[EM] Dave: Approval vs rank methods
nkklrp at hotmail.com
Mon Nov 7 20:55:39 PST 2005
Your subject implies a promise to compare among three methods.
Your content goes into great detail as to Approval vs RV, but very little as
Seeing rank as far superior to either, I read looking to see why you might
Neither is superior in every way. Approval is superior in some ways. The
best rank methods have advantages that our public election voters probably
need (but only time will tell). I've said that though Approval would be good
in public elections, I, for practical reasons, would rather have RV, and
would especially rather have MDDA, MDDB, MDD,ER-Buckllin(whole), or MAMPO.
So we don't disagree on that: We'd both rather have a rank method rather
than Approval for public elections.
I've compared Approval to a solid, reliable handtool, in previous discussion
with you on EM, probably last month. I've said that the trouble with a
handtool is that you have to do the work yourself, and so you have to really
know how to use it. Of course you have to know how to use a machine too, but
the machine does most of the work. With the handtool you have to know how to
do everything, because you don't have a machine doing it for you.
Rank methods are majority-enforcing machines. A machine can be well-designed
and high-quality, or it can be a cheap and defective machine like IRV.
Of course any machine is a contrivance, a contraption. But the voters in
public elections probably need a good majority-enforcing contraption.
If the voters are as incompetent as they seem to show that they are, they're
going to need a good majority-enforcing machine so that they won't have to
incompetently make the all-or-nothing strategic decisions that the handtool
Approval would require of them.
I claim that FBC is essential in public elections, as I've been saying,
which is why I say that the best majority-enforcing machines are MDDA, MDDB,
MDD,ER-Bucklin(whole) and MAMPO.
I hope that better clarifies my position on Approval vs the best rank
As you said, this probably isn' t the discussion in which to debate which
rank method is the best for the exisiting voting situation with the existing
Time for comment:
Approval does not let competent voters vote their decisions full strength.
Corrrect: Approval doesn't _let_ people vote pairwise preferences full
strength: It _forces_ them to.
Maybe you're referring to the fact that Approval doesn't let people vote all
their preferences. No, just their most important ones.
But, unlike IRV, Approval reliably counts every pairwise preference that you
consider important enough to be one that you vote, when you can't vote them
Approval, which I also call Set Voting, lets you vote one candidate-set over
another. That lets you vote the pairwise preferences that really matter.
Anything more would be a frivolous luxury--except that, as I said, our
public election voters need that luxury.
Is it better to let people vote all their pairwise preferences? If the
incompetent voters are going to botch their choice, in Approval, of which
pairwise preferences to vote, then yes, it would then be better to let
people vote all of their pairwise preferences. But of course that's
worthless if we don't count them all. IRV doesn't count them. It's desirable
for a rank method to have majority-enforcement criterion compliances. It's
also necessary, in our public elections, to never give anyone incentive to
bury their favorite. Choose a rank method accordingly.
Easy enough to vote for A and against B. Then there is no way in Approval
to say for C that C is preferred over B BUT that this preference must not
interfere with voting full-strength preference for A over C.
Exactly. And the incompetents that I've referred to don't do a good job of
choosing which of those pairwise preferences to vote. That's why I want them
to be able to vote all their pairwise prefences, and have them all counted,
by a method with majority-enforcing criterion compliances.
Is I was saying before in this message, and in previous messages last month:
We don't disagree on that!!!
RV permits fine grained expression of such differences but, after giving
voters headaches as to how to express them in more detail than rank permits
Yes, sincere rating is more work. But no one forces you to do that work. You
can just give maximum points to the candidates you'd vote for in Approval,
and give minumum points to the others. That's your best strategy. And
another reason to use that Approval strategy is that Approval is easier to
, gives the counters headaches trying to decipher exactly what the voters
I disagree there: RV doesn't give any problem to counters. They merely have
to add up each candidate's points, and declare as winner the one with the
For all of which reasons I prefer rank, especially for public elections:
I too prefer the best rank methods for public elections.
Voters can indicate order of their preferences.
A necessity for our incompetent voters. Otherwise a frivolous luxury. As I
said, Set Voting (That's Approval) lets you vote one candidate-set over
another. Those are the important pairwise preferences, and that should be
Counters can read these preferences in the same language as the voters used
That's true with Approval and RV too. And I remind you that Approval and RV
receive information that rank methods don't receive: Preference strength. In
that regard, Approval and RV are more expressive than rank methods.
You think that Approval doesn't allow you to express as much because it
doesn't let you indicate the direction of all your pairwise preferences. But
Approval lets you express their strength: You vote a preference if it's
important enough to you. Rank methods let you express the direction of all
your preferences, but that's all. They don't let you express the strength of
No one denies that the best rank methods do the best job of enforcing
majority rule. But who says that's all that matters?
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