More standards

Blake Cretney bcretney at
Tue Oct 20 12:53:24 PDT 1998

Here are the standards I nominate.  They are not in order of my

Party manipulations
One of the easiest ways the electoral process can be manipulated
is by presenting or withholding similar alternatives.  If all of
a parties candidates are considered equivalent relative to
candidates from other parties, then that party should gain
no benefit by running more or fewer candidates.  The same should
hold if similar proposals are presented to the population in a

1.  No vote-splitting effect
More candidates should not hurt such a party.  I think this has
actually already been nominated.
2.  No rich party effect
More candidates should not help such a party.  OK, more than zero
might help.
Likely to be best candidate
I gave a long explanation for why I think pair-wise majorities are
important and why they should be over-ruled only by greater or
equal marginal majorities, so I might as well make it a standard / 

3.  Marginal majority
If a majority of those expressing a preference vote X over Y, then Y
should not win, unless there is a greater or equally high margin of 
majority for each victory in a path from Y and ending in X.  For
Y > A, A > B, B > X

Definition of Sincere Voting

There should be some standard that makes sure a method
matches what we consider a definition of a sincere vote.  For example,
some people advocate Approval and define a sincere vote to mean absolute
approval.  Others only think it means relative approval.  There should
be some standard to decide who is right.

4.  Sincere vote matches tabulation
The best way of judging this I can think of is to ask, "is a sincere
vote a rational vote assuming no knowledge of how others are voting."
Of course, the "assuming no knowledge" part is necessary because
every method can have strategic situations with such knowledge.  But
since a rational voter votes in a way that best helps his or her
candidates based on the method of tabulation, this standard implies
a strong connection between the definition of the sincere vote and
the method of tabulation.

For example, if a voter's preference is A B C D E, the voter has
several goals
1.  Get A elected
2.  Get either A or B elected
3.  Get A B or C elected
... and so on
In the case where the voter does not know how other people are voting,
the sincere vote must be at least as good as every other vote for
achieving at least one of these goals.  Otherwise, the sincere vote
is irrational.

5.  No weighting
It would be better if a voters sincere vote was not only justifiable,
but the best in every way.  That means, for example, that a voter
should not have to decide between increasing the chance of getting
their first choice elected, and increasing the chance of getting
their first or second choice elected.  Except for strategy based
on how others are voting, the sincere vote should be best in all ways.

Justifying the method as a search for best candidate
The purpose for a method is to find the best candidate, based on
the information supplied by the voters.

5.  Non-reversible
If we assume that our method is finding the best candidate, and all
ballots are reversed, so that A > B > C becomes C > B > A, then we
are finding the worst candidate.  If our method can sometimes
find the same candidate for best and worst, we have reason to
believe it isn't really finding the best candidate.

6.  Monotonic
If a candidate is reduced in some ballots, with no other change made,
this should not cause the candidate to win if otherwise he or she would
have lost.  Otherwise, we have to conclude that in some situations at
least a reduction in popularity can cause victory.  Such a method is
obviously not finding the best candidate in all cases.


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