Free State Project Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Planning the vote - can we have a 'Primary'?  (Read 5188 times)

DadELK68

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 233
Planning the vote - can we have a 'Primary'?
« on: January 23, 2003, 01:20:01 pm »

It's been ruled that the 2-state strategy won't be considered in the vote. I have another proposal.

Considering the different analyses and most of what I've read in people's postings, it seems that the list of 10 states (which was created based almost solely on statistical data) includes some which have relatively few supporters, and at some point it's reasonable to say that they have no chance of being selected.

Rather than diluting the vote with 10 options, it may be reasonable to consider a sort of 'primary' process - a vote at some point which would narrow the list of options to some smaller number. There are good reasons why political parties use this approach, and the FSP might benefit from it as well.

For example (and I don't intend any offense in this, but draw from the various analyses and discussions I've seen - I could be wrong in my observation), it might be argued that DE, ND and SD seem to have the least support. If supporters of these states vote for their states and have no realistic chance of winning, their second or third preference might have won had they voted for it - but in a 10-state field, a state which they have little or no interest in might be selected instead. Many supporters of the Dakotas might prefer WY, MT or AK, and many in DE (or VT or ME) might rank NH next - but in a 10-state field if Idaho wins a tight vote with an absolute minority, many more people will be disappointed and less likely to keep their commitment to move.

Understanding the objection to continuously modifying the plan, I would argue that this might actually help in recruitment and result in stronger support for the eventual Free State. Psychologically it makes sense that more people will be more willing to actually follow through and move to a state for which they voted.

Imagine this scenario - FSP voters in states A through J all vote, and each state gets a certain number of votes. The five with the lowest vote totals are dropped - and their supporters are disappointed, but most continue being committed to the movement and turn their efforts to promoting their next favorite state for the final vote, to be held a few months later. Their initial emotional investment to their first state can be transferred to their next choice, and the final vote selects the state which does, in fact, have the greatest chance of success.

How many should be on the list? It seems reasonable to have the primary vote and then take the top 3-4 for an eventual run-off final vote.

If this is reasonable, I would also argue that the primary vote should be done at the 5,000 member threshold, and the final vote either a few months later or at some higher threshold. Why? Because the primary vote, the narrowing of the field, is something which might generate a little more press coverage - and this, combined with fewer possible choices, will also likely lead to more successful recruiting in the months to follow.
Logged

bakedchip

  • FSP Participant
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 25
Re:Planning the vote - can we have a 'Primary'?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2003, 02:18:46 pm »

Please read the Voting Methods Report posted at http://www.freestateproject.org/votingmethods.htm for information about the vote - this will address some of your concerns.  Voters will be able to list their preferences when they vote for the free state.  If someone likes, say, SD, they can vote for it first and after that list their 2nd, 3rd, etc. preference as well.

- Chip
Logged

JasonPSorens

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5706
  • Neohantonum liberissimum erit.
    • My Homepage
Re:Planning the vote - can we have a 'Primary'?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2003, 03:09:30 pm »

Yep, Condorcet's Method renders a "primary" round superfluous and ensures that no vote is wasted, no matter what state you put first.
Logged
"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

Robert H.

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1361
  • Jeffersonian
    • Devolution USA
Re:Planning the vote - can we have a 'Primary'?
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2003, 01:48:06 am »

Rather than the FSP committee doing the narrowing, perhaps a primary would be seen as a more democratic way of doing it. And perhaps it could be done before 5,000 since the narrowing by the FSP commitee would have been done before 5,000. It would have been done before now if there had not been such a ruckus over keeping some favorite states in.  Your primary idea gets around those objections.

Holding a state "primary" now could be quite useful in terms of narrowing our list down to the best choices and allowing members to focus on researching and debating those states for the final vote.  And there's nothing in the participation guidelines that spells out how many states must be on the final ballot, so it doesn't look like we'd have an issue there.

Also, this could be valuable experience in terms of preparing for the final vote and working kinks out of the system (resolving disputes, etc) so that things go more smoothly for the main event.  We're just about halfway to the final voting membership number as it is, so this would be a natural time to do something like this.  We'd have established precedents to use in dealing with any issues, and probably a representative sampling of what the membership is thinking as well.

The primary would not even have to be a state by state vote so much as just a category placement.  "In the interest of narrowing down the current ten FSP candidate states so that we may focus on the very best states for liberty, please tell us which five (or six - whatever) states you believe should be considered on the final ballot."  The board could then take up the issue of whether or not to abide by the results and narrow the field.

There could be many potential benefits:

  • Working through logistical issues and disputes now would leave us (both leaders and members) better equipped and confident for the state vote.
  • We'd have a narrower field of better candidate states to concentrate on in determining which is truly best for liberty.
  • A majority determining which states should make it to the final ballot would lessen the chances for more disruptive, PR-damaging disputes or splits following the actual state vote as the final states would be more acceptable to a larger number of members.
  • Involving the membership in such an exercise now could excite them to recruit others to reach 5,000 as soon as possible (with more states that a majority find unacceptable eliminated from contention).
  • It's another significant press release/recruitment opportunity: "FSP narrows down candidate states to a final..."


