FORUM

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Input for Bylaws - BAGA Voting Method

 

There is no better alternative to “one vote for each candidate by each voter”

for a maximum of 11 votes to be counted for eleven BOD positions.

 

But, those who wanted to stop PANELING by anything other than one vote by each

voter for each candidate, say, by Cumulative Voting (CV), may please consider

this.

 

Suppose you allow one voter to cast All Eleven votes for one candidate, then it

will take only a few like-minded families, with 3/4 members in each family, to

group together (PANEL) to elect a candidate, with complete disregard to the

votes of 260+ Regular Members. Will this make the Community happy?

 

Consider another scenarion - Suppose, each voter is allowed to cast 2 votes for

each candidate, and many voters use this option, then they can vote for a

maximum of 5-6 candidates. And suppose, the other voters do the same for another

group of candidates to elect the other 5-6 candidates, then BAGA has practically

CREATED Two PANELS and DIVIDED the community into Two GROUPS. Does this make the

community united or divided?

 

Likewise, if each voter is allowed to cast 3 votes for each candidate, and many

voters use this option, then they can vote for a maximum of 3-4 candidates. And,

suppose, another voter group does the same for another group of 3-4 candidates,

and a third group of voters does the same for the remaining 3-4candidates, then

BAGA has practically CREATED three PANELS and DIVIDED the community into Three

GROUPS. Does this make the Community look any better?

 

And now suppose, each voter is allowed to cast votes for 50% of the eleven

positions, then one group of voters may be able to vote for about half of the

candidates, and another group of voters will elect the other half of the

candidates. Again, BAGA has practically CREATED Two PANELS and DIVIDED the

community into Two GROUPS. Does this make the community united or divided?

 

Now, think about the complaints against the so-called paneling in the

"one-vote-per-candidate-per-voter" method. Democratic process always allows

campaigning by like-minded voters, or like- minded candidates, to work together

for success in the elections. In every election everywhere in the world, this

happens, and there is no conceivable mechanism or need to to stop that. Win/loss

is the other name for elections.

 

But, those who do not succeed in the elections cannot be allowed to claim a

“Minority Group” or “Special Interest Group” who needs protection for success in

elections by devising an alternative voting method. If we allow this to happen,

then after every election, those who lost will claim themselves as s “Special

Interest Group” just to get somehow elected next time. That's not fair, because

only those who get the majority votes of the community in open elections with

"one-vote-for-one-candidate" method by all voters should be the Board Members to

represent the entire community, but NOT to represent any "Special Group".

 

Austin Bangladeshi Community is very homogeneous- there is no ethnic groups or

other constitutionally protected minorities - and therefore does NOT need the

creation of "Minority or Special Interest Groups". Those who have other special

interests in life, they are never forbidden by BAGA Bylaws from pursuing their

interests outside of BAGA. If BAGA feels it is appropriate to have a

collaborative effort with other organizations, say FMU, ABS or other entities,

BAGA may do so it at its own discretion. But, no BAGA members should be allowed

to claim any sort of privileged or special status, because of their affiliations

with any other entity.

 

So, there should be “one vote for each candidate by each voter” for a maximum of

11 votes to be counted.

 

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CV has been critiqued here. I want to see thoughts of LV(Limited Voting)

option as well like I give numbers below.

 

If we consider LV option of allowing a member to vote

for upto 8 directors of 11 BOD slots available.

This means 8/11 = 72.7%, which is over 2/3 majority BOD one can select.

 

This is simple to describe, implement and is an option to consider.

 

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Well, this just makes the math harder. If a group of candidates can mobilize

others to vote for themselves only; then they can adjust the math to cover all

11 with 8 votes - by distributing a round robin list (much like load balancing

on a web farm). True, the plan would be much more harder to execute; but in

theory it is possible.Also, please remember - panel can be made of smaller

number of candidates; say 4. If these 4 candidates can bring enough number of

supporters and instruct them to cast 4 votes only - then it is possible that

some or all candidates may get a free ride where they might not have. One way

to stop this is count the ballots with 8 votes only; anything less or more would

automatically disqualify the ballot.I am with some of the previous comments,

like - panel shows where a group of candidates stand. Also, as a voter - I

would like to see my choice on the board for all 11 positions or as low as 1

position. Paneling is not always an easy ride, one bad choice in the group may

send the voters in other direction.

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I also like the LV option as it is simpler to implement and takes care of

issues raised by several people. I really don't see any value in a (current)

voting system that allows people to potentially "dictate" the outcome of

the election. In fact, this (LV) method can clearly unite the community, in

a subtle way...Hope we all can come up with a resolution and move on...

 

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I think it’s the people that need to change rather than the voting. We should

not recognize any special interest group in this community. Nor do we need any

voting gimmick to force a candidate from a self-styled minority group into being

elected by limiting the voters' rights. One vote for each candidate upto the

maximum number being filled. Period. People who feel that they do not have a

chance of being elected today through conventional means, they need to work and

gain the trust of the voters. As the saying goes:

" If you want to be liked, be likable".....

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I'll express herein is

entirely of my own: in this dicussion I do not

represent the Ad-hoc committee or its position in any

way.

 

I must agree with Matiur Rahman bhai almost in every

respect. People of our community are educated,

well-informed individuals. We should give them the

benefits of doubt and assume that they understand the

value of a democratic process, and extert their voting

rights in a responsible manner.

 

Trying to curb so-called paneling is infringing on

individual rights. Intelligent people will make up

their own minds regarding voting for a panel, or

individuals therein. Paneling is also an alias for

qualition-building, which is an accepted political

practice worldwide. It can bring people, even of

opposing ideals, together, for the sake of greater

good. Whethere we like it or not, we should make no

law that restricts this important political process.

It may prove wrong, inconvenient, or even a nuisance

at times, but in the long run, it helps people

accomplish things that individuals alone cannot.

 

I second Matiur bhai's opinion of 'one person, one

vote, maximum of eleven votes' idea.

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I am happy to see the initiation of analytical evaluations

(in findings holes and short-comings) of the proposed voting

systems for BAGA.

 

Attached is my paper/write-up I presented at yesterday's bylaws

Open Forum. Due to time constraint, I couldn't explain my 3rd

propsal (refer to my paper). It's called: Single Transferable

Voting (STV). Please, refer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_Transferable_Vote

 

STV is more advanced system and eliminates the

holes/flaws/short-comings

we are finding in Limited voting (LV) and Cumulative Voting (CV)

systems. STV is simple and easy for the voters. Manual vote counting

is complicated here. But we can write simple computer program

(like we did for "29-tournament", "Soccer tournament drafting")

to count votes in STV system.

 

As human being, it's tough to accept new ideas- let's be open minded

to get the better.

 

Let's analyse STV. Should be much better....

 

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I hope everyone pardons my temerity - but any deviation from the simplest

and most democratic way of voting (i.e. one person - one vote) just seems

like a vested ploy.

 

someone can get 11 votes each from 25 people and accumulate a total of 275

votes.

 

While another person can get votes from 250 people and his tally will be

only 250.

 

So a person entrusted with ten times the trust, loses the election. I fail

to see the beauty of this system. Why can't we keep it simple.

 

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The example showed here by Kanak is for Cumulative Voting (CV)

system, NOT pertaining to STV system. Please, study the STV

system more carefully.

 

In STV system: "1 voter is allowed to cast only 1 vote for a

candidate".

And also, no restriction like Limited Voting (LV) system. That's why

I mentioned, it eliminates the holes of both LV & CV system.

 

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Clarification on Matiur Rahman Bhai's voting system proposal

 

Presently, this is how it is worded in the proposed

draft bylaws (posted last week):

 

"Each voter shall be allowed to cast as many votes as

the number of vacancies to be filled up in any

election. Each voter shall be allowed to cast no more

than one vote for any one candidate."

 

This is what Matiur Rahman Bhai proposed:

"So, there should be “one vote for each candidate by

each voter” for a maximum of 11 votes to be counted."

 

I believe what we have in the proposed draft bylaws

on this issue reflects Matiur Rahman Bhai's proposal.

Additionally, text in bylaws also covers mid-term

election scenario where we may have just 1 or 2 posts

to fill up from say 10/11 candidates.

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The Reason is simple to, to stop the COAT TAILING. Going to your own

analogy a person could be quite unpopular/ineffecitve but will get elected

due to his/her group got the Vote. If you put him/her on the poll by

himself he may be the lowest vote casted for him.

 

We should allow panneling, grouping, that is candidates choice, what we do

not want is getting elected on the Coat Tail.

 

I agree with nice comment by Rabiul earlier- the necessary condition to

be liked, you have to be likable. But doen't mean that a person

who wins the election is likable! Otherwise, Jamat, IOJ, BJP coudn't win the

last election in Bangladesh and run the government.

 

To win the election for them (Jamat, IOJ, BJP) was needed:

"Qualition" and "Coat Tailing"...., not the likability!

 

Keep in mind that these voting system did not came over night. Its

human nature not to accept any new concept or ideas. Please do your

research first before jumping to any conclusion. The Cumlative Method of

Voting

system does what Matiur Bhai Say "There is no better alternative to one

vote for each candidate by each voter" for a maximum of 11 votes" but in

addition it prevents the COAT TAIL effect. Also, if one voter wants to

distribute his vote among 2

or 3 candidate he can do that also.

 

Now if any one group wants to do panneling they can do so by the

expense of their own vote. It is definetely superior to current Simple

plurality method. In this CV system panneling is ok. so why anyone would

oppose it unless one wants to be elected on the COAT TAIL.

 

Sultan Bhai said that we are all good concious people but without

any enforcable rule, a good system become disfunctional. People

should do panneling, grouping thats ok, but the voting method should be

universal so that it does not allow COAT TAILING, that is the biggest

problem

of the current system.

 

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I see that I have walked into a mine-field here :) ... but before getting

out of the mine-field I want to clarify couple of things -

 

Panelling

=========

I am completely opposed to any panelling (or coat tailing) on the ballot

itself. No one should be forced to choose a pre-determined group of 11

versus another pre-determined group of 11. Voters should be free to vote

for each individual on the merit or the perception thereof.

 

But we cannot regulate how people campaign. When Bush does something right

everyone smooches up to him. When something bad happens, congressional

candidates of his own party starts distancing themsleves from him. This

coat tailing or coat de-tailing is a natural result of people tending to

conglomorate around success.

