[EM] Party's list or voters ranking, Let the voter choose.

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Wed Jul 9 11:11:06 PDT 2003

On Wed, 9 Jul 2003 22:25:21 +1000 (EST) Anthony Duff wrote:

> --- Forest Simmons <fsimmons at pcc.edu> wrote: 
> Re: [EM] recent postings
>>My perspective on single winner methods has moved
>>more and more towards
>>the point of view that ranked ballots are costly in
>>terms of voter
>>patience (as opposed to the cost of voting machines,
>>ballot counting,
>>etc.),  ...
> I agree.  
> Some voters rank carefully.  Many voters cope.  Some
> voters can't cope with so much choice!

The above thoughts puzzle me, for I claim ranked ballots are easier to 
vote, and often cheaper to record and count:

A voter not ready to cope with more can simply bullet vote, putting in the 
same effort and saying as much for that candidate as could be said with 

Look at a 2000 voter WANTING to express support for Nader and NEEDING to 
help Gore defeat Bush:
      With Plurality the voter can only do one, so must decide which is 
more important.
      With ranked ballots the voter can do both, as a detail in starting 
with most desired and continuing with best of what is left, truncating 
when voter chooses to ignore the remainder.

There is little for the voter to be concerned about as to strategy - 
perhaps a bit related to IRV's spoiler problem.  Not much for voters to be 
concerned about there - we make a big deal of it in our debates because it 
is the difference between IRV and Condorcet, but it should not happen 
often in real voting - and not often, when it does happen, that polling 
can predict a winning strategy.

As to cost:
      Many new voting machines need buying right now - fully capable 
machines should cost little more than those barely able to do Plurality 
dependably (seems some have been buying and using machines even less 
capable - such equipment SHOULD NEVER be used in a real election).
      Many jurisdictions feel that, when using Plurality, they MUST 
combine it with runoffs.  This is EXPENSIVE in terms of money and can 
displease voters (remember what we heard from the French recently).

There is a cost and complexity difference between IRV and Condorcet:
      With Condorcet the voting in each precinct reduces to a matrix, 
incremented as each vote is counted, and forwarded just as Plurality 
counts would be.  There must be a program to resolve cycles, but all it 
needs are the final matrix counts for the district the race is for (should 
concern voters little for if they have collectively said A>B and B>C and 
C>A they have expresed a near tie).
      With IRV it matters how many voters in the district voted each 
pattern that got voted for, as losers get deleted, the patterns tell who 
gets those votes next - given 3 or 4 candidates and truncation I count 9 
or 40 patterns.  With Plurality we do 8 or 10 candidates for governor in 
NY; I read that Florida did 13 for President in 2000.

>>Chris Benham recently pointed out again that IRV
>>voters tend to rely on
>>the guidance of candidates or parties, rather than
>>figuring out their own
> Chris is quite right.

There has been a discussion on EM about agreeing to do truncation in 
Condorcet - something about "quality".  Turned me off because:
      Any voter who saw benefit in that truncation would not need an 
      The proposal was for A backers to give C a better chance of getting 
elected - made sense ONLY for each backer who liked C better than B - and 
these voters could truncate or vote for C without any agreement.

Greens are debating following strategy for Plurality for 2004 presidential 
      If state seems SURE to go Rep (or Dem), vote for Green candidate for 
Green visibility.
      If state is borderline, vote Dem (for these strategists have Bush 
losing as their top priority).

ANYWAY, voters SHOULD truncate after ranking all for which they see a 
difference, whether the seeing is or is not aided by others.

>>In other words, IRV has all of the cost of a ranked
>>ballot system, but it
>>functions as a Candidate Proxy method.  Why pay for
>>IRV when you can get
>>the same result from Candidate Proxy at bargain
>>basement prices?
> How about offering the voter a choice?  Let the voter
> choose to either (A) mark 1 box to vote for a party's
> predefined ranked ballot, or (B) complete the ballot
> with their own ranking.
> This is a method that is in practice and works quite
> well.  It is particularly useful when there are a
> large number of candidates.
> Most voters will take option (A).  Few voters take
> option (B).  
> Option (B) is more complicated to tally, count and
> track transfers, and so is helpful that few take it. 
> However, it is important, in principle, that voters
> have the (B) option so that they are free to vote any
> way they choose.

I get lost here, beyond it sounds more complex than Condorcet and with no 
real advantage.

Remember that if A and B are both available each voter has to decide which 
to use, and the method must be prepared as to how to process the results.

> Anthony 

davek at clarityconnect.com  http://www.clarityconnect.com/webpages3/davek
  Dave Ketchum   108 Halstead Ave, Owego, NY  13827-1708   607-687-5026
            Do to no one what you would not want done to you.
                  If you want peace, work for justice.

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