New Hamshire Approval Voting Bill Hearing


Video I found of a hearing on new Hampshire’s approval voting bill of 2019 (HB505):

The hearing from 3 years ago went a lot better probably because CES peeps who actually knew what they were talking about were there. Hopefully CES can find some people to attend the next hearing on Feb 5 (I think).


This is the fourth time the AV bill has been submitted. It did best the first time in 2011, because there were friendly state reps on the Election Law Committee. In 2016 at the open committee hearing there was too much talk about how AV would help third parties, not enough about how it would benefit the major parties. Yes, CES’ Jameson Quinn came to that hearing. The 2018 AV bill was introduced by a state rep who had been elected as a Republican but switched to the Libertarian Party–toxic. However, at least he, like the previous prime sponsors, had got co-sponsors from the other parties. This time around, the prime sponsor, a Republican, is alone on the bill, and the House has gone majority Democrat. There is a competing IRV bill, sponsored by a Democrat, with 5 cosponsors, all Democrats, and Lawrence Lessig testified:
For whatever reason, the AV sponsor and AV advocates failed to coordinate, and we’ve ended up again with spaghetti thrown against the wall, failing to stick, while IRV has gained mindshare.


Approval Voting for multiwinner elections is not good as is. A slight Democratic majority can win all three seats.

Although reweighted approval may be reasonable.


Would it be an issue though? Most people would be fine if the majority wins all the seats; not like they’re out there advocating for PR currently.


Ironically this came from someone named “Asset Voting Advocacy”…


My liking of Asset notwithstanding, most people in local elections (City Council) probably aren’t looking for minority representation on the legislative side. In my experience, most people dismiss the merits of PR unless it’s for national legislatures, and I don’t think anyone should hold themselves back for fear of a pro-PR backlash from voters angry with the bill :stuck_out_tongue:


If you wanted to do PR in New Hampshire, you’d have to get rid of the (quite large) differences in the number of seats elected per district for the House. The number of reps per district ranges from 1 to 11 seats.


Is there any way to not do this without using weighted representation? One district with 3 representatives could have each representatives’ vote count as an equal percentage of the district as a percentage of the whole of NH’s population, and thus be equal to a district with 11 reps. Asset seems the easiest way to do that, though.


Well, I am assuming that the district with 11 reps has 11 times more people than a single member district. But there’s an obvious advantage to having areas composed mainly of your opponents’ supporters be in large multiwinner districts, and having areas with your supporters be in single-winner districts.


I’ve been wondering how much a “centrist” /consensual voting method can stop this. If your supporters have to compromise in that single-winner district with opponents, they may start clamoring for a “pure” representative for their side, and the other’s. Consensus matters.


That won’t be enough. The problem is that if map makers can make some areas use PR but other areas not use PR, it’s just another tool for gerrymandering. If minority representation is only afforded to supporters of one party, then it defeats the whole purpose of PR.
As an example: you have two homogeneous regions of equal population. In one region, Party A supporters outnumber Party B supporters 3:1. In the other region, it’s the other way around. The first region is divided into 4 single winner districts, all won by Party A. The second region is one district that elects 4 members using PR. So Party B gets 3 seats and Party A gets one seat. In total, Party A gets 5 seats and Party B gets 3, even though they had the same number of supporters.


But 4/5 of Party A’s seats are filled with consensus-seeking members; they’re the product of a compromise between the 75% of A supporters and 25% of B supporters. So on certain issues, they’ll have to vote with Party B to keep their seats, which would (largely) restore parity. And with the clamor that inevitably comes when some have PR but others don’t, it’s only a matter of time for PR to be implemented everywhere. The key is that issues are uncoupled; to use the A-B binary, you have to assume real-life voters can be split in two, three, or even four partitions on all issues. A consensual method seeks to find the most satisfactory stance on each individual issue, and then “compromise” to make sure the implementation of the stances don’t conflict. This is how Asset might be modeled (“I’ll give you the cigarette tax if you can be a reliable vote against sales taxes”), and I see no reason why you couldn’t think of other methods the same way.


Most single winner methods allow a majority to force victory regardless of what the remaining voters do. Any method that doesn’t must either treat voters or candidates unequally or become a guessing game (think Borda). By a guessing game, I mean that if the electorate is divided into a majority faction which is trying to force the election of one of their own and a minority faction that is trying to prevent it, in some cases the majority faction’s best strategy must depend on guessing what the other voters will do.


True, but only if the majority is united on all issues - they practically never are in real life. When the majority is “divided” on various issues, that gives room for various factions, majorities, and minorities to develop when considering who should win on each individual issue.