Wanted: Voter Equality in the Outcome!
We have the right to vote, but do our votes also translate into our representatives?
More than 99% of voters can directly point to the person they voted for in nations with proportional representation? In the United States only about 60% of all voters can point to the specific representative they voted for themselves — and 40% of the voters cannot, because on average that's how many people voted for a loser in district elections. In our nation, it is considered okay for 2 out of every 5 voters to not be represented by their choice. Only the process is based on equality; the outcome is not.
Democracy is based on representation. But some folks in the past decided that our democracy should not be based on representation, but on a game of representation. They wanted our democracy be based on something like basketball. No surprise then that our system of winner-takes-all is based on TALL folks ending up playing the only political game we have.
The two voting systems — winner-takes-all and proportional voting — are different already when there are just two seats in total.
In district elections, a candidate winning a seat is based on voters delivering this person just one more vote than the runner-up received. This guarantees that 50.01% of the voters get their choice of representation. Whether there are two districts or eleven doesn't matter: Each district guarantees — with this minimum being 50.01 percent— that a majority receives its representation. And it prevents a minority of up to 49.99 percent in each district an actual seat at the table.
In proportional elections, shown to the right in the image repeated below, no preventing forces are at work. Unlike winner-takes-all, the two seats are not voted for in separate districts, but are voted for at the same time within a single overall election. In proportional voting, voters get to vote just once for a single candidate.
In proportional voting, candidate number one can secure a seat with as little as 33.3 percent of the votes. Number two can also get a seat with as little as 33.3 percent of the votes. With 66.67 percent of the voters, two out of three voters are guaranteed that their candidates represent them at the table of decision makers in a system of full representation.
This is just a simple systematic delivery. But please realize that a winner-taking-all system (shown to the left) creates a much stronger resentment than the proportional delivery shown to the right. Being angry about politicians (or worse, having folks start to fight each other when the election result is really close and there is so much at stake) is more common in a situation of winners-taking-all than in nations where all voters are represented according to their actual votes. Of course, presidential elections are always winner-takes-all, and never proportional, and they can potentially cause the greatest anxiety of them all.
If San Francisco had proportional voting, and kept like today eleven seats on the Board of Supervisors, the guarantee to voters would be 11/12th of the voting population: 91.67%. That would then be a guarantee extremely close to 100% of the votes.
Today, however, the level of guaranteed voter representation in San Francisco is just 50.01%, because San Francisco has winners-taking-all elections (and despite its fling with changing its electoral system, San Francisco never had proportional voting).
Sign the petition for proportional voting at the local level if you are against limited voter representation.
A very interesting aspect is that the 14th Amendment of our Constitution prescribes equality before the law, yet our district voting system is not based on equality. As the words winner-takes-all clearly show, the personal choice who should represent a voter is far less important than what the collective in our segregated districts decide. The individual voice is deemed less important than the collective voice of all people in a district. We should have proportional elections based on equality before the law as the Constitution proclaims, and it looks like we can get it at the local levels. This is the legal aspect of our struggle to receive Equal Representation.
The elections for both the Federal and the State levels are probably out of sight, since they are also prescribed in the Constitution in such a manner that they have the legal wiggle room to not provide equality; the Senate is a good example — described in the Constitution — with each state no matter their number of voters receiving two seats.
Still, for the local levels of City and County no such restriction of our rights is given, and the 14th Amendment is the only prescribed rule that sets therefore the minimum requirement for local elections. From this, it logically follows that we should have local elections with each person casting one vote for a single representative for the entire board or council. Because, right now, only 50%+ of the voters get all the seats.
Read more about this visual.
Sign the petition for proportional voting where you live if you want the much desired change to begin today, and if you believe the local levels of City and County must already be organized according to the Constitutional prescription of equality before the law. Or, read more about economic outcomes that differ among the various political systems in the world.
"Two very different ideas are usually confounded under the name democracy. The pure idea of democracy, according to its definition, is the government of the whole people by the whole people, equally represented. Democracy as commonly conceived and hitherto practiced is the government of the whole people by a mere majority of the people, exclusively represented. The former is synonymous with the equality of all citizens; the latter, strangely confounded with it, is a government of privilege, in favor of the numerical majority, who alone possess practically any voice in the State. This is the inevitable consequence of the manner in which the votes are now taken, to the complete disfranchisement of minorities."
