[EM] Re: Voting Systems Study of the League of Women Voters of Minnesota

Chris Benham chrisbenham at bigpond.com
Fri Jun 10 12:38:35 PDT 2005

You wrote:

> Now, I wonder if there is anyone on this list who thinks that 
> overvotes should not be counted? 

Let me first make it clear that I agree that FPP is awful and that 
Approval would be a huge improvement. However, simply counting all 
overvotes at full value is an attempt to sneak
Approval in through the back door which is arguably not appropriate in a 
civilised and democratic country. (Maybe not relevant.)
While the method is FPP and not Approval, I think the fairest way to 
handle overvotes is to count them at fractional value summing to one on 
each ballot.

I put forward two arguments:
(1) If  overvotes are regularly counted at full value, and this is 
widely known, then overvoting will become a regular way of voting, and 
so if votes are tampered with by having them
vote for an extra candidate this could be done on a much bigger scale 
without looking so suspicious.

(2) What is the ballot instruction? If it is to check one candidate, 
then its absurd that very many (maybe all) the voters have an incentive 
to do otherwise.
Also its unfair that voters who obey the ballot instruction (which I 
assume is a "law") should be penalised in comparison with overvoters who 
have the luxury of  fully voting both
their favourites and compromises.  That is like having a speeding limit, 
not enforcing it, and creating incentives to speed.
Another possible source of unfairness and absurdity is that some voting 
equipment might not enable voters to overvote. That would mean that the 
system is unofficial Approval
for some voters, but enforced FPP for others.

Chris Benham

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