[Election-Methods] Simple two candidate election

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Sun Dec 23 11:43:58 PST 2007

On Sat, 22 Dec 2007 22:46:17 -0800 rob brown wrote:

 > On Dec 22, 2007 8:04 PM, Jan Kok <jan.kok.5y at gmail.com
 > <mailto:jan.kok.5y at gmail.com>> wrote:
 >     Yes, some people might vote weak preferences in their first Range
 >     Voting election, then "learn their lesson" when their preference lost
 >     and they would vote strongly thereafter. But I sort of wonder about
 >     the intelligence of people who would cast a *weak* vote for some
 >     choice X, and then get upset when X lost. What were they thinking when
 >     they voted?!?
 > Well, I once again mention the 2000 election. Someone who likes Nader
 > best, Gore second best, and Bush the least would probably say "Oh cool!
 > Before, I couldn?t say that I liked Nader best because it would take my
 > vote away from Gore who really needs it.  Now with this newfangled Range
 > voting system I can express that.  I?ll give 100 to Nader, 80 to Gore,
 > and 0 to Bush.  Woo hoo!"
 > And then Gore loses, just like he did with Plurality.

But what other voters do also matters.
 > What exactly have you guys solved again?
 > The thing is, even more so that plurality, Range ASKS people to vote
 > "honestly".  I didn?t feel dishonest at all when I voted for Gore (even
 > though I liked Nader better.  I just felt like I was giving a vote to
 > the candidate that could best use it.  (some, of course, people feel
 > otherwise, and interpret a plurality to mean "I like this candidate best")
 > Range, however, has a strong implication that you are SUPPOSED to
 > express more "rich" preferences than, say, approval.  After all, why
 > else would they go to the expense of offering the more complex ballot?
 > I know that?s an opinion, and is psychological speculation....but I *am
 > * a UI designer, and psychological speculation is what I do. :)
 >     By the way, I?m not about to go on a crusade to implement Range Voting
 >     for two-choice elections. I don?t think the benefit of perhaps
 >     slightly better outcomes would be worth the effort and cost. I?m just
 >     responding to Rob?s question: Yes, I think there could be _some_
 >     benefit, sometimes, to using RV in binary-choice elections.
 > Well, if range is implemented, I?d assume it would apply to two
 > candidate elections as well, wouldn?t it?

Sure - we start with two candidates and Plurality.

Then we get into trouble when there are, sometimes, more than two candidates.

So we look for a method suitable for two, or more, candidates, such as:
      Approval - cannot rank 3 candidates as best, worst, and soso 
(matters when voter wants to indicate best is better than soso AND soso is 
better than worst).
      Condorcet - allows any number of ranks plus equal ranking such as 
Approval offers.
      IRV - like Condorcet, excluding equal ranking and occasionally 
awarding disappointing choices as to winner.
      Range - like Condorcet but uses ratings instead of ranks.  Ratings 
give finer control than ranks, but demand that voters learn to assign them 
 > My point, however, is that on two candidate elections, where you don?t
 > have the potential for cycles and all these other problems you have with
 > multicandidate elections, it makes more clear the absurdity  (in my
 > opinion) of asking people to weaken their vote.

The ability of the methods above to handle more than two candidates does 
not demand any weakening of votes when there are only two candidates.
 > People already have the ability to not vote.  I skip candidates and
 > propositions I don?t know much about or care much about.  Here in san
 > francisco, I even get to rank candidates, and will rank candidates
 > equally if that?s how I feel.  But if I actually have a preference, I
 > will express it as strongly as I can.

This puzzles.  I understand that San Francisco has ranking via IRV -
but assume that it does not permit equal ranking, which IRV has
trouble implementing.
 > I think people already feel like their vote doesn?t count for much.
 > Expecting them to reduce it further is nuts, in my opinion.
 >     With 3-or-more choice elections, I think the benefits of Range Voting
 >     would be HUGE.
 > Understood.  Disagree.

Range and Condorcet give benefits whenever there are more than two 
seriously contending candidates.

   davek at clarityconnect.com    people.clarityconnect.com/webpages3/davek
   Dave Ketchum   108 Halstead Ave, Owego, NY  13827-1708   607-687-5026
             Do to no one what you would not want done to you.
                   If you want peace, work for justice.

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