—John Stuart Mill, Representative Government, 1861
In nations with the other electoral system there are no losers, and all voters have the political freedom to choose and be represented by the specific person and party of their own choice; freedom of choice is what makes their politicians listen much better to the voters. We on the other hand select together — collectively — between winner and runner up, and a person more accurately described as an ambassador becomes our representative. The other voters from around the world can vote based on their individual wishes and beliefs; we vote in a district as a collective. Didn't we learn in school that our nation was the most individualistic in the world!
A system of proportional representation,
established by lawyer/mathematician Victor D'Hondt in 1882, realized proposals already made by Thomas Jefferson in 1792. The calculations are based on a simple algorithm that dispenses
seats according to the voters' wishes. Others
in other nations enjoy these fruits of labor, but we are kept from
truly all getting our own representatives in California or the United States. A basic color copier
contains more colors already than our political system.
The system to the left is the one we use to
select our representatives, and while it may be strong in some respects, it delivers
tell-tale shortfalls in other specific fields that do get addressed in other nations using the system of full representation to the right; we therefore invite
you to join us in making our politicians work for all of us again.
Proportional elections in specific make equality go hand in hand with our own democratic ideals, something currently not available to us. Isn't it true that many of us, and not just the more outspoken parts of our nation,
but also the silent majority, have voiced dissatisfaction with the
political outcomes even when our own candidates won the elections?
Many people realize that, despite the world famous economic freedoms
of the United States, we are stuck in a political two-dimensional
system with a limited choice.
Just red and blue may appear colorful and special together, but just two colors never deliver the
real full-color prints.
Many voters receive nothing after they cast their vote. Even
people voting for second best all end up empty-handed. Also, no practical
alternatives are available in the voting booth next to the
two top candidates because it takes a majority — often translating
into obstacles such as money and influence — to win a seat.
After the election the single winner takes all. The difference could not be more obvious: in winner-takes-all the pie is divvied up beforehand and you get to fight over a single piece of the pie, but in proportional elections you get to fight over how to divvy up the entire pie.
Local situation is worse
Locally, our choice is worse, for a true political monopoly exists
all across the nation with only one of the two parties in control
of the city or county for many years in a row. Have a look at Local
Party's Political Tour to find out more about the peculiar outcomes
of political systems, and read about the three basic differences in democracies: 2 party systems, 3 to 5 party systems, and fully proportional
In California, when
no longer satisfied with the local political outcomes, the only
way out is to pack up your things and move to a place where you can be in the majority. To make matters worse, third parties are
actually very active in our system: they are the many groups of
special interests of well-off entrepreneurs and strong local ad
hoc grassroots movements that seem to not have a problem
getting our politicians' attention. Special interest groups have
taken over the role we the people were supposed to
play in our democracy. Our organization, LocalParty.Org,
delivers various ways out and helps us voters get back in the political
seat. Citizens made a historic request on June 15, 2008 in San Francisco, followed by a similar request by citizens of Oakland on October 1, 2008.
Sign the petition for proportional voting where you live to let the change begin.
Are you politically
dissatisfied? Well — join the club!
The headquarters of
this political movement — LocalParty.Org — has three
goals. The first goal is to create successful independent local parties that immediately compete with the party that is in
control right now by cleverly mimicking their agenda, making the
politicians pay more attention because an alternative party now
exists. The second goal is to improve representation at the local
level for all by changing the local system as soon as we can: when
we achieve the majority of seats on city council or board of supervisors.
And the third goal is to educate all Californians about the severe
restrictions and limitations of the current winner-takes-all system,
and especially its monopolizing effects at the local level, because did you ever read in a paper or heard on tv why the other
systems are better? Have you ever received fair information comparing
our system to the various other ones? If you did, you will not be
amazed for one second about the electoral information we offer on
this site. Finally, joining the club does not cost you a dime: LocalParty.Org
does not charge you any fee because this is only the overall organization.
Local parties — and there may be one in your city or county already — are happy to get your help, financially or otherwise.
Take the Tour to discover what LocalParty.Org
has to offer, or find out by clicking the Engine
button how our district system of winner-takes-all diminishes the
voters' importance in the outcome. We are a democracy, but our color
prints are red and blue only.
us for equal representation at the local level!
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