[EM] Many candidates (Re: language/framing quibble)

Juho Laatu juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Mar 5 13:33:59 PST 2009

Is the target here to have a method
that would allow and encourage having
multiple candidates? (to allow the
people of Owego to select the winner
themselves instead of others/parties
telling them what their choices are)

This can be taken as an independent
challenge. Which methods / systems
lead to having numerous candidates?

(I limit the scope of discussion to
single-winner elections, and exlude
primaries and other party internal
candidate selection and hierarchical
proxy based methods.)

Plurality certainly is not the method.
It typically has only two candidates
with chances to win, and others are
easily spoilers.

Approval discourages nomination of
more than one candidate per party
or section.

IRV also carries some risk of early
elimination of potential winners if
one party has several candidates.
Also exhausted ballots may be a
problem if some section has numerous
candidates. IRV is however probably
better than the previous two.

Condorcet seems to work a bit better
than IRV.

All methods that expect the voters
to evaluate (rank or rate) large
number of the candidates will be
in trouble when the number of
candidates gets high. At some
point methods with shorter ballots
become useful.

One approach is to use a candidate
tree where the votes (to individual
candidates) are summed up in all
the branches to see which branch,
sub-branch and candidate wins.
This would allow very high number
of candidates.

Discussion above covered only the
part of making nomination of
multiple candidates possible. In
addition to this the method should
also discourage nomination of only
few candidates (parties may have
some interest in doing so because
this way the "inner circle" may
better determine who will win
instead of leaving that to the

All additional candidates may make
the intended winner look weaker and
thereby not win the election.
Or the voters will be to lazy to
fill the ballot well enough.

Numerous candidates may also improve
the chances of some section to win
(in some methods) by collecting
efficiently the votes of smaller
groupings that support those
"lesser" candidates.

This mail is getting long so you
need to figure out which ones of
the methods have tendencies to
either reduce or increase the
number of nominations.

Rules concerning nominations are
naturally also important (e.g. x
signatures required to nominate


--- On Thu, 5/3/09, Fred Gohlke <fredgohlke at verizon.net> wrote:

> From: Fred Gohlke <fredgohlke at verizon.net>
> Subject: Re: [EM] language/framing quibble
> To: election-methods at lists.electorama.com
> Date: Thursday, 5 March, 2009, 3:23 PM
> