# Fairness, votes against, and Condorcet(x)

Steve Eppley seppley at alumni.caltech.edu
Sat Apr 20 16:56:06 PDT 1996

```Mike Ossipoff wrote [in "Brief reply to Steve"]:
>Steve asked why 0 is a fairer value for x than 1/2 or 1. Because
>it should be up to the voter to choose whether or not he/she wants
>to express preferences between a particular pair of alternatives.
>If x is other than 0, then compulsory preferences are counted, which
>may not be what the voter intended. So flexibility & democratic freedom
>are reasons for x = 0. Reasons for not counting preferences that the
>voter never voted. Besides, I claim that it just doesn't make sense
>to count you as voting preference that you didn't vote, especially
>a pair of opposite preferences, which couldn't both reflect your
>genuine preferences.

I can see why it might be wrong to count indifference as partial
votes against two popular twins when they're paired.

But what about when the candidates aren't twins, like Nader and Dole
in the {Clinton > Dole=Nader} ballots?  If I was one of these voters,
I probably would have undergone an evaluation process which told me
to prefer Dole over Nader on some issues but Nader over Dole on others.
So there's a case to be made for splitting that vote of indifference
into half a vote against each (x = .5).

It would also look more "right" to me if the method gives the same
winner with
as with
10 Clinton > Dole  > Nader
10 Clinton > Nader > Dole

Maybe my evaluation told me I prefer Dole over Nader on some issues,
Nader over Dole on some, and *like* both on others.  Then I might want
to set x such that 0 < x < .5.

Maybe my evaluation told me I prefer Dole over Nader on some, Nader
over Dole on some, and *dislike* both on others.  Then I might want
to set x such that .5 < x < 1.

Maybe my evaluation told me I dislike both Dole and Nader intensely
on all issues.  Then I might want to set x = 1.

On the other hand, allowing x > .5 might violate the one-person
one-vote principle.  I'm not sure...

>Aside from that, Condorcet doesn't meet the standards & criteria that
>I've been talking about if we make up preferences that people didn't
>vote.

How does Condorcet(.5) fail to meet them?  How does a Condorcet(x(vij)),
which lets each voter specify the "x" to use in each indifferent
pairing, fail?  (I'm not proposing this method, since it would be
hard for the voters to understand what's expected of them.  So maybe
you won't want to spend time answering this second question.)

[To keep the subject lines from diverging needlessly, how about