[EM] Kevin--The 3-slot method

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Sat May 21 20:50:54 PDT 2005

Is the limitation to three rank positions necessary to the FBC compliance? 
There are drawbacks to only having 3 rank positions. I'm not saying that the 
gain isn't worth it.

Limiting it to 3 rank positions prevents compliance with SFC, SDSC, and 
Condorcet's Criterion.

Well, let me digress a little here, about failing CC. The purpose of this 
digression isn't to criticize your method. The purpose of this digression is 
to bring oiut the stupidity of CC versions that explicitly don't apply to 
nonrank methods, or that explicitly say that rank methods fail.

A 3-slot method fails preference CC, the only CC that applies uniformly and 
seamlessly to all methods, making no mention of methods' balloting or count 

But the method you described meets the usual votes-only CC. But Plurality 
meets that too, and it's pretty much agreed that Plurality isn't intended to 
meet CC, and that, therefore, plain votes-only CC isn't what is intended for 

Other votes-only CCs? Sure, maybe the method you defined could meet those. 
One of them says explicitly that it doesn't apply to nonrank methods. The 
other explicitly says that nonrank methods fail. So then, whether or not 
your method passes those CC versions depends entirely on whether we classify 
your method as a rank method. :-) What can we say about a criterion that a 
method may or may not pass, depending on how we classify that method? :-)

That tells us that there's something wrong with that critrerion.

Anyway, back to that 3-slot method:

As I said, if the 3 rank positions confer FBC compliance, that could be 
worth the loss of SFC, SDSC, and Condorcet's Criterion.

If one is ambitious about what to propose, I'd rather have the more 
ambitious SFC, GSFC, and SDSC. But maybe it's too ambitious to hope that 
voters would make use of those criterion compliances. I once mentioned here 
that I watched someone vote in an Internet BeatpathWinner poll for 
president, in the 2004 election. That persons is an intellilgent 
progressive, but voted for Kerery in the election, while agreeing that Nader 
was the more honest candidate, with the best policies.

That person also ranked Kerry and all the Democrats over Nader, while 
agreeing that Nader's honesty and policies were better.

Lesser-of-2-evils problem.

In Australia, IRV has been in use for nearly a century, and voters still do 
that. I use that as an argument against IRV, and rightly so. It's been 
pointed out to me that those voters don't do that because they know IRV's 
faults. They do it because they're applying Plurality reasoning to the 
election. Sure, it turns out that, with IRV, they're _right_ to apply 
Pluralityi reasoning. But the point is that they'll do it anyway. 
Australia's experience, and my observation of that progressive in the 
Internet poll show that.

So then, if it can be proved that your 3-slot method meets FBC, and if the 
voters could be convinced of that, then they'd never rank anyone over their 
favorite. We'd lose SFC, GSFC, and SDSC (and CC too, for what it's worth), 
but what good will those fancier criiteria do us if voters won't make use of 
that compliance? With the method you desciribe, if voters understand its FBC 
compliance, at least they won't bury their favorite. And it's a 3-slot  
Condorcet-like method, giving some advantages not gotten from Approval or 

But it's a near toss-up. Because, without SFC or SDSC, it loses much of its 
advantage over CR and Approval. And CR and Approval's FBC compliance is 
transparently obvious, not something difficult to prove, and probably more 
difficult to convince the public of.

SDSC would be good to have, because, with Approval or CR, we have no way of 
knowing if progressives will ever have the courage to not vote for the 
Democrat, even when Nader (or someone like him) outpolls the Republican. 
Progressives aren't known for their adventurousness, you know. So SDSC would 
be a good thing to have.

But the methods that meet SDSC don't meet FBC. And if those methods will 
have progressives ranking Democrats over progressives, then we gain nothing 
by having SDSC, when its benefit isn't used. So which is the one to have?

The choice of proposal, based on what voters will accept enactment of, and 
what voters will be able to use, when it's enacted, is a far from simple 
question. It will require polling, to find out what people will accept. And 
it will require test elections, to find out how people will vote. My 
experience with that poll-voter, and Australia's experience suggest that 
we'd be better off with the simple Approval or CR. Easy to propose because 
of simplilcity. And even if voters have difficulty quitting voting for 
Democrats in Approval & CR, at least they should be able to quit voting 
Democrats over progressives, and that's better than nothing.

Mike Ossipoff

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