[EM] RE: Definition of preferential voting

Paul Kislanko kislanko at airmail.net
Fri Aug 20 14:23:55 PDT 2004

Forest Simmons wrote:

>>I have a slight quibble with the phrase "ranked ballots."  If you take it
literally, it sounds like it is referring to a set of ballots that have
somehow already been ranked relative to each other, instead of a set of
ballots that can be used by voters to rank the candidates. [Compare the
meaning of "ranked pairs."]

"Ranking ballots" would be more descriptive of the actual intent of the
phrase.  The "ing" ending has the additional advantage of reassuring us
that the ballots are not pre-voted; the voter gets to fill them out.<<

English is too flexible. I would interpret "ranked ballots" the way Forest
described "ranking ballots."

Quite literally, in either case what we're talking about is "ballots that
rank candidates".

This is what I've been trying to express. The counting methods DO "rank
ballots" by ordering them by how many voters chose one particular ordered
list of candidates over another. When someone writes:

40: A>B>C
35: B>A>C
25: C>A>B

They have "ranked" three different ballot configurations based upon the fact
that 40, 35, and 25 percent respectively of the voters have chosen these
three of the six possible candidate orderings.

What the voter does is rank CANDIDATES. The counting method "ranks ballots."

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