[EM] Blake's margins arguments

Forest Simmons fsimmons at pcc.edu
Wed Feb 19 12:37:05 PST 2003

Suppose for the sake of argument that Blake is right in his (as I
understand it) main reason for preferring margins over winning votes:

Margins are better estimators than sheer numbers for deciding which
candidate is likely to do the best job.

Let's assume this is true if the margins are sincere.  If they are not
sincere, it could be the case that A is preferred to B by a large ballot
margin, but sincere preferences would show B preferred to A by some other

Which of these margins would be right?

This leads to another question:

Are voters more apt to vote sincerely if they know the winner will be
determined according to the rules of margins or to the rules of winning

Suppose that the answer is "according to the rules of wv."

Then another question is which of the following options is better?

(1) insincere margins

(2) sincere winning votes

In summary, there are cases in which I would prefer sincere margins over
sincere winning votes, for example 50 to 1 over 51 to 50. There are other
cases in which I would prefer sincere winning votes over sincere margins,
for example 55 to 50 over 7 to 1.

But in every case I would prefer sincere votes over insincere votes.  If
wv is more likely to result in sincere ballots (i.e. fewer order reversals
between sincere preferences and ballot markings) than margins, then I'll
take wv.


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