1 to N and N/2

Mike Ositoff ntk at netcom.com
Fri Jul 17 18:50:09 PDT 1998

Replying to Demorep's suggestion of allowing a voter more than
1, but fewer than N votes in an N-candidate election, for when we're
talking about nonranked point voting, Demorep has yet to show that
allowing each voter the choice of voting for or not voting for
each one of the candidates creates some problem. If a majority
prefer A to B, and consider that an important distinction, for
the reasons I've discussed, then A will get more votes than B.
I don't know of any way the method could be improved by limiting
the number of votes.

Incidentally, as you may already know, a national election is
being conducted to choose stamps commemorating various decades.
For each of several decades, starting with the 50s, one stamp will
be issued for each of several catagories (Culture, Science, etc.).
We're instructed to vote for up to 3 alternatives in each catagory.
When I called, I was pleased to find out that only l stamp will
be printed in each catagory for a each decade, which means that
it is an Approval election.

Maybe the reason for limiting it to 3 votes is to simplify the count.
Or maybe to be fair to the voter who doesn't have the time or
interest to vote more. Of course in a political election, limiting
the length of a ranking or the number of "Approval" votes for that
reason would be unfair to the conscientious voter. With unrestricted
rank-balloting or Approval, anyone is free to vote as short a ranking
or as small an Approval set as they choose. But it's true that when
vote-counting is unmechanized, and there are many voters, there
could be reason to limit the number of votes for that reason.

But Demorep, you didn't show any fairness or principle related
reason for that kind of limit.

Mike Ossipoff
p.s. They've already held the vote for the 50s stamps. The 60s
vote is still underway, so far as I'm aware. Most likely there
will be a vote for each decade up to & including the 90s.
If you don't have tie-probability information, just vote for
each alternative of above-average desirability.

I must confess, though, that I make a point of voting for several
in some categories, and for just one in at least 1 category, because
I believe that it's important to show that voters understand the
options. That seems more important than the actual outcome.

Mike Ossipoff

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