[EM] Exhausted vs Wasted

LAYTON Craig Craig.LAYTON at add.nsw.gov.au
Sun Nov 19 15:15:00 PST 2000

Blake wrote (in response to Donald):

>I'm grateful to you for pointing out the distinction.  However, I wonder
>if wasted votes as you define them are an important concept.  It seems
>to me that after an election, people often complain either that they
>wasted their vote, or that they voted one way to avoid wasting their
>vote.  They are not really complaining that their vote didn't end up
>assigned to a candidate.  I their actual meaning of a wasted vote is a
>vote that was ineffective because it was sincere.
>Your concept of wasted votes as votes that don't end up assigned to a
>candidate may be related, or it may not.  I doubt that you would claim
>that assigning every vote to a winning candidate is a goal in and of
>itself.  There must be another basis for the concern, but it isn't clear
>what it is.

I have to agree with Blake.  There isn't any justification for using
'minimising wasted votes' as a criteria for a good method.  Donald seems to
be arguing that 'IF there are no truncated rankings, then using a Hare quota
is optimal, therefore, using a Hare quota is optimal, even when there ARE
truncated rankings.'

The main concern of voters is whether or not their vote helped to elect a
candidate.  The fact that their vote was transferred to the final candidate
does not mean that their vote was used to help elect a candidate.  I have
previously defined this for preferential systems: 'A vote helps to elect a
candidate when that vote helps elect a candidate, over some other candidate
who is not elected'.  Without the 'over some other candidate who is not
elected' qualification, the criteria is meaningless (ie passes single
candidate elections).

There are various ways to maximise the number of votes that help to elect a
candidate; allowing truncated rankings, having a droop quota, having special
rules for situations where no candidate has a quota.  I have previously
suggested some such rules, where there is one uneliminated candidate left,
and more than one seat to fill, that candidate is declared elected, and all
votes are then reactivated, transferred away from already elected candidates
at full transfer values, and then either hold successive IRV elections for
each remaining position, or create a new quota with the new number of
remaining candidates.

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