[EM] What is the ideal election method for sincere voters?

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Wed Mar 7 10:40:56 PST 2007

Mr. Cary inadvertently sent a query to me instead of to the list, but 
with the [EM] subject tag, and my reply then automatically went back 
to him. This is a copy of my response, and will be followed by another.

At 08:20 PM 3/6/2007, David Cary wrote:

>--- Abd ul-Rahman Lomax <abd at lomaxdesign.com> wrote:
> > However, if we assume sincere voters, what is the ideal election
> > method, or the best among the options we know?
> >     . . .
> > However, is Range ideal with sincere voters? If not, why not?
>What exactly is a sincere Range voter?
>How does a sincere Range voter vote and based on what?
>Ditto both questions for Approval voting?

A sincere Range vote is one that is not distorted by considerations 
of what will "win."

We have come to consider two kinds of voting sincerity with Range.

Full sincerity would have, with Range of sufficient resolution, the 
rating of A > B whenever the voter prefers A to B.

What might be called ordinary sincerity or truncated sincerity allows 
the voter to push ratings to the extremes. Thus ratings of

Abe Lincoln = Mahatma Gandhi = max rating > George Bush = Adolf 
Hitler = min rating could be considered ordinarily sincere even if 
the voter actually prefers Bush to Hitler or, say, Gandhi to Lincoln.

There is no particular precision in the definition of sincere in the 
question I was asking; rather, let it be defined as it is understood 
by those who criticize Range on the allegation that it only works 
with sincere voters and fails if voters exaggerate their preferences 
or otherwise vote strategically.

 From my point of view, Range doesn't break down because of Approval 
style voting. It merely collects somewhat less information and 
thereby makes a somewhat less sophisticated choice. But if voters 
actually distorted preferences in the sense of reversing them, all 
bets are off. I'd claim that these voters are harming themselves more 
than they harm others, but it's a different matter than the 
"exaggeration" insincerity.

One might consider a vote sincere if *significant* preferences are 
reflected in ratings, again assuming Range of sufficient resolution 
(Range 100 ought to be quite adequate).

In other words, a fully sincere voter who really would prefer, say, 
Nader over Gore, would show this in the ratings and not distort the 
ratings out of fear that therefore Bush might win. Pushing the Nader 
and Gore ratings to max would be strategic in this sense, and not 
fully sincere.

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