[EM] Are proposed methods asymptotically aproaching some limit of utility?

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Mon Mar 12 03:05:40 PDT 2007

On Sun, 11 Mar 2007 09:44:32 -0700 Matthew Welland wrote:
> I can't follow every thread but I'm starting to think that the search for 
> some perfect voting method is asymptotically approaching some sort of 
> limit.
> That doesn't mean that the pursuit isn't useful but there is an academic 
> path and a pragmatic path. I want to know what to advocate in various 
> forums and what to implement on my own web site. My current choice would be 
> range voting. It is simple (only slightly harder to expain than approval) 
> and it seems to do a good job at leaving voters satisfied. It is hard to 
> imagine that more than 50% of the voters would be dissatisfied with the 
> results of a range vote.
> I see several important qualities to consider:
> 1. How hard is the system to describe to others and to implement.
> 2. Will the ratio of people satisfied to dissatisifed with the results
>     be greater than 1. A "satisficity(*) ratio" if you will.
> 3. Voting effort. How much effort does it take to express your vote?
> Voting system  Complexity  Satisficity(*)    Voting Effort
> ------------------  ---------------  ---------------    ----------------
> Pluratlity              simple         terrible              low
> Approval              simple         ok to good        low
> Condorcet           complex       good?               medium
> Range                  simple         good                 medium
Actually I disagree, especially as to "complex" for Condorcet.  Until you 
get involved in cycles it is NOT complex.  While the method BETTER be 
prepared for more than two candidates competing for leading, this should 
not happen often - and the possibility need not concern voters deciding 
how to vote.

There BETTER be ONE method for all races for, as a voter, I have neither 
time nor interest in studying multiple sets of rules.

It BETTER give me reasonable control for reasonable effort, though my 
desires vary from race to race.  Thus:

Plurality - the implemented method BETTER not demand more effort than 
Plurality would require for the majority of races for which Plurality 
would be satisfactory.  Approval or Condorcet would do, provided there is 
no nonsense about forbidding truncation.

Approval - this, occasionally, is better than Plurality - making it 
acceptable as a cheap temporary advance.

Condorcet - proper implementation is simple to me for I can vote as for 
Plurality or Approval when desired, but can do full ranking of 2 or more 
candidates when desired.  While I cannot prove need for more than about 3 
ranks, I defy implementation proposals claiming need to limit to that few 
ranks - 9 is a believable limit if more than that would complicate 

IRV - much like Condorcet, but has difficulty accepting Approval voting, 
cannot provide the information offered by Condorcet arrays, and, 
occasionally, can be expected to award the win to a candidate Condorcet 
would recognize the voters rated as a lemon.

Range?  I leave it to a Range backer to argue for this.  I see rating as 
more complex than ranking, and less able to give the control that ranking 
does (though it can claim detailed variation in backing when desired).

Write-ins - not a method, but an ability that BETTER give as good control 
as would be expected from Plurality (some discussions of Range offer 
either MORE or LESS control than Plurality offers).
  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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