[EM] Real-world effects

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Sun Nov 27 13:59:18 PST 2005

Perhaps the French elections a few years back that inspired talk of riots 
needs review again.  They used Plurality.

Got a LOT of centrist candidates, any of which would have been acceptable, 
but so many dividing up most of the vote gave each a smaller total than 
either of two extremists who split up the rest.

So the unacceptable (by most) extremists ran against each other in the rerun.

STRONG argument for forgetting Plurality.


On Sun, 27 Nov 2005 12:44:30 -0800 rob brown wrote:

> One of the things I am trying to research now -- without much success -- 
> is what are the real world effects of various election methods, or 
> specifically, of failures to meet various criteria of election methods.  
> My searches have not turned much up on the web, other than mentions of 
> Duvergers law (plurality voting causes people to cluster into opposing 
> strategic clusters, a.k.a. parties).  I am looking for something more 
> than "sometimes it elects a candidate that could be considered wrong, 
> when looked at from a certain point of view".
> One of the things that came up on the list a few days ago inspired an 
> off-list discussion where we questioned whether certain "failures to 
> meet criteria" might, in the real world, actually have positive 
> results.  (as heretical as it may seem to say so)  Here is an example:
> Let's say that we decide that parties (i.e. clustering of people into 
> ideological groups so as to have strategic advantage) are not a good 
> thing, as they limit our choices and drive people into opposition and 
> conflict.  Any system which is susceptible to vote splitting, then, is 
> bad because it will force people into such clusters.  However, there are 
> other reasons -- probably less straightforward to mathematically analyze 
> -- that people will gain strategic advantage by forming such ideological 
> clusters, such as pooling advertising money to promote a single 
> candidate, as opposed to having many similar candidates competing for 
> people's attentions while dividing the money of contributors who have 
> similar ideology.
> What if an election method actively counteracted this effect?  For 
> instance, it was mentioned recently that a certain method would give a 
> (small?) strategic advantage to clone candidates  This could be 
> considered the opposite of vote splitting.  The real world effect it 
> might have would be to discourage the removal of similar candidates, 
> balancing out the effect I described above and resulting in even less 
> partisanship.
> In any case, I'd think a discussion of this sort of thing -- sort of a 
> "big picture view" of why we care about the various things we are trying 
> to achieve (or avoid) with election reform -- might better help put 
> things in perspective and prioritize things.
> Is there a resource out there that discusses this stuff in an accessible 
> way that I haven't found?
> -rob

  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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