 

As long as the panels are not officially recognized on the ballot, I do

not see how informed voters and active campaigners will fall into that

pitfall.

 

 

STV

====

This is a direct quote from the STV description -

 

"However any candidate with either more than enough, or too few,

votes to be elected has votes transferred to other candidates, and the

process continues until all positions have been filled. The candidates to

whom votes are transferred are determined by the preferences given by

voters on the ballot paper."

 

This is skewed. Because if a candidate gets 200 votes but is #11 in the

preference list, he may lose to a candidate who gets 100 votes but is #1

in the preference list. This introduces a preferential system (as also

attested in the STV description).

 

To me, any preferential system is against democratic principles

because it does not treat each vote equally. Voters should not be forced

to declare preferences among their 11 choices when they prefer all 11

equally.

 

From here on out I will shut up and go back to earning a living :) But I

want to echo Hero bhai's earlier sentiment that it is great to see such

lively discussions going on.

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Hi All!

 

I missed the open meeting but I am reading some of the emails and I like to state my opinion.

 

First of all, Austin Bangladeshis are a homogeneous society. There is no minority or majority. Some may be more popular because they are involved in many activities and some are not. But that is life. We wish everybody should be liked equally but that is theory.

 

Unlike other cities, Austin has the distinction of higher percentage of Bangladeshis that have a minimum bachelor degree. Many hold doctorates, Doctors Etc.

 

WE live in a democratic society and each person should have a right to vote for each candidate (i.e. if 11 BOD then 11 votes but no candidate gets to vote more than once for each candidate like the last election).

 

In the proposed By-Laws draft, there are provisions for amendmend. If future Bangladeshi citizens wants to change the current voting system (one vote one candidate) then it can be done through amendmend process.

 

I thank everyone for coming up with  all  ideas about different voting methods. You all have put long hours to research for a better voting method.

 

I respect everyone's opinion but we need to look for the welfare of the Whole Austin Bangladeshi Community.

Regards

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I think Feroza Bhabi's proposal is right for this

situation. After long discussion, we realized that,

our election process should be simple & acceptable to

majority. We might get sued, if it is complicated,

which is not our goal.

This is the beauty of the democracy, that we discuss

our differences & take the best decisions for our

community.

We've different views, but we'll accept the best.

 

My suggestion is that, we'll not do anything that'll

create enymity among us.

"Something shouldn't come out of our mouth or we

shouldn't do anything in black & white that'll create

enymity among us. If we do something, we should be

sorry for that.

One key to getting along well with people is knowing

when to say you're sorry. Sometimes little comments or

actions can hurt or offend others. Heavy workloads and

stress may keep us from seeing how our actions make

others feel. The little things can add up. It doesn't

take long for someone to hold a grudge and for grudges

to grow into conflicts. In most cases, if someone is

offended by something you do or say, it's much better

to apologize right away. That solves the small problem

and keeps it from getting bigger.

It's hard to apologize. Many of us are ashamed or have

too much pride. Sometimes we just don't know how to do

it"

Please do your best to unite our community, I'll do my

best too.

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Yes, several points from Mumtaz Bhai's comments on Bylaws deserve consideration, and possibly a discussion in this Wednesday night community open forum for Bylaws. Let us also appreciate the commitment Mumtaz Bhai is showing to BAGA from KABUL where life is much tougher than it is here. This kind of commitment from general members only attests to the very dedicated and extraordinary work our Ad-hoc Committee is doing to energize all Bangladeshi Austinites, even as far away as KABUL.

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I was humbled by my findings of different voting formates available in theory and practice from the following wiki page link.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_system

 

I will urge everyone involved in the debate of voting formate to carefully go through the merits and demerits and examples of different formats illustrated in the link before coming up with our own numbers and examples.

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But, it is mentioned right there on this page that "Most voting systems are based on the concept of "majority rule", or the principle that more than half of the voters should get the outcome they want". And that's what is appropriate for BAGA - a majority rule - candidates who get the highest number of votes in this system should represent BAGA.

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Here is the summary Excerpt from the link:

 

The study of voting systems has influenced a new push for electoral reform that is going on today, with proposals being made to replace plurality voting in governmental elections with other methods. Various municipalities in the United States have begun to adopt instant-runoff voting in the 2000s. New Zealand adopted Mixed Member Proportional for Parliamentary elections in 1993 and Single Transferable Vote for some local elections in 2004. The Canadian province of British Columbia will hold a second referendum on adopting STV in 2008. An even wider range of voting systems is now seen in non-governmental organizations.

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This model allows each voter two cast exactly 11 votes (for 11 candidates), ensuring full voting right.

This model gives a voter to cast a maximum of 2 votes for any candidate or candidates provided the total is 11.

I find this to be an appealing choice among other given.

 

Granted that this model causes new headache for the EC, but it may be worth looking into.

Granted that this model causes a smaller interest group to win over a comparatively more popular candidate. But this type of win will be smaller in number and therefore cannot disrupt the rest of the BOD (majority) activities.

 

My main appeal to this model is this: 20 years from now, there will be factions, groups around Austinite Bangladeshis (let's say 100 deshis in san marcos). This model allows every group to know they have a way to elect their candidates in the BOD and thus do not need to split up and create a separate association (let's say BA san marcos).

 

In my mind, this model would discourage splitting when the community get too big like in houston or dallas.

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Everyone agrees that we do not want to be like other big cities, therefore we have to come up with an unique idea. May be it is not followed in other Bangladeshi association but like Thasin Bhai said we are forming the assoication in a unique way by forming an adhoc comitee first. Also like Thasin Bhai said, in the traditional system the community will be deprived of some good leaders because no one wants to compete against a pannel, knowing that he/she will be defeated and some other non active memebers will be elected on the COAT TAIL. We have to prevent this Coat tail effect of electing non popular member just because he or she is assosiated with a popular one.

 

I completely agree we have to look 10-20 years from now, not confined to the current time. We have to understand What goes around, that comes around. This year one group might sweep all BOD position and may be next year but remember there will be a year after that. So why not fix it now?

 

I do not know where you came up with maximum 2 votes per candidate, but I think it could be discussed and come up with a better number but two does not ensure full voter rights, as one voter may want to vote for 2 or three candidates only and his remaining votes will be discounted.

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Your hypothetical 100 people in San Marcos getting representation is not realistic because of the following reasons:

 

1. 20 years from now, if San Marcos have 100 people, they probably will try to have their own Association rather than try to get represented in Austin.

 

2. If San Marcos have a deshi voter population of 100 (currently 1 or 2 perhaps) in 20 years, then Greater Austin will probably have more than 10,000 deshi voter population based on comparison of current population counts. Do you think they will get representation by casting 11 votes for one of their candidates. Does not make any sense. Rather if they want to get elected in BAGA, they can actively work and serve the community and Bangladeshi causes and get elected with majority voters.

 

3. If we are all trying to create a system to stop paneling or whatever it is called then i am not sure how this helps. I think paneling in Austin have been started by the so callled private organizations well before the Ad-Hoc Elections. Yes, you know who I am talking about. The community is well aware of such panels (gosthis). We had a classic demonstartion of such panel at the open forum yesterday. If you have looked around the table it would have been obvious. Who are we kidding. Some people have lost the conscience and obeys others as if they are his/her slave. They always try to get things through the back door because they don't have the guts to accept peoples verdict. People should know things in Austin have changed. We are not going to be run by special interests. We will not allow special interest to take our Association hostage.

 

I am not quite sure what other interest we have besides promoting Bangladesh? Are we trying to incite interests groups that is a conflict with BAGA by-laws? Why can't BAGA BOD fulfill such interests? Or are we trying to accomodate certain people through the back door? Voters are smart. Don't try to fool them. Because if you take them for granted then you will be surprised.

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I have posted the following message in another thread. I am attaching

that post here for completeness.

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Thanks to tuhinmahmud for a very informative wiki page on voting system

at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_system

 

I would like to make 2 points on cumulative voting...one for and one

against this method:

 

1. In conventional method, a simple majority, when united behind a group of candidates, can control all seats (theoritically speaking). In cumulative

voting, it takes much more than simple majority to control all seats.

 

So, theoritically, 49% voters may end up getting unrepresented in conventional voting.

 

2. Under 'Criteria in evaluating voting systems' in the above wiki page,

'Majority criterion' is defined as :

"If there exists a majority preferring a single candidate, does he always win if that majority votes sincerely?".

 

There is a "?" mark against cumulative voting for this criterion. The way

I interpret it is that cumulative voting may not reflect majority wishes.

Now, that is scary.

 

More and more it seems to me that the conventional method might be

the right way to go. Like saiful, I am also keeping my mind open.

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Although i do not subscribe to Mir's idea on 3/4 votes per voter, I thought this was a great brainstorm.

Quamrul bhai modified the idea saying may be we should vote exactly 51% (?) of the BOD.

 

Mir has asked everyone to figure out the magic number. A magic number would have to be permanent enough to put in the bylaws or would have to be something that the EC may decide every year.

 

But my concern was can BAGA curb a basic voting rights of its members? To me it is like BAGA telling me that even though there will be 11 BOD, I only have say over X number of BOD.

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My main interest in proposing an alternate voting method is to have a governing body for BAGA which proportionally represents the electorate that we have here in Austin. Since we cannot control how people are going to campaign, or what kinds of conflicts are going to remain between people, the voting system should "mathematically" guide the result of the elections to the following:

 

-> If every candidate runs independently and 100% of the voters place no personal bias on candidates (other than their quality), then 100% of the BOD seats will be decided by 100% unbiased voters.

 

-> If some candidates form a "friends' network" and want ALL "their candidates" to be elected, then:

 

* if the "friends' network" has x% of the total voters already fixed, then they will only "fix" exactly x% of the BOD seats NO MATTER HOW MANY CANDIDATES they run. The rest of the seats will be decided by (100-x)% of the voters who are UNBIASED.

 

*For example, if 20% of the voters form a "dol", then even if they run 10 candidates for 10 seats, they can fix at the most 2 seats, and the rest of the 8 seats are decided by the unbiased 80% of the people. Some of this dol's other candidates "may" get in as well, but that will be decided only by the unbiased people voting.

 

-> Even if there are multiple "dols", each "dol" can realistically "fix" ONLY the % of BOD seats which reflect the "% of the total voters" in those respective "dols."

