[EM] Voting as duty (was ties & truncation)

Simmons, Forest simmonfo at up.edu
Wed Sep 14 14:17:37 PDT 2005

The main reason that "lazy" voters don't take the time to study up on and carefully rank all of the candidates is that they know that in these large scale elections the chance that their vote will be pivotal is practically nil.
Suppose that we consider voting duty like jury duty since elected officials end up making life and death decisions.  Then Joe Weinstein's suggestion is the most logical:
(1) Pick 400 registered voters at random.  Give them time off work, and have them study the candidates carefully and decide a tentative winner by some reputable method (like DMC, Shulze, Approval, Asset Voting, etc.)  It will definitely be worth the time for these voters, since there will be an appreciable chance that their votes will be pivotal. 
(2) Analyze the ballots from step 1 statistically.  If the results are so decisive that there is less than a one percent chance that a different winner would emerge from the same method involving the entire electorate, then submit the tentative winner to the electorate for ratification by a Yes/No vote.
(3) If the statistical significance is too weak for 99 percent confidence, then use the statisticians' estimate of the sample size N necessary to get  99 percent confidence in the result, and take a new random sample of size N from the registered voters.  If N is greater than 20% of the electorate, then use all of the voters.
(4) In the unlikely (less than one percent probability) case that a tentative winner is not ratified, take another random sample of size N and start over.
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