[EM] The None of the Above Chorus:

Forest Simmons fsimmons at pcc.edu
Tue Apr 24 17:35:40 PDT 2001

Here's why the 50% figure seems natural to me.  Suppose that there are
only two candidates. If neither one of them gets 50% approval, that means
that neither one could get 50% of the vote in a two way contest. Sounds
like a pretty lousy choice to me.

On the other hand, the more candidates you have the more potential you
have of at least one of them being worth voting for, so that should
improve the chances of at least one getting 50% approval. If the enlarged
field doesn't live up to its increased potential, then let's conclude
that the additional candidates do not constitute enough of an improved
choice to justify the annoyance of dealing with them ... back to square

The more students I have in my Differential Equations class, the greater
chance that at least one of them will get above 50% on the final exam.

If all of my student get below 50% on the final exam, I'll flunk all of
them. (It hasn't happened yet;-)

Of course, if we want to keep on living with our current low standards for
politicians, we could set the quota lower. The quota could depend on the
size of the field of candidates, starting at 50% for a two way race.

The point is that in Approval we can handle None of the Above by setting a
quota, which seems simpler than adding a fictitious candidate to the

There may be other advantages to "None of the Above" which I am not aware
of (other than the fun that novelty always brings).


On Mon, 23 Apr 2001, Bart Ingles wrote:

> Forest Simmons wrote:
> > 
> > It seems to me that in Approval there is no need for None of the Above,
> > because of the natural quota of 50% approval; if nobody meets the quota,
> > then None of the Above wins.
> I don't follow.  The 50% figure has no particular meaning in Approval
> Voting.  I suppose you could define a variant with a 50% requirement,
> but I wouldn't advocate doing so.
> On the other hand, since Approval & Condorcet don't share FPP & IRV's
> spoiler problems, they should encourage more good candidates to run, so
> there should be less of a call for None-of-the-above.  If you can't find
> someone worth voting for in an Approval or Condorcet election, it is
> unlikely that you will do better under any alternative.
> Bart

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