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ALP03: Proxy/Delegate Voting #3

lkngtn opened this Issue Nov 30, 2017 · 1 comment


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lkngtn commented Nov 30, 2017

Proposal: Proxy/Delegate Voting

Author(s): Luke Duncan

Last updated: 11/29/2017


Proxy or Delegate based voting allows voters to opt to participate actively or delegate their voting power to another party. This process can be applied to any voting mechanism including carbon vote signaling mechanism as well as those requiring tabulation.


At a minimum a successful implementation of this proposal would enable the following user stories:

  • As a voter, I want to be able to delegate my vote for a period of time which spans multiple votes
  • As a voter, I want to be able to review completed and active polls, and see how my delegate voted
  • As a voter, I want the option to override my delegate for a given active poll.
  • As a voter, I want the option to change my delegate at any time, for any active and future polls.
  • As a delegate, I do not want the actions of other voters including the action of delegating their vote to me, to impact the transaction cost of me placing my vote.


Direct voting does not scale particularly well for large groups. This is because users with limited influence on a decision have a negative individual expected value of being informed and actively participating on all issues. The result is low participation and/or negligent, uninformed voting.

By allowing delegation users have the option to participate if they feel strongly about a particular issue, but can still have their voice represented even if they do not pay full attention to all issues.

Delegation is (in theory) better than representation, because delegation can be overridden or revoked at any time, so delegates have more incentive to represent the interests of their constituents than elected representatives.


Delegative Democracy is a good primer on delegate voting.

Open Issues

  • Delegation Expiration : If users show a tendency to delegate and forget about it, there is a risk of accumulation of influence in “super delegates” which could be worse than representative systems which have term limits. We could consider adding a delegate expiration at some reasonable timeframe, to force voters to re-assess their delegation choices on a somewhat frequent basis.
  • Tabulation Scalability : Depending on the implementation delegation may have an impact on the computation required to tabulate votes, particularly in large networks with many participants this may not be an insignificant amount. Until tabulation can be securely and efficiently moved off-chain, it may make sense to experiment with delegation approaches in carbon feedback style voting mechanism initially.

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pcuadros1 commented Mar 21, 2018

Hi, I agree to the delegation expiration and tabulation scalability, but we need to develop a tool to comunicate to the people the true information with the maximum precission and transparency about the content to vote, without any external or manipulable desviation from the reality.

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