[EM] percentage support continued

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Wed May 4 15:43:26 PDT 2005

Seems like time to step back and look at the environment.  I suggest 
governor as an example, for the millions of votes that can occur in such a 
race argue for reasonable efficiency and planning.

For the whole district (state in this case) we need an array with a column 
and row for each candidate.

The ballots do not come in in this format.  Makes sense, at or near the 
polling place, to convert them to array format, for the array format is 
efficient for data transmission, and such arrays can be summed, element by 

Makes sense to do the summing in whatever sub-districts make sense, such 
as county.  These arrays may be interesting enough to publish and to analyze.

While not part of the Condorcet data for declaring winners, a row could be 
added to such arrays, to record each ballot's first choice.  While some 
may complain, correctly, that getting the most first choice votes does not 
determine winning, it does show voter desires, while the final numbers in 
the arrays are the result of adjusting to account for conflicting stated 
      AND, these voter desires CAN be stated as percentages.

Write-ins require thought:
      Likely thought would be to combine them as if one extra candidate.
      Then, assuming normal use of this feature, the count would show 
nothing more needed doing.
      If there was reason to expect Joe to get a lot of write-in votes, he 
could be added to the array, much like one more declared candidate (in a 
town near Owego someone made a mistake as to dates this year, and 
broadcast their error in a manner that resulted in no candidates nominated 
by deadline - lots of write-ins, but the names of the serious candidates 
got known to voters).
      If the count was larger, each write-in candidate could be added to 
the array for a recount cycle.
      Alternate thought would be to add a row and column to the array for 
each write-in name as seen in a sub-district.  Arrays would differ, but ???


On Wed, 4 May 2005 05:26:02 -0700 Curt Siffert wrote:

> Thanks for the thoughtful replies on percentage support.
> I think Stephane and Forest's ideas are especially intriguing.  At first 
> glance, if applied to Condorcet ballots, it seems they would require 
> Approval cutoffs.
> I've thought of continuing to merely total up the first place votes, but 
> the obvious flaw there is that the ordering of first-place totals would 
> not be in Condorcet order.  If the selection of the winner would not be 
> accomplished by counting the first place votes, then using the first 
> place votes to communicate how close each candidate is to "winning" is 
> not so meaningful.
> (You can get Condorcet order by finding the Condorcet Winner, then 
> eliminating the winner from all ballots and compressing the rankings, 
> and then finding the next Condorcet Winner, etc.  Ideally, the 
> percentages should be in the same order.)
> As for James' questions, it's obvious that in an election that measures 
> support for all candidates, the voting population is expressing 100% of 
> available "support".  The question is how to use that voting method to 
> quantify that support in percentage terms, split for each available 
> candidate.  The concept is supposed to be fuzzy, because the question is 
> how to unfuzzify it.  As for how to define polling, I mean surveys - 
> either one-time, or "tracking" surveys, that attempt to communicate 
> proportional support in a voting population among several choices.  The 
> general intent is to communicate how "close" a variety of choices are to 
> "winning".
> We'll never escape the desire to use polling, public support, 
> approval/disapproval tracking, support levels of prospective legislation 
> (etc).  We will continue to have the need to express preferences in 
> proportional percentages.
> My best attempt at trying to figure this out for Condorcet was the 
> following, similar to Daniel's thoughts:
> -Find the Condorcet Order.
> -Starting with the first place finisher, find how many preference shifts 
> on all ballots would need to change to replace second place with first 
> place.  (If one ballot would require a 4th place choice to be 1st place, 
> that would be three shifts.)  Add this number to global variable "x".  
> Register this number as the difference between the two candidates.
> -Eliminate the Condorcet Winner, compress and retabulate the ballots, 
> and repeat.
> When done you will have a total number of shifts, and a number for each 
> candidate.  For example:
> A
> B requires 6 shifts to beat A.
> C requires 9 shifts to beat B.
> D requires 5 shifts to beat C.
> 20 shifts overall.  20 "ticks" between last place and first.
> Those numbers would help to determine the distance between the 
> competitors.  What is left is to determine the bounds - the floor of 
> support the last-place finisher received, and the ceiling of support the 
> first-place finisher received.  That's where I stopped.  I also stopped 
> because I couldn't decide whether it was better to determine how many 
> shifts it would take D to beat C, or to instead NOT eliminate the winner 
> each time, and instead calculate how many shifts it would take D to beat A.
> I'll review the other ideas and write back with my thoughts.
> Thanks,
> Curt

  davek at clarityconnect.com    people.clarityconnect.com/webpages3/davek
  Dave Ketchum   108 Halstead Ave, Owego, NY  13827-1708   607-687-5026
            Do to no one what you would not want done to you.
                  If you want peace, work for justice.

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