Scientific method of elections.pdf
The following chapters are based on writings from the previous quarter century and stem from earlier work, whose ideas had their origin in
my student years, nearly half a century ago. They are edited, augmented and up-dated from pages on my Democracy Science web-site,
since the turn of the millennium.
Book one, in the Democracy Science series, was “Peace-making Power-sharing.” This second book has more on electoral research, as
well as electoral reform, tho the difference is only one of emphasis. Indeed, book 1 ends with my first surviving scientific paper on voting
methods, from 1981 (over a third of a century ago, and in French).
But for the accident of being obliged to study the subject, in my youth, my mind-set confirmed “research, which shows that people think
very little about electoral systems.”
This might explain why there is such a confusion of different voting methods in the world.
However, the commission, “changed voting changed politics,” I’ve just quoted from, doesn’t come to this conclusion at all.
They say: To seek a perfect system that will achieve all legitimate objectives at all times and in all circumstances is to chase a rainbow.
You might as well say that theoretical science, which seeks to pick out right from wrong explanations, is just such chasing a rainbow. The
search for a universally valid voting method began in the French Enlightenment, followed by the British philosophical radicals. I prefaced this
book by quoting a categorical statement that there is a generally applicable voting method, even naming it “the HG Wells formula,” amongst
any number of wrong methods, offering ineffective choices.
The pioneering Australian electoral reformer, Catherine Helen Spence called this general method “effective voting,” which shows she saw
the essence of the problem and its solution.
Today, a disproportionate number of experts, considering its limited use in political elections, do favour essentially this system. Tho, the
majority of academics do not.
Richard Feynman observed that there is a lot of disagreement in sciences that haven’t advanced very far.
Election science is in so primitive a state that it can only agree to disagree. Part of the problem is the novice belief that it is sophisticated to
regard the universal standards of science, with respect to voting method, as chasing rainbows.
Thus, academe has legitimised the anarchy of voting methods in the world, as the best of all possible worlds. Dr Pangloss is the election
For a century or more, partisan special interests have resisted the expression of the public interest by effective voting. A small sample of
this immense problem is given in the first three chapters. The subordination of the truth about election methods to partisan advantage is
rarely far away from any discussion of the subject.
The next two chapters on scientific method of elections are my attempts to put across the basics of the subject, following the widely
accepted logic of measurement to establish right voting method. This neglected approach (of mine) I’ve supplemented with philosophy of
science, on lessons from successful investigations.
In the following section, the quality of the British reports depended on whether or not they were truly independent, as well as their terms of
The Plant report was an internal Labour Party document that anticipated the above-mentioned point of view of the commission to over-see
changed voting, established by an ensuing Labour government.
Also set up by the Labour government, the Jenkins commission allegedly had been given power to recommend a voting reform for the
national parliament. It was also supposed to be independent but, behind-the-scenes, there was an effective veto of effective voting. Like
some show trial, the verdict had been reached in advance: a system nobody used, nobody asked-for, and nobody really wanted.
The Kerley report and the Sunderland report on local elections in Scotland and Wales were not directly under the national government, and
decided for effective voting. As did the Richard report for elections to the Welsh assembly. The latter was over-ruled by Westminster. This
probably made the Arbuthnott report more diffident towards effective voting for the Scottish parliament, tho they did recommend it for
Scottish Euro-elections, in conformity with its introduction to Scottish local elections, on the recommendation of the Kerley report.
The Power report, chaired by Helena Kennedy, had much to say about the disaffection with politics, and even ventured a remark favorable
to effective voting. The House of Lords debate showed that its findings were not sufficient to burst “the Westminster bubble”of
complacency towards the public mood about politics.
The final section is in two parts. Firstly, the pioneers: speeches and letters on parliamentary representation by John Stuart Mill. Plus a