more on fairness & votes-against

Mike Ossipoff dfb at
Sun Apr 21 03:12:11 PDT 1996

Replying to Steve about Condorcet-Elimination:

True, if it should turn out that Condorcet-Elimination deals with
truncation as well as Condorcet, then I wouldn't strongly object
to Condorcet-Elimination. So we should find out how Condorcet-Elimination
does when there's truncation. 

But I still feel that Condorcet is better than Condorcet-Elimination
because of order-reversal. It's true that order-reversal would be
difficult to organize in secret, & that other voters would know about
it & could use countermeasures. But we'd like those countermeasures
to not be at all drastic. With Condorcet, the only countermeasure
needed is defensive truncation. The Clinton voters could refuse
to rank anyone but Clinton.

As I said, the trouble with a method where that doesn't work is that
it's necessary for someone to express false preferences. That
seems to me to be a more drastic defensive strategy than merely
voting a short ranking.

Besides, as I also said, the Clinton voters might not know from 
which side the order-reversal will occur. With Condorcet they
needn't know that, since they can just rank Clinton. With
Condorcet-Elimination, it seems to me that their only defense
against order-reversal by by Dole voters is to vote Nader over
Dole. Not only is that voting a false preference, but it's
setting themselves up for order-reversal by Nader voters. As
Steve said, it probably wouldn't be a well-kept secret if an
order-reversal campaign were being organized, but if the Dole
& Clinton voters are overtly organizing their strategies, then
it's obvious to the Nader voters the opportunity that's presenting
itself to them. Just as sure as the Clinton voters know what the
Dole voters are planning, the Nader voters must also know what
the Clinton voters are planning. So the Nader voters don't need
as much organization to pull off their strategy.

Summary: Condorcet's order-reversal countermeasure doesn't require
voting false prefernces, and it works against _either_ side.


And here's something else. It isn't necessarily so that the Clinton
voters wouldn't have to reverse any preferences in order to use
the Condorcet-Elimination order-reversal countermeasure: Say you're
a Clinton voter who cares little for Dole or Nader. So you intend
to express that by not ranking either, even though you like Dole
better than Nader. You want to express your dislike for both by
not ranking them. But then you find out that the Dole voters are
planning, or might be planning, to steal Clinton's victory by
order-reversal. You then have to rank Nader over Clinton--you
have to use order-reversal.

What am I saying?! You might have to even if you didn't intend
to truncate. Say you're a Clinton voter who likes Dole better than
Nader, and intended to rank Dole 2nd, till you found out that the
Dole voters are likely to use order-reversal. So you have to counter
that by voting Nader over Clinton--you have to use order-reversal.


disadvantages of  Condorcet-Elimination in order-reversal defense:

1. Need to vote false preferences for indifferent voters
2. Need to defensively order-reverse, for voters preferring
   candidate of offensive order-reversers as 2nd choice.
3. Can only be used against 1 side. Sets the other side up for
   easy snatch of victory.


And I deny that, in Condorcet, the Clinton voters' indifference
is what's defeating Dole. What's defeating Dole is that a
majority prefer someone (Clinton) to him, and there's no majority
preferring anyone to Nader. (I'm talking about the sincere situation
resembling order-reversal, where many of the Dole voters rank Nader
over Clinton, causing Clinton to be beaten with a big majority against
him). Should Dole be able to win with a majority against him? Doesn't
that violate majority rule? I say that if there's someon (Nader)
who doesn't have a majority against him, then we shouldn't elect
someone who does have a majority against him.

Just as sure as the Clinton voters aren't helping make a majority
for Dole against Nader, they aren't helping make a majority for
Nader against Dole either. The only reason why they count against
Dole is because they rank their own candidate against him. That
isn't unfair to Dole--they count against Nader in the same way; it's
just that no one else adds themselves to the Nader voters to make
a majority against Nader. Don't blame the Clinton voterss for that;
it's merely the result that there really isn't a majority against


So I deny that there's any reason why it's better to elect Dole,
and claim that, even if the rankings are sincere, in the situation
where only Nader doesn't have a majority against him, it's fairest,
according to majority rule, to elect Nader.




More information about the Election-Methods mailing list