Write in votes

Hugh Tobin htobin at redstone.net
Sun May 10 21:15:08 PDT 1998

Saari wrote:
> >
> >If "do nothing" is a write-in option, there's no committee involved.
> Yes, but "write-in" votes are only really possible in a "vote your top choice"
> method (which has other clear flaws such as the vote-splitting problem).
> I do not believe it is possible to include write-in votes in any ranked voting
> scheme - because there is no data whatsoever regarding that particular write-
> in candidate on the OTHER ballots, so the tallying method is not definable.
> (Is this true?  Perhaps not?)
> Mike Saari

As I have previously suggested, a voter could be permitted to rank some
candidates above, and others below, unranked candidates.  Similarly, the
voter could be allowed to include "any write-in" (on others' ballots) at
any point in his ranking.  A sample ballot:

1 - A
2 - B
3 - The Field (All officially designated candidates not ranked on this
4 - C
5 - Any write-in
6 - Y
7 - Z

In an extreme case, while voting for the "lesser of two evils" over the
greater one (in a race between two major-party candidates), a majority
of the voters could vote for "any write-in" over both of them, and a
candidate whose name is known only to a handful of voters could be the
Condorcet winner.  If, as Demorep fears, the race is between Hitler and
Stalin, and if the position must be filled, then this option seems to
have some merit.

-- Hugh Tobin

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