[EM] Reply to Weinstein on Approval in Long Beach

Joe Weinstein jweins123 at hotmail.com
Thu Aug 1 19:08:48 PDT 2002

Craig et al.,

I am not telepathic, and I can't read too many long posts (other than my 
own!).  I still don't get what worries Craig about Approval (as versus other 
methods) nor what is the point of the display of the 64-candidate ballot - 
for use with Approval or any other election method.  No election method, 
intended for universal application to 'all elections large and small', can 
save a situation where 64 or more candidates are unleashed on a mass 
electorate who on average know few (and have prior reason to know few) of 
the candidates, or anyhow much about them.

Sorry, I don't groove on Hadamard matrices.  I also don't know what anyone 
means by 'Hadamard theory', let alone what questions this theory focuses on 
and investigates.  (Any relationship to Hadamard's approach to the Prime 
Number Theorem??)  As a mathematician I'm overspecialized, or anyhow 
specialized in a different direction (or two).

Craig writes: 'Testing is not realistic if it is not done on paper or a 
computer since too few points are involved. Surely at least 1,000 points are 
needed. It could be tricky to blindly test the so called IRV method (with 3 
candidates) and find a grave defect using <=1,000 sample points.
Why should the results from the test be "local" (of a region in USA) while 
there was no theoretical testing?'

I agree that it sounds silly to claim a need to test locally what should 
already be understood - or if not, then be tested - universally.  However, 
please bear two things in mind.

First, Craig and I are talking partly about testing different things:  
theoretical inherent properties of a universal abstract method vs. practical 
logistical properties of a local concrete implementation.  Methods which can 
be implemented so as to work straightforwardly with most voters and election 
officials may fail in Long Beach as implemented there.  Such logistical 
failure will likely betray itself with many fewer than 1000 or even 20 
distinct 'points' (which I take synonymous with 'runs', or 'instances' of 

Second, many people will pay attention only when a method (such as IRV!) is 
seen to fail a 'practical' test, even though the failure is readily 
predictable and inherent on grounds long-understood by theorists.

Much of Craig's response is a critique of a message in which I suggested 
points to make in a rebuttal letter vs. pro-IRV statements.  Some of these 
points ARE perhaps a bit incautious, as Craig urges. In particular, general 
scholarly approval of Approval might indeed be questioned, so a more 
cautious rebuttal letter might note particulars such as EMAC or Brams or ...

Joe Weinstein
Long Beach CA USA

MSN Photos is the easiest way to share and print your photos: 

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