One letter (or e-mail) from Jason with a listing of the candidate states at the bottom and a request to fill in five or six blanks would do it.  If cost is an issue, send out an e-mail letting people now how much it would cost to do it and requesting the funds if they're interested.  Again, it might be a way to get more members excited and involved.

DadELK68

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 233
Re:Planning the vote - can we have a 'Primary'?
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2003, 07:57:40 am »

Jason wrote:

"Yep, Condorcet's Method renders a "primary" round superfluous and ensures that no vote is wasted, no matter what state you put first."

I disagree - I've seen two major (and many minor, of course) splits in the discussion which I think raise some concern and may justify considering some sort of primary/narrowing process. The first is the East vs West, the other is the Rural/Remote vs, well, less rural/remote.

With ten choices, including 4 Eastern states (of which it might be argued that VT and ME are the closest to rural/remote, with parts of NH), 3 Western/Rockies states (of which WY seems most favored by the Rural/Remote side and ID seems most favored by the other side) and the Dakotas and Alaska (more likely to be favored by the Rural/Remote side, but from what I've seen Alaska seems to be the most avidly promoted of these three), each person gets to rank three states, right?

This means that if, in the West vs East split, the group favoring West predominates, then those preferring East who may vote straight-up three Eastern states and lose - so that their preference in the remote vs populated split isn't registered in deciding which Western state wins. Similarly, if the group favoring East predominates, then those preferring Remote West but willing to consider Rural East may vote for something like WY, MT and AK - but if they knew the vote was leaning toward the East they might prefer to rank VT or ME.

In other words, Condorcet's Method will be most appropriate if the field is narrowed to 4-5 choices before the final vote.

Imagine that the primary process narrows the field to (again, please don't focus on my choice of examples) something like NH, ME or VT, WY, MT and ID. Remember, psychologically it makes sense that people will be more likely to follow through and move to a place they actually voted for, even if it is their lowest-ranking choice.

In this group of five you have Eastern Rural (ME/VT), Eastern Populated (NH), Western Rural (WY>MT) and Western Populated (ID - at least, to a larger extent than the other Western states on the list). Then, those preferring West over East could vote for three Western states, but if they prefer more rural/smaller population then they have the option of including ME/VT rather than ID. Similarly, those preferring East over West but willing to consider a more populated Western state might rank the two Eastern states first and put ID third.

With 10 states, the likely outcome is that one state will win with a relatively small percentage of the total vote. With 4-5 states, a larger percentage of people will be voting for each state, and votes won't be 'wasted' on states which have no realistic chance of being selected - therefore each vote will mean more, having greater impact on which state is the best choice, being more representative of what the participants actually want.
Logged

Kelton

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 604
  • el resplandor de las llamas de la libertad
Re:Planning the vote - can we have a 'Primary'?
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2003, 08:30:11 am »

With 10 states, the likely outcome is that one state will win with a relatively small percentage of the total vote. With 4-5 states, a larger percentage of people will be voting for each state, and votes won't be 'wasted' on states which have no realistic chance of being selected - therefore each vote will mean more, having greater impact on which state is the best choice, being more representative of what the participants actually want.
If we assume that everyone votes rationally or at least at-the-margin of expectations based on real research, it seems that there are a few states that will naturally receive the least votes, chief among them being Maine, which seems least do-able based on the criteria popular among thinkers around here.  

I support the idea of a primary, in theory; however, I realize that the expense, the time and effort involved, not to mention another change in the statement of intent and the possibility of breaking-up our momentum and confusing people make me place my hope in the idea that people will be voting rationally and be doing their due dilligence in the matter.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2003, 08:33:11 am by exitus »
Logged
. . .the foundations of our national policy should be laid in private morality. If individuals be not influenced by moral principles, it is in vain to look for public virtue --The U.S. Senate's reply to George Washington's first inaugural address

JasonPSorens

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5706
  • Neohantonum liberissimum erit.
    • My Homepage
Re:Planning the vote - can we have a 'Primary'?
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2003, 09:22:21 am »

each person gets to rank three states, right?

No, each person gets to rank all 10 states, so the rest of your analysis does not follow. ;)
Logged
"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

JasonPSorens

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5706
  • Neohantonum liberissimum erit.
    • My Homepage
Re:Planning the vote - can we have a 'Primary'?
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2003, 12:06:33 pm »

Robert - I think your summary of the issues involved in having a first round is a good one.  There would be several desirable features of doing such a vote, and I don't think it would require a change in the Guidelines - though if some people viewed it as a very significant deviation from the spirit of the Project, that would be a problem.  The most significant problem facing such a primary round is cost.  The mailing we're sending out this month will cost a couple thousand bucks and has taken almost two months to put together.  A primary round would require the same expense, which is about the cost of three major ads.  So it's a tradeoff.  I would recommend holding off on testing the waters for such a vote until we've undertaken more of our publicity efforts coming up (VT appearance, CA appearance, more ads in Reason, Liberty, & LP News, NJ appearance).  I would say that at the beginning of March we will have a good feel for whether we've regained our momentum and will be reaching 5,000 by the end of the summer as we were expecting about a month and a half ago.  If so, then a primary round is unnecessary, because it will be just a short time until the real thing.  But if it looks as if the real vote will be a year off, the primary round starts to look good.

