[EM] divided house problem of close vote (50%+1)

Juho juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Tue Mar 13 23:17:50 PDT 2007

Some observations.

The description talks only about the "yes" votes. Is the assumption  
that the "no" votes mean "no action will be taken"?

If we are talking about approving a new law then this is quite  
typical, but if we vote for example about whether we should send our  
rocket to Mars or Venus, then both sides should be treated in the  
same way.

In the described method repeated 45% yes, 55% no results do not lead  
to final "no" (assuming super majority and new referendum levels 60%/ 
40%). If we have only one rocket to send, voting first on sending the  
rocket to Mars, then on sending it to Venus, then to Mars etc. is not  
fair either. But maybe the method is not intended for this kind of  
elections with two similar alternatives to choose from.

You also didn't set a rule on when the new election should be  
arranged. Using term "referendum" refers to a situation where for  
practical reasons there has to be at least one week time between two  
consecutive elections. The proposed method might however be used also  
in smaller elections like in the legislative body to accept laws  
(maybe at its best in smaller scale elections due to the costs etc.).  
There are countries where required super majority can be replaced  
with simple majority and another simple majority after the next  
elections. In this case the time span is months or years. You  
mentioned allowing for debate and discussion in between votes. That  
could mean 15 minutes. Any time is ok with me but probably the rules  
need to be defined (to avoid e.g. 10 votes in one minute).

Juho Laatu

On Mar 14, 2007, at 1:13 , Howard Swerdfeger wrote:

> There is a conflict that exists between some people when counting a
> simple yes|No ballot. Some would say that a simple majority is all  
> that
> is needed, while others would suggest an absolute majority or super
> majority should be required for some decisions, still others would  
> argue
> for some element of randomness to obtain true democracy.
> To some degree all of the above methods have been discussed on this  
> list
> so I will not repeat arguments here.
> Personally, I see problems with making major decisions based on a slim
> simple majority, but I also do not long term effects that result from
> super majority rule.
> So here is my solution to the divided house problem of close vote with
> only a Yes|No option. Define an iterative solution.
> For every vote there are 3 possible outcomes:
> 1. It passes with a super majority.
> 2. It fails with a super majority.
> 3. It is 'close', and a new vote is auto-magically triggered
>       * scheduled to allow for debate and discussion in between votes.
> The First vote is conducted as normal with a super majority criteria,
> for passing. In all subsequent votes the yes side is given a score.
> Score = 'Old Score' + 'Yes%' - 50%
> This score is then compared with the super majority and super minority
> thresholds to determine if it will:
> 1. Pass into Law
> 2. Be forgotten
> 3. Trigger another vote
> Some advantages of this system are that:
>   * It avoids making decisions based on a number (50%+1) that could
> easily have been (50%-1) based on factors that have nothing to do with
> the question at hand.
>   * It avoids making decisions based on minority rule.
>   * if a majority consistently approve of a system it will  
> eventually pass
> A disadvantage would be that a group using this method would not react
> as quickly to changes in situations, as a simple majority based group.
> I would like any comments, criticisms, or thoughts you might have  
> of the
> above system.
> Notes:
> ------
> I thought up this method after learning a very simple Neuron Model
> called the "Leaky Integrate-and-Fire Model"
>   * http://icwww.epfl.ch/~gerstner//SPNM/node26.html
> simple spreadsheets to calculate results can be found here
>   * http://www.swerdfeger.com/howard/referendum-leaky-integrate- 
> fire.ods
>   * http://www.swerdfeger.com/howard/referendum-leaky-integrate- 
> fire.xls
> I have never heard this system advocated before so I have given no  
> credit.
> Howie.
> ----
> election-methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for  
> list info

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