Demorep & Ballot-Tampering

Fri Jan 25 20:11:50 PST 2002

I'd said:

What happened was that, after the polls
closed, and after the ballots were counted and the results announced,
the ballots were available on disk, as will soon be the case, if
it isn't already. Someone noticed thereby that their participation in
the election caused the election of someone whom they voted lower
than the person who'd have won if they hadn't voted.

Demorep replied:

How did such *someone* note that it was his/her vote that had such a result
??? By specially marking his/her ballot ??? --- generally yet another
election law felony

I reply:

You really like felonies, and so I'm going to have to disappoint you:
No felony is required. That voter didn't have to mark his ballot for

What difference does it make which of those ballots is his? One of
them, one of the ones that's marked in a certain particular way is his.
He knows that there's one more ballot of that type than there would
have been if he hadn't voted. He knows, therefore that _he_ changed
the result by showing up & voting. (If we're talking about the
detection of a Participation failure).

Demorep continues:

How many voters were in this election (so that such someone could know that
it was his/her *unique* vote that changed things) ??? Under 5 ??? 5 or more

I reply:

More. There were millions. But, it just happens that the outcome was
different with that one ballot than it would have been without it.
Say there were 100,000 people who voted the same way as that voter
did. Then it's correct to say, for each of those voters, that he
changed the outcome by voting instead of staying home. If _any_ one
of thoses 100,000 voters had stayed home, he'd have changed the result
in a way favorable to him.

Demorep continued:

That is --- was such someone among 2 or more voters who voted the same way 

I reply:

Not necessarily. Maybe that voter worsened the outcome for himself
by changing a tie to a win that's worse for him than the tie. Or
changed a win to a tie that's worse for him than the win. But yes,
I prefer to say that 2 voters both voted similarly in some respects
(but not necessarily the same), so that they can change a win to
another win that's less favorable to them, as judged by the order
in which they voted the candidates.

Demporep continues

Some bad stuff (participation or whatever) may happen to ANY one choice
depending on the tiebreaker being used when there are 3 or more choices.

I reply:

Participation failure will never happen with Plurality, Approval,
or Borda. We all know about Plurality's inadequacy. Borda is somewhat
worse than Plurality. Participation is one more reason why Approval
is better than IRV, though arguably there are more important reasons
why Approval is better.

More standard mantra for the single winner case-

But let me tell a story to show what I'm talking about, for

Picture it, Demorep, 1992, the Presidential election. Say it's just
Perot, Clinton, & Bush. Say the method is IRV.

You, Demorep, and your felony-attorney both vote sincerely, and your
rankings are: Clinton>Perot>Bush.

You felt that it was important to keep your last choice from winning,
so you made a point of showing up to vote him in last place.

Then, after the election, the results are published, and we find that
these rankings were voted, in these numbers:

34 million: Bush>Perot>Clinton
33 million: Perot>Bush>Clinton
33 million and 1: Clinton>Perot>Bush

Perot, with initially the lowest vote total, was immediately eliminated
and transferred to Bush, who thereby win.

But if you & your attorney had stayed home, to discuss the danger of
ballot-tampering, instead of showing up to vote, then Clinton would
have been the one to be eliminated, and he'd have transferred to Perot,
who'd have thereby won.

You showed up & voted in order to make sure that your last choice
wouldn't win, but by so doing you elected your last choice, who
wouldn't have won if you hadn't showed up & voted.

And you found this out just from the election results, without
opening the ballot box, without marking your ballot for identification,
and without committing any felony.

Obviously a similar story could be written about Monotonicity,
in which you notice from the election results that if you'd voted
the way you originally intended to, before you heard the new information
and decided to rank Hitler last instead of 1st, Hitler would have
lost. But he won because you voted him last instead of 1st.

And, obviously, if more people vote similarly to how you did, then
the vote-total margin that you reverse neen't be as close as in my

Mike Ossipoff

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