 

-> Majority (>50%) of the seats can ONLY be taken by a group IF that group can organize majority (>50%) of the total voters. This is nothing new, the previous 2 bullets say the same thing --- a group that has x% of the total voters can ONLY "fix" x% of the seats (0<x<100).

 

The keys to finding such a system are:

 

-> The size of the electorate that will vote.

 

-> The "number of votes" (% of total voters) LEAD that is deemed as generally insurmountable for any other candidate to overcome.

 

If we can find a reasonable agreement on these two keys, we can establish a system which will

 

1) Limit groups (if any number of people want to form groups) to the same % of BOD seats as the % of total voters that formed that group.

 

2) Ensure that the unbiased % of the population elect the same % of the BOD seats.

 

In my opinion, that is a fair system which will STRONGLY DISCOURAGE DIVISIONS in the community since there is no "extra advantage" behind forming a group.

 

I will go into the mechanisms of finding such a flexible voting system if the community thinks that the MOTIVATIONS which I described in this message is worth looking at. I am willing to meet Ad-Hoc members and/or others from the public and/or post further details.

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I think it’s the people that need to change rather than the voting. We should not recognize any special interest group in this community. Nor do we need any voting gimmick to force a candidate from a self-styled minority group into being elected by limiting the voters' rights. One vote for each candidate upto the maximum number being filled. Period. People who feel that they do not have a chance of being elected today through conventional means, they need to work and gain the trust of the voters. As the saying goes:

" If you want to be liked, be likable".....

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but how can you put a mandate on people to change? People are going to be who they want to be. If you want to form a group for election purposes, you will form a group, neither me nor others in the community can stop you from doing that. But we can modify the voting system such that whether you form a group or not, it doesn't matter. Tell me how that is not a reasonable thing to think about.

 

The current voting system lets 20% of the total voters sweep all the seats. How is that representative of their electability? What I am saying will not leave out a deserving candidate, and it will not give an unfair advantage to either a small or a large group.

 

If you don't think that making the votes of 80% of the electorate irrelevant (they cannot send an unbiased cadidate because of the 20% of the people voting for only their candidates) is an unfair system, then I don't know what unfair is.

 

With all due respect, please show me how the current system is fair beyond a rhetorical statement that "1 vote for 1 candidate is democracy."

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I agree with nice comment by Rabiul earlier- the necessary condition to

be liked, you have to be likable. But doen't mean that a person

who wins the election is likable! Otherwise, Jamat, IOJ, BJP coudn't win the last election in Bangladesh and run the government.

 

To win the election for them (Jamat, IOJ, BJP) was needed:

"Qualition" and "Coat Tailing"...., not the likability!

 

The Cumlative Method of Voting system does what Matiur Bhai Say "There is no better alternative to one vote for each candidate by each voter" for a maximum of 11 votes" but in addition it prevents the COAT TAIL effect. Also, if one voter wants to distribute his vote among 2 or 3 candidate he can do that also.

 

Now if any one group wants to do panneling they can do so by the

expense of their own vote. It is definetely superior to current Simple

plurality method. In this CV system panneling is ok. so why anyone would

oppose it unless one wants to be elected on the COAT TAIL.

 

Sultan Bhai said that we are all good concious people but without

any enforcable rule, a good system become disfunctional. People

should do panneling, grouping thats ok, but the voting method should be

universal so that it does not allow COAT TAILING, that is the biggest problem of the current system.

-----------------------------------------------------

I just want to make sure that you don't misunderstand my endorsement for limited voting as ALSO and endorsement for cumulative voting. I am NOT supporting cumulative voting here. I have no comment about cumulative voting --- I am still trying to understand its effects.

 

I think the "correct" number of limited voting system lets x% of the population represent the exact same x% of the elected seats. We have to find the correct number according to our population.

 

And I think that would be a more fair system --- let x% of voters decide x% of the seats, instead of x% of voters deciding 100% of the seats.

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Why we are seraching for a Different Voting system?

 

The Reason is simple , to stop the COAT TAILING. Going to one's own analogy a person could be quite unpopular/ineffecitve but will get elected due to his/her group got the Vote. If you put him/her on the poll by himself he may be the lowest vote casted for him.

 

We should allow panneling, grouping, that is candidates choice, what we do not want is getting elected on the Coat Tail.

 

I agree with nice comment by Rabiul earlier- the necessary condition to

be liked, you have to be likable. But doen't mean that a person

who wins the election is likable! Otherwise, Jamat, IOJ, BJP coudn't win the last election in Bangladesh and run the government.

 

To win the election for them (Jamat, IOJ, BJP) was needed:

"Qualition" and "Coat Tailing"...., not the likability!

 

Keep in mind that these voting system did not came over night. Its

human nature not to accept any new concept or ideas. Please do your

research first before jumping to any conclusion. The Cumlative Method of Voting system does what Matiur Bhai Say "There is no better alternative to one vote for each candidate by each voter" for a maximum of 11 votes" but in addition it prevents the COAT TAIL effect. Also, if one voter wants to distribute his vote among 2 or 3 candidate he can do that also.

 

Now if any one group wants to do panneling they can do so by the

expense of their own vote. It is definetely superior to current Simple

plurality method. In this CV system panneling is ok. so why anyone would

oppose it unless one wants to be elected on the COAT TAIL.

 

Sultan Bhai said that we are all good concious people but without

any enforcable rule, a good system become disfunctional. People

should do panneling, grouping thats ok, but the voting method should be

universal so that it does not allow COAT TAILING, that is the biggest problem

of the current system.

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coat tailing seems like a more appropriate term to what people are trying to mean by paneling.

 

in my view though, you cannot stop coat tailing no matter what you do.

 

let's say X is a popular candidate. his wife Y is his campaign manager who is calling all the bhabis and bhais telling them to vote for X. Y is also telling everyone to vote for her friend Z who is new in town but was very active social worker in bangladesh and would be a good addition if work with X.

 

There is a good chance, people will relate Z to a very popular X. if X gets 100 vote, in my view, Z will get 80.

 

and then there is the fact that some people are known to be affiliates of others in a small town like ours. so, for some people, the coat tailing is automatic. no need for campaign.

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You are correct that we may not elliminate coat tailing but we can reduce it to a minimum level as possible. If you study the STV method, coat tailing is almost gone, and it preservs 1) one vote for one candidate with a maximum of one vote per candidate. 2) Does not limit Voter for casting votes. Each voter votes by choice one, choice two, choise three and so on up to the number of seats. We have high take sofware engineers in our community to make a program to implement the conting mechanism . Here is how STV works:

 

Single Transferable Voting (STV)/Choice Voting:

Choice voting (also known as preference voting, the single transferable vote and the Hare system) allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference: one for their favorite candidate, two for their second favorite, and so on. Candidates earn election when they reach the victory threshold [calculated using Droop quota = (Number of votes, V)/(Number of seats, N +1) +1]. To determine winners, ballots are counted in a series of rounds of elections. First-choices are counted, and any candidate who reaches the victory threshold is elected. In the next round, "surplus votes" those votes beyond the victory threshold obtained by any winning candidate -- are counted for the second choices of voters as indicated by their ballots (for fairness, all ballots are counted for second choice candidates at an equally reduced value). If not all seats are filled at this point, as is typical, then the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and ballots cast for that candidate are counted for the candidate listed next on each voter’s ballot. These rounds of election continue until all seats are filled or the number of remaining candidates equals the number of seats. Thanks

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The point everyone seem to be missing is the 'Multi Member' district

distinction.

 

All the traditional ('Single Member District') voting that they mention

is for a particular post. Multiple people are contesting for 1 position

(congressional/senate/presidential).

You vote for multiple candidates in the Austin city council, but the

positions are defined, i.e. position 1, position 2..........

You are competing with specific few for each position. You know your

competition. So all voting we normally do (referred to some as standard format) is not truly analogous to BAGA system of people voting for multiple position from a pool of candidate (Multi Member District).

The other systems (Limited, Cumulative, etc.) specifically is applied

to the multiple member in single district voting to ensure fairness,

because its different from the usual elections.

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This is definitely the missing part in our last BAGA election --- there were no contests for each BOD position. It would be nice if we could divide our population into different districts and then each district could choose one representative from multiple candidates. I just don't know if that is possible though.

 

Zia bhai's message is a clear pinpoint to the problem when we talk about our democratic rights to one-candidate-one-vote. There is no contest for each position where we can truly choose.

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I studied the STV method.

It is quite intriguing and innovative.

the problems is that it is way too complex for public to understand, candidates to accept and election commission to implement.

no manual counting is reasonable. so you have to rely on computer (which you cannot always trust - the question becomes who wrote the program, did someone hack the software). voters, candidates will not be able to trust this system easily.

 

for our purpose, it wont work..

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I had earlier posted a wiki link that covers all formats of voting systems and there are numerous of them starting from simple to complex like this one.

 

I agree with galib ...I think simiplity is a virtue.Any system that is too comlex to understand and implement is bound to fail due to lack of transparency.

 

Still for those really avid readers ..Here are some disadvantages from the wiki page .I must agree, i did not fully comprehend all the pros and cons of this complex system but fortunately the "pundits" already did the ground work .

 

>>>

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_Transferable_Vote

 

Voting system criteria:

 

Academic analysis of voting systems such as STV generally centers on the voting system criteria that they pass. No preference voting system satisfies all the criteria described in Arrow's impossibility theorem: in particular, STV fails to achieve independence of irrelevant alternatives (like most other vote-based ordering systems) as well as monotonicity. Failure to satisfy independence of irrelevant alternatives makes STV slightly prone to strategic nomination, albeit less so than with plurality methods where the spoiler effect is more pronounced and predictable. Non-monotonicity, in turn, makes it possible under some circumstances to elect a preferred candidate by reducing his position on some of the ballots; by helping elect a candidate who displaces the preferred candidate's main rival, a voter may cause the preferred candidate to profit from transfers resulting from the rival's defeat. STV fails the participation criterion which can result in a more favorable outcome to an STV voter by not voting at all. However, a voter who truncates a candidate off the ballot does not harm a ranked candidate, nor is another truncated candidate helped on the ballot.

