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

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Mon Mar 12 20:55:15 PDT 2007

At 12:44 PM 3/11/2007, Matthew Welland wrote:
>Based on what I know now I would settle on Range Voting. However for a while
>I was dead set on approval voting and before that I was advocating IRV. Is
>Range Voting "satisficient" or are its flaws or limitations serious enough
>that there are many scenarios where it will fail to meet a satisficity
>ratio of greater than one?

Mr Welland, if he has not done so, should consider joining the Range 
Voting mailing list, which actually discusses election methods in 
general, but also implementation strategy and related election 
topics, such as voting machines, gerrymandering, etc.

A rather broad consensus has appeared among election methods 
activists that the best first step is Approval. First of all, it is 
terminally simple. Implementing Approval is simply a matter of 
striking out a few lines of the election code, those which cause 
overvoted ballots to be discarded. I have never seen a good argument 
for tossing these ballots, and I've seen quite a bit of mischief done 
by discarding them. In any case, this reform has a crackerjack slogan:

Just Count All the Votes!

And, of course, it solves the first-order spoiler effect quite well, 
without complicating voting for the large majority of voters who will 
continue to vote as they had been voting prior to the reform. Ballots 
stay essentially the same, instructions might change a little. 
Counting methods and equipment do not change (discarding overvotes 
can't be hard-wired or built-in except as an option, because all 
equipment must be able to handle multiple-winner elections).

Sometimes when Approval is presented as some shiny new method, "Vote 
for every candidate you Approve," it gets a bad reaction. All that is 
necessary, though, is to stop discarding ballots!

Once Approval is in place, further reforms will, I think, become more 
popular, and it is an open question as to whether reform will move 
toward Condorcet or Range methods. As I suggested in another post, it 
is possible to combine the two by risking a top-two runoff (between a 
Range and Condorcet winner).

However, once it becomes possible for voters to equally rate or rank 
candidates, voters may correctly see an IRV method that requires 
ranking as a loss of one kind of voting power in order to gain 
another. And that is not necessary, nor is it necessary to risk the 
center-squeeze effect of IRV. If one is going to have a fully-ranked 
ballot, why not have a fully-rated ballot? I.e., a Range ballot. If 
one wants to use a Range ballot to find a Condorcet winner, no problem.

But rankings without ratings causes quite a bit of important 
information to be lost, specifically preference strength information.

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