[EM] To MIKE OSSIPOFF, re: Approval, CR, & IRV

Bill Lewis Clark wclark at xoom.org
Sun Jan 18 08:24:02 PST 2004


> Say we conducted an Approval vote, collected the ballots, and then
> said "Now  we'll do another Approval balloting, whose results will be
> added to those of  the previous balloting". How do you vote in the 2nd
> balloting? The same as  in the 1st balloting.

Not necessarily.  The flaw with that argument can be shown in this related

Say you measured rainfall of .75cm on a particular day, and rounded that
up to 1cm in your record books.  Now suppose you wanted to estimate how
much rainfall you'd receive in 10 days, based on that sample.  10 days
times 1cm per day is 10cm, right?

(Of course this only addresses this particular argument for the strategic
equivalence of AV and CR, and not the equivalence in general.)

In any event, from yours and other posts (as well as some additional web
research) I think I understand some of the assumptions required to
demonstrate the strategic equivalence of AV and CR:

(1) (Nearly) ALL voters under AV must use their optimal strategy.
(2) (Nearly) ALL voters under CR must use their optimal strategy.

and possibly (unless this is already covered in assumption #1:)

(3) (Practically) NO voters under AV can use randomized or weak optimal

If any significant portion of the voters deviate from their optimal
strategies, then the optimal strategy CHANGES for those trying to follow
their own optimal strategies.  This is an important point, because it
completely destroys the equivalence between AV and CR.

...and since it seems *very* likely that (in real-world situations) a
significant number of voters will deviate from their optimal strategies,
in practice AV and CR are NOT strategically equivalent.

> Kucinich wasn't always the progressive that he's posing as now.

That's fine with me; I'm not really interested in a progressive agenda,
overall.  My primary reason for supporting Kucinich is that he's a strong
supporter of election system reform.  (Mostly) everything else is
irrelevant to me.

Howard Dean supports election system reform as well, but he shows too much
of a willingness to compromise on issues, for my liking.  I don't trust
him to push for a change in the system, as much as I do with Kucinich.

Also, Kucinich is in favor of ending the war on drugs, which is my #2 most
important issue.  (Whatever your views on drug abuse, I think everyone
should agree that prohibition simply is not working.)

Kucinich and Dean both support IRV in particular -- which I know you hate,
Mike -- but I still think that *any* election system change is a step in
the right direction.

IRV certainly has its problems (and I didn't address those points in your
post, precisely because I pretty much agree with you there) but given the
existing political climate (no "big" third-parties) I think it would still
do better than plurality.

If Condorcet or Approval (or whatever else everyone thinks is better) had
as much popular support as IRV, I'd be singing a different tune -- but as
things stand, I think supporters of *any* alternative voting system would
be best served by letting IRV proponents pave the way.


Dennis Kucinich for President in 2004

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