[EM] RE: assumption of sincere ballots (was Approval Later-no-Harm)

Simmons, Forest simmonfo at up.edu
Fri May 13 17:49:46 PDT 2005

From: Chris Benham <chrisbenham at bigpond.com>
Subject: [EM] Re: "Approval Later-no-Harm",


I am of the view that it is possible and desirable to have the situation
where the big majority of  voters
are innocent of  strategy and/or not interested in strategy, and  I
strongly believe that the "official assumption"
should be that there is no strategy problem and no problem in
determining the will of the voters from their votes.
So  I'm  completely against relying on any random process like random
ballot (except as a last resort when
candidates are tied according to all the reasonable deterministic
processes), or on explicit strategy devices
(like ATLO).   If   the voting method  has  a big role for   Random 
Ballot,   the  implied  official  assumption
is  "No voting method  is immune to strategy, and we know that you
voters can't be trusted!".

Forest replies:
I can see your point and have a certain amount of sympathy for it.
But lack of trust is not the only reason for spreading around the chances of getting elected.
In small groups deciding from among acceptable options by casting lots or drawing straws is a rather common method of overcoming  100 percent dominance by a bare majority.  Any child knows a number of rhymes for deciding who makes the decision this time.  In some cases the winner of "Rock, Paper, Scissors" gets to make the choice.
This hypothetical example of extreme Hutu, extreme Tutsi and Moderate Hutu in Rwanda
60 H>M>>T
40 T>M>>H
illustrates the point.  [I may have gotten the proportions backwards.]
If these are sincere preferences, then M should have a chance of winning occasionally, not to keep the voters from voting insincerely, but because the smaller ethnic group deserves some satisfaction once in a while, too,  to offset the "tyranny of the majority."
Under DFC, the direct supporters of H could frustrate the M supporters by insincerely withholding their approval from M.  But let's go by  your "official assumption" that the voters will tend to vote sincerely under a fair system and not meanly exploit opportunities like this.
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