[EM] How to vote cards for Approval?

Gervase Lam gervase at group.force9.co.uk
Tue Nov 4 15:49:03 PST 2003

> Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2003 15:50:50 -0500
> From: Dave Ketchum <davek at clarityconnect.com>
> Subject: Re: [EM] How to vote cards for Approval?

> Assume candidates with about equal popularity:
>       A - with WHITE hat, I must do all I can FOR.
>       B - with BLACK hat, I must do all I can AGAINST.
>       C - with GRAY hat, I must:
>            Do what I can to prevent GRAY beating WHITE.
>            Do what I can to prevent BLACK beating GRAY.
> With Condorcet I simply vote 1 WHITE, 2 GRAY, fulfilling all the above.
> With Approval I obviously approve WHITE and do not approve BLACK.  I
> tear my hair as to what to do about GRAY - which will I be happier about
> tomorrow?
> As to "how to vote" cards, I assume that thought was:
>       How to please whoever wishes I would support their goals (such
> cards have always existed, regardless of election method - and thus
> leave my effort about equal regardless of method), rather than
>       How to do the action of voting once I have figured out my goals -
> which should be taught by every means available, though I see no reason
> for cards to be useful, assuming that education gets be done by other
> available means.

I think I understand the paragraph immediately above but I don't quite 
understand the paragraph before that.  Nevertheless, if I understand 
things correctly, what I mean is the paragraph immediately above.

Yes, I suppose really the voters should be educated on how to vote.  But 
let's say there is a person who left school at 16.  This person never 
wanted to be involved in education but just wanted to get on with life.  
However, now there is an election and the person feels the need to vote, 
possibly because election involves issues that could directly affect the 

In front of this person is now the Approval ballot card.  The person 
doesn't really know how to vote.

OK, the above involves bad stereotyping.  But it illustrates a point.

Therefore, what I "envisage" is basically a set of instructions that go 
with the ballot card.  One of the instructions could say to vote for your 
favourite of the two front runners plus the other candidates who you think 
are better than the worst of the two front runners.  There may/would be 
other instructions on how to vote that are in a similar vein to that.  I 
think this would reduce the effort required by the voter in most 

Therefore, in "most" cases, it doesn't matter whether the hat is grey or 
not.  It is how well the hats are doing in the voting stakes that matters.

Speaking of Approval voting strategy, does anybody know of another 
internet source for the mathematics of Approval strategy other than at 
'www.electionmethods.org'?  I managed to get through a part of it, despite 
it being a bit heavy going.

However, there was what I thought to be one big mathematical step in it 
which I would like to see broken down.  Unfortunately, I've forgotten 
what the step was as it's been a while since I looked at it.  
Nevertheless, if somebody could point me to another source for the 
mathematics of Approval strategy, that would be great.


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