[EM] Approval is flawed (write D. Davison)

Craig Carey research at ijs.co.nz
Thu Aug 8 05:21:49 PDT 2002

Here are parts of Mr Donald Davison's article titled
   "Approval Voting: A Flawed Single Seat Election Method".

This appears to be excellent.

An argument missed is that the more primitive papers used by the
so called Approval method are not properly justified. Are they
justified by bugs in IRV, or by lack of suitable machines (etc.) ?.

    Reform America Inc website

The site is about youths.

[some parts are deleted]

 >Approval Voting: A Flawed Single Seat Election Method by Donald Davison
... Approval Voting - A Flawed Single Seat Election Method:
 >It [Approval] is the worst, for it has the most flaws, but the other
 >methods in these groups are still unacceptable.
 >A best method should be the best for all the voters.
 >1) It has our lower choices helping to defeat our first choice:
 >Suppose you have a top choice in an Approval election. If you were to
 >also select one of the small third party candidates as a choice along
 >with your top choice, you would have raised that candidate up equal to
 >your top choice in the election as far as your vote is concerned. You
 >would have cancelled any difference you may have rated your top choice vs
 >that candidate.
 >If enough of the supporters of the two top candidates foolishly mark that
 >same candidate after marking their favorite, that candidate would end up
 >with the most votes, and that is the light that Approval promoters see at
 >the end of their dark and dirty tunnel. Their hope is that if the people
 >have more than one choice in their hot hands that most of the people will
 >mistakenly think they are merely ranking the candidates 1-2-3 when they
 >carelessly give choices to smaller third party candidates, but instead
 >they may be giving one small third party candidate more votes than any
 >other candidate. This is one of Approval's not so excellent properties,
 >the property of bottom choices helping to defeat top choices.
 >This happens because Approval Voting counts all your choices as equal
 >votes and counts them together at the same time. Irving will never use
 >two or more of your choices at the same time.
 >2) It will use trickery to allow a small party to falsely win:
 >the voters of the lower candidates will make lower choices because they
 >will be interested in having a vote in deciding which candidate should be
 >first. The people will soon learn ... [the reality and then end up] not
 >making any more than one choice ...
 >3) It can cause a majority winner to lose:
 >4) It will not allow us to have a most preferred choice:
... [I]n Approval Voting, all choices are counted as first choices.
 >Request for results from a real Approval election in the real world:
 >If anyone has access to results from a real Approval election, I would
 >like to have a copy of them.
 >Reform America, Inc. 2503 Hatteras Circle, Waldorf, MD 20601
 >Phone: 202-489-8571 RAI at ReformAmericaInc.org

It is a strange website: the founder is running for office and it
seemed to be unclear on which methods to favour and oppose.

Demographic data on the spread of Approval?.

The Democrat's Santa Clara people might be aiming for use of a stacked
FPTP method:



 >Minutes of the meeting of 5 April 2001
 >Instant Runoff Voting
 >Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg has submitted AB1515 calling for instant
 >runoff voting with the State picking up the costs of conversion.  Jodi
 >Wittlin moved that we endorse this bill, and her motion was seconded.
 >Bart Fisher expressed opposition to IRV in general and to this bill in
 >particular.  He said it would encourage third parties.  Many would cast
 >votes for someone like Ralph Nader and make a Democrat their second
 >choice.  He does not want to encourage third parties.  In addition,
 >uninformed voters need a second, runoff election.  He urged a no vote.
 >Steve Chessin countered by pointing out that four years ago there was a
 >runoff in the East Bay and the Green Party candidate, Audie Bach, won.
 >With IRV a Democrat would have won.  Francis LaPoll asked if there had
 >been IRV in the Florida presidential election, would Al Gore have won?
 >"Hands down" was the reply.
 >Mike Potter pointed out that in the 21st Assembly District race between
 >Joe Simitian, Barbara Koppel, and a Republican, had there been IRV, Joe
 >might have lost.
 >Jodi replied that we should not base the decision on whether or not IRV
 >helps Democrats but rather on whether or not it is fair.  The point is
 >whether it will help California have representation for its people.  She
 >expressed her support for IRV in special elections and added that voters
 >in such elections are not uneducated.
 >But Lee Sturtevant pointed to the problems in the Florida election where
 >a ballot had a second page.  She felt that IRV was too complicated.
 >The vote on support for AB1515 was called and it passed by voice vote.



(1) I accept Mr Schulze's comments saying that he is a member of this
   mailing list.
(2) my last message needed proof reading.

Craig Carey

For more information about this list (subscribe, unsubscribe, FAQ, etc), 
please see http://www.eskimo.com/~robla/em

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list