Donald Davison's Standards

Mike Ositoff ntk at
Tue Oct 6 19:30:45 PDT 1998

> Greetings to the list,
>      Yes, by all means let us each present our standards to be used to
> evaluate all single seat election methods. But, we should also vote on the
> steps of a single seat election. It may seem elementary, but we must set
> the foundation.

Of course you can define standards that are about steps, or anything
else, but you've got to realize that standards are basic, meaning
that the standards of others needn't be evaluated in terms of
those steps. In general, one person's standards aren't to be
structured or evanluated according to another person's standards.

The only kind of standard that we can use as a basis for
comparing two standards would be a standard agreed-upon by
the proponents of both standards in question. Your step structure
certainly isn't such an agreed-upon standard, and sounds more
like the rules of IRO. Nothing wrong with that--Condorcet(EM)
is little more than a re-statement of the standards that led to
it. But you can't use IRO's procedure as a structure on which to
write other people's standards, because it isn't something we
all agree on.

>     Step 1: The first part of a single seat election is the count of the
> First Choices(CFC).

That can be part of your standards, but, being a set of rules for
a count proceure, it can't be something that we could expect other
people's standards to follow. That applies to the rest of the
steps too. I reply more farther down.

>     Step 2: In the event the CFC produces a candidate with more votes than
> one half of the total votes, that candidiate is said to have a majority and
> is the winner.
>     Notes on Step 2: It must be established that we are going to accept the
> majority winner as the winner of the race if there is a majority on the
> first count of the ballots. If not - why not? Examples of some CFC:
>      5001 XY,   5000 Y     Who is the winner of this race?
>      3001 AB, 2000 BC, 1000 CB  Who is the winner of this race?
>      Do we accept, without question, candidates X and A as the winners of
> these races.
>     Step 4: In the event there is no candidate with a majority from CFC, we
> go to the second part of the election in which we select a method that will
> give us what the count of the first choices failed to give us - a majority
> winner.
>      My list of standards to evaluate all the methods that could be used in
> the second part of a single seat election.

...with the understanding that your step structure is part of
you own individual standards rather than a more general
comparison structure.

> Standard No. 1: Majority is to be a number greater than one half of the
> voters when the votes equal the number of voters. In the event the votes
> are more or less than the number of voters, then the majority is to be a
> number greater than one half of the votes at the time the claim is made
> that we have a majority.

We could designate several versions of the majority rule standard.

> Standard No. 2: There can only be one candidate with a majority.
> Standard No. 3: When we have a majority on the first count of the ballots
> the majority winner must be confirmed everytime by the method in question.
> Notes on the Standards:
> No. 1: It is possible for there to be more or less votes when a claim of a
> majority is made. One example is the Top Two Run-Off method. The votes in
> the run-off may be more or less than the orginal votes in the general
> election. The majority should be based on the votes in the run-off
> election.
>     Another example would be the effect caused by exhausted votes. The
> majority should be based on the sum of the final votes of the remaining
> candidates - excluding the exhausted votes - at the time a claim is made
> that we have a majority.
> No. 2: The defination of majority is: "A number greater than one half of
> the total". Mathematically this rules out the possibility of having two or
> more majorities. Therefore only one candidate should have a majority. If
> two or more have a majority that should mean that something is wrong with
> the method being studied.
> No. 3: If a method is to be valid it must always produce a majority winner.
> If a method does not always confirm the majority winner, then we cannot
> trust it to produce the correct winner in the times in which we do not have
> a majority winner on the first count of the ballots.
> Regards,
> Donald Davison
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