 

STV is also susceptible to the Alabama paradox: a candidate elected in an n seat constituency may or may not be elected in the same constituency with n + 1 seats even when voters express exactly the same preferences. This is due to the use of quotas; list PR by a largest remainder method is similarly affected, though a highest averages method is not. Intuitively, a candidate who was elected largely because of transfers from two similar groups (neither obtaining a quota) may not be elected when the number of winning candidates increases, as both groups would instead get their preferred candidates elected (with the new, smaller quota) rather than automatically compromising on their mutual second choice as their votes transfer.

 

Some modifications to STV have been proposed in order to pass monotonicity and other criteria. The most common method of proposed modification to STV is to alter the order in which candidates are eliminated: theoretically, a candidate who ranked second on every ballot could be the first candidate eliminated even if he is a Condorcet winner. Meek noted this problem in proposing his variation of transferring votes to nearly eliminate tactical voting in STV, however Meek himself did not propose a method for satisfying the Condorcet criterion. Other theorists have proposed further refinements of STV, such as using a Condorcet method to rank candidates for elimination order. Some of these modifications alter STV in a way such that it no longer reduces to instant-runoff voting when applied to a single seat but instead reduces to some other single winner system, such as a Condorcet method.

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You are right about its complexity. While I believe we can write a program to correctly implement it (along with supervision that there is no bias in the coding), it will be difficult to gain pulic trust for the very same reason --- it's complex.

 

Also, I feel that it works good only if each voter fills out the entire list/rankings. You can not like a candidate but you may still have to rank him but you must rank 1 through 11 if 11 seats are open out of total candidates running (which is obviously >11 otherwise no election would be needed). If you just rank 1,2 and 3 and not rank others, then the effect will be similar to coat tailing/paneling.

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Never say Never, it wont work because its complex to calculate?

 

I agree with you completely that it is "quite intriguing and innovative". It is as easy as the current system to the voters because they are ranking candidates as choice 1, 2 3 etc; If one voter choose not to vote all he/she can do so same as the current system.

 

It is only complicated for the Calculation by Election commision. And we claiming to be unique and inteligent comunity should not be scared of devicing a software program for the sake of choosing a better system.

 

Anything could be done its a matter of perception only.

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As stated in the previous post and as can found in the internet STV is not perfect and has the flaws pointed out.

 

Now writing a software to carry out the counting to evaluate the result that many dont even understand and than to trust the software to be without bugs would be the day I wait to see :)

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i observe that stv may be suitable for city, state officials to adopt. there, you kind of have to trust the officials in this case and think "may be i am too stupid to understand. but i am sure city officials know what they are doing.."

 

but a community like ours, where one educated/intelligent person thinks others are not right this is difficult to adopt. when you even talk about adopting something, other bangladeshis may think "this guy does not know what he's doing", and so i must give him advice.

 

i recommended a analysis study on traditional method to someone recently. the answer i got (from an intelligent/educated person) was "i dont have to study.. i already know this is wrong."

 

i dont think i'll be wrong to say we have a lot of mutual mistrust everywhere. i am hoping when BAGA is fully operational these mistrusts will be pacified quite a lot.

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I want to add some numbers thought on our discussion on a person voting

for X% of directors and not all directors. One votes for upto 49% of BOD directors. So for 15 BOD directors, you vote for upto 7 directors; for 10 BOD directors case, one may vote upto 4 directors, and so on.

 

This minimizes panel effect and provides for a wider candidates to be in the BOD.

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if we are going to limit,I would go for a third (33%). For a 15 Member BoD, each willvoterwill only be voting for 5.

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I like the 33% idea provided we are going with 15 BOD.

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The idea of not voting for all BOD members appears an undemocratic process to me. This is my basic right to vote for all the BODs rather than a percentage of BODs who will represent the community. You can all figure out how this process can eliminate popular candidates from being elected. Panel became an issue because this is the first time Austin has seen an election, but as we see more and more election people will be aware about qualified candidates. Please give some credit to Austin community, it has 90% of highly educated Bangladeshi population. It is not Bangladesh where you can buy votes with different means.

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i partially agree with syedrr. asking a voter to vote for fewer people than slots will be curbing his/her basic right.

quamrul bhai's proposition at least ensures that a voter can select a simple majority of the bod. hence, his/hers selection may make decisions for baga matters.

 

tahsin bhai also had an idea that i'll try to present here:

a voter has a maximum of 15 votes (for a 15 bod) that he/she can cast.

a voter can cast a maximum of 2 votes for a candidate he/she likes very much.

tahsin bhai says this the model 'close up tomakey khujchhe' program uses.

in this method, a voter can vote 2 votes each for 7 candidates (14 total) and 1 vote for another candidate for a total of 15 votes; or

a voter can vote 1 vote each for 15 bod for a total of 15 votes.

this does not curb his/her voting right and gives voter a choice to put emphasis on a few candidate of his/her choice.

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I don't see it as curbing my right.

 

Here's how I see it:

 

* Let's assume there are 500 BAGA Members

* 15 (of this 500) is represntingtheCommunity

* I vote for 5 (of that 15) people to represent me and my interest

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What if my BOD cannot make it to the meeting for unavoidable circumstances?

 

A voter casting 2 votes for a candidate can cause a popular candidate to loose. How does it avoid paneling? This idea gives twice as much popularity to candidate than his/her current popularity.

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"I vote for 5 (of that 15) people to represent me and my interest"

 

 

How does 5 represent me and my interest, they are not even a simple majority?

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What if my BOD cannot make it to the meeting for unavoidable circumstances?

 

 

If none of the 5 were able to show up for any of the meetings,you chose quite poorly (

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you are saying there will be 15 'voted' bod, but i can only vote for 5 and for the other 10, i dont have any say or i am not allowed to vote.

that is curbing voter's right.

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>> A voter casting 2 votes for a candidate can cause a popular candidate to loose. How does it avoid paneling? This idea gives twice as much popularity to candidate than his/her current popularity.

 

it doesnt avoid panelling. i think it only reduces the effect of panel by a little.

there is no rule in the world that can avoid panelling totally.

 

i think tahsin bhai's suggestion assumes that not everyone will choose the same people.

however, if 2 vote-scheme causes a popular candidate to loose, i'd think twice about his/her popularity!

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"however, if 2 vote-scheme causes a popular candidate to loose, i'd think twice about his/her popularity! "

 

 

Let us discuss your comment " i'd think twice about his/her popularity!" with an example. let us pick few names for our example:: A, B, C, D, E. Suppose say there are 250 people (from our last election number) who are participating in the vote to select 4 BODs. In the community 200 people will vote for A, 160 people will vote for B, 155 people will vote for C, 100 people will vote for D and 51 people will vote for E. These 51 people are devoted to do anything for E and they will cast 2 votes for E. On the other hand 100 D supporters like him but not devoted enough to cast 2 votes for him. Does this mean D is not popular enough than E in the community? Do I have to think twice about D's popularity? I can see E doing a small panel with few candidates to get severe advantages in the election.

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Between candidate D and E, it seems D is still not popular enough since he doesnt have a devotee club like E. Noone wanted to waste two votes on D!

But kidding aside, under normal voting-scheme, E could campaign and get 101 vote while D without campaign could still get 100 vote and lose.

 

if we can come up with any other scheme, i'd like to analyze those. but if i was to choose between Mir an Tahsin bhai's proposal, it makes sense more to go for Tahsin bhai's proposition.

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"Between candidate D and E, it seems D is still not popular enough since he doesnt have a devotee club like E. Noone wanted to waste two votes on D!"

 

May be we should change the definition of "popularity", while we are trying to write the Bylaws. The definition of "popularity" is no longer based on number of people rather it is based on number of devotees.

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changing the definition of popularity is really another debate.

 

for the matter at hand, if it was up to me, i'd rather not implement anything to reduce panelling as i dont think there is any scheme in the world that can eliminate panelling.

 

however, if we were to figure out a process to reduce such, what would be the best among the given choices? and my answer was between the two, tahsin bhai's.

 

can we come up with any innovative smart way to resolve this issue? where are our brainy members of the community?

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Usually, I stay away from this kind of discussion forum since I don't have confidence in my

ability to make my point clearly.

 

I would like to make some statements on how I see these issues:

1. I agree with galib that it will be extremely hard, if not impossible, to stop panelling

2. I personally don't dislike panelling as long as it is not used to monopolize an election

3. For the long term health of the association, it is important that true representation

of the community is reflected in the BOD.

4. Restricting voter to choose fewer than full number of directors does have the perception

of limited right for the voters/candidates. My explanation is given later.

5. syedrr correctly pointed out a limitation of 2-vote scheme. I can point out few more

limitations of this scheme. The biggest, in my view, is the implementation of it.

I offered this 2-vote scheme to invite some discussion on this intellectually interesting

'panel' issue....it is not meant to be a silver bullet to this intriguing issue.

6. Other solutions, including do-nothing solution, has some drawbacks as well.

7. syedrr wondered how 2-vote scheme stops panelling. It does not...but it reduces

its effect to some extent. It is elaborated later.

8. It might very well be the case that we end up doing nothing. But at the very least all these

discussions are increasing awareness.

 

 

As for #4:

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Lets take the following simplified example:

- 100 voters, 3 candidates (A,B,C) for 2 posts

- 90 voters prefer A and B

- 10 voters prefer C only

- we restrict voters to choose 1 candidate only.

- Result: A gets 90 votes

C gets 10 votes

B gets 0 votes (even when he/she was the 2nd preference of 90 people)

 

To me it is not ensuring full right of the voters and candidates.

 

As for #7:

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In the 2-vote scheme, if someone wants to create a panel, he/she might be better off

creating a panel of 7/8 candidates....not a full panel of 15 candidates knowing that voters may cast 2 votes for someone else in the panel while leaving him/her out!

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When I first saw Quamrul bhai's email - I was tempted to reply immediately, but I thought I will organize my thoughts first, and then I would reply. Looks like, in the mean time, quite a few good replies are already in the forum. Some of my thoughts have already been discussed.

My biggest objection to this kind of voting is mainly two-fold. One is alreaady described by Tahsin bhai in his explanation of no. 4. Another is that it really beats the purpose/concept of voting. In this scenario, it is very much possible that someone getting elected with as few as 2/3 votes. Because, it is possible that there are 5 or 7 candidates who are really popular and get 90-95% of the votes. Out of remaining 10 or 12 candidates, some are getting 4/5 votes, and some are getting 2/3 votes, but some of them are getting elected!

