Stochastic Elections Canada 2011 Update


The rule of the people has the fairest name of all, isonomia, and does none of the things that a monarch does. The lot determines offices, power is held accountable, and deliberation is conducted in public. — Herodotus

In Athenian democracy, sortition was used to select their magistrates in order to avoid the oligarchs buying their way into the office. What would happen if we used a form of sortition to to select our parliament? Since most people are too busy and unprepared to sit in parliament, I propose the next best thing: the drawing of lots in a riding to select a person to chose the representative for the riding. What would happen?

The resulting system is a unique system that provides local representation and approximately proportional representation. Each party gets a chance to represent a riding in roughly proportion to the amount of support they have in the riding. Democracy means “rule of people”, not “rule of the majority” (nor “rule of the plurality”). Not only is it perfectly democratic for the minority to get an opportunity to be represented in parliament, it is more democratic than what we have in Canada now.

Of course, directly selecting a random person in a riding is fraught with difficulties, so instead one would vote, as we do now, for one’s preferred candidate. Then, once the votes are tallied, a candidate is selected randomly with probability proportional to the vote they received. In this system it is always best to vote for your preferred candidate. There will be no more strategic votes or vote splitting. Voting participation would go up since every vote increases the chances of your preferred candidate being selected. The resulting parliament will be close to the proportion of the number of votes received for each party without having MPs selected from a party list.

Imagine a world where we have Stochastic Elections Canada. Stochastic Election law requires that all counts be validated and recounted, if requested, before seat selection takes place. Because in every vote influences the outcome, we must await the return of the writs, scheduled by electoral law for Monday, May 23. For now, we can bring you our seat expectation chart based on preliminary 2011 election results:

Expected Seat Distribution
Party Expected Number of Seats
(95% confidence)
Distribution Shape
Animal Alliance/Environment Voters 0 – 1
Bloc Québécois 11 – 25
CAP 0 – 1
CHP Canada 0 – 2
Communist 0 – 1
Conservative 107 – 138
Green Party 6 – 18
Liberal 47 – 72
Libertarian 0 – 1
Marxist-Leninist 0 – 1
NDP-New Democratic Party 80 – 110
PC Party 0 – 1
Pirate Party 0 – 1
Radical Marijuana 0 – 1
Rhinoceros 0 – 1
United 0
Independent 0 – 3
No Affiliation 0 – 1

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