[EM] ruminations on ordinal and cardinal information

Russ Paielli 6049awj02 at sneakemail.com
Wed Mar 23 11:48:02 PST 2005

Forest Simmons simmonfo-at-up.edu |EMlist| wrote:
> On Sun, 20 Mar 2005, Jobst Heitzig wrote:
>> Dear Russ!
>> I completely agree with what you wrote!
>> Just like you, I think that
>>> an "ideal" election
>>>  method must integrate both ordinal and cardinal information, and the
>>>  cardinal information should be simple approval (yes/no for each
>>> candidate).
>> I would even go so far to claim that the ideal election should also give
>> special relevance to a third kind of information: "direct" support.
>> For example by using Random Ballot to choose from a small set of most
>> acceptable candidates such as Forest's P.
>> Or, a new idea, if you find randomization inacceptable, by electing the
>> member of P with the most direct support!
> How about using IRV to pick from P ?
> This would be a compromise between Approval, Condorcet, and IRV that 
> makes use of the three kinds of information ... cardinal, ordinal, and 
> direct support.


I think that idea has potential. However, I think it is too complicated 
for a public proposal at the current time. The time for more complicated 
public proposals of that sort is *after* something simpler but similar 
has been adopted. But I suspect you realize that.

An important question is how big a step we should attempt to take for 
the first public proposal. Approval is the obvious choice, but I am 
concerned that voters may reject Approval in favor of IRV because IRV 
appears superficially to give the voter more expressivity with ordinal 
ranking. Approval also has some significant strategy problems due to 
inaccurate or manipulated pre-election polling data, of course.

I think the Ranked Approval Voting idea I have been advocating is a 
potentially good public proposal. (RAV: Each voter ranks his approved 
candidates, and if no CW exists the least approved candidate is 
repeatedly dropped until a CW is found.)

By the way, let me suggest another "criterion" for public acceptability. 
If voters have an election method carefully explained to them for, say, 
five or ten minutes, then most of them should be able to accurately 
paraphrase the rules on the first try. And they should also be able to 
do it days or weeks later, perhaps with only a brief one-minute refresher.


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