[EM] RE: Definition of preferential voting

Toplak Jurij jure.toplak at uni-mb.si
Thu Aug 19 16:23:19 PDT 2004

You are not flippant.. you've made a good point. 
Recently, David Farrell and Ian McAllister have used the term 'preferential voting' in the way that resembles your view. All the systems are preferential, but, they say, some are more preferential than others - assuming that 'preference' means 'choice'. Therefore, more choice means more preference. This way they end up with the scale ranging from most preferential to less preferential systems. The paper is available at http://repositories.cdlib.org/csd/04-04/

  I don't mean to be flippant, but what voting as performed by a voter would not be "preferential"? Any collection procedure that gives the voter a choice asks for a preference. So "preferential voting" is a noise phrase that doesn't mean anything at all since it applies to every method that asks for voter input. 


  I suppose you could make an argument that "preferential voting" is the voters' act of voting for their preferences as opposed to voting opposite their preferences (by any method), or that "preferential voting" is "preferring to vote or preferring not to vote". 


  But to quote the very wise HAL-9000 (somewhat out of context) "The phrase does not admit an explanation." 


  If I had to define it formally, I'd use:

  Preferential voting; n. Example of a non-sequiter.



  From: Toplak Jurij [mailto:jure.toplak at uni-mb.si] 
  Sent: Thursday, August 19, 2004 5:39 PM
  To: Paul Kislanko; election-methods at electorama.com
  Subject: Definition of preferential voting


  During the last days the discussion on this list has focused primarily on the terminology. Coincidently I am working on a paper that tries to define "preferential voting". 


  Literature offers numerous understandings and definitions:

  - 'preferential voting' is often used as a synonim for Alternative Vote or IRV

  - 'preferential voting' is sometimes used as another name for STV

  - 'preferential voting' is often used to denote 'ranking methods' (thus including STV, AV, Borda, etc.)

  - 'preferential voting is often used to denote a preference for a single candidate within List PR (this definition is used mainly in Europe)

  - mathematicians put first-past-the-post in the group of preferential voting schemes, but approval voting is not a member of this group

  - some authors put US primaries under 'preferential voting' (Katz, for instance)


  Is it possible to define preferential voting at all?

  I'd be grateful for any comments.




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