Why random ballot is a good idea

I mentioned in the previous post that I now thought that random ballot was a genuinely good idea for electing your house of representatives. It occurred to me that I have never actually said why in a concise form. So this post is a list of awesome things about using random ballot in this way.

  1. It provides a very strong form of proportional representation. If x% of the votes go to a candidate with a given property, the expected percentage of elected candidates with that property is x%. This property can be “party”, in which case we get something like traditional PR, but it can also be things like “opinion on this specific issue”, age, race or gender
  2. It is empowering: Your vote always counts, no matter where you live. It is literally impossible for you to be disenfranchised by your constituency (this isn’t quite true in that voter turnout in your constituency affects exactly how much your vote is likely to affect the result, but it’s pretty near)
  3. There is no spoiler effect: If candidate A steals votes from candidate B then while the probability of B being elected goes down, the probability of one of A or B being elected remains constant. An interesting consequence of this is that parties are free to run multiple candidates in a single seat
  4. It is continuous: Small changes in opinion produce small changes in results. This prevents parties gaining a lot of power with very little change of mandate
  5. It is sensitive: Small changes in opinion do produce small changes in results (well, result probabilities) rather than having no effect. This allows gradual changes over time much more easily and stops you getting stuck in a rut

That is all I can think of at the moment. I’m sure I’m missing some. I’ll add more as I think of them.

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