[EM] One man, one vote and Approval: Pragmatic Approach

Craig Carey research at ijs.co.nz
Sat Jul 27 17:55:19 PDT 2002


At 02\07\27 09:24 -0700 Saturday, Alex Small wrote:
...[from below]
 >Let us make the reasonable prediction that in most approval elections
 >there will be two or three serious front-runners.  In the case of 2

That is assumption that can fail to be held.
A problem for the checkbox Approval method is that it seem very obvious
to a public that the method is not good enough and they'd see that the
problem is that it fails "one man, one vote".

EXAMPLE showing Approval will get rejected by voters (if politicians
pass it):

   1. Suppose that there are 45 candidates.
   2. The number of seats to be filled equals 3. (3 winners).
   3. Suppose that the latest poll data indicates that 14-20 of the
       candidates running a close contest.

What is the person that wants to put 2 marks on their ballot paper
going to think when considering that some of the other voters will
be using at least 15 marks.

Part of the reasoning of politicians is that they are not free to use
their own personal opinion and reject the Approval method, but part
of their reasoning would be they copy the (not yet done) thinking of
their electorate. And the conclusion is that Approval is rejected.

Covering up that problem would presumably be done by presenting
Approval as always having few checkboxes. I noticed it. Maybe it only
takes a single e-mail message to bomb up Approval advocacy.

Mr Rob Le-Grand has a 5 check box example of an Approval ballot


          Approval ballot

Directions:  Vote for one or more.

  [ ] Harry Browne (Libertarian)
  [ ] Pat Buchanan (Reform)
  [ ] George W. Bush (Republican)
  [ ] Al Gore (Democrat)
  [ ] Ralph Nader (Green)


That's shown:   http://www.aggies.org/robl

An example like that is constructed to conceal the problem.

The topic I write on is interesting in that the precise concern of
the Approval rejecting public is that the method fails
"One man, one vote" (i.e. powers of other person's papers are too high);

They can reject the idea that Approval is good without ever considering
how to solve the personal problem that Approval created for them. A
major reason for avoiding Approval is that common voters would think
like politicians and consider the unfairness affecting groups without
giving much consideration to whether the group is thoughtful enough to
plot a path out of the problem.


 >front-runners, and assuming all voters can find the polling data in the
 >newspapers, all voters will approve only one of the two serious
 >candidates, and hence all voters will have exercised equal voting power.

Certainly there is no agreement whatsoever that there are just 2

There is no reason to consider examples where the conclusion is that

    "we failed to get the test to reject Approval"

when we have already located some problems where we can instead conclude

    "we reject Approval for failing the test"

It looks like the method can flop over under a brief consideration. What
is the actual point of posting up defences of the method. What about
actually doing the obvious thing which is to attack the globe's voters
and their "the power of others who seek to threaten my interests me will
be constrained to not exceed 1.0", ideal.

The big guns are holding back since aware of seams in some specious
arguments where the argument could disintegrate in mid-air ?.

Quite a surprise to see that those who like Approval get One Man One Vote
confused with unusable human rights Covenant wording for "equal suffrage".


At 02\07\27 09:24 -0700 Saturday, Alex Small wrote:
 >It has been argued that, since people who approve m candidates may be
 >exercising a different amount of voting power than those who approve n=/=m
 >candidates, Approval fails to give all voters equal power.
 >Those making the argument are underwhelmed by my assertion that "one man,
 >one vote" simply means my approval of candidate X should carry the same
 >weight as somebody else's approval of candidate X (a criterion flunked by
 >the electoral college, among other non-proportional institutions).

Its fancy wording and who (in truth) really wants "approval" when the
alternative is maximum power for them (the best the method can do) and
a strict guarantee that every other voter with a single paper never
wields more power than they would have if they had an FPTP paper.

The idea of "approval" and "propositions" being somehow desirable is
rejected. It seems very tricky to describe as desirable when
guarantees that enemies can't wrongly out vote the single voter, are
on offer with other methods.

IRV has all sorts of problems but Approvalist at this list have a
very bad track record on attacking IRV because they do not identify
what bugs are required to be present by the ideal. But that can't be
discussed here because it is not possible to get discussion on
principles that would lead to STV-like methods, done at this mailing

 >So, if (for the sake of argument) we assume that "one man, one vote"
 >requires equal voting power per individual, consider this circumstance:

I just corrected that error and it is hardly a small error since just
about every kind of paper has differing powers. For a given election,
an upper bound on the power of each 2-preference paper could calculated
by finding the smallest number of FPTP papers that can reproduce or
outdo, its effect. [Outdo can mean that the desire of a paper is
calculated by comparing the winners with binary numbers having digits
determined by the preferences shown (multiwinner election)].

I.e. numbers showing powers of papers (in a given election) can be
arrived at and listed. Thus the human rights definition of equal
suffrage is to be rejected.

Here is a definition of the "One man, one vote" test:

  the power of a paper (with respect to an FPTP paper), does not
   exceed 1.0.

Maybe a constraint for minus 1 should be added too. I have not yet
created examples clearly showing a power that is under -1.

 >Either way, in most elections I suspect that approval voting will give all
 >strategies equal power.  Of course, this will not hold with 4 close

What is a "strategy" ?. I can define/introduce the Boolean function that
defines a preferences of a paper (in a multiwinner election) in 3 lines
(by referring to binary numbers).

But here the word "strategy" is not defining. It sounds like it involves
testing and optimizing.

Every paper in a preferential election will in general have a different
power.To reproduce with a linear combination of FPTP papers is making
a statement about the base of a touching simplex.

The title of Alex Small's message says "Pragmatic Approach".

It is obvious that people are rejecting concrete thinking and the
perfection of mathematics and always flushing the airlocks of their
EM shop to exlcude voters' interests while continually using the word
"voters". They say that Approval is very very simple, but if there are
45 candidates and 3 seats to fill and 14 front runners, then an
Approval ballot paper (with checkboxes) would seem to be very hard to
fill in and rapidly foster a belief that politicians are stupid and
other people are getting too much power (but paying a price for that
not necessarily getting what they really want).

G. A. Craig Carey

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