[EM] Honor system

Anthony Simmons asimmons at krl.org
Mon Apr 16 22:33:10 PDT 2001

>> From: Martin Harper
>> Subject: Re: [EM] Campaign issue: wv vs m

>> It gets worse than that when you consider the problem
>> whereby a voter with A=1, B=0 has as much weight in the
>> A>B contest as one with A=0.55, B=0.45 -a minor preference
>> can cancel out a major preference. By refusing to express
>> a minor preference due to uncertainty or laziness, surely
>> such voters are helping to produce a better winner at the
>> end of the day? Surely they should be applauded for that,
>> in the same way that we would applaud those who give
>> sincere ratings in CR rather than strategising like crazy?

I really wonder about whether sincerity can legitimately be
considered a virtue in an election.

On the specific side, if you know that almost everyone will
maximize the weight difference between A and B, is it right
for you to fail to do the same?

And on the general side, do we want to make the honor system
part of a general election?  Remember, we're not talking
about things like not registering under two different names,
or other infractions that can at least in principle be
checked objectively.  We're talking about agreeing amongst
the voters on a matter of how we will cast our votes.  An
agreement -- unlike a similar one in a place like the U.S.
Senate -- amongst strangers, with no verification possible.

If strategizing is considered a minus, how much worse to put
people in a position in which they gain by doing it, and then
trust them to refrain?

As I see it, the only way to deal with the need to strategize
is to expect that everyone will do it.

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