[Election-Methods] Simple two candidate election

Juho juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Dec 20 22:58:58 PST 2007

On Dec 21, 2007, at 3:24 , rob brown wrote:

> Let's say it is a vote for a number,
> for instance we have a club, and we want to have vote on how much our
> monthly dues will be.  We decide to have everyone write down their
> preferred number, and then select the median value.  (you could do the
> interpolated median or smoothed median [
> http://karmatics.com/voting/median2.gif ] if you wish to reduce the
> "aliasing" artifacts of conventional median)

Median is often a nice way to pick the best best value, but as  
discussed in other mails it is not always possible to set a numeric  
value to solve a question. Here's one example where numeric values  
may bring some additional value to an election that is a choice  
between two exclusive alternatives.

There is an election between two alternatives, A and B. Alternative A  
is given value 0 and candidate B is 100. Voters may pick any value in  
range 0..100. Vote 0 means "I prefer A and don't like B at all". Vote  
51 means "I prefer B but A is almost as good".

If we now count the median we will get the winner and in addition we  
will get the strength and distribution of the opinions. Note that the  
"conventional median" avoids the problem of not electing the majority  
winner (49 votes "0", 51 votes "51"). If the median is 50, the median  
of the non-50 votes can be used to solve the tie.

Let's say that alternative A is supported by 60% of the voters. The  
median could be anything between 0 and 49 (or 50). One could use it  
as an informative value or even to automatically determine some  
further questions after the election.

In principle one could develop this method further by using multiple  
numeric values in the case of multiple (discrete, not linearly  
related) alternatives. It is also possible to use methods where  
candidates would put themselves somewhere in a map of various  
numerical "coordinates" (we might find quite many centrists though ;-).


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