Is Voting in Districts Allowed?
You may be entitled to financial compensation.
To end up with political outcomes that are equal to one another, each electoral district needs to have about the same amount of people in it. But is this truly a healthy approach toward representation, our being valued particularly as a group and basically not as much as individuals?
More importantly, is it allowed? Believe it or not, in some cases you may be entitled to financial compensation because segregating voters in districts is not always allowed.
Let’s first discuss the general setup. Redistricting may focus on the number of Democratic and Republican voters in a district and turn the geo-demographic outcomes into the most awkward lines drawn on a map (also known as gerrymandering), but -more appropriately- it can focus on proper racial representation at the overall level as well. Redistricting allows to incorporate the population shifts captured in the latest census results.
Still, while a short list of characteristics are taken into consideration, they are limited in scope. Other issues that result from voting in districts are not countered. Here are some of the problems:
- The biggest problem of voting in districts is that it leads to a two-party dominance. You are red or you are blue. We vote and the result is very binary, like flipping a coin. In some of the places in the USA, all the representatives are red, somewhere else all the representatives are blue. Obviously, that cannot be a true reflection of the voters. Coins don’t land on their sides or lean halfway over without falling; that is why the voting system warps the results systematically.
In District Voting, voters are not free in the true sense of the word to pick their own political color; voters must consider the district they live in and weigh the two candidates that have a chance of winning. No one but the majority is represented.
Yellow, green and orange will not show up in this manner of voting. Next to red and blue, purple can get picked when a Demican or Republocrat wins a district.
The deciding power of the voter lies in his or her ability to tip the scale toward one candidate and away from a second candidate. Voting for a third candidate is the same as throwing away one’s vote. The exciting part of the election process is therefore found in the polls beforehand: Who do the people in my district consider the two candidates with the best chances of winning, and is this poll just preliminary or of a solid confirmed standing?
The restricted choice is no small potatoes. Consider the difficulty of picking either spaghetti or macaroni for dinner when what you really wanted was a hamburger? You will get fed, always, but you will also get fed up with the same limited menu all the time, right? It is almost needless to point out that the low voter turnout is a result partly because of this systematically-limited choice.
- Racial groups are empowered and derided at the same time
The idea that a racial group would be served well by a single member of that racial group is both true and false. This is where the binary voting system delivers additional binary points of view.
When no people of color are found around the table of decision makers, then important information about these racial groups may not be weighted in the decisions. As such, it is vital to have a diverse board or council that connects with all its constituencies.
Yet assuming that, for instance, Latinos are all Democrats shows the problem right away of district segregation to obtain a favorable outcome for a specific group. The problem is that the individual voter cannot speak up; only the majority gets to pick the representative. The Latino Green Party member is derided (as are all Green Party candidates) and is therefore not represented. The individual is not valued, no matter their specific characteristics; only the group with the declared importance is valued politically.
This is an aspect that may make governments pay compensation:
When people are grouped, then the voters are valued in a specific manner only. The value is placed on collective realities that can reach deep in some respects and remain superficial in other respects. Not the individual matters; the group matters. If you are familiar with political terms, then this setup is best described with the word fascism (not in its worst format, but in its functioning) because it is determined beforehand what is valuable about people and what is not. No matter the logic, the division of people is not based on actual people but on the idea of what people are and how they must be reviewed. It is a diktat.
With red and blue, only two outcomes are tolerated, like flipping a coin; whichever side ends up on top is the winner. In an analogy about racial empowerment, we end up using, next to the common quarter, a nickel, a dime or a silver dollar in some flipping contests. The coin may change color but the outcome remains binary. The system is not fascist in specifics; it is fascist in its generic division of people. The division itself hurts our chances of being represented properly. Primary color yellow is not found among the results, which is obviously unnatural. The lack of yellow in the political results expresses the diktat.
Rolling a die would already be more refined.
