[EM] Multiple Same Choices
dfb at bbs.cruzio.com
Fri Mar 1 21:24:51 PST 1996
Replying to Saumur:
Of course it makes sense to speak of how beaten a candidate is overall.
If you're part of that majority that prefers Clinton to Buchanan, even
though you don't really like Clinton, and voted Nader 1st, then you're
helping Buchanan be beaten with a majority against him. Do you want
that majority to be counted or not? Do you want Buchanan to be denied
victory because you, & the rest of that majority, have said you all
like the same other candidate more?
As I've said, our initial goal, in single-winner reform, is the
cast a reliably-counted, full-strength vote for Clinton against
Buchanan, to prevent a Buchanan victory, without having to vote
So, if we didn't count how beaten Buchanan is, we wouldn't be counting
you or the rest of that majority that he has against him.
You're assuming that every circular tie is the result of there not
being a Condorcet winner--that every circular tie happens because
every candidate actually has another candidate who is _preferred to_
him by more voters than vice-versa. We mustn't confuse _preferred to_
with _ranked over_.
It's often assumed that every voter sincerely ranks all of the candidates.
Or at least that every voter ranks all of the candidates. But that
never happens in real elections. In every rank-balloting election,
many people will only rank some of the candidates, sometimes only
But even if it's a natural circular tie, where every pairwise "beat"
coincides with overall public sentiment, there's still such a thing
as a candidate with a majority against him, a candidate instead of
whom a full majority have said they'd rather have someone else.
Choosing randomly from the circular tie ignores the wishes of that
majority. Maybe there's a candidate in the circular tie who, while
beaten, isn't "majority-rejected". Picking someone who is majority-rejected
in that election would violate majority rule.
Aside from that, randomly choosing from the circular tie isn't good
As I said, truncation (voting of a short ballot) or bullet-voting
(only voting for 1 candidate) are things that occur on a large
scale in any rank-balloting election. Truncation or bullet-voting
(which is extreme truncation) will often cause a circular tie, when
it lets someone beat the Condorcet winner. When that happens in, say,
a 3-candidate race, and you solve the circular tie randomly, there's
only a 1/3 chance that the result will be worse for the truncators
than the Condorcet winner, who would have won had they voted a
So there's a strategic incentive to truncate. But whether the truncation
is strategically motivated or not, it will still steal victory from
the Condorcet winner sometimes. Condorcet's method systematically
gives the election to the Condorcet winner in that situation.
With a random solution, whether or not the truncation is strategically
intended, it creates a risk for the Condorcet winner, and if the
Republicans are likely to truncate, you might need to vote Clinton
in 1st place to protect him from Republicans who are willing to
take a 1/3 risk of electing Nader.
When the Random-Solution method picks Buchanan, as it, of course,
will do 1/3 of the time, when the Republicans truncate, then the
Random-Solution method is ignoring the fact that you're part of a
full majority who've ranked Clinton over Buchanan because all of
you don't want Buchanan to win, and are saying so by all ranking
the same person over him. Majority rule is violated, and the lesser-
of-2-evils problem is stil there, since your vote for Clinton over
Buchanan didn't count for diddly.
Your suggestion to solve circular ties by a 2nd balloting is ok,
and I wouldn't object to it. But no one likes a method that requires
a 2nd balloting. The 2nd balloting could be by Approval. It matters
little, if at all, what method is used in the 2nd balloting, since
the published results of the 1st balloting give voters very good
information about how far, if at all, they need to compromise in the
As I said, though, I never propose this 2-balloting method, which
I've called "Runoff-Pairwise", or "BeatsAll-Approval" anymore, because
people seem unanimous in not wanting a 2-balloting system. I propose
only Condorcet's method.
One use of Runoff-Pairwise would be in a committee where the
members were unable to agree on a circular tie solution. In tht
situation the natural thing would be to simply use a 2nd balloting
to solve circular ties.
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