[EM] CR style ballots for Ranked Preferences

Blake Cretney bcretney at postmark.net
Wed Sep 26 10:59:02 PDT 2001

On Tue, 25 Sep 2001 22:33:26
Anthony Simmons <bbadonov at yahoo.com> wrote:

> >> From: Jobst Heitzig <heitzig at mbox.math.uni-hannover.de>
> >> Subject: Re: [EM] CR style ballots for Ranked Preferences
> > >> 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!
> But isn't summability the whole basis of an election?  We
> have a lot of preferences on the smallest scale (the
> individual), and wish to somehow combine these to formulate a
> preference on the largest scale that accurately summarizes
> the individual preferences.  There's something strangely
> suspicious about a process that supposedly does this but
> gives different results at an intermediate scale.  We have to
> wonder whether it is the intermediate or largest scale that
> is not accurately summarizing the preferences of the voters.
> We expect that the social choice will be an accurate summary,
> in some fashion, of individual choices.  That is, it's not
> just a bunch of rules, an arbitrary function, but a measuring
> device that tells us something empirical about the world.
> Suppose we wish to measure the color of a section of a
> mosaic.  Looking at the section as a whole, our measuring
> device tells us that the section is white, but if we point it
> at individual tiles, the same device tells us they are black.
> We might conclude that the device is giving us an inaccurate
> reading on one of the scales, but which one?
> Likewise, if the device we use to measure the public will
> gives different readings on different scales, we conclude
> that it is giving faulty readings on one of the scales, but
> which is it?

If we view the election as finding the best guess for best candidate
based on the ballots, then there is no reason to expect that it should
have this kind of consistency, since probabilistic situations
frequently don't.  Consider my recent candy jar example, or the oracle
example from my web site.

Blake Cretney

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