When there are six seats and all are flipping a coin, then the six districts all have heads or tails as outcomes. Yet using Proportional Voting instead and this then envisioned with rolling a die, the results will be something similar to 3, 3, 2, 6, 2, 3. The outcome is more refined already when there are several seats involved and the system puts hamburgers, chicken soup, and a vegetarian hot curry on the menu next to spaghetti and macaroni.
In Proportional Voting, the fascist aspect is absent because people are not held captive in any specific geo-demographic area. They can express themselves freely.
Thomas Jefferson was the first person on the planet to work out Proportional Voting. The same ideals that drove him to devise this system are also captured in the Bill of Rights. One could say that We the People = Proportional Voting.
Proportional Voting is an intrinsic system; it is not binary. It liberates.
- In those locations where voting is held in districts you may be entitled to financial compensation. More about this right after this example:
This is what each and every voter in a city with eight council seats would see. There are no districts and this single ballot is printed up for all voters. No demeaning problems will ever exist with dividing people into groups. There is just one group: Every eligible voter in the city is included. They all see the same ballot and will pick a single candidate on this list.
As you can see, I picked Ms. Harris because she is my favorite. I checked out her Vote Alignment (A) and saw that these other candidates could indeed represent me as well, if Ms. Harris did not win the seat. All other candidates (with Vote Alignments B, C, D and E) are not my desired candidates. So, yes, Ms. Harris is the one I picked to represent me.
That is it. This is all I needed to do. Like having $10 in my pocket going into the store, I see 20 items I could buy, each at a price of $10. I may walk around the store twice, but I see which items I like and which items I do not like rather quickly. Then I pick the one I will spend my $10 on. If it is not in stock, I will get an item that most optimally fits my choice.
The following is ordinarily not seen by voters. Voters truly just see the list of candidates, pick one, and then they are done. Naturally, some may be interested in how it works behind the scenes. Each good dish will have its preparation instructions, and here is the recipe.
Using the same ballot, now showing the total end result:
Five candidates got enough votes to get a seat immediately. The total number of valid votes in this example is 4775, and with eight seats that means that each seat is valued at 596.875 votes. The five candidates shown in green received more votes than that number, so they got their seat straight out.
My choice, Ms. Harris also got a seat right away, even though she got just 275 votes in total. Her Vote Alignment A received a total of 1200 votes, and Ms. Douglass won her seat straight out. That leaves 1200 minus 596.875 votes equaling 603.125 votes, which is enough for another seat. That seat, shown in blue, went to the remaining top vote-getter in the Vote Alignment, which is Ms. Harris.
Two more candidates also received a seat because, even though there weren’t enough votes in their hands to cover the demand, they had the largest number of votes remaining, shown in diaper green. Mr. Ginsburg receives the seat because Vote Alignment D had 428.125 votes as highest remaining number, and Mr. Seto receives a seat because 403.125 votes is the last remaining highest number of votes.
- Voter satisfaction: 92.4 percent
This outcome delivers a total number of votes of 1193.75 (A) + 596.875 (C) + 1025 (D) + 1000 (E) + 596.875 (Mr. Johnson, who ran without Vote Alignment) = 4412.5 out of a total of 4775 votes. That means that 92.4 percent of the voters received either the candidate they each voted for, or they got the candidate that won the most votes (remaining) in the Vote Alignment.
In District Voting the percentage of satisfied voters is often found in the 50 percent or the 60 percent range. Locally, it can range higher, but for the US Senate that I calculated, the number of people able to point at the person they voted for, sitting in a seat afterwards, was just shy of 60 percent. More than 40 percent of the voters ended up voting for a loser and did not get represented by their choice.
- The outcome is not very refined in District Voting
The limited choice can put a lot of emphasis on simple differences. “I’m picking macaroni because who likes green bell peppers anyway?” The real question what to eat is not on our minds. Rather, the real question is postponed until the menu was shown. We can consider ourselves the customers — sit back and relax — but we can also consider ourselves jailbirds with little choice about what to eat.
In Proportional Voting, the menu is not set beforehand. Instead of candidates being put on the menu (by people behind the scenes), the voters become the reason why candidates run for a seat. The link between representatives and the voters is much stronger in Proportional Voting. The competition for a seat is more to the point, more refined, and a closer fit.
