[EM] CR style ballots for Ranked Preferences

Forest Simmons fsimmons at pcc.edu
Mon Sep 24 10:40:41 PDT 2001

On Mon, 24 Sep 2001, Jobst Heitzig wrote:

> On Mon, 24 Sep 2001, Anthony Simmons wrote:
> > >> However, what I can't see is why this should be of any
> > >> importance. Instead, it just shows that in order to
> > >> determine the winner, one cannot divide the electorate
> > >> into groups but must consider all voters simultaneously!
> I would like to emphasize this again: In order to use a rule that has this
> presumably negative property of "inconsistency", one only must assure that
> the whole electorate is treated simultaneously. For summable rules,
> there is no problem in doing so! 
> > We have an interesting institution in the U.S., which
> > illustrates the importance of arbitrary boundaries:  The
> > electoral college.  California gets a certain number of
> > electors in the presidential election.  If, as some people
> > would like, California were to split into two states, the
> > total number of electors for California would be increased by
> > two.  Same people, same territory, two more electors.
> Right - okay. But doesn't that show that this voting system is quite bad?
> Anyway, I don't think the notion of "inconsistency" applies also to voting
> systems that elect representatives instead of a single winner. How would
> "inconsistent" be defined then? What I was talking about was the situation
> where the electorate elects one winner, and I still cannot see why this
> decision should take place first in groups rather than at once. 
> Jobst

Not that the decision should take place in groups first, but if it did for
informational purposes (to see whom the different states or districts
preferred), it might be embarrassing if all of the states or all of the
districts agreed on who should win, but the method (when applied to all of
the ballots at once) picked someone else.

It seems to me that a method that is inconsistent in this sense can be
thought of as having some kind of internal friction that wastes 
relevant information. 

If the district wins were borderline or a result of cyclical tie breaking,
this would be understandable.  If the district wins were all decisive,
this would reflect badly on the method, in my opinion.


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