[EM] Blake's margins arguments

Alex Small asmall at physics.ucsb.edu
Wed Feb 19 14:10:04 PST 2003

Rob LeGrand said:
> Forest wrote:
>> 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 votes?
> This is certainly an important question to ask.

As a practical matter, before we can get a public debate going on margins
vs. winning votes, we'd need to sell the public on a Condorcet completion
method (margins and wv. are equivalent when nobody reports equal rankings
of 2 candidates, so the point can be ignored initially).  Before we can
sell the public on a Condorcet completion method we need to sell the
public on Condorcet.  Before we sell the public on Condorcet we need to
get ourselves heard over the cacaphony of pro-IRV voices.  Seen in that
light, the new Approval Voting organization seems like a much better horse
to back in any race.

So I put that issue pretty low on the list of things to care about.  If
other people find is stimulating to debate that, have fun, but I'm
agnostic on it for all practical purposes.  Of course, I actually care
about the obscure Strong FBC, but at least I can persuade myself that it
addresses the well-known and much-lamented "lesser evil" problem.

Keep this in mind about selling the public on winning votes or margins: 
Nobody says "Bush won Florida with <number of votes>", they say "Bush won
Florida by 537 votes" or whatever the final margin was.  (I say Bush won
Florida 5-4 with 50% of the female vote, 100% of the African American
vote, and 71% of the Republican-appointed vote.)

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