Condorcet, Thin Ice, and Battle Cries

John De Lasaux jdelsey at
Sun Apr 27 16:34:00 PDT 1997

At 12:40 AM 4/27/97 -0700, htobin at wrote:
>John De Lasaux wrote:
>> =======================
>> The *only* way that voters would rationally mark his second or lower
>> preferences is if they are *guaranteed* that their lower prefences don't
>> influence the outcome of the count until their first preference is
>Please demonstrate why this is so, taking into account that in Condorcet
>truncating one's ballot tends to reduce the chances that one's first
>choice will prevail, as well as to increase the chances that one's least
>favorite will prevail. 

I guess you are presupposing that a voter would mark his favorite choice at
all levels of preference, else how could truncating his ballot *reduce* his
favorite's chances? I thought the idea of preference voting was to give
voters the chance to pick a second or third choice in the event their first
choice lost in an eary round. Is that true, or not?

John D
>> There is no way that the voters will spend the time and energy to try to
>> understand the complex explanations that I have seen for Condorcet. It will
>> just boggle their minds!
>It is not necessary that they do so!  

I may not be necessary, but it will certainly happen!

>It is true that some
>"explanations" of Condorcet are overly complex, but the voter need only
>rank his or her true preferences.  Rational candidates and their
>managers will not encourage truncated ballots from their supporters. 

They will tell their supporters to "vote all the boxes for X to make sure
your favorite wins". The "smart" voters will prevail, and the value of any
sophisticated voting system will be lost.
>Neutral experts will tell voters, truthfully, that truncating is not
>smart strategy to elect their favorites.  So why assume the voter will
>fixate on the absence of this type of a "guarantee" to the point of
>acting against his own interest?  
>In instant run-off, there is no guarantee that casting a first-place
>vote for one's first choice, instead of one's last choice, will not
>cause the first choice candidate to lose.  So nobody would vote at all?

Why do you think we have such low turn-outs now? Politicians blame it on
"voter apathy", as though it's the voters' fault ... they're "lazy" and they
"don't care".

Truth is ... the voters *do care* ... desperately. They are sick and tired
of voting and then watching their candidate do the opposite of what they
expected. When their expectations don't match the outcomes, they turn off.

If the voter is faced with a system that produces a selection that they
don't like, and if they can be convinced by some "spin doctor" that the
system screwed them, they will rebel against the system. It has to be so
*uncomplicated*  that a child could understand it, or it won't last, no
matter how "logical" and "rational" it may seem to its proponents.

The system has to clearly stand on its obvious merits (in the voters' eyes),
and it must be immune to fallacious explanations by "spin doctors".

John D

>-- Hugh Tobin

John De Lasaux

 "If you're happy and you know it,
clank your chains"........Ed Wolfe

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