[EM] Introduction

Douglas Greene douggreene at earthlink.net
Thu Aug 2 23:22:49 PDT 2001


I've been interested in electoral reform and alternative voting
systems since 1990, when I did a paper for one of my classes in grad

I became intensely interested in the topic after the Presidential
election.  I promptly joined the CVD, which seemed to be the only
voice out there advocating for an alternative voting system.

I quickly learned that the CVD wasn't really interested in the BEST
alternative voting system., but merely in promoting their chosen
system-IRV-often with dishonest arguments, and a cone of silence
regarding other systems-such as approval voting, which I had come in
contact with even earlier than my grad school work.  In one of my poli
sci courses in college, we were assigned "The Presidential Election
Game" by Steven J. Brams, the last chapter of which explores AV in

I currently tend to favor AV, for all the reasons you're familiar
with.  Besides the ones I've seen mentioned, it's also possible in
some cases to implement it with no changes in statute.

But I was surprised to see that no one had brought up range voting.  I
was first tipped off to this system through a post from (of all
people) the CVD's Rob Richie.

Warren D. Smith of the NEC Research Institute modeled 120 or so voting
systems with both sincere and strategic voters.  He found that range
voting produced the least Bayesian regret as compared to all the other
systems.  His work is available at:

http://www.neci.nec.com/homepages/wds/works.html  Scroll down to
number 56, and it's all there.

In brief:

"In this system, you provide a k-tuple of real numbers,
each in some fixed range (Smith uses -1 to 1, but 0-1
and 0-10 are other popular choices; all are equivalent)
as your "vote" in a k-candidate election.

For simplicity, let us, like Olympic figure skating judges,
use the range 0-10. Consider a 4-way election
with candidates (Buchanan, Bush, Gore, Nader).
You could provide, as your vote, the 4-tuple
(0, 2, 9, 10). All the vote-tuples are then added up,
and the winner is the candidate with the largest
total. For example, if this vote and also somebody else's vote
(6, 10, 0, 8) were added, we would get
(6, 12, 9, 18). The largest total would be 18
so (if these were the only two voters),
Nader would be the winner."

I'm delighted I found this list.  It's heartening to know that there
are others out there who haven't bought into the CVD line.


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