major parties accommodate them on their key issues.

BL, Your statement is 100% true in terms of the prospects for the use of an EU-style proportional representation election system in the US. But that isn't what I'm pushing for... And there is a precedent for success! The US adopted the use of 3-seated assembly elections in Illinois in 1870 without needing AV/SV or any better election rule than FPTP.

My case is based on the notion that I argue for in my paper, "Towards a Winner-Doesn't-Take-All Electoral System". I argue for the advocacy of the only third-party friendly proportional representation election rule that works almost exactly like FPTP. I also set it up so that it's use would decentralize influence, not power. This is crucial in terms of getting electoral reform in a system with a duopoly. Instead of decrying duopoly, I focus on how our current system tends to tilt to effective (at best) contested monopoly. My proposed reform would make the US's duopoly more robust by preventing either major party from dominating our state governments. This stems from how local third party state representatives would determine which of the major parties is in power in the state assembly. Local third parties that only need like ten percent of the vote to win a seat would not need as much party machinery or hierarchy. This immunizes them against corruption or the influence of $peech. Thus, the bigger major party in a state (The Democrats in CA, the Republicans in TX) would not be able to secure its control of the state assembly. And if major intere$t$ need to hedge between the two major parties to ensure their intere$t$ get more-or-less protected in the state assembly that would entail greater parity in campaign funds, which would make other single-seated elections(regardless of which election rule is used) would become more competitive. This would have an additional feedback or multiplier effect in stabilizing duopoly.

And when there's a stable duopoly, the de facto center tends to be more dynamic and smaller third parties more easily influence outcomes by virtue of their ability to play the two major parties off of each other in elections.

I think those are goals that libertarians(and most other non-extremists third parties) ought to care about.