[EM] Maximum Consent

Forest Simmons fsimmons at pcc.edu
Mon Aug 6 12:26:25 PDT 2001

On Tue, 31 Jul 2001, Richard Moore wrote:


> That's actually possible. Set a rule that any voter voting 
> for fewer than half of the candidates will have his ballot 
> augmented until it is half-full by randomly selecting from 
> the unvoted candidates, and if he votes for more than half 
> of the candidates his ballot will be diminished until it is 
> half-full by a similar process. Adding or subtracting from a 
> ballot in this way doesn't improve the information content 
> of the ballot, but it does create a negative incentive for 
> voting any ballot that isn't 50/50.
> Or simply throw out any ballot that isn't 50/50 (+/- 1/2, if 
> the number of candidates is odd). If that's objectionable, 
> it shouldn't be any more so than throwing out Plurality 
> ballots that have multiple candidates marked on them (e.g., 
> Palm Beach butterfly ballots).
> Whether forcing 50/50 ballots really is a desirable goal, 
> outside the information-theoretical considerations, is 
> debatable. It discourages strategic voting but replaces it 
> with something that might be worse: excessive constraints. I 
> think many of us feel strategy in Approval is not a bad 
> thing, and that Approval has about the right constraints as is.
> Richard

With this method the best strategy would be to approve down to the median
rank candidate (and possibly include it).  In other words, the best
strategy for this method could be deduced from the preference ballots.
Under normal Approval it is not possible to deduce which candidates to
approve from the preference order alone.

An ordinary Approval ballot has important relevant information that cannot
be deduced from a preference ballot. 

Although a preference ballot may have a greater quantity of information,
the Approval ballot has the most relevant information for consent of the
governed: i.e. which candidates could the voter willingly give consent to.


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