Approval is not preference

Thu Oct 9 17:54:35 PDT 1997

Mr. Saari has suggested having fractional votes as a part of approval voting.
He is, of course. correct that "absolute" support ranges from 100 percent
(1.0 yes) to minus 100 percent (1.0 no).

Condorcet by itself only shows relative support such as
A 1.0 yes, B 0.9 yes being counted the same as
A 0.9 no, B 1.0 no.

I would suggest that the candidates would put major pressure on the voters to
vote whole (1) yes or no votes.

The simple 3 voter case--
Voter 1
A  0.5 yes
B  0.4 no

Voter 2
A  0.4 yes
B  0.5 no

Voter 3
B  1.0 yes
A  1.0 no

Who wins ?
B has a combined 0.1 yes (noting that only Voter 3 gave B a full vote).
A has a combined 0.1 no.
I have suggested a 3 step process for executive and judicial elections-
The voters vote yes or no on each candidate and rank their choices separately
such as
A  no   5
B  yes  3
C  yes  2
D  no   4
E  yes  1

1. Only the majority yes candidates are able to be elected (noting 0, 1 or 2
or more candidates will get yes majorities).
2. If 2 or more candidates get a majority yes vote, then they should go head
to head (i.e. Condorcet).
3. If there is no Condorcet winner, then the candidate with the lowest number
of first choice votes should lose with step 2 being repeated.  [The reason
being that it is more probable that such fewest number of voters are

In other words, a combination of Approval, Condorcet and Instant Run-Off (as
a tie breaker).

Individually, Approval, Condorcet and Instant Run-Off each have major
defects. Combined, they work.

As an interim measure, simple approval voting and nonpartisan elections for
executive and judicial elections is probably necessary to avoid a Civil War
II in the U.S.-- I am not sure if the body politic in the U.S. can take any
more of the vicious attack ad elections of 1988, 1992 and 1996 combined with
the pending formation of the Reform Party and its running of candidates for
the Congress and state legislatures (with the resulting extremist plurality
politics sure to occur).

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