[EM] MCA in use

Joe Weinstein jweins123 at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 9 16:20:42 PDT 2002

Recall that in MCA (Majority Choice Approval), the voter rates each 
candidate as preferred (or ‘highly desired’: two checks), accepted (one 
check), or unacceptable (no checks, blank).  If at least one candidate is 
rated by a majority (50% or more) of the voters as preferred, then the 
winner is the candidate with the highest number of preferred votes; 
otherwise, the winner is the candidate with the highest number of approved - 
i.e. preferred or accepted - votes.

About a month ago, I was party to an unwitting but apt use of what amounts 
to MCA.

I was one of ten members on a committee to screen and recommend candidates 
for a vacant clergy position.  Working in subcommittees, we had reviewed 
about 30 resumes, briefly interviewed about 15 candidates, and followed on 
with five of these - call them A, B, C, D, E.  At our invitation, two very 
promising candidates, A and B, had visited the congregation for a weekend.

Time came for our committee to make a recommendation - preferably 
affirmative, but with contingency planning - to the congregation's board of 
directors.  The procedure we followed was at the insistence of one committee 
member, a professor of management.

We first considered - independently for each of candidates A-E - whether the 
candidate was acceptable.  We found - to nobody's big surprise - that A and 
B were each acceptable to a large majority - B slightly more than A - and 
that each of the others was acceptable only to a minority.

We then considered whether either of A or B could be rated as highly 
desirable.  We found that most of us were highly enthused for A, but that 
few of us were highly enthused for B.  So we readily decided to recommend A, 
with B as an acceptable backup in case A could not be hired.

Our process could readily have been formalized as an MCA election among 
candidates A-E.  Under usual Approval, B would have won; but in effect we 
followed MCA, making A the clear winner.

Joe Weinstein
Long Beach CA USA

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