I have several other points against this method, but before that, I have a basic question of what we are trying to achieve through this ?? If we are assuming that we can eliminate or reduce the amount of endorsement of one people by another ( I guess, that is what we are calling paneling, right ?), then we must be living in an utopian world! There is no way we can stop that. But, if we talk about formal paneling in an election - that can be banned even in the by-laws. One more thing I want to add to this, the more complicated the system becomes - the people with bad intentions will come up with even more innovative and nastier ways to beat the system.

We have just seen one election. we should not jump to conclusion and change our processes just seeing the result of one election. Any sane person would want a diverse participation in our BoD. But, we should not change our system to accomodate something which may seem good at this point. Rather, we should adopt the most fair and healthy process - to the best of our ability - and then, let people adjust with this system/process and not the other way around.

 

Having said all these, I am still open to any logic, intellectual discussion and healthy arguments regarding this. At this point , I am not in favor of restricting the number of votes or adding a weighting factor in votes (maximum of 2 as in Tahsin bhai's case) - but if I can be convinced the other way, then I may change my mind as well.

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Could the participants of the " panel" discussion please clarify their understanding on this subject so that we the readers may be of the same page while reading their ideas.

I was with the notion that we, the proud community members, can make our own sound decisions as long as we are ensured a proper, democratic and conducive environment. If we see any number of people paneling or endorsing one another in an election and we do not approve of it we shall vote to defeat such a purpose. We do not need a carcinogenic addition in our constitution in order to try to restrict or reduce it. By reducing the voting power to any number lower than actual number, I feel that

1. We are taking away their voting rights

2. We are giving birth to an irregular process which subsequently shall have a much worse effect because, remember, none of the numbers that you all have mentioned are reasonably objective and can also be otherwise justified. There is no majic number between 1 & 11/15.

3. By choosing any number in between we are giving birth to another clear paneling system( can be 5, 7, 9 people panel). Is that our goal?

 

At the end, I think that our austin community is unique where each and every individual use his/her judgement to decide and if he/she feels that it is such a big problem he/she will change it through voting. It may be helpful to portray our views of panel and let everyone decide if it is good or bad rather than draw our own conclusions for all that it is already wrong and ask for remedy. It may be misleading.

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There seems to be a lot of discussion surrounding the concept of panel. Here are my two cents.

 

Conceptual discussion:

 

• Panel, as I understand, is the joint effort by two or more election candidates that agree to promote each other.

• Panel is merely a political marketing campaign and does not constitute a contractual voting ballot.

• Panel seems to be a natural democratic process all around the world.

• If a panel of two is allowed then a panel of eleven (entire BOD based on current draft) should be allowed.

• Arguably, panel allows more transparency. A voter gets to evaluate, for better or for worse, a particular candidate’s affinity with other candidates. It gives the voters ideas about the candidate’s values and goals.

• A candidate can belong to more than one panel in the event there are multiple panels.

 

Election reality:

 

• Voters can think for themselves and cast their votes accordingly.

• Voters validate each candidate on the ballot in privacy without any binding to choose all candidates from a particular panel.

• There are terms limits set forth within the draft constitution. So a particular panel cannot win in perpetuity.

 

Therefore, I feel that we are spending too much time on something that does not matter much in the end for the reasons described above.

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I am amazed to see such discussions about (limitng) voting rights which is beyond any democratic norms. What is the reason for such discussion? It definitely curbs my right to not be able to vote for all the open positions. That is my democratic right. I am not sure by what definition or precedence all this discussions about "vote for 4 BOD" "close-up" methods are being discussed. Is it really about paneling or are there any other ulterior motives. Is it to stop the popular ones from getting elected or is it to allow small paneling to get candidate E elected, as per Rana's example, to keep control of the BOD by the unpopular power hungry ones. Definitely begs the question.

 

Ladies and gentleman, please note that the community have grown and we would be fools to think that the members of this community are so ignorant that they do not know where certain people's interests lie. You would be surprised how much they are aware of. This BOD belongs to the members of the community and not to certain quarters who likes to keep control of the community. Those days are over gentlemen. The sooner we accept it the better will be our future.

 

And by the way, if anyone wants to vote for 4 people they certainly can do so. It hasn't stopped anyone from doing so in the past and neither it can in the future. Thanks.

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With due respect to all opinions.

 

First ,a little bit of background, without mentioning names ,I was drawn into this discussion in today's eid program when the proposal to limit the voting was discussed with me and thats when I became aware of this buring issue(?) .I lost my password for the earlier account I had for this discussion forum and so I am posting this from a different account.I would like to put together my thoughts in this regards. I see there's been careful thoughts given by many in this forum related to this topic and I am please to see I agree with some.

 

In my opinion:

i) its an insult to the collective judgement of people, to say that they will vote to elect unqualified persons , just because of some "paneling".I have the belief that, in the long run the collective judgement of people is correct.

 

ii) limiting the voting numbers is a way to ignore the majority opinion( as pointed out by Tahsin bhai with detail math .e.g a person with even just bare 10% popularity can become one of the elected.)

 

iii) We should think carefully when trying to come up with an innovative voting process , and ask if we are trying to ,as they say, "reinvent the wheel".

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Gentlemen: Let’s be OPEN and FRANK!

 

We all should know by now that at least one candidate (as indicated by Shams Siddique’s email upon the outcome of the election) was not elected due to paneling. We take great pride in being a unique educated Bangladeshi community. Nevertheless, it is a shame that it happened! So, there should be some checks and balances. I don’t see why we can’t invent something that serves our unique community in a unique way. May be we aren’t thinking enough on this issue. It very well could be that there is no one solution to satisfy everyone.

 

Since we want to elect & run our association in a democratic way, be advised that it involves politics. Do we really need to resort to dirty politics in this community? Have we not shown our DEEP concerns about the division in our community prior to the Ad-Hoc Election?

 

It is unanimously agreed in this discussion board that paneling can’t be stopped. Yes, if we want to run the community election in a true democratic way, paneling will be there. We can only try to minimize it or its repercussions. Let’s explore more options.

 

What happens if we reduce the number of BOD to bare minimum 3 or 5? Is there really need for 15, or 11 BOD? Again, just like any constitution which indicates majority & minority parties in true democracies in the world, we, Greater Austinites, should not have any shame in campaigning and paneling for all the positions. We just have to accept the fact that we are resorting to the reality of the DEMOCRACY that involves politics which can be dirty. We can’t avoid it.

 

 

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Very interesting comment from Ahsan. Can you please explain for the sake of the readers how you ended up with the comment "We all should know by now that at least one candidate was not elected due to paneling". Surely I did not read anything in Shams Siddique’s email that stated that he had proof that he did not win due to paneling. I hope you have more solid evidence for us rather than just stating your opinion. I hope we are not writing bylaws based on someone's opinion or speculation and curbing voter rights. Also I would like Ahsan to explain the definition of paneling as he understands.

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those who are familiar with "real panel" election (dhaka university) know that each panel has a preselected number of people and the voters can vote for red panel, blue panel etc.

 

adhoc election did not have any 'panel'. what we all saw was a combined campaign effort by a smaller group of people. they had a very good campaign strategy and it worked.

 

IF THE REST OF THE CANDIDATES HAD A GOOD CAMPAIGN STRATEGY, THEY WOULD HAVE WON!

 

let me speak for myself. i deserved the 10th or 11th or whaever position i had, because, i did not make a lot of phone campaigns like some others; i did not pass out cheat sheets for voters to remember my name.... these are flaws made by my campaign manager (me!). i cannot go around blaming those who won for my loss! i cannot keep calling them a 'panel' in a negative way just because i did not put effort in campaigning.

 

we cannot blame a successful campaign by labeling them as 'panel'.

 

looking forward (way forward in the future), i am interested to explore and learn about 'innovative' ways to reduce negative campaigning and to reduce unfair loss or win.

 

so far, i have seen only one idea sent by tahsin bhai that seemed quite interesting. noone else recommended anything better yet.

 

however, these are all innovations and experiments that, in my view, cannot be put in the bylaws. you cannot keep doing tests and ammend bylaws every year. if anything, these innovations can be a part of Election Commission rules that may be modified year to year as needed.

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Actually, Pinak did a very good job earlier in defining what 'paneling’ means. I don’t need to restate that!

 

As far as Shams Siddique’s email, I had to actually re-read the email since I didn’t recollect the actual words. Upon reading it again: He mentioned “paneling” with respect to Format C vs. other formats and not necessarily with his candidacy. So, I may have read more than I should in between the lines in that email. If that is so, I stand corrected although I still have to wonder why this thread was initiated by Quamrul to begin with.

 

But the fact remains as stated in that email:

“Such politicization of the Association will lead to polarization of the community into competing alliances and thus lead to the problems faced by other communities.”

 

I hope we understand the reality and try our best to avoid that polarization. Although I am a big proponent of true democracy, I would hate to see a divided Austin Community. But if that’s the reality, may be it is time for us to grow up and accept that. That's it!

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First of all, my idea was not meant to be discussed in any general forum. galib, without my

permission, posted that here It was not meant to be something that should be included in

the bylaws or in the directive to the election commission. Like I said in my first post, this idea

has several drawbacks and serious implementation issue.

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I would suggest that one should vote for popular 33-40% of BODs instead of 100%. This step would make the association always active, productive and bring more dynamism among the Austinite deshis. Otherwise after some time, people will no longer show any enthusiasm for the association. Also it could divide the people instead of unite.....

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In light of the discussion about minority in the Bangladeshi community, here is my suggestion:

 

1. We should strongly consider Bangladeshi Hindu community as a true minority and make attempts so they are adequately heard and involved with BAGA.

 

2. We should not cosider as minority in BAGA bylaws:

a. Folks that don't want to call themselves Bangladeshi (instead some other name)

b. Any individual or organization who likes to stay private

c. Folks that actively try to undermine the Bangladeshi community in Greater Austin, mis-represent our community, or work against BAGA and their goals and objectives

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Analyzing more on Cumulative voting procedure proposed by Hero bhai, if we consider our last election where Nasim bhai won most votes of 207; Hero bhai will need only 19 devotees (19X11, say we are electing 11 board of directors) to surpass Nasim bhai. Devotees are people who are willing to do anything for a candidate. I am appalled that Hero bhai can propose something so radical as cumulative voting. If Bangladeshi community identifies Bangladeshi Hindu community as a true minority, I would love to here ideas to properly represent them in BOD. But should not we include other religions (Christian, Jews .........) also.

