Example with contrary half preference votes

Mike Ossipoff dfb at bbs.cruzio.com
Thu Jul 11 00:51:57 PDT 1996

Hugh R. Tobin writes:
> Mike Ossipoff wrote:

[I'm replying to Tobin's comments farther down in this letter
that I'm copying here. Again, the reason why I'm copying 
unnecessarily much is that I don't have a way to delete lines
or blocs of text. By the way, I should emphasize at the outset
that, as long as the contrary half-votes is optional, then
I don't have a serious disagreement with allowing it. I'm for
allowing anything, because I feel that choices about the preference
votes cast by the voter should be entirely up to the voter. If
enough people like the contrary half-votes, then I have no problem
at all with allowing it as an option. For that reason, I want
to emphasize that I don't have a serious disagreement with Tobin.
But I also consider it very important not to _compulsorily_
count votes that the voter didn't vote. Again, it should be
up to the voter]

> > 
> > Say we were using Condorcet's method, with the added provision,
> > recently proposed, that if a ballot ranks X & Y equally, below
> > everything else in the Smith set, then that ballot is counted
> > as casting half a vote for X over Y, & half a vote for Y over
> > X.
> > 
> > Sincere rankings:
> > 
> > 46%: Dole, Clinton, Nader
> > 20%: Clinton
> > 34%: Nader, Clinton, Dole
> > 
> > Dole voters truncate:
> > 
> > 46%: Dole
> > 20%: Clinton
> > 34%: Nader, Clinton
> > 
> > With the compulsory contrary half preferences provision,
> > Dole wins. Without it, Clinton wins. Clinton is the Condorcet
> > winner, & Dole is the only candidate over whom a majority
> > has ranked someone else. GMC, Trunation-Resistance, &
> > LO2E-1 are violated if the contrary half preferences provision
> > is applied.
> > 
> > But, if the contrary preference votes are _optional_, and
> > if those criteria are re-stated, replacing "order-reversal"
> > with "voting of a false preference", and if using the
> > contrary half prefernces option is regarded as voting a
> > false preference, then those re-defined criteris would then
> > be met. TRC, for instance, would be met because it would
> > no longer be just truncation that's giving the election to
> > Dole; it would be truncation & false preference voting.
> > GMC would be met if we regard the person using that option
> > as ranking Nader over Dole--as he is in fact doing with
> > half of a preference vote. So Condorcet with that contrary
> > 
> > unvoted half preference votes provision could meet reasonably
> > re-written versions of those criteria. But the contrary half
> > preference votes should be optional.
> > 
> > --[snip]
> In the above example, it seems the Dole voters are insincerely truncating 
> in order to create a circular tie.  If that is there strategy, then 

Maybe, maybe not. There's principled truncation, gestural truncation,
lazy truncation, & truncation due to not knowing about the other

> surely they would elect the 1/2 vote option, in order to win the tie.  

Fine. They could do that, if they wanted something equivalent to
a sort of half-strength order-reversal. But if their goal is to
steal the election from Clinton, then they might want to _fully_
vote Nader over Clinton, to really ensure that Clinton is more
beaten thatn Dole. They aren't going to succeed in stealing the
election from the Condorcet winner unless they can make him more
beaten than their own candidate.

> They would fail to do so only out of ignorance.  Whether they are 

> truncating out of strategy, laziness, or sincere indifference, counting 
> the one-half vote for tiebreak purposes would correspond to their true 
> intentions, as it would elect their candidate.  Therefore, I think the 

Oh not at all. An attempted stealing of an election by voting
false preferences is risky. Embarking on that course, they'd
have to be willing to take the chance.

If they're doing it out of strategy, then sure, they'd know that
mere truncation wouldn't do the job, in Condorcet's method, so
that they'd need more: Order-reversal. Half-strength order-reversal
likely wouldn't make Clinton more beaten than Dole. If they want
to do that, they'll do it by outright order-reversal.

But if they're doing out of laziness, or sincere indifference,
rather than out of strategy, then, it goes without saying that
they're not going to do something strategically motivated, like
voting false preferences, either half ones or whole ones. Again,
if they're attempting strategy, they'll use _whole_ false
preference votes.

> example shows only that making the 1/2 vote optional could, in some 
> cases, by the fortuity of the ignorance of insincere voters, result in 
> the "true" Condorcet winner emerging from the tiebreak.

Either they're ignorant of falsification strategy, or they're
not willing to take the chance. If the Dole voters were inclined
to attempt false-preference strategy, surely this couldn't be
kept a secret, and the others, their intended victimes would know
about it. In any case, in the kind of devious-electorate atmosphere
where that would happen, the others would be on their guard, and
the Dole voters would still be making a big mistake to attempt
false-preference strategy.

