[Election-Methods] hypothetical question re: Approval

rob brown rob at karmatics.com
Sun Dec 30 22:09:59 PST 2007

Paul, thanks for the reply, and with your permission I posted your entire
reply to the list....

On Dec 30, 2007 8:51 PM, Paul Kislanko <jpkislanko at bellsouth.net> wrote:

>  Funny, I was imagining the same sort of real-time results and
> changeable-vote-based-upon real-time-results in conjunction with a Condorcet
> based thought experiment. Approval is kind of a generalization of what I was
> thinking.
> To give context to my answer, I think Approval would be a perfectly good
> method for a party to adopt for its primary. It's darn near perfect for
> allowing me to express my first choice plus whoever I think has a better
> chance of winning than my first choice, assuming I want my party's candidate
> to win even if he's my last choice in the primary.... I think it is
> inappropriate for general elections for any number of technical reasons.
> What's really interesting about approval in your scenario is that if you
> can get real-time results and can change your ballot, as the voting deadline
> nears its end you can affect the outcome by de-approving candidates that are
> doing "too well" in your estimation and approving candidates you previously
> didn't if doing so would cause the new candidate to pass someone you
> strongly dis-approve of.
> Alas, the problem is that much more "voting power" would be given to the
> voting junkies who stayed online and kept changing their ballots than to the
> folks who spent a lot of time coming up with one ballot, submitted it, and
> then went to bed. Scary.
> (This is off-list, but mostly because I hit the Reply instead of
> Reply-All. Feel free to quote me if you do so exactly.)

Regarding voting power given to the voting junkies...

I tried to alleviate that a bit, by saying it would end at a random time.
So as long as everyone has a chance to come back and tweak their vote 3 or 4
times....would that be enough?  I'm guessing...but can't be sure...that it
would reach an equilibrium and everyone would not be able to improve their
votes. However, a condorcet cycle might actually put this into a feedback
loop. (I also tried to mitigate that a bit by saying they could view average
results over a longer time period....they might want to hedge their bets by
voting based on what they see as the most likely eventual outcome)

Still....if they get more power by being a "voting junkie"...wouldn't that
be true of plain old approval voting too, at least as much so?  Those that
pay closer atttention to the polls would have more power.  In an election
that is effectively a condorcet cycle,  the polls become part of the
feedback loop, and having up-to-the-minute poll information would be
especially valuable.  (but it might also be inaccurate, because people might
have a strong incentive to lie to the pollsters)
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