Approval and twins

Blake Cretney bcretney at
Wed Oct 28 15:37:05 PST 1998

I consider rich-party and vote-splitting to be two of the most
important problems, so I think it's important to ask how well
approval does in regard to them.

Certainly, approval passes GITC.  However, GITC was designed
for rank methods.  In theory, plurality passes GITC.

In ranked methods, a voter can differentiate between the
members of a party, and still rank those members higher than
anybody else.  This is not possible with approval.  In
approval, a voter must decide whether to help the party as
much as possible, or to differentiate between members of
the party.  And if voters tend to vote purely along party
lines, the choice within the party could be made by very
few people.

There are two strategies that I can imagine voters employing.
They will largely be psychologically determined, so it would
be necessary to find out which is used by polling and

Except Worst
The voter votes for most members of the party, but witholds from
a few of his least favorites.

Only Best
The voter votes only for a few of his favorite candidates from
within his party.

If a party thinks its voters fall into the "Except Worst" category,
then it makes sense to run more candidates, and thereby spread out
the "No" votes.  If on the other hand they follow the "Only Best"
strategy, it makes sense to run fewer candidates in order to
concentrate the "YES" votes.


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