[EM] another proposal for a voting system

Allen Pulsifer pulsifer3 at comcast.net
Fri Jun 30 12:02:47 PDT 2006

Here's another proposal for a voting system.

Since all voting systems are to some extent strategic, the goal of this
system is to enable each voter of groups of voters to achieve their best
strategic outcome, consistent with their political power.

Here's how it would work:

The ballot allows a each voter to first vote for their preferred winner, and
then mark their approval/disapproval of all other candidates.

If one candidate gets a majority of the votes, he or she wins.  If not,
there is a runoff election.  In the runoff election, the candidates
themselves cast the votes on behalf of the voters who voted for them, as
proxies.  They may vote for themselves, or they may cast their votes in a
manner consistent with the approval/disapproval indications of the persons
who voted for them.  In the runoff election, the plurality wins.

In effect, the vote for a candidate is a single-transferable vote.  The
voter gets to decide which other candidates the vote may be transferred to
(if any) by their approval/disapproval indications; however, it is the
candidate, as a delegate, that decides who the vote is actually transferred
to, if at all.

In practice, this is what I would expect to happen: The voters would vote as
their top choice the person they would most prefer to win, or to represent
their vote in attaining their optimal strategic outcome.  However, the
voters can constrain their votes to only go to certain candidates, so they
know it will not be used to elect someone who is not acceptable to them.

After the voters complete their ballots, I would expect in most cases there
would be no majority.  The candidates would then lobby each other, to see if
they can form alliances, make horse trades, etc., and come up with a
plurality of the votes.

For sake of argument, let's say the votes were 47% for the Republican
candidate, 40% for the Democratic candidate, 11% Green and 2% Libertarian.
Let's further (unrealistically) assume that all voters (or enough voters
that it doesn't matter) gave approval to all candidates.  The winners could
then be the Republican or a coalition between the Republican and the
Democrat, the Republican and the Green, or the Democrat and the Green.  In
this scenario, the Green candidate would be the swing vote and would have a
lot of power, but if he/she wanted too much, the Republican and Democrat
could form an alliance.

Let's say the vote were 47% for the Republican candidate, 40% for the
Democratic candidate, 11% Green and the Green voters only gave their
approval to the Democratic candidate.  Now the Democratic and Green
candidate will have to find a way to work together, or they would lose,
giving the Green candidate reduced leverage.

Let's say the vote were 47% for the Republican candidate, 40% for the
Democratic candidate, 9% Green and 4% Libertarian.  Now either the Green or
the Libertarian candidate could swing the election, and they have to compete
with each other by making the more attractive offer.

Basically, what is happening is that the candidates themselves are using the
power given to them by the voters to best represent their strategic
interests, make horse trades, extract promises, and then cast their votes

Has anything like this been proposed or studied before?

Allen Pulsifer
pulsifer3 /at/ comcast /dot/ net

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