[EM] Can we come to consensus? this way?

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Fri Sep 9 21:24:35 PDT 2005

I am sending this to both Condorcet and EM.

This post is ammunition for asking that the explanations be kept
simple enough for real voters to understand - which argues for keeping the
method simple.  Trying for an understandable explanation of Condorcet:

Approval gets mentioned so often that I comment up front:
      Approval as the method.  Simple, but a loser because I too often 
come up with something like:  I WANT Nader, but I cannot tolerate Bush - 
so far, so good - But, Nader is not a likely winner so I WANT to show 
liking Kerry less than Nader but more than Bush.  With this common desire 
I am ready to reject Approval as an acceptable method.
      Approval to resolve Condorcet cycles.  Worth considering, but I 
question the explaining, the doing, and the counting being worth the pain.

Each voter ranks candidates, from best to worst.  Ranking two candidates
as  equally liked is permitted.  Truncation is permitted - acceptable to
omit the least liked candidates as equally disliked.
      I insist on permitting truncation because forcing voters to go 
beyond their desires gets noise rather than information - when some 
theorist demands that voters study rejects in more detail, I recommend 
more effort in sorting out which possible winner is more attractive.

All the voters' rankings are summed into an array for scoring as in a
tournament.  The array can be public for all to see the results:
      Usually one will win against each competitor, and get elected.
      Possible for two to be tied and win against all others - simply pick
from them randomly by any agreed method.
      Otherwise we have three or more beating any others but close to a
tie among themselves, such as A>B, B>C, and C>A.  Being near a tie, a true
random choice among them would be reasonable, though theorists debate ways
to try to do better - all that is really important is to be at least as
reasonable as random, and define the method to use before any election
that may need such.

Note that cycles about have to be rare:
      Have to have three candidates about equally liked.
      Have to have the indicated combination of preferences among the 
voters - no single voter can vote all three of the indicated inequalities.

Believing the above to be adequate, I argue against mixing in Approval and
needing to explain that well enough to get it used well enough to justify
the pain.

I read arguments about groups of voters getting together to strategically
cause false results.
       Difficult to get together the necessary info in public elections.
       Then hard to get enough voters to obey.
       Then hard to prevent other voters from using counter strategy.
       All of this requires a fragile balance among voter desires.

Building on what John B. Hodges wrote, a few cycle breaking routines could 
be selected - selecting from the best available but also selecting for 
leaning to disagreement as to winner - randomly picking one too late for 
strategists to take advantage AND too early for someone to know the vote 
counts and bias the picking.

Others talk of reruns - again I claim nearness to ties to justify deciding
on a winner and going home (remember that all the voters are able to
indicate their preferences in detail in the basic election).

Primaries need thought:
      If they are to exist, Condorcet should be used in them for the 
reasons discussed.
      Plurality desperately NEEDS primaries, lest a party's voters split 
their votes among multiple candidates.  Even so, similar candidates can 
get into the general election and split votes.
      With ranked voting those problems disappear.  Without primaries 
campaigning changes, but deserves careful thought as to whether primaries 
are worth the expense.

IRV - what I say above is much like IRV:
       SAME ballot.
       Usually same winner.
       When Condorcet sees a cycle, IRV HAS an answer.
       Condorcet looks at whole ballot - IRV sometimes gets a different
result by skipping parts of what some voters indicate.

Clones - not clear to me, but might those looking for clones see such when
I saw similar, but true, candidates?
  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.

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list