[Election-Methods] Simple two candidate election

Jobst Heitzig heitzig-j at web.de
Thu Dec 20 12:37:31 PST 2007

Dear Rob!

As you may expect, I am not at all of the opinion that majority rule is 
perfect, no matter how few options there are. The reason is simple: no 
majoritarian method can ever be democratic because it allows 51% of the 
electorate to consistently keep the other 49% of the electorate from 
having any power at all, whereas a democratic method required everybody 
to have the same amount of power. In this sense, majority vote is far 
from being "fair".

The simplest democratic method in the two-options case, as with more 
options, is random ballot. In those unfortunate situations in which it 
cannot be guaranteed that both options are constitutional, random ballot 
should perhaps be modied in a way which ensures that only an option with 
at least, say, 5% support may win. (With more than two options, random 
ballot is of course not optimal since it does not encourage voter 
cooperation to elect good compromise options but rather elects polar 
options. D2MAC solves this problem while still being democratic.)

Yours, Jobst

rob brown schrieb:
> My understanding has been that in a simple two candidate election,
> there isn't any need for alternative election methods, and all the
> issues that condorcet/approval/range etc attempt to solve simply
> disappear.  A plain old majority vote is "perfect", as long as there
> really are only two candidates.  There is no conflict between strategy
> vs. sincerity, and there is a single Nash equilibrium -- which is
> simply that everyone picks the candidate they prefer.
> Is this controversial?  For instance, could a two candidate election
> be improved by, say, collecting information about how *much* each
> voter likes or dislikes the candidates in question?  Assuming at least
> some honest voters, this approach might be able to improve the
> "maximum net tangible utility" ("tangible" meaning we are only
> counting the happiness with the results themselves, and ignoring such
> less-measurable utility such as "feeling of fairness" or "elimination
> of resentment" or "long term satisfaction with the election process
> itself").
>  My own opinion has always been that the (perceived?) fairness of
> "everyone's vote counts the same" outweighs any desire for "maximum
> net tangible utility."  I'd even go so far as to say that this would
> be true even if we knew all votes were honest (say we put everyone on
> a perfectly accurate lie detector).
> So, I am quite happy with plain old majority vote for a two candidate
> election.  But I am encountering those who seem to disagree with this,
> and who don't seem to have the same concept of "fairness" as I do.
> I'm curious if people here see this as a legitimately controversial
> issue.
>  Thanks,
>  -rob
> ----
> various voting related stuff at karmatics.com:
>  http://karmatics.com/voting/movienite.html
>  http://karmatics.com/voting/bargraphs.html
>  http://karmatics.com/voting/bars-demo.html
>  http://karmatics.com/voting/rank.html
>  http://karmatics.com/docs/collective-self-interest-fallacy.html
>  http://karmatics.com/docs/evolution-and-wisdom-of-crowds.html
> ----
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