Sunday, 25 January 2015

Weighted Voting


Weighted Voting

The idea of giving unequal weights to the several voting members of an assembly is not a new idea; rather it is an old idea that fell out of fashion. It was practiced by the Romans, in Germany pre-1870, and in Sweden, until 1918.[1]  In Britain, graduates of universities exercised a privileged extra voice in the House of Commons by a different mechanism, in that there were extra MPs elected only by graduates (wherever they might live) in addition to their constituency vote. Thus Oxford and Cambridge universities elected two members each until 1950. (Other English universities shared 2 Members between them, as did Scottish universities.)[2]  In all these cases the bias of the voting power of citizens or MPs was towards privileging certain classes at the expense of other classes. The present conception of democracy requires us to count each citizen as of the same value as every other, and these preferential biases have all been abolished.
The suggestion, recently beginning to be discussed, of Proportional Representation by Weighting Members [3,4] has the opposite objective. It recognizes that approximately half of the votes cast in British parliamentary elections are essentially wasted, in that they are not successful in electing an MP, and are therefore not represented in the House of Commons. It sees this wastage as contributing to the conclusion that voting is pointless, a conclusion that will be disastrous to democracy. The voting preferences (as to Party) of all those wasted votes are all known and it is a simple matter to take account of those preferences. The mechanism is discussed elsewhere [3,4].
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