Copeland's candidate-counting & consequences (fwd)

Mike Ossipoff dfb at
Mon Apr 15 05:46:03 PDT 1996

Mike Ossipoff writes:
> From dfb Mon Apr 15 00:53:45 1996
> Subject: Copeland's candidate-counting & consequences

[Excuse the 2nd header--this is a forwarded copy, & I have no way
to delete lines or blocs of text. This almost complete's my Condorcet
vs Copeland letters. There's just 1 to be sent after this one, with
1 or more examples with Copeland's method]

> Date: Mon, 15 Apr 96 0:53:43 PDT
> From: Mike Ossipoff <dfb at>
> Cc: dfbWc at, dfb at, dfb at
> X-Mailer: ELM [version 2.3 PL0]
> Message-ID:  <9604150053.aa11762 at>
> This is a very brief note about the nonsensical way that Copeland picks
> its winner. Copeland of course uses our preference votes to determine who
> beats whom, but from then on it ignores our preferences, instead counting
> candidates--how many candidates a candidate beats & is beaten by.
> It must be obvious that something is amiss when a method doesn't count
> our preferences. Condorcet counts preference votes where Copeland
> counts candidates.
> Say there's an election with lots of candidates, where people rank
> by party. That's reasonable, that people would prefer candidates of
> 1 party to those of another. In that situation, when there's a circular
> tie, which can easily happen due to some voters voting short rankings,
> the winning party depends on how many candidates the various parties
> run. Someone has pointed out that how many candidates a party can run
> depends on how much money it can raise from contributors. Do we want
> more bought elections?
> The winning party depending on how many candidates the parties run?
> What kind of way is that to choose a winning party??
> Similarly, if we were taking a vote on which movie to go to, on a particular
> evening, and there were Westerns, crime movies, & adventure movies, and
> all the Westerns beat all the crime movies, because most people prefer
> Westerns to crime movies--and if the crime movies beat the adventure movies
> for the same reason, and the adventure movies beat the Westerns, then we
> have a circular tie.
> Say we're using Copeland, and say that, on that evening, there happen
> to be lots of crime movies playing, and very few adventure movies.
> The winner will be a Western, for no reason other than that there
> are lots of crime movies & few adventure movies.
> What kind of a way is that to choose a movie genre? What kind of a way
> is that to choose a winning political party??
> Copeland's method is nonsense.
> Mike Ossipoff
> -- 
> .-


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