With regards to computer entry, AEC always enters every vote on their computer system and that is what determines the result. Doing an election night manual count would give enough information from 1st and 2nd preferences to predict a PLERS result.
The chapter I am currently writing uses PLERS Simplified for political elections, which simplifies the count process. For Reps elections 1st pref gets a 1.0, 2nd 0.9, 3rd 0.8, etc till the 11th and all subsequent getting zero (0.0). It’s a simple process, you just add up the vote value and rank the candidates.
Senate is a little more complex but follows similar lines.
John, I have clearly documented how Preferential Voting (PV) can overcome the shortcomings of First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) voting – in BOTH single member electorates and in Proportional Representation systems such as you advocate. You correctly say that PR would make life easier for the voters, the AEC, and government, but then you say “as far as fairness is concerned – [PR] is unbeatable”. The fact is PR does not guarantee a fair count and I have proved this with examples, and proved that Preferential Voting beats PR in fairness.
I have clearly demonstrated clear numerical examples how the PR system you advocate can get it WRONG, but that those problems can be reduced by adding Preferential Voting and, better still, even totally eliminated by counting the votes via DPAP. DCAP/DPAP totally eliminates the problems of electing Parties or Candidates contrary to voters’ collective preferences. Without PV PR totally ignore everything except first preferences and that risks unfair results.
DPAP is the ONLY guaranteed fair vote counting method that allow you, John, to vote only for the party you want, while allowing others to use full or partial or split preferential voting as they see fit, and yet every vote still carries exactly the same value. The Borda Count comes close, but can’t handle partial preferential voting. PLERS comes closer, but it does NOT handle partial preferential voting fairly because it does not count partial preferential votes linearly – unless Erik has changed his system to overcome that fault since I pointed it out some months ago in this forum.
DCAP facilitates high security against electoral fraud. It suits transparent block-chain security with a complete audit trail from paper ballot paper and/or electronic screen voting all the way from polling booth to final declaration. Being totally linear, the results from different polling places, as extremely small digital files, are easily and instantly aggregated as highly secure digital files that are very difficult to alter because they can be checked against the individual votes retained in the polling place machines. The fact that voting machine fraud is widespread in some countries simply highlights the need for legislation for machines and procedures to be rigidly controlled. As outlined in links given previously, individual voters can choose to receive anonymous receipts showing their actual vote as scanned and/or as approved on screen, that they can the check that their vote was actually correctly recorded and counted. Further, the online semi-real-time output summaries from individual polling stations can be made transparent to the media, public, candidates and parties. All this make voting fraud difficult and auditing easy.
The fact is DCAP/DPAP can fix PR’s serious fault that it can give parties more seats than they deserve – as I have documented. So, your claim that: “(The Israeli system) is a fair system” is clearly not necessarily true. Also, while “Voters would be very reluctant to vote for a party that could form a coalition with a party they despise. (and) Pre-election promises about forming coalitions are usually widely known and adhered to,” there are plenty of Israeli and Kiwi voters, who despair over parties and candidates betraying their trust – plus Aussie voters betrayed where promised policies are ignored etc.
While traditional Preferential Vote counting is a slow error-prone process because candidates are eliminated and preferences distributed (often more than 100 times in a mathematically chaotic process with numerous unpredictable tipping points) DPAP requires no time-wasting sifting through preferences. DPAP never distributes preferences – but all preferences are taken into account fairly. DPAP never “eliminates” any Candidate or Party in the count, all are accurately rated into a hierarchy. Everything is decided in a quick efficient linear manner.
In summary, if you want to guarantee a fair and just level playing field, then Preferential Voting using DPAP’s fair counting system is required in a Proportional Representation system, even when voting for a large number of representatives. While voters wanting to ensure a fair and just result need to fill in more preferences, voters have the option to vote as little or much as they choose and all votes are counted equally.
Preferential voting for multiple seats in a single electorate using proportional representation (PR), would not achieve much at all. There would hardly be any difference in outcome compared to voting for a single candidate.
I agree that PR is difficult to achieve. It would require a constitutional change in Australia. I do not agree that it is difficult to implement. It would make life easier for the voters, the AEC, and government. And as far as fairness is concerned – it is unbeatable.
I do think your PLERS is a fairer system, compared to existing preferential voting and other alternatives. However, it requires a spreadsheet to process results. The existing system has a method that can be counted manually by stacking and eliminating votes in a process that is easily checked and monitored – by people. It is slow, but traceable.
Your method (PLERS) requires data-entry into a spreadsheet – which I guarantee you is a much slower and error-prone process. Preferably this would be done on 3 spreadsheets simultaneously, so that the results can be compared. If they don’t match – start again. If you were to combine PLERS with voting for multiple seats in a single electorate using proportional representation, i.e. all of Australia in a federal election, you would also have to combine spreadsheets from regional counting centres in a country-wide spreadsheet. Another error-prone level of complexity. Mistakes are inevitable and voters would lose confidence. I foresee very long wait times before election results are confirmed. PLERS would be OK if we got the input for the spreadsheets directly from a voting machine. However voting machines are not allowed in Australia – and I agree with that. It is too easy to manipulate – as is the merging of spreadsheets.
Forgive me for my opinion, but I still dislike any form of preferential voting – even PLERS, because it is simply too complex and achieves nothing in a PR system.
1. This is not my system. This is a system used in many countries, Israel among others, as you have stated. The Israeli system does create a complex of parties with – in our eyes – ‘unstable’ governments. The parties and their policies are a direct reflection of the diverse opinions of the citizens of Israel. It is a fair system. Sometimes this means failures to govern, and a re-election is required. But when it works – it works very well.
2. I retract my ‘THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE’. It is possible, though extremely unlikely. Your example states a party with 30% of the vote may be considered by 51 to 70% of the voters to be the worst possible choice. Well then, the parties these ‘51 to 70%’ voted for can form a coalition. But realistically, the opinions of voters are reflected in the parties they vote for – otherwise why vote for them. No party would form a coalition with a party that has alienated itself from more than 50% of the voters. Voters would be very reluctant to vote for a party that could form a coalition with a party they despise. Pre-election promises about forming coalitions are usually widely known and adhered to. Theoretically it can happen – but in practice it hardly ever does, and when it happens the government does not last long – and a re-election is required – like in Israel.
Preferential voting is simply not required in a proportional representation system when voting for a large group of representatives. We do not have to sift through preferences per regional seat to determine a winner per seat. We just vote for one candidate by ticking his name on a list. If party X has 30% of the vote – they get 30% of the seats – fair and transparent. And simple to count.