Just thought of this...Another point to consider is that in any primary round, we would likely want to use approval vote: that is, simply ask people to list the states they want to be eliminated, and the four that get the most mentions will be eliminated.  As Elizabeth pointed out once, using approval vote would essentially be the same as looking at people's opt-outs.  Thus, if we wanted to do this, maybe we could avoid all the expense of a vote by simply looking at the states that have been most often opted out of & eliminating those.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2003, 12:09:23 pm by JasonPSorens »
Logged
"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

JasonPSorens

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5706
  • Neohantonum liberissimum erit.
    • My Homepage
Re:Planning the vote - can we have a 'Primary'?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2003, 01:04:59 pm »

So what is the answer?
Is it just ranking them 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. and tying those you have no preference for? Then do the vote counters just add up the numbers?

Yep, that's all the 'average voter' needs to know.  But I think most FSP members aren't average voters, and they want to know how & why Condorcet works, so the above links do that for them.
Logged
"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

Zxcv

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1229
Re:Planning the vote - can we have a 'Primary'?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2003, 01:21:35 pm »

Geez, do we have to go through this churn again?  :(

This stuff makes me think everyone is searching for that one little trick that will give their state an edge.

Folks, I don't know how FSP can be any more fair than it already is. You have opt-outs - use them. Strategic voting has been beat back if not eliminated. Let's just stick with the program, eh?

Condorcet is not too hard for our voters to understand. All they have to do is rank their choices.

I don't like it that non-viable states like Maine are in the mix, either. But I just have to trust the membership to do the right thing (and trust the best arguments to come out here so they can do the right thing). And there are always the opt-outs for me, if I even can reach the state of being an actual member (not an option for me for "spousal" reasons at the moment) by the time the vote comes up.

Let's keep it simple, stick to our knitting doing state research, and leave the vote as it is.

Logged

DadELK68

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 233
Re:Planning the vote - can we have a 'Primary'?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2003, 04:30:44 pm »

DadELK68,
You seem to be very passionate about these issues you have discussed here. From what I read, I think you are quite intelligent, and bring valuable experience to this forum; however, I think it would serve you well to spend some time going back on some of these discussions where these issues have already been discussed and even thoroughly tortured already.  The Yabb system is not the easiest to use and it would be nice if the threads were more organized to avoid  such a huge learning curve for beginners, but not to worry, most around here are a tolerant lot, I still stay around despite having made some embarassing comments several times.    

Thanks for the compliment, I guess - I would love to read through everything which has been posted in all of the discussion lists, but I'm squeezing in my reading and posting between seeing patients. I know lots of people are busy, but considering my working ~60-hour weeks and then trying to have a little time with my wife and four kids... I just don't have the time to do much more.

I apologize for going over old ground, and for misunderstanding the fact that in the vote we rank all ten states (I still think that dropping a few from the list which have no chance will lead to the best outcome). The example I had seen previously only used three. I assume that as more 'new recruits' continue to come on board the same issues will likely be rehashed over and over again; particularly as the lists of past postings get longer, it becomes less practical for people to take time to read the entire FSP discussion history. Keep up those FAQ lists!
Logged

Robert H.

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1361
  • Jeffersonian
    • Devolution USA
Re:Planning the vote - can we have a 'Primary'?
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2003, 02:05:53 am »

I would say that at the beginning of March we will have a good feel for whether we've regained our momentum and will be reaching 5,000 by the end of the summer as we were expecting about a month and a half ago.  If so, then a primary round is unnecessary, because it will be just a short time until the real thing.  But if it looks as if the real vote will be a year off, the primary round starts to look good.

Sounds good.  Yes, if it looks like we might reach 5,000 sooner rather than later, then a primary might not be as expedient because we'd be on the eve of the actual vote itself anyway.  And March is only a little more than a month away anyhow.

Quote
As Elizabeth pointed out once, using approval vote would essentially be the same as looking at people's opt-outs.  Thus, if we wanted to do this, maybe we could avoid all the expense of a vote by simply looking at the states that have been most often opted out of & eliminating those.

That's true.  We'd lose the practice, but it would definitely save on the expense of sending materials out to all members, which might make the difference between actually doing or not doing it anyway.  And opt-outs should be fairly reflective of what people are thinking.  Some may have done some reconsidering, as I have, based on new information and changes that have taken place since they signed up, but it should still be a good indicator.

Maybe while we wait to see if the new publicity efforts will yield any fruit, we could post something on the website asking for feedback as to whether people feel we should consider streamlining our candidate states.  This would at least give us an idea of whether there would be anyone would feel that it was an unacceptable deviation from the Project as stated.  Then, if it caused too much of a ruckus, we could just abandon the idea.
Pages: [1]   Go Up