[EM] Voting by selecting a published ordering

Steve Eppley seppley at alumni.caltech.edu
Sat Apr 1 08:38:11 PST 2006


This message isn't about a new idea, but I believe the idea is important enough to repeat. 
  It's a way to simplify voting, to sharply reduce the campaign costs for good compromise 
candidates, and to guard against the risk that a significant number of voters will neglect 
to rank some good compromise candidate capable of defeating a "greater evil."

    1. Before election day, each candidate publishes a top-to-bottom
       ordering of the candidates.

    2. On election day, each voter votes by selecting a candidate.
       (What could be simpler?)

    3. To tally the election, each vote is treated as if it's the ordering
       published by its selected candidate.  These orderings are tallied by
       a good voting method, such as Maximize Affirmed Majorities (MAM).

    The orderings may be "weak." (Also known as a "non-strict.")
    This means candidates may be ranked as equals.

    Candidates omitted from an ordering will be treated as if they'd been
    ranked at the bottom (less preferred than the candidates not omitted).

The reason I believe this would reduce the campaign costs for good compromise candidates 
is that they would succeed by persuading other candidates they are better than "greater 

Here are a couple of variations:

    If the voting technology permits, display the selected ordering
    to the voter, and allow the voter to modify the ordering (perhaps
    by drag and drop) before submitting it.

    Allow the voter to select an ordering of candidates published
    by anyone.  For example, if the Los Angeles Weekly published
    their recommended ordering of the candidates, the voter could
    vote that ordering by selecting the L.A. Weekly.

I'll conclude by opining that a good tallying algorithm (e.g., MAM) is not too complex to 
be adopted by the public.  Someday there'll be far more resources available to explain how 
it works, why it's a fairly straight-forward generalization of majority rule, and why it 
will be good for society.  Educational videos with high production values, for instance. 
(Hopefully, narrated by an assortment of celebrity voices.)

Best wishes,

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