VA, Margins, & voter wishes

Mike Ositoff ntk at
Sun Oct 4 00:06:23 PDT 1998

> On Thu, 1 Oct 1998 17:51:11    Mike Ositoff wrote:

replying farther down, to a different remark each time.

> >
> >
> >I'm going to back out of my agreement with Blake's stat4ment
> >that VA is out of the rank-count discussion. For 1 thing,
> >the fact that I don't believe that rank-balloting is a
> >practical public proposal doesn't mean don't believe that
> >1 rank method has more merit than another. Some people do
> >advocate rank methods for public use, and I suggest to them
> >that VA is the one that does what they want, if they want
> >what most people want from a rank method. And the merit of
> >methods can be discussed regardless of what some of us
> >believe in proposing publicly. Also, pursuing this discussion
> >helps prove my claim that rank count discussion will always
> >be a hopeless mess.
> >
> So, one of your reasons for advocating VA is to discredit Condorcet
> methods in general.
> >Also, I'm not the only one here to speak for VA vs Margins.
> ...
> >So you see, Blake, we all agree with the desirabilty of
> >that measure. But the Condorcet Criterion, by itself, isn't
> >enough. That's why I added:
> >
> >If a majority of all the voters indicate that they'd rather
> >have A than B, then if we choose A or B it should be A.
> >
> >Do you disagree with that, Blake? Or other Margins advocates?
> >
> Yes, I disagree.  What your saying is that a pair-wise vote
> where the winning side has a majority of voters must always
> take precedence over a pair-wise vote where this is not the
> case, no matter what the margin of victory is.
> So, when one must be over-ruled, a victory of
> 52 to 48  with 100 voters
> must take precedence over a victory of
> 49 to 4
> despite the fact that for those expressing a preference, the second
> vote seems clearly more decisive.
> Furthermore, if you accept VA, it has the side effects that
> 60 to 40
> must take precedence over
> 59 to 3
> And
> 48 to 47
> must take precedence over
> 47 to 2
> These results seem contrary to our usual idea of what constitutes a
> decisive vote, and are not required by GMC, but are the result of VA.

It's always easy to show an example where complying with one
standard results in extreme, intutitively wrong, violation
of another standard. So pick which standard is more important.


> The problem here is the basic belief that a majority of people
> participating in a pair-wise vote is not a real majority, that
> only a majority of participants in the election as a whole is a
> real majority.
> But consider that a majority of those participating in the election, is
> not necessarily a majority of those elligible to vote.  Typically,
> however, we interpret majority rule as a majority of participants.
> So, in a pair-wise vote, I think it is reasonable to think that it is the participants in that pair-wise vote that count.
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