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

Juho juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Mar 14 22:27:04 PDT 2007

On Mar 14, 2007, at 16:07 , Howard Swerdfeger wrote:

> You are correct, It was not originally intended to choose between two
> similar alternatives.
> but I believe it could serve this purpose. You wouldn't actually  
> send it
> to mars or Venus until the "score" reached a super majority, and then
> you would stop voting.

I just commented in another mail that the method could be also  
modified so that it would make the decision in either direction if  
the accumulated deviation from 50% to either direction exceeds some  
threshold value. In this case the method should behave in a symmetric  
way in both directions / towards both alternative options.

> As for debate, Typically I would Imagine a situation where a decision
> making body (legislature or citizens) exists in a currently almost
> evenly divided state. I would further imagine that the division of  
> this
> body would change over time at some rate. possibly because of  
> debate and
> people changing there minds, or possibly because of the actual  
> people in
> the decision making body changing (Bi-Election, full new elections,
> demographic change of citizens).
> I would guess that enough time needs to pass to typically allow 1-3%
> total state changes in decision making body, But that is just a guess.
> You need time to allow for honest debate. In a legislature this  
> could be
> 1 week or 1 day with debate and backroom deals in the middle. In a
> referendum this could be months or years to allow for some small
> demographic shift, or to account for some random variation in voter  
> opinion.

One could in principle also have voting chains that go on forever. If  
the timing and threshold parameters are well designed it would be ok  
to vote once every year or every month on whether it makes sense to  
send a rocket somewhere. No problem if the "yes" decision would never  
come. Maybe it would be too expensive to send the rocket.

Your original description included the possibility of reaching a  
conclusion that no additional round is needed (support below an  
agreed threshold, but no cumulative effect in the downwards direction  
(the symmetric method that I mentioned above would have similar  
cumulative effect in both directions)). It is possible to combine  
somehow also the length of the delay between elections in the  
equation ("try again after x hours/days"). Then the method would not  
only say if other votes are needed but it could also say something  
about when the next vote should be held. Maybe this would not be  
symmetrical. Maybe getting only 5% support would mean that new vote  
would be arranged earliest after some relatively long time. A  
concrete decision on time could be needed if there was a tendency to  
propose a new election with similar content right after the previous  
one led to a "don't try again" conclusion. (This is getting a bit  
complex => maybe recommendations and good practices and/or chairman's  
discretion would be enough :-).)


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