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It was interesting to see the voting experts juggling with the words 'minority' or 'special interest groups'. They talked about minority representation. But when they were asked to define the 'minority', they conveniently changed the word to 'special interest groups'. No matter what words are used, the idea behind these attempts is to elect some people of their group into the board and thus dictate the community.

 

The idea behind the cumulative voting that Mr. Hero presented is totally undemocratic. You only need a handful of people to elect an unqualified person into the board. Paneling will be encouraged in this method.

 

Limited voting, on the other hand, is also undemocratic since it curbs the rights of the voters. Paneling cannot be stopped using this methods either. But it may be slightly better choice than cumulative voting.

 

By nature, 'special interest groups', usually are small group of individuals who try to dictate a larger group using their money or power. This is a 'black eye' in the US political landscape. We should not knowingly invite this kind of problem into BAGA.

 

If there are certain segments of the community such as groups belonging to specific religion or gender are not being adequately represented in the board, attempts can be made to select such members of the community as honorary board member to create the diversity. If such a minority group size is significant, such as 9 to 10% of the total community population - 1 honorary BOD position (about 9-10% of the total BOD body) can be created for this group if no one gets elected in the popular voting. Selecting these minority groups should not be based on their affiliations to certain organization(s) which may turn out to be 'special interest groups'. We should also make sure these minority groups have Bangladeshi values.

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One request...let's not take this discussion personally or get personal

because of it.

 

Thanks to tuhinmahmud for a very informative wiki page on voting system

at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_system

 

I would like to make 2 points on cumulative voting...one for and one

against this method:

 

1. In conventional method, a simple majority, when united behind a group of candidates, can control all seats (theoritically speaking). In cumulative

voting, it takes much more than simple majority to control all seats.

 

So, theoritically, 49% voters may end up getting unrepresented in conventional voting.

 

2. Under 'Criteria in evaluating voting systems' in the above wiki page,

'Majority criterion' is defined as :

"If there exists a majority preferring a single candidate, does he always win if that majority votes sincerely?".

 

There is a "?" mark against cumulative voting for this criterion. The way

I interpret it is that cumulative voting may not reflect majority wishes.

Now, that is scary.

 

More and more it seems to me that the conventional method might be

the right way to go. Like saiful, I am also keeping my mind open.

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In light of the discussion about minority in the Bangladeshi community, here is my suggestion:

 

1. We should strongly consider Bangladeshi Hindu community as a true minority and make attempts so they are adequately heard and involved with BAGA.

 

2. We should not cosider as minority in BAGA bylaws:

a. Folks that don't want to call themselves Bangladeshi (instead some other name)

b. Any individual or organization who likes to stay private

c. Folks that actively try to undermine the Bangladeshi community in Greater Austin, mis-represent our community, or work against BAGA and their goals and objectives

 

 

Presently, there is no concept of majority/minority in the proposed

bylaws. I strongly believe that is the right approach.

 

As for #2c, such folks can't even be members of BAGA, per proposed

draft bylaws.

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First I must admit , in last couple of days I have come to know more theories on voting systems than I knew in my entire life.Anyone with internet access can also find out more informations on this subject.

 

Here's what I understand in this regard .

 

* There are different systems of voting with different sets of pros and cons.But there is NO system that addresses ALL the concerns.Picking a complicated system just to serve a specific concern will not serve the community for the best in the long run.

 

*The original concern about "paneling" can not be stopped by any voting system unless public awareness addresses the underlying issue.

 

*We should keep in mind that there is no well defined "majority" or "minority" that exists or that will exist for EVER in this community.People will change.People's mind will change.Even in a group of perceived majority or minority, there are differce of opinions on different subjects.

 

* Simple system is easier to understand and enforce.

 

I am still convinced that allowing people to make decision by allowing "each person to choose all the candidates by one vote" is a better choice.

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Discussion board is getting interesting day by day. Glad to see so many faces spending lots of time discussing issues their beloved BAGA facing now a days. While concentrating on how to defeat the majority supporters some of them are proposing methods which will encourage making panels instead of minimizing panel concept. Our objective should be to elect people who work hard for the welfare of the community and will be willing to give up all conflict of interest infavor of BAGA. Voters should be able to freely excercise their rights to choose best possible candidates to serve the whole community (contrast to individual representative serving individual interest). It is upto the candidate to earn trust by serving the community first. Then, no panel or method will be abe to stop the voters electing him/her.

 

Lots of people used their 2 cents. Here is my 1 cent (1 more later):

 

I would like to give some mathematical example (ideal) to show how the majority voices are defeated and unwanted candidates get elected.

 

Case 1 (extreme case):

 

With 4 max vote (11 vacancies), although there may be 11 strong candidates and 95% voters like them, only 4 candidates may get 95% vote each and get elected. 3% of total voters may belong to a certain interest group (panel/devotees) and can easily elect their 4 candidates. Another 2% voters which belong to another interest group can elect their 3 candidates. So, out of 11 BODs, 2 minor groups (5% of voters) with 7 BODs can dominate the board. Imagine what will be the situation with 95% voters and how the BAGA would perform.

 

Even with 6 or 8 or 9 BODs some unwanted candidates (by 95%) can get elected while some strong candidates are not.

 

Case 2 (moderate case):

 

For example, there are 200 voters, each can vote upto 6 candidates.

60% of total voters identified certain 11 strong candidates (assuming these voters are unbiased). Say, all 60% voted 4 particular candidates giving 120 votes total for each and thus these 4 candidates are elected.

These voters still have 2 more votes left and this time different voters choose different candidates (from next 7) but average is same which is about 34 (<=240/7). Now, from rest of the voters, say 21% belong to one panel A and 19% belong to other panel, B. Panel A can elect possible 6 candidates with 42 votes each and Panel B can elect last last one with 38 votes. So, panel A dominating the BODs with 21% support.

 

Other method (one voter excercising 11 votes for one candidates) is more alarming.

 

Anyway, these mathematical calculations are nothing new and so many people already pointed that out. The bottom line is, we should not invent something which deprives the majority previleges. Its the majority which can control the peace and harmony of any society by providing minority (if exists) their due previleges. On the other hand minority can create some noise and disrupt the peace temporarily, but can come forward and work together with majority and become part of majority and a peace and harmony.

 

So, instead of finding a shortcut for the small panel to win the election lets think about how we (the community) can accumodate every community members in BAGA working groups (volunteers) who will help the BAGA to serve the interest of the community. The leaders and future leaders should work hard for the community to get the attention of the voters.

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Case 1 (extreme case):

 

With 4 max vote (11 vacancies), although there may be 11 strong candidates and 95% voters like them, only 4 candidates may get 95% vote each and get elected. 3% of total voters may belong to a certain interest group (panel/devotees) and can easily elect their 4 candidates. Another 2% voters which belong to another interest group can elect their 3 candidates. So, out of 11 BODs, 2 minor groups (5% of voters) with 7 BODs can dominate the board. Imagine what will be the situation with 95% voters and how the BAGA would perform.

 

Even with 6 or 8 or 9 BODs some unwanted candidates (by 95%) can get elected while some strong candidates are not.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

 

I think it is a stretch to say 95% of the voters will vote for the SAME 4 people among 11 likable candidates. The average for 11 people to get 95% of the votes is (95/11=) 8.64%. Whereas, the exact votes that the 4 candidates belonging to the groups is 3% and 2% respectively.

 

So, the advantage of the likable 11 candidates is at least 5.64%.

 

While I understand that some from that "likable group of 11" will get more votes because they are "more likable", it is in my opinion not reasonable to say that only 4 of them will sweep ALL neutral votes --- that's just a mathematical boundary where 7/11 candidates have to be then virtually unknown (not "much likable at all") to 95% of the population. I would say at least 8 of those 11 candidates will hold their advantage (because they are "likable enough"). Therefore, majority of the seats are indeed decided by the majority.

 

We have to trust the neutral population that they will not ALL vote for the same guys. I think it is a good trust to place. I am opposed to trusting 20% of the people to sweep all 11 seats as they can organize a panel to create a 20% vote advantage for ONLY their choice of candidates for all 11 seats. That way 80% of the people are left out without a real voice.

 

In my opinion, the reason the 5% of the people get 3/11 seats (int his example) is because the "limit of 4 votes" is not optimal for a population of 200 and open seats of 11. But, it is still representative of the majority in the elected body.

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Case 2 (moderate case):

 

For example, there are 200 voters, each can vote upto 6 candidates.

60% of total voters identified certain 11 strong candidates (assuming these voters are unbiased). Say, all 60% voted 4 particular candidates giving 120 votes total for each and thus these 4 candidates are elected.

These voters still have 2 more votes left and this time different voters choose different candidates (from next 7) but average is same which is about 34 (<=240/7). Now, from rest of the voters, say 21% belong to one panel A and 19% belong to other panel, B. Panel A can elect possible 6 candidates with 42 votes each and Panel B can elect last last one with 38 votes. So, panel A dominating the BODs with 21% support.

---------------------------------------------------------------

 

If we have 4 votes limit for a population of 200 and 11 open seats, then it is a recipe for disaster. I don't think 60% of the people get ANY candidates in, let alone 4.

 

Again, I have to trust the 60% of the people to not vote for the same 4 guys. Therefore the 11 likable candidates get an average of 5.45% of the votes (60/11) ..... while some will get more than 5.45%, some will get less.

 

The two panels will obviously run 6 candidates each in this case. giving them 4/6 th votes of the 21% and 19% respectively. That means, 6 candidates from panel A get 14% votes, and 6 candidates from panel B gets 12.67% votes.

 

The 11 likable guys have little chance. Okay, maybe one of those 11 will make it if he is unquestionably revered and adored by the entoire community. 4 of them will make it ONLY IF all 4 are significantly more popular than the other 7 neutral candidates, which is unlikely.

 

My opinion remains the same, if we do not find resonable numbers, it is going to be panel dominated just like it is now.

 

Thanks.

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I have a correction to post about case 2:

 

Panels A and B candidates receive 1/6 th of the 21% and 19% votes, not 4/6th. Therefore panel A candidates get 3.5% votes and panel B candidates get 3.17%.

