[EM] RE: improved approval?

Simmons, Forest simmonfo at up.edu
Tue Sep 27 17:08:28 PDT 2005

In the recent message quted below there are two questions.
1.  What should we call the Approval method that allows an extra mark to identfy the favorite candidate, thus satisfying the Approval voter's urge to give more moal support to Favorite than to Compromise?
I suggest "Approval Plus" or A+ for short.  I think it is the best public proposal for now.
2. What if we put this extra mark to use in pairwise contests?
Then we open Pandora's little box of cycles.
If we want to make any instrumental use at all of the extra mark without sacrificing the Strong FBC, then it has to be a tie breaker only, and even then we have to be careful how we use it, or we can lose the FBC inadvertently.
I wish that someone could prove me wrong on this.  But Alex Small worked on this problem for a long time, and came up with essentially this conclusion, if I am not mistaken.  The only way we can graft the Strong FBC onto Approval is to have the extra position at the top largely symbolic.
From: Abd ul-Rahman Lomax <abd at lomaxdesign.com>
Subject: [EM] Improved Approval?
To: election-methods at electorama.com
Message-ID: < at mail.lomaxdesign.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed

Perhaps there is a name for what I'm going to describe here, and
someone will kindly inform me.

I have suggested in the past that Approval elections include an extra
position for each candidate to mark "Preferred," even if this mark is
not used to determine the winner, because it would answer the major
objection that seems to be made about approval, that it does not
allow voters to express a preference. The mark would also be useful
for the division of, for example, public campaign finance money, and
would provide a definitive poll on who *was* the most popular
candidate, so that the public could assess the performance of approval.

However, I was today writing about Approval and pointing out, as I
often do, that voting for more than one is equivalent to voting for
each of the marked candidates in every pairwise election with
unmarked candidates and abstaining from the pairwise elections
between the marked candidates.

And then it occurred to me that it might be possible to analyze the
two-position approval ballots in this way: consider the election as a
series of pairwise elections.

When a candidate has been marked "Preferred," the "Approved" vote is
presumed. In all pairwise elections between any approved candidate
and any unapproved candidate, the votes are obvious, they come from
the approved/preferred votes; in these pairwise elections, preference
is not considered, only approval.

But in the pairwise elections between approved candidates, where the
voter would have effectively abstained under basic approval, the
voter will be considered to have voted for the preferred candidate.

Thus preference *would* be considered in those pairwise elections. I
have not considered all the implications....


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