[ESD] Single-seat cumulative voting options

Alex Small asmall at physics.ucsb.edu
Wed Jan 15 16:42:45 PST 2003

pauldubourt said:
> I agree with Donald that single-seat cumulative
> voting is preferable to approval voting, because it seems as if some
> voters have more influence over the election than other voters in the
> approval voting system.

Go to the election methods mailing list and you'll find there's been some
heated debate over that topic.  I'm posting this to that list because I
think it's relevant to recent discussions.

It's often said that people in Approval Voting, voting for half of the
main contenders have more influence than those voting for a few of the
main contenders, or almost all of the main contenders.  Many people,
myself included, would observe that people vote in a "less influential"
way because supporting more candidates than the optimal amount (or fewer
than optimal) is the best way to protect their interests.  If a "less
influential" strategy does a better job of protecting one's interests,
perhaps that strategy is actually more influential than originally

A more pragmatic observation is this:  Suppose a single-seat election has
only 3 candidates with strong support (a plausible situation).  Voting for
either 1 or 2 candidates is equivalent to ranking 2 of them equal to one
another, and ranking the 3rd either above or below them.  In both
strategies you provide the same amount of information.  So, in many
elections Approval will effectively collect and use the same amount of
information from each voter.

Alex Small

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