Saturday, February 15, 2014

Proposal #14c: Cumulative Voting for At-Large Members of the National Committee

DRAFT This is a draft proposal which has not yet been voted on by the committee.

Proposed by Chuck Moulton.

  • Problem: Libertarians advocate for alternative voting systems that are more representative. However, internal elections of the Libertarian Party do not follow these methods. The current voting system for At-Large allows a plurality of the delegates to elect all of the At-Large LNC members.
  • Solution: Practice what we preach. Use cumulative voting for LNC At-Large elections.
  • Benefits:
    1. Harmonizes Libertarian Party practices with our message.
    2. Familiarizes LP delegates with the cumulative voting process so they can more effectively explain it.
    3. Allows organized minorities of to have representation by casting all 5 votes for a particular candidate.

Convention Special Rules of Order of the Libertarian Party


  1. Nominations for the at-large members of the National Committee shall be from the floor.
    The election shall be conducted in the following manner:
    1. Each delegate may cast up to five votes, but no more than one vote for any one candidate using cumulative voting.
    2. Each delegation shall tabulate its total vote, and the delegation chair shall deliver a written total to the Secretary. When all delegations have submitted their votes, the Secretary shall declare the voting closed.
    3. At this point, an announcement of each delegation's vote total shall be made by delegation chairs in alphabetical order beginning with a randomly selected delegation.
    4. Those five candidates receiving the highest vote totals shall be declared elected. If a tie vote affecting the outcome of the election occurs, another ballot for the remaining offices shall be held with each delegate allowed to cast as many votes as there are offices to fill.


  • removed - red, strikethrough
  • added - blue, underline, italic


  1. Cumulative voting is more suitable for corporations, where you can have voting trusts and other contractual means of binding people to vote a certain way. Without that certainty that your allies won't defect, there is more potential for wasted votes (either because defections cause your candidate to lose; or because in an effort to guard against defections, you cast more votes for a candidate than he needs in order to win). However, cumulative voting does have the advantage of being simpler than single transferable vote. I'm sure voting methods experts can point out other advantages and disadvantages as well; Arrow's impossibility theorem says that no voting system is perfect.

  2. stv does not work at all for multi-candidates-to-be-elected elections.

    The system that does work is the Cambridge MA rule. In its simplest scheme:

    Each voter casts rank ordered for all candidates. Anyone who gets a large enough fraction of the vote is elected. All ballots cast for a candidate who was elected are people *have* your representative. STV is then applied, but only to ballots that have not yet been cast for a winning candidate.

    Refinement: On the first round, excess ballots for winners, chosen randomly, are not discarded.