 

Therefore, 60% of the unbiased majority is going to get the majority of the seats averaging 5.45% votes. Any panel candidate from either panel has to hope that some of the 11 independent candidates will get less than 3.xx% votes from the 60% unbiased people.

 

Or, the panel candidates actually have to be "likable enough" to attract some votes from the 60% unattached people.

 

So, even though the 4 vote limitation is not the ideal number, it does not let anybody dominate.

 

One thing that comes out of these numbers is that, when the panel supporting population is the minority in number, they need help from the non-panel majority number voters to be elected in a limited voting system.

 

Point to note, this example has a possibility to have 60% voters sweep all seats, if those 60% voters distribute the votes to their 11 candidates at 5.45% percent or close to it ....... but if that happens, then those are not unbiased voters anymore and they have essentially created a panel C.

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If 60% voters are unbiased its likely they will vote for same 4 persons as they will try to vote for the strongest one (wise men think alike).

 

Anyway, one think for sure from this discussion that implementing any one of these methods will invite more paneling and election engineering. Candidates will try to buyout few votes instead of trying to gain trust from the voters by working for them (BAGA).

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60% of the unbiased electorate will not vote for the same 4 candidates; it is beyond any statistical probability that would ever happen. For something even remotely close to that to happen, those 4 candidates must be unquestionably light years ahead SUPERIOR compared to the other 7 (from that unbiased 11 candidates), PLUS those other 7 candidates themselves, their relatives and friends also MUST vote for the other 4.

 

I believe, at this time, nobody other than Dr. Yunus and 3 clones of him could pull that off. People would be like robots and not think for themselves for that to happen. I bet you run 7 strangers who moved into Austin a month ago and still they would get votes from themselves, their spouses, and one or two of their friends.

 

In our current system a group of 20% electorate can get a 20% lead on all seats even before the election begins. 80% of the electorate cannot overcome that 20% difference for more than a couple of seats because they vote for independent candidates as well as panel candidates. Therefore, panel candidates will always win no matter how many independent candidates the 80% of the population wants.

 

Please understand that this in no way gives any opening to those candidates who are not liked by the people in general. People won't vote for them, and they will not get in. This method only evens the ground for all "likable candidates" whether they are part of a panel or not. That is fair. Protecting only panel candidates is unfair.

 

By changing to limited voting, there will be no need for paneling because paneling won't help. People will vote for their spouses and friends and those people whose candidacy attract them. Election engineering by a group will be a negligible effort no matter the group is small or large. The key is, we gotta find a reasonable number that minimizes grouping.

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I think BAGA community has realized the fact that there is no way we can enforce an election mechanism that can eliminate paneling (or coat tailing) completely. Some of the suggestions like CV, LV or STV may curb them to some extent but does not provide a ‘complete‘ solution, and some people think they will cause even more serious consequences in the future.

 

To me, those methods are appropriate and adopted in a diversified, heterogeneous community where people belong to different ethnic groups, races, religions, or core values or where people with less privilege need support from the system to compete with others. But that is not the case in our community and that’s why many people have already viewed them as a ploy to get elected through back door violating basic democratic right. STV is probably better in that regards but some have regarded it as complex and hard to implement in a short period of time. Many people have serious reservations against computerized election, since it doesn’t guarantee software glitch (intentional or unintentional) and voting privacy.

 

We need a simple, easy to understand, universally accepted election mechanism. At the same time, we also need to make sure that certain individuals who are willing to serve the community and are well represented doesn’t always get excluded. We need to adopt a process that encourages more people to participate, inspires them to positive campaigning and assures them that they will not become the victim of the process.

 

Having said that here is my proposal:

 

Let’s keep the same election process what we had for Ad-hoc election (or what we have currently in the ByLaws) - Top 11 persons automatically secure a BOD position. From the rest if any one gets vote from at least 1/3 of the total votes will also be included, but will not qualify for the BOD officer’s post.

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Interesting proposal. Not sure exactly how significant the "not qualify for BoD Officers Post" clause would be. But definitely worth thinking / discussing about.

 

While I ponder on this particular idea - how about we take it a step further. Let's eliniminate the fixed number of seats (currently it is proposed to be 11, I believe) and declare everyone for whom a third (or some pre-set proportion) of votes has been cast.

 

So, if we pre-set the proportion to be a third (33%) and

 

      20 individuals run for election

      300 individuals cast vote (each voting for a max of 20, but not voting more than 1 for any individual)

      Each candidate to receive 100 votes or more is declared a winner

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Quote:

So, if we pre-set the proportion to be a third (33%) and

 

 

20 individuals run for election

300 individuals cast vote (each voting for a max of 20, but not voting more than 1 for any individual)

Each candidate to receive 100 votes or more is declared a winner

 

 

In your example, my proposal was:

 

- 20 individuals run for 11 posts.

- 300 individuals cast vote (each voting for a max of 11, but not voting more than 1 for any individual)

- Top 11 persons automatically secure a BOD post.

- From the rest, anyone who receives 100 votes or more is also declared a winner, but will not qualify for BOD officer's post.

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What if no more than 7 of the candidates manage to win a third (33%) of the votes? Do we still declare the top 11 candidates winners?

 

What if only 9 individuals run for election? Do we declare all of them winners?

 

I was suggesting taking your original suggestion another step forward - abolish the 11 posts. Allow anyone to run for election (meeting the proper requirements, what ever they may be). Anyone winning a third (or what ever pre-set ratio) of the votes - wins a post. Be it 5, 7 or 19.

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I like Anjon's suggestion.

This seems like a good compromise between the ideas/proposals discussed.

One thing I'd question though - is 33% the right number?

I don't know the stats of the previous AHC election or other similar elections. How about 50% votes automatically elects a BOD winner? (don't want to make it too easy)

 

Now, what if we got 100+ member BOD - "amra shobai raja"

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I was suggesting taking your original suggestion another step forward - abolish the 11 posts. Allow anyone to run for election (meeting the proper requirements, what ever they may be). Anyone winning a third (or what ever pre-set ratio) of the votes - wins a post. Be it 5, 7 or 19

 

 

I thought about it and I feel that there is a problem to set that as the only criteria (secure 1/3 vote to be elected). In our current model, it is possible that no one gets that amount. In that case, the whole election result will be invalid, and we’ll face constitutional crisis. So I think picking top 11 is the only way out in that scenario.

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I like Anjon's suggestion.

This seems like a good compromise between the ideas/proposals discussed.

One thing I'd question though - is 33% the right number?

I don't know the stats of the previous AHC election or other similar elections. How about 50% votes automatically elects a BOD winner? (don't want to make it too easy)

 

Now, what if we got 100+ member BOD - "amra shobai raja"

 

 

The 33% is just a number.We can make it 10%, 25% 49% or anything else- if we all agree with the basic concept.

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To avoid the Constitutional Crisis or the Amra Shobai Raja situation we could have a upper (maybe 33) and lower (maybe 3) limit.

 

On the lower limit - I would argue that if enough candidate is not able to get 33% (or something similar) BAGA should be abolished (I am quite serious). The same crisis could come up if no one (not enough individuals) runs for election.

 

On the upper limit - I don't think it is mathematically possible for 100+ individuals to win 33% of the votes (when the voting pool is 300). But your point is well taken - a fairly large number of individuals "could" crowd the BoD Office.

 

Remember - each Voter can only vote for each of the candidate once for a maximum of 11 (or some other pre-set number) Candidates.

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Mathematically, for this proposal, the upper limit is 33 (which is true for any number of voters), and this may happen only in an extreme scenario where each voter exercises all of his/her 11 votes, and all of the winners equally get 1/3 of the total vote. For example, in a community of 300, at most 33 can get 100 (300 x 11 / 100) votes. In the real world, I don’t’ expect that number not to exceed 15~17. So there is no chance for every one to become ‘raja’ or crowd the BoD.

 

To run an association effectively we also need a lower limit. This is the minimum work force BoD needs to carry out its mission. The ByLaws sub-committee determined that number to be 11 (I think suggestions ranged from 7 to 15). BoD needs at least that minimal work force even some of them may not be mandated by 1/3 of the community. So that’s why I was suggesting to include top 11 position holders automatically.

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Interesting idea....

 

In a twisted way, this is similar to Mir's proposal!

Here is why:

 

- we vote for upto 11 candidates

- top 11 vote getters get in plus upto 22 more candidates could get in

(mathematically, as Kochi suggested, a total of 33 candidates could

get votes from 1/3rd voters)

- This is in effect an election of (upto) 33 directors where voters can vote

for no more than 11, right?

 

Note: Mir's proposal was for a 15 member board, allow voters to vote for

no more than 4 candidates

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In that perspective, I agree with you.

 

But the main difference here is in the outcome of the voting result. In Mir’s proposal, where the number of BoD is fixed, some one who is less popular can get elected victimizing some one who is more popular than that individual. [That victim whether he or she is a leader or a coat-tailer is a subjective matter].

 

By making the number of BoD flexible, my proposal suggests to include any individual who has a mandate from a significant portion of the community. And it doesn’t victimize any one.

 

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Let me present the same simple example that I used when discussing Mir's proposal:

 

100 voters

3 candidates (A, B, C)

Voters can vote for only 1 candidate

Top vote getter and others with atleast 33 votes will get in

Theoritically, all 3 can get elected, right? (A-34, B-33, C-33)

 

Let's assume:

67 voters prefer A (1st pref) and then B (2nd pref). 33 voters only like C.

 

So, A gets 67 votes (elected)

B gets 0 vote (even being 2nd preference of 67 voters!)

C gets 33 votes (elected)

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How about this proposal:

 

X voters, Y candidates

 

- each voter can cast upto Y votes

- each voter can cast only one vote for one candidate

- Top 11 vote getters get elected irrespective of their vote counts

- Candidates outside of top 11 who get X/2 votes get elected as well

 

 

Ad:

- each voter can vote on all candidates who can form the board.

(lack of our ability to vote on all posts concerns lot of people)

- A candidate, voted by majority of the voters, is allowed to be elected.

- an organized small section of community can not deprive

a candidate sincerely voted by large section of the community

(my example in th last post)

 

Disad:

- Theoritically, 2 * Y candidates can get elected (could be too many)

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I liked your proposal, its better than mine and covers all the loose ends. Btw, in dis-advantage: you meant all the candiates could win, right? That's fine with me as long as they are mandated by the majority of the community.

