[EM] The wiki questionaire

Abd ulRahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Wed Jun 15 21:51:27 PDT 2005

At 06:12 PM 6/14/2005, Jobst Heitzig wrote:
>What I meant was this: When a voter expressed that s/he prefers A to B, we
>interpret this to mean that if s/he could choose between A and B, she would
>choose A. Now what do we think the voter would choose when s/he put A and B
>at equal ranks? Do we assume that s/he would delegate the decision by, say,
>asking a friend to decide, or do we assume that she would throw a coin?

There is quite another possibility, and it seems to me that it is a 
counterexample to Mr. Heitzig's presumptions about strategic or "insincere" 

The voter may prefer A but consider B acceptable and may also know that the 
election system does not allow an expression of what could be called a 
minor preference but only general preference or equality. The voter may 
prefer that B win than that A win leaving B voters dissatisfied with the 
result. In other words, the voter may prefer consensus to the victory of 
personal preference.

I've been stumping for simply allowing overvotes with standard plurality 
elections, a reversal of normal practice in the U.S. which implements, 
quite simply, Approval. The effect of this with IRV is to hybridize IRV, 
allowing the expression of equal preference by simply voting for both 
candidates at a given level of preference.

The result apparently would be to leave the choice with the voter of 
whether or not to vote preference or equality. This is not at all 
insincere, rather, it can be an expression of a more subtle sincerity than 
raw preference.

(But "sincerity" is used technically, it seems, to describe any voting that 
is not strictly in accordance with candidate preference, as distinct from 
*social* preference. This is another example of how the technical language 
of the EM community can be deceptive or confusing to the general public 
when information from the community is taken to the public, as it will be. 
I'm not suggesting, necessarily, that the community change its language but 
rather that it become more explicit that the usage is technical, and, where 
possible, to specify deviations from general usage.)

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