[EM] Why the concept of "sincere" votes in Range is flawed.

Jonathan Lundell jlundell at pobox.com
Tue Dec 2 08:40:21 PST 2008

On Dec 2, 2008, at 3:25 AM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm wrote:

> Paul Kislanko wrote:
>> I agree with almost all of what Jonathan says except that "as a  
>> voter" (and
>> that's my main perspective) I _CAN_ see a need for equal rankings  
>> in a
>> method that requests my ordinal list of alternatives.
>> A>B=C=D=...>V>W=...X=Y=Z
>> fairly precisely expresses what I was thinking when I voted. "Of the
>> lower-alphabet alternatives I prefer A, but if A doesn't win I  
>> prefer any of
>> the other top-alphabet alternatives to all of the lower-alphabet
>> alternatives, of which I prefer V to any of the others that I find  
>> equally
>> distastefull."
>> One can (and folks on this list often do) describe the > between  
>> one set of
>> =s and another as an "approval cutoff", but that is unnecessay if  
>> you have
>> fully ranked ballots with equal ranks allowed. From such collection
>> mechanisms one can count ballots by pretty much any method, which  
>> is why "as
>> a voter" I prefer a vote-COLLECTION method that allows ranked  
>> ballots with
>> equal ranks and truncation allowed, regardless of how votes are  
> That's not really what an approval cutoff is. An approval cutoff is  
> used by some methods to denote "the candidates above are those I can  
> accept; those below, I really don't like". At least that's what I  
> understand, though some methods may reward strategic placement of  
> the cutoff as well.

Abd's point, and mine, is that such interpretations of some "approval  
cutoff" isn't really justified, except perhaps as a shorthand way of  
describing how a voter *might* behave. The only instructions a voter  
is bound by the rules to follow are "vote for as many as you choose;  
the candidate with the most vote wins".

Assuming that the voter a preference ranking, the decision as to where  
to place the cutoff is inherently a strategic decision. Obviously I  
should vote for my favorite candidate. It's also obvious that if, for  
whatever reason, I vote for candidate X, I should vote for all the  
candidates that I prefer to X. What's not obvious is where to place  
the cutoff. Making that calculation optimally, especially in the light  
of imprecise polling, is difficult to impossible.

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