[EM] A solution for incomplete preference orders

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Sat Jan 6 10:43:37 PST 2007

On Sat, 6 Jan 2007 08:39:19 -0800 (PST) mrouse1 at mrouse.com wrote:
> Many vote aggregation methods have a problem with bullet voting, truncated
> ballots, and multiple candidates ranked the same on a single ballot. A
> voter should not obtain a better result by *not* showing a preference, but
> neither should the ballot be ignored if the voter cannot give a *complete*
> preference.

If the method cannot cope with a voter quitting after exhausting the 
voter's knowledge, then it is time for a new method!  Think of the CA 
recall that included dozens of candidates.
> One partial solution is to require all candidates for an office give a
> complete preference order before the election, which will also be
> indicated on the ballot itself. This ranking would be used to complete all
> ballots without a full preference order.
> Let's say candidate A picks the order A>C>D>B. If a person votes for
> candidate A and ranks no one else, the vote will read A>C>D>B. If another
> person votes A>D and no one else, the ballot will be read as A>D>C>B.
> Ballots with A>B=D (where B and D are tied on a ballot) will have B and C
> placed in the same order as on A's ballot, or A>D>B>C.
> This is only a partial solution, since it's possible that someone will
> rank two or more candidates at the top, making it more difficult to figure
> out the best preference order for the remaining candidates (though you can
> pair up ballots -- if two people say A=C, you can have one A>C and one C>A
> -- though this could still leave some equal top preferences).

Here I would DEMAND that the method count such that two A=Bs have the same 
effect as A>B plus B>A - and do it in a manner that counts ALL such 
preferences.  Note that the two that make a pair might have been voted in 
different precincts in the district.

This simply lets voting equal have as much effect as voting > or <.

Conceded that I know opinions differ, but mine remains unchanged.
> It need not violate the candidates' right for a secret ballot, since they
> can still vote whatever order they want on their own ballot (though it
> would be rather silly to do so). Since candidates are expected to have
> public votes for their entire term of office, this is a minor point, and
> knowing how each candidate views his opponents in the race would be
> important information for voters.
> I'd be interested in any arguments against or suggestions for this (and
> other) preference-filling options.
> Michael Rouse
  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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