[EM] Why Margins isn't as democratic or ethical as votes-against (fwd)

Rob Lanphier robla at eskimo.com
Mon Feb 7 00:09:18 PST 2000

Another message from Mike...
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2000 07:59:46 GMT
From: MIKE OSSIPOFF <nkklrp at hotmail.com>
To: robla at eskimo.com
Cc: nkklrp at hotmail.com
Subject: Why Margins isn't as democratic or ethical as votes-against


This is my letter about why votes-against makes more sense
than margins, completely aside from the matter of
criterion compliance. It never occurred to me to put it this
way when I was on the list. Would you forward this to EM for me?


Here's why I claim that Blake Cretney's Margins method
isn't as good as Schulze, or any other genuine Condorcet
version. (The translations of Condorcet's words indicate that
Condorcet judged the strength of a defeat by the number of people
voting in favor of that defeat).

We'd like it if there is one candidate who beats each one of
the others. We of course only drop a defeat because we have
to, because they're in conflict for choosing a winner.
Dropping a defeat means overruling a pairwise count result
voted by the people, and so it isn't done lightly. We want
to minimize the number of voters whom we overrule.

Since Condorcet's own wording of his proposal on which most
of our Condorcet interpretations are based is an iterative process
in which we iteratively drop the weakest defeat, I'll talk in
terms of that procedure. It clarifies & dramatizes the issue
of which way to judge defeats, when we consider which defeat to

If A beats B, and we drop the defeat A>B, then we're overruling
the  voters who won that pairwise defeat result. If we don't
drop A>B, we _aren't_ overruling the voters who opposed that
result by voting B over A. We aren't overruling them because they
were already overruled when the votes were counted. They lost.

So, if we want to minimize the number of voters whom we overrule
by dropping a defeat, then we must minimize the number of people
who voted in favor of the defeat that we drop. Drop the defeat
that has fewest people voting for it. That's obviously what it
means to overrule as few voters as possible.


To put it differently, Blake would treat those 2 sets of votes
the same, count them with the same weight: The voters who
voted A over B, and the voters who voted B over A. Even though
A beat B, because more voted A over B than vice-versa, and the
A>B voters are the ones who won, and the B>A voters are the


Ethically & democratically, it makes much more sense to
drop the defeat for whom the fewest people voted.



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