And what if they _are_ ignorant of false-preference strategy? That's
a good thing. Most likely  not many voters would be into 
strategy enough to attempt it on their own, and a publicity
campaign, or even people talking in bars, etc, could never be
kept secret, and that guarantees that it would backfire reliably.

If you're going to say that some voters are strategically-inclined
enough to attempt false-preference strategy, than you can't
say that their intended victims aren't strategically-inclined 
enough to thwart it.

In public elections, the voting of false preferences, either
by order-reversal, or intentionally voting false preferences
via the contrary half-vote option, would be most unlikely
to happen on a scale sufficient to change the election result.
Because people aren't into strategy that much, or, if theyk
are, then their victims are into it too, and will use
defensive deterrent strategy. If you knew that I was going
to falsify preferences to take the election from your candidate,
would you still vote for my candidate, which is what would
make it possible for me to get away with it?? Not likely.

An important thing about preference-falsification in Condorcet
is that it only works against people who trust you & who
vote for your candidate. It's a big betrayal of friends &
allies. And they wouldn't be inclined to co-operate with it.

> Consider a slight modification of this scenario: Dole's strategists get a 
> minority of his supporters, 18 per cent of the total, to order-reverse 
> (alternatively, they really prefer Nader), the rest sincerely vote Dole, 
> Clinton.
> 28 Dole, Clinton
> 18 Dole, Nader
> 20 Clinton
> 34 Nader, Clinton 
> Now we have a circular tie, and if no 1/2 votes are counted between Nader 
> and Dole for the 20 Clinton voters, Nader is least-beaten with only 46 
> against, though he lost by 12 to Dole, while Clinton lost by only 4 to 

But to use "margins-of-defeat" as a standard calls for justifying
margins as a standard. Though margins can sound convincing, 
applying that standard doesn't get rid of the lesser-of-2-evils
problem. Maybe I sound like a 1-issue advocate, but I consider
that to be the important goal. As I said, the LO2E problem has
progressive voters so cowed & dominated that we may never have the
opportunity to find out how many Democrat voters are really
progressives who want something better. I've written here about
why GMC follows from a basic fundamental majority-rule principle,
and I've talked (in "Advantages of Condorcet's Method") of
how Condorcet's method's "votes-against" count transparently
ensures that your vote for Clinton will do what you're trying to
do when you vote for him: vote against victory for someone you
like less. Margins doesn't do that.

> Nader.  But if the half-votes are counted, Clinton is least beaten, with 
> 52 against to 54 and 56 against Dole and Nader.  No rational Clinton 
> voter who understood the system would refrain from choosing the 1/2 vote 
> option, but I suggest that few voters will ever understand the definition 

Again, not at all. What you're saying is that the Clinton voters
will help Dole beat Nader, because they trust the Dole voters to
not make Clinton more beaten than Dole. If the Dole voters don't
make Clinton more beaten than Dole than why should they bother
preference-falsifying? No, any serious attempt to steal the 
election requires making Clinton more beaten than Dole. The
Clinton voters therefore certainly can't assume that the Dole
voters, while using preference-falsification against Clinton
, won't make Clinton more beaten than Dole.

And if the Dole voters do make Clinton more beaten than Dole,
which has to be their goal when they falsify, and the Clinton
voters oblige & co-operate with them by making Nader more beaten
than Dole, then the Clinton voters are being a little too
co-operative with their victimization.

> and significance of "least-beaten" under Condorcet, and that it is those 
> voters who are sincerely indifferent who are most likely to fail to 
> choose the 1/2 vote option through incomprehension or neglect.  So I 

No, the Clinton voters won't choose the contrary half-votes option
because it would be co-operating with their victimization, under
conditions requiring strategy, and would otherwise serve no purpose,
voting contrary insincere preferences. And the Dole voters
won't do it because they know the Clinton voters aren't going
to help them steal the election from Clinton.

And will there be lots of voters who don't even know about
these strategies? Absolutely. That's one reason why falsification
won't happen on a scale sufficient to change the election result.
But even if voters found out about it, it still wouldn't happen,
for the reasons I've given. In that kind of an atmosphere,
everyone would know what the result would be.

> think it should be made difficult to elect the "zero" option if its is 
> allowed.  Perhaps the voter should have to give a rational explanation of 
> why he would not want the 1/2 vote to count in case of a tiebreak, in 
> order to opt out of it.

Oh no: The voter should be in charge of what preference votes
he casts, and shouldn't be accountable for it. In particular, he
certainly shouldn't have to explain why he didn't cast a false
preference vote, or contrary halves of false preference votes.

>   -- Hugh Tobin
> .-


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