[Election-Methods] RE : STV in the context of modeling voters

Jonathan Lundell jlundell at pobox.com
Sun Dec 30 12:52:36 PST 2007

On Dec 30, 2007, at 12:22 PM, Kevin Venzke wrote:

> I didn't quite understand your post... In the first part of your  
> post you
> seemed to be discussing the strategy of selecting the candidate you  
> want to
> win. It didn't seem you were discussing the voting strategy once you  
> know
> what you want. So how could this become easier when you're allowed  
> to rank
> the candidates (whether with a LNHarm guarantee or without)? Surely  
> it's
> harder to form a ranking than to pick a single favorite?

I'm arguing otherwise, or at least that ranking N candidates on a  
contingency basis is of difficulty O(N), while trying to rank on the  
basis of quantifying and consolidating multidimensional preferences is  
O(unquantifiably harder).

I'm also, at least implicitly, suggesting that the use of voter models  
to evaluate election methods is interesting, but that the difficulty,  
to the point of impossibility, of building and verifying such models  
that reflect real-life voter behavior makes it problematical to draw  
much in the way of conclusions.

For example, someone recently pointed out that IRV elects the middle  
of three candidates only 1/3 of the time, with a voter model based on  
random distribution along a single dimension. I conclude that if I  
ever have occasion to hold an election in such an environment, I might  
or might not use IRV, depending on whether I had decided a priori that  
the middle candidate was preferable (in which case I could suggest a  
trivially simple algorithm for picking the winner).

And I'm suggesting that we know from experience that voters can and do  
select a single winner, and that IRV builds on that by asking the  
voter merely to do it iteratively.

> --- Jonathan Lundell <jlundell at pobox.com> a écrit :
>> And its implicit
>> decision model conforms to something that I, as a voter, can make
>> sense of. And in making my contingent choices, STV's later-no-harm
>> property becomes important to me. Of course I'd like it to be
>> monotonic, etc, but on *my* value scale, its advantages, in practice,
>> outweigh its shortcomings--in practice.
> For me, even a totally strategy-free method would not be acceptable  
> if I
> could not stand to the side as an observer and agree that the method  
> gave
> proper results.

I question the ability of any observer, in general and in principle,  
to do any such thing.

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