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

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Tue Dec 2 18:17:12 PST 2008

At 07:19 PM 12/1/2008, Paul Kislanko wrote:
>PS. This is what I don't like about approval. In my generalized
>voter-friendly ballot, Approval requires me to vote A=B=C=D... when I really
>like A a lot better than the others. But that method doesn't have any way
>for me (the voter) to tell it that I do. So no matter how an approval count
>turns out, I'm likely to believe my vote didn't matter.

Of course. However, you haven't expressed the situation completely. 
Approval is quite like Plurality, it has two ranks, Top and Bottom. 
So with, say, eight candidates, you are ranking, in Plurality, 
A>B=C=D=E=F=G=H. In Approval, you may rank A=B=C=D>E=F=G=H. Please 
don't compare Approval with ranked systems that allow equal ranking, 
except to note that it is the simplest of them. Obviously, more ranks 
allows more expression.

If one of the A to D candidates wins, with one of the E to H 
candidates in second place, you'll know your vote counted. Indeed, 
your vote counts, I've often stated, only if you vote for a winner. 
Otherwise your vote could be struck from the ballot and make no 
difference. That's single-winner of course. This can be fixed.

>On the other hand, I think Approval is PERFECT for party primary elections,
>since in addition to the voter's first preference with respect to the
>candidates' positions on the issues, the voter has to think about how likely
>her party is to win the general election. If she can vote her favorite and
>the other candidates she "could live with" the party would be likely to
>present better (non-polarizing?) alternatives for the general election.

Right. However, just as ranked systems with more expressable ranks 
are superior to those with fewer, rating systems with more 
expressible ratings are superior to those with fewer. Approval is 
both a ranked system and a rating system, and the simplest of each. 
(Plurality is actually more complex, it has an additional rule, you 
cannot just count all the votes.)

Range is ideal for polls. People are even more likely to vote 
sincerely in a primary than in the general election. I'd recommend an 
explicit approval cutoff in a Range method. One can assume 50% 
rating, but it should be explicit so that voters know that the 
midpoint has a meaning. And then a runoff should be held if the 
majority does not approve of the Range winner.

Range shows preference strength, and that is crucial to the choice of 
a party for candidate. You want a candidate that people *care* to 
help win, not merely one who is, kinda, sorta, acceptable.

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