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

Chris Benham chrisbenham at bigpond.com
Thu May 19 10:46:20 PDT 2005

I previously wrote:
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 

To which you (Forest) replied:

>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.
CB: Your  point is about protecting minorities from unfair, unjustly 
harsh majorities. The question that arises is: "Is replacing elections 
with raffles or with something that is a hybrid of an
election and a raffle a feasible and/or desirable measure to achieve 
that end?". 
I  don't think it is. If  alternatives such as (simultaneous) 
proportional representation, constitutional guarantees of  minority and 
individual rights, and the typical "checks and balances"
aren't sufficient; then  ahead of  replacing elections with raffles on 
the agenda is giving the persecuted minority their own independent (or 
semi-independent) region.
Normally if  there is a lot of ill-will between rigid majority and 
minority factions, then the majority will not assent to a raffle and if 
there is one the losing side will suspect that it was

Chris  Benham

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