Cumulative Approval Voting

New Democracy donald at
Wed Sep 30 17:09:51 PDT 1998

Dear Bart Ingles,

You wrote: >  Approval is logically a group of separate
>YES/NO races, one for each candidate.  The total number of votes for
>each race is equal to the number of voters in each race -- including
>both yes and no votes (i.e. 100).

Donald: And, the winner is??   What determines the winner?
     Is it the one with the most Yes votes? If so, I must point out to you
that all the other candidates together had more Yes votes than the winner.
If you are to have six separate Yes/No races, you cannot merely pick one
race of six and say that this race will decide the election.
     Consider this point: The reason Approval Voting is being considered in
an election is because we did not have a majority of the total votes on the
first count. We then go to some method seeking a majority winner. Now, you
are saying that we do not need a majority of the total of the votes.
     Consider this next point: If we did have a majority on the first count
of the ballots, will Approval Voting always confirm that winner? The answer
is NO! (Run-Off and Condorcet will always confirm the majority winner of
the first count.)
     No matter how you define Approval Voting, we are forced to face the
majority of the total something - like votes or races or pairwise contests.
     What you have written above for Approval Voting, could also apply to
First Past the Post when it has no majority.

You wrote:
>This is similar to the way separate but competing ballot initiatives are
>handled in California:  If two or more conflicting measures pass, the
>one with the greatest plurality becomes law, and the others are defeated
>(wholly or in part, depending on the way they were worded).  The only
>difference is that each ballot measure must first get a majority in its
>own race.

Don: No, it is not the same. The voters did not vote Yes/No on each
candidate. Each voter only had two votes, and Approval Voting regards each
vote as having equal weight. This is hardly six separate Yes/No races.
     Besides, this is not the best way to handle two or more competing
ballot initiatives. The voter should be allowed to rank competing
initiatives and then have some method, like run-off, to decide the winner.

You wrote:
>Actually, if you want to add the votes of all the races together, the
>total is 600 in this example.  It doesn't really matter whether you use
>100 or 600 anyway, since the method neither demands nor guarantees a
>majority of any total.  I suppose this makes it no more and no less
>valid than FPP in that respect.

Don; Actually it does matter if you use 600 for 6 candidates and 100
voters. This would mean that each voter made six choices and that all
choices were being used. The result would give the six candidates exactly
100 Yes votes each - a six way tie. How does Approval Voting solve ties?
     I will agree that Approval Voting is less valid than FPP. In FPP the
one vote is the most preferred choice of the voter. Approval Voting does
not allow the voter to have a most preferred choice (if the election
reaches the point of using the method).
     I would like to suggest that Approval Voting can be improved by giving
each voter the same number of votes as there are candidates and let the
voter use the votes any way the voter wishes to use them - like in
Cumulative Voting.

     We could call the method "Cumulative Approval Voting".

     This dosen't mean I support the method of Cumulative Approval. While
the change should give us some winners with majorities, it will not give us
a majority every time.


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