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

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Wed Mar 14 08:56:45 PDT 2007

At 11:19 PM 3/13/2007, Michael Poole wrote:
>Take a voter who thinks candidate A is the best, B is bad, and C is
>the worst.  His best estimates of normalized utility might be A=1,
>B=0.2, C=0.

Why does he not vote his best estimate?

>If the ballot asks for scores based on how much a voter likes the
>candidates, then a vote with B=0 is insincere: the voter is not
>answering what the ballot asks for.

Don't blame Range Voting for faulty ballot instructions!

Yes, you could call such behavior "insincere," that is, the voter is 
not responding, allegedly, sincerely (Poole has assumed that it is 
insincere). But what those who write about this seem to consistently 
overlook is that if the voter wants to vote 0 rather than 0.2 for B, 
the voter must have some motivation to do so! (or is simply voting 
randomly, which tells us nothing).

Why would we claim that the voter "sincerely" would rate the 
candidate as 0.2 when the voter decides that *for whatever reason*, 
the candidate should get no votes!

Because the voter kinda likes the candidate, perhaps personally?

Present ballots don't tell voters how to vote. They simply say 
something like "Vote for One." They do not say, "Vote for the 
candidate you like."

And quite a few voters don't vote for the candidate they like -- that 
is, third party supporters or those who'd prefer, really, a write-in.

>   However, if the ballot asks for
>something else, it could be a sincere vote.  What instructions do you
>think a range voting ballot should give voters?

That's a good question. If it is summation Range (as distinct from 
average Range, which is a little trickier), it is as if the voter has 
100 votes to cast (or 99 or whatever), in an Approval election, as I 
wrote. So, without claiming that I've considered this carefully:

For each candidate, vote from 0 to 99, 0 giving the candidate no 
support whatever, and 99 giving full support. You may freely support 
as many candidates as you choose at whatever rating you choose. If 
you make no rating for a candidate, a rating of zero (0) will be assumed.

The last part is for summation range, the instruction for average 
range might be "If you make no rating of a candidate, your vote will 
not be considered in determining the overall rating of that candidate."

I highly recommend that Range *start* as summation Range. But there 
would be no harm in a provision which allows voters to explicitly 
abstain, though I'm not sure there is sufficient social benefit to 
justify the complication.

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