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I want to stress one point that is easy to forget in the limited voting system for a fixed # of BOD seats:

 

While a less-popular candidate can initially secure a certain number of votes by a small group of people voting specifically for the unpopular candidate AND not vote for anyone else, as soon as the unbiased majority population (majority is numbers here, not an ideological group) votes, the unpopular guy loses ---- because he is unpopular.

 

Again, if the unpopular candidates have a "loyal" group of 20% of the population, then (and ONLY then) they will secure 20% of the seats. You may argue that all other candidates may have >20% support, but in a way, representation has been made PROPORTIONALLY to the electorate --- that is more fair than 20% of the population who can NOW (in our current system) take over almost all the seats if there are no organized opposition who can at least counter with 20% of the population themselves.

 

My argument is that, an average voter does not want to belong to a group and want their choices to get in, and limited voting will always lead to the average voter electing the majority --- instead of a small group electing almost everybody.

 

As I also said, some form of contested seats is also fair ...... which is essentially what you are talking about in the last few posts.

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There have been a lot of talk about fairness and likability. One way to ensure those is to have every BOD seat contested. BOD members already take leads in different aspects of the association's functionality, so why not contest for every seat? All association decisions are still made by BOD votes, but the different branches of the BOD actions can hold a seat, and each seat can be contested.

 

For example, BOD seats can be for

 

* constitutional matters (needed change/amendments)

* cultural events (our garden variety programs for 16 Dec., 1st Boishakh, 26 March, etc.)

* sports events (soccer, cricket, basketball, 29, pool [highly recommended by some more than others ]...)

* finance (budget, spending, fundraising,...)

* legal matters (legal cleanliness, immigration, tax laws, ...)

* spokesperson (announcements, website, emails, advertisements, ...)

* public relations (member issues, relations with the larger Austin and city govt., .....)

* coordination (help all efforts out, like what Mithu bhai is doing now)

 

.... I am sure there are more aspects that can be included. By having contested seats,

 

-> There is no question about the "most popular" individual getting elected for every position.

 

-> There is no "fear" or "insecurity" that some unwanted person can get in.

 

-> If there are 5 candidates for 1 seat, then that issue is deemed imortant by the volunteer candidates, and it should be highly contested. If there is only 1 candidate for a post, then it's pretty evident that its a thankless job and the only candidate gets in uncontested.

 

-> There is no point in paneling or coat tailing. If you and your friends want 8 out of the 10 seats, you run 8 candidates for 8 positions, and any position can be challenged by other candidates, and the popular guy gets in.

 

1 seat --- 1 vote. Fair. A candidate can run for only 1 seat. The best guy interested for that job will be elected. What if someone is interested in more than one aspect? ... Well, the nomination process can be discussed then to have every candidate run for their most desired/most probable position (we can impose nomination submission/change/withdrawal dealdines to address those issues).

 

I still believe that in the current system, a small group can get an unfair advantage by voting for each other. The correct # of limits on votes in the current system does reduce that problem significantly, but all kinds of impractical senarios are thrown (without strong evidence in my opinion) to say, "what if ...". If the current system is not changed, that "unfairness" cannot be eliminated and elections can always be engineered.

 

So, let's go for every single BOD seat that is contested.

 

Simple and fair.

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I still believe that in the current system, a small group can get an unfair advantage by voting for each other. The correct # of limits on votes in the current system does reduce that problem significantly, but all kinds of impractical senarios are thrown (without strong evidence in my opinion) to say, "what if ...". If the current system is not changed, that "unfairness" cannot be eliminated and elections can always be engineered.

 

 

But you yourself are throwing in a significant "what if".

 

Your assumption that a small number of people "could" take over by voting for each other has not happened in reality (in the ONLY election we've had so far).

 

So, if it is OK for you to suggest an alternative Election method to pre-emptively prevent a negative thing from happening (which may or may not ever happen) - I think it is only fair that everyone throws in their wildest "what ifs" and we all brain storm on them ;o)

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My "what if" scenario has happend to at least some extent. There was an effort that joined forces together and had meetings and plans to vote for one another prior to the election. To what extent they were successful or how much they they carried out the idea is a matter of debate, but the "what if" I threw in is not without any basis or precedence based on the "only election" we have had so far. How do we know this won't happen again, may be to a much worse extent?

 

Or are we supposed to deny even that now?

 

Specifically, anything wrong with contested seat idea?

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to some extent. Also, we are not really sure what long term effect it has had. I believe most of the voters, now that they are aware of it, are fairly angry and will not tolerate such attempts in the future.

 

But that is my feeling.

 

No, we definitely are not to deny anything that has happened. But I would like to also include, while we are discussing the possibilities - all the other scenarios.

 

Do I specifically find anything wrong with your contested seat idea? No. But I don't see the advantage that you do. More over if we are going to switch to a different system, we might as well switch to one that actually covers all (or at least most) of the possible scenarios ;o)

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I wanted to sincerely propose that a mechanism should be embedded in our voting system to

 

-> minimize dol pakano to take over the BOD

 

-> keep unpopular guys out according to their proportion of support (i.e. [insignificant support = no seats], [significant support=proportional % seats])

 

-> have unbiased majority elect the majority of the seats

 

Without a mechanism to inherently do that, I don't know how anyone would stop attempts to engineer elections!

 

Someone said to me (withholding names here), more organized efforts will be made to counter that mechanism --- well, if "more organization" results in "less benefits" and there is no difference b/w trying and not trying, then I say people will be less inclined to engineer elections (no advantage = no effort to take advantage).

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If I read your suggestion correctly, I am inclined to say that it is very similar to, if not same as, Option A (President, VP, etc.) of the format, the Association will be operated under. The majority of the voters opted for Option B (BOD) format. One of the main differences between Option A and B was the very fact that you are suggesting i.e. contest of each position.

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In a way, you can look at contested seats as the presidential format. But what's missing here in the contested seats is the designations and distribution of power of the option A presidential format. In this case, BOD members will share equal power, they will lead the different aspects of the organization the way they do today.

 

My effort is to help install a system that is fairer than it is today. What I heard at the meeting last night was very encouraging --- especially now that those present seem to realize the need for fairness and the BOD members seeming more receptive.

 

I would encourage any system that gives majority of the people more voice.

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an interesting observation from the AHC open forum for bylaws is that every proposal supported by x number of people, also opposed by x number of people.

 

Involved community members are divided in how things should be done in most cases.

 

Hence it falls back on the shoulders of the AHC Bylaws subcommittee to consider the inputs as suggestions only (since no definitive decision could be made on Open forum) and do the right thing for the community.

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The "x number of people" in support and in oppoosition is not the same / equal number, right? I believe what you meant was "x number of people" support a point, "y number of people" opposed it. Where "x" and "y" are close but not necessarily equal.

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yes x != y, but fairly close most of the time.

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what I have heard from everyone involved in the discussion, this is the spirit I understand behind all the brainstorming.

 

-> Not to let a small group of people give their candidates such a big advantage that the majority of the people voting cannot make a difference because the initial advantage gained by a select group is too big to overcome for other candidates who are just as popular.

 

-> If some candidate is popular enough (and we can debate what constitues "enough popularity"), he/she should be given a chance to serve. The current system lets select candidates and their friends vote ONLY for each other and NOT anyone else, and thus sweep almost all seats.

 

-> Not to find a backdoor for a select group to push their candidate in who is not popular in the majority of the electorate.

 

Jony, I hope you will agree with me that if the votes of the majority of the people cannot change the outcome of most seats, then the democratic rights of the larger population have been stripped.

 

In order to let the voices of the people be heard, you have to limit number of votes casted to some number. There was an interesting idea proposed last night that lets you vote for 10 people, but the BOD size is flexible because any candidate with >x% popularity is elected ...... I have to think about the details of that, but right off the bat, it looks promising because it is based on popularity among the general public, not based on RELATIVE popularity which can be artificially engineered.

 

Note that even in that system, you have a "limit" of 10 votes among what could be 20 candidates. But since BOD size is not fixed, you cannot keep out someone who is liked by a lot of people.

 

There is always a "limit" to what the voters can vote on --- otherwise only "write in" candidates would be allowed since that is how everybody's most prefered person gets voted and absolute democratic rights of choosing your government is preserved.

 

Hope you understand that limiting # of votes is not the same as limiting democratic rights.

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The proposal that Tahsin bhai and I are suggesting does not even limit that democratic right, and still allows popular individuals to be included in the BoD irrespective of their ranks in the election result. [Detail of the proposal is available at the end of ‘Election proposal – simple and inclusive’ discussion thread].

 

The other BIG advantages of this proposal:

- Voter doesn’t need to keep track of how many candidates he/she has voted. They can choose all of their favorite candidates.

 

- Election commissions responsibility is reduced since they don’t have to verify each vote whether it is exceeding any limit or not.

 

The theoretical disadvantage many people raised – ‘all candidate may win and crowd Bod’.

 

-I have no problem with that if that’s what majority of the community want.

 

- I have full confidence on general community’s judgment. I know they are very sincere and serious about this election and will apply their voting right most responsibly. So chances for un-qualified people to pass through this process are very slim.

 

I know this proposal is little un-conventional – but I believe this is simple, fair and the most appropriate for BAGA community.

 

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I wish I could express how much I appreciate the public brainstroming about fair election mechanisms as many took the idea seriously enough. I would personally like to thank everyone who have put their ideas forward.

 

You idea, as far as I recall, had 2 versions --- one to limit the vote to a certain number, the other not to limit at all. What I want to clearly say that I welcome both since either is more fair than what we have now. I want to, hopefully others will to, think about the effects of both a little bit more before we recommend one. We all are busy and I personally could not spend any time on the analysis, so I kept the door open for a limit.

 

Again, the spirit behind anything I ever endorsed was to let a candidate serve if he/she has the support of "enough" people. How we define "enough" will be another debate we'll have and the ad-hoc committee will finally make the decision on that, but people should not be shut out of the board just because they have not joined forces with a group that would "accept" them.

 

I am exteremely encouraged. Just give me a little time to settle down with the mathematics of these different versions. Hopefully, we'll be able to modify the system to something better than what we followed last time around.

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