- The winners are a loss for democracy
Paradoxically, voting in Districts is like shooting your own foot. Make that two feet, because the loss can occur in two different ways:
— In the Proportional Voting example shown above, Mr. Lee and Ms. Douglass were the top two vote-getters. Of course they got a seat, the both of them. In District Voting, however, they could have run against each other, and only one would have gotten a seat; the other would not. It is a major loss for democracy when the second-best representative is tossed out when the voting system is set up like a game.
— In the Proportional Voting example shown above, Ms. VanderBilt and Ms. Jardin received hardly any votes. Rightfully, they did not get a seat. In District Voting, however, they could have both run in a district in which they were the best of the crop. One of them would have ended with a seat on the council. Voters have limited choice and they cannot reject low-qualified candidates when low-qualified candidates are the only candidates to pick from.
In District Voting, the best of the crop is systematically decimated and the low-quality end of the spectrum reaches deeper than in Proportional Voting.
Naturally, voters can stay home. And that is what happens in real life. In Proportional Voting nations, a turnout of 80 percent or more is not that uncommon. The US has very low turnout numbers. Why vote when the candidates are not worth showing up for? Why vote when the person you want is not going to win?
As long as a game is part of our election process, we are not represented as promised in the Bill of Rights.
This is where governments may end up paying compensation.
The Bill of Rights
The Founding Fathers were confronted with an important dilemma. They desired an enlightened government and not a medieval government. However, the 13 Colonies did not want to give up self-rule and become one nation. The Colonies basically demanded separate-but-equal be put in place for the States before joining the Union.
And so it happened. We still have two Senators per State representing us unequally in the US Senate. This is part and parcel of the US Constitution.
Immediately after the Union was established, the Founding Fathers went back to work and wrote the Bill of Rights. In it, the enlightened ideals are captured. As we all know, separate-but-equal has been deemed unconstitutional for the local levels, and it cannot or should not be used as a system.
Voting in districts is separate-but-equal. First, voters are segregated into geo-demographical areas, and only then are they declared each other’s equals.
While the Federal government is exempt of this prohibition, the State and the local governments should follow the rules as put in place with the Bill of Rights.
The States, however, have a cop out. They are specifically granted the freedom to do as they desire. Having separate-but-equal in the original section of the US Constitution described for the Federal government, and the specific prohibition thereof in the Bill of Rights, makes it possible for the States to do as they please. Next to the presented freedoms, one cannot undermine one rule with another rule described in the same document.
The local governments, however, must abide.
- Local governments are not mentioned in the US Constitution. The Federal government, the States, respectively, and the People are the only ones that can draw powers from the highest document in the nation.
Cities were not given Constitutional powers, nor do Cities have the Constitutional freedom to ignore the Bill of Rights.
Cities exist both in the States’ realm and the People’s realm of Constitutional powers. This means that as soon as a single person invokes the US Constitution in their communication with their City officials, then the City must make sure it fixes up its behavior so it is in line with the Bill of Rights.
We must therefore already have Proportional Voting for our cities and counties. These governments must use the better system. They are not allowed to hold elections in separate-but-equal manners.
- Ask me, by stating your City (add the State please), and I will invoke the US Constitution on your behalf in your city or county. A single person is all it takes to invoke the US Constitution.
Restitution is not possible for past offenses. Yet as soon as a City is notified with this Invocation and does then not change its voting system in a reasonable amount of time (with one normal election cycle a good standard), then they are actively damaging your right to representation, and you can claim financial damages.
Invoke, and wait for cities to abide. If they do not abide, then you can start collecting recompense.
List of Cities, and Date of Invocation
- Oakland, CA, December 2, 2021
- Memphis, TN, December 6, 2021
- San Francisco, December 26, 2021
Ask, and I will write your City officials to invoke the US Constitution, and place City and date right here. Later on, you can demand recompense when they are not (or too slow in) abiding to the Bill of Rights.