[EM] There's indecisiveness, and then there's indecisiveness

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 6 18:08:26 PDT 2005


MMPO has a couple of grave problems: It's indecisive and it fails
the Plurality criterion.

I reply:

First the indecisiveness:

For obvious practical reasons, when we write examples, we don't write the 
ballot of each voter in a large public election. We describe the ballots of 
a few factions, with the simplifying assumption that, within each factrion, 
eveyone's ballot is the same.

With such examples, it's easy for MMPO to have a tie. And yes, that's a kind 
of indecisiveness that wv doesn't have.

But would it happen in a public election? All it would take is for one voter 
to not vote exactly like the others in his/her faction. I claim that MMPO's 
indecisiveness examples won't happen in public elections with thousands of 

So I don't agree that MMPO has a grave problem with indecisiveness.

...but tMMWV's indecisiveness _will_ happen in large public elections, when 
there's some indifference or truncation.

And tMMWV's t-matrix adds complication, adds another rule to MMWV.

So tMMWV is more complicated than MMWV (That's PC), while MMPO is 
considerably simpler than MMWV, because it doesn't need the preliminary 
definitions that all wv and margins methods need, including MMWV. In fact 
MMPO can be defined in one sentence (but not unambiguously by the 1-sentence 
definition that I posted).

MMPO makes IRV look like a Rube Goldberg contraption.

MMPO must be the simplest, most briefly-defined rank method there is. MMPO 
makes rank-balloting a lot more proposable than it would otherwise be.

The trouble with rank methods is that there are innumerable ways to count 
rank ballots. Someone can say "But what makes your rank-count the best?" 
People will always suspect that you're advocating a particular rank-count 
because of personal bias, and will be bewildered by the great variety of 

But MMPO, being the simplest and briefest, has a special position among the 
rank-counts. No  longer can someone accuse you of arbitrariness.

Sure, someone could ask why you use votes-against, instead of votes-for. But 
that can be answered: It's for the lesser-of-2-evils voters, who insist on 
effectively voting against someone, on voting against someone and having it 
count against that candidate as strongly as possible, to do everything 
possible to keep that greater-evil from winning. The counting of 
votes-against is a concession to the lesser-of-2-evils voters, of whom there 
are very many.

I don't live in Australia, but I do live in the U.S., and I can tell you 
that lesser-of-2-evils favorite-burial is rampant, based on my many 
conversations with otherwise-progressive
voters who vote for Democrats though they prefer Nader.

Now, about the Plurality Criterion:

Doesn't it say: X must not win if the number of people voting Y in 1st place 
is greater than the number of peope voting X over Y?

I don't understand why that's essential. I don't understand why failing that 
is a grave problem.

Every criterion sounds plausible, and, for every criterion, failure doesn't 
sound right.

But will failure of the Plurality Criterion cause a strategy problem for 
voters? Will it make them vote in a way that gives the election away and 
conceals what they really want? No one has made a case that the Plurality 
Criterion is essential, or that failing it is a grave problem.

Mike Ossipoff

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