regionale werbesprüche

IMG_8849“Der echte Norden” ist der Werbespruch Schleswig-Holsteins. Laut der Nationalhymne Kanadas ist Kanada auch “der echte Norden” (“Der echte Norden, stark und frei”). Wörtlich bedeutet das, dass das (Bundes)Land geografisch tatsächlich im Norden liegt. Und das stimmt: nördlich von Schleswig-Holstein ist die dänische Grenze, nördlich von Kanada ist der Nordpol.

Aber natürlich sollte es keine neutrale Beschreibung sein. Es ist auch von subjektiver Bedeutung geprägt. Und zwar – wir sind stolz auf uns. Wir sind authentisch, unabhängig. Das Leben ist vielleicht hart, z.B. wegen des Wetters, aber wir überleben es und werden dadurch stärker. Wir liegen am Rand, an der Grenze – wir sind etwas anders. Und sind stolz darauf.

Was bedeutet deiner Meinung nach “der echte Norden”? Gibt’s auch einen vergleichbaren Begriff für “den echten Süden/Westen/Osten”? Was ist der Slogan deiner Region und was sind die Vorstellungen, die die sich dahinter verbergen?

location, location, location

What if the individual voter could choose which riding to vote in (in a single member plurality system)?

This multi-player simultaneous move game would be madness! The only way there would even be a game (and not just pure pandemonium) is if there were an assumption that only some voters would bother choosing a different riding than the one they physically resided in. That is, the more educated/informed voters, for whom finding information about which party is likely to win where is less costly, are more likely to choose a different riding to up their chances of being the swing voter.

Imagine how nuts it would be, though: polling and predictions can only be made on the assumption that no one ‘moves’ their vote. Once those stats are out, people will start moving. But the moving changes the demographics of the districts because they are not ceteris paribus moves but rather simultaneous ones. And then maybe there could be predictions on how people would move, which would then change once again how people actually move.

Would you want to ‘mess’ with this game? Under what circumstances would you ‘move’? I guess… if I were in a riding that was super safe in any party, I’d move, on the logic that outsiders won’t move into mine because it’s more costly for them to try to change the result. Then again, maybe they’d rationalise that many people in this super safe riding are moving out, so their chances of being the swing voter is actually higher. *brain explodes*

What’s the Nash equilibrium? I don’t think there is one. There would always be incentive for someone to move. So maybe this isn’t such an interesting/viable game to look at.

But what if there were some constraints? For example: you can only move to an adjacent riding.

This is actually different from proportional representation (ie. popular vote), isn’t it.

I’m an ideas machine this weekend! :D

vote swap and plurality rule in a representative democracy

I’m putting this online on the very off-chance someone will read this (1st challenge), have an idea of how to form it into a thesis question (2nd challenge) and leave me a comment (3rd challenge):

I’m interested in electoral systems and voting rules in general. As you probably know, the plurality rule in a multi-district country can produce some interesting results that may not be desired in a representative democracy – for example, a false majority or a Condorcet loser.

These results have been observed in the past three decades in Canadian provincial and federal elections. In response, citizen initiatives have sprung up: not only referenda for electoral reform, but also grassroots voter initiatives with the aim of preventing false majorities.

I’m particularly interested in a strategy of vote swapping, which goes beyond strategic voting. The idea is to strategically pair up with a voter in another district and swap votes with them, and the strategic pairing means one of the two votes will count towards voting someone into parliament. Compare this to sincere voting, where both votes may be wasted, and strategic voting, where you are not voting for your most preferred candidate/party.

How it works is that a swing district voter (Voter A) whose first choice is not in the top two of her own district is paired up with a non-swing district voter (Voter B) whose first choice is in the top two of that swing district. Voter A agrees to vote for B’s first choice if B votes for A’s first choice.

Vote swapping is a citizens’ initiative that has appeared in the 2011 and 2008 Canadian federal elections as a second-best response to the undesired results of first-past-the-post, in the absence of electoral reform. One of the volunteer organisations, called Pair Vote, pairs people up online. In last year’s federal elections, there were over 7500 voters registered and a recorded 3500 votes swapped, not including unrecorded swaps and swaps done over different channels. Proponents argue it has been a game changer in deciding some districts.

The strategy contains elements of gerrymandering, as voters who feel their vote doesn’t count because of the first-past-the-post system alter, in a sense, their district.

This phenomenon appears to be a practice of non-binding commitments and trust.

Another interesting question is under what circumstances voters would prefer vote swap to strategic voting. In other words, is vote swap a Pareto optimal strategy? Possibly, if certain rules and assumptions are made: at a minimum, the exclusion of Conservative voters, and that non-Conservative voters have a general preference of ABC (Anything But Conservative).

bikes bikes bikes

I discovered this awesome website/project today:
“Streetfilms produces short films that show how smart transportation design and policy can result in better places to live, work and play. ”

It’s a reminder of how much I enjoy grassroots urban planning and city development, public spaces and transit systems. Might I go down that bike-friendly path after PEP?