[EM] RE: Definition of preferential voting

Paul Kislanko kislanko at airmail.net
Fri Aug 20 12:34:50 PDT 2004

James Gilmour wrote:

Paul Kislanko > Sent: Friday, August 20, 2004 12:52 AM
> A "voting system" is a punched-card, a touch-sensitive CRT, 
> paper with circles that require a #2 pencil, or a gorgeous 
> 1950s-era big box with lots of levers to play with including 
> the big ones that would automatically turn all the little 
> ones for the same party.

Here in the UK we would normally refer to the equipment and its use as the
"voting method" and the
way votes are cast ("X" for one candidate, "X" for one party, "1, 2, 3 ...")
and the way those votes
are counted as the "voting system".  

I thought about that later. My characterization of a "system" as a part of a
"method" was extremely arbitrary, and in other contexts I've used the terms
the other way around (the same way as they are used in the UK). In reviewing
the literature, it appears that "Voting System" and "Election Method" have
historically been used synonymously.

So, my suggestion was not a good one. The strength of English is its
flexibility, and that perforce implies ambiguity.

So, re-phrasing my original thought, I find it easier to analyze whatever it
is by breaking it into two pieces. If there's a general-enough
preference-gathering mechanism then any tallying-mechanism can by analyzed
by characterizing its use of a theoretically-perfect input. And
tallying-mechanisms that depend upon a specific version of the generalized
input can be characterized by that as well.

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