[EM] "scored condorcet", etc

rob brown rob at karmatics.com
Tue Nov 22 15:19:17 PST 2005

On 11/22/05, Rob Lanphier <robla at robla.net> wrote:
> If all you're looking for is something better than IRV that can be
> boiled down to a single score, you're better off going with Approval or
> Range. My sense is that by insisting on shoehorning a Condorcet winner
> method into a single score, you're treating the Condorcet winner
> criterion as an absolute priority, while ignoring all of the others.
> There are good reasons to believe that the other criteria are at least
> as important as the Condorcet winner criterion.

Hi Rob,

I'm not really all that set on the Condorcet criterion. However, I do *much*
prefer ranked systems than those employed by range or approval. The
advantage of ranked is that it is easy to explain to people what to do,
completely independent of strategy. Just put them in order of preference.
With approval, it is very ambiguous whether to approve or not approve a
non-favorite candidate, as that is all strategy. I think preferences are by
nature relative, but approval implies they are absolute. Range has similar
issues. I wouldn't know what valus to give the various candidates, and I
would find that frustrating (and expect that those with less knowledge of
the process would as well, likely more so).

I also have problems with approval in that, whether or not it is true, it
*feels* like someone who is approving more candidates than another voter is
having more say. I think people have a problem with that, and will never
accept it for that reason.

Obviously, I'm a lot more into the psychology of it all than most people
here. I hate the word marketing, because I tend not to be a fan of marketing
people, but still....having a system that is comfortable to regular people
counts for a lot, and I think existing systems (other than plurality, sadly)
fail miserably on this.

Regarding your comment about "shoehorning" scores onto condorcet: since
MinMax *is* condorcet, and does produce scores....that isn't really
shoehorning, is it?

Is MinMax really that bad? You said yourself that not having a Condorcet
winner is rare, so, that being the case, it seems that in most cases MinMax
is just as good as other Condorcet methods. My guess is that even rarer is
the case where the MinMax winner would differ from the Beatpath winner.

You mentioned priorities, here are my main priorites (none of which is
"meeting the Condorcet criterion"):

1) Reducing or eliminating the strategic advantage that clustering into two
parties gives (due to vote splitting). I think this is the most destructive
force in US politics, resulting in a polarized government that spends a
ridiculous amount of effort trying to "bring down the other side", rather
than actually running the government and solving real problems.

2) having a user interface to voting that is something that people can
easily use, and that gives the voter the feeling that they expressed their
true preferences, and that doing so did not compromise their interests.

3) having results that the public can easily view and feel that they
understand the main gist of what happened. (this also applies to
pre-election polling results)

4) having no strategic advantage to voting late, after you have seen how
others have voted. This could allow real elections (as opposed to just
things like web based polls) to happen over a longer period of time than a
single day, which could make them far less costly and far more convenient to

5) having the tabulation method easily explainable to average people who are
not necessarily great at math and logic.

Reasons 2, 3 and 5 have to do as much with marketing as anything. I think if
you can get people to understand the system (and to understand the results
of elections carried out using the system), you are more likely to get the
system put into place for real government elections.

Reason #1, however, is the main reason I care about all this. My gut feeling
is -- and feel free to dispute this if you disagree -- that a minmax system
would address the destructive partisanship in government pretty much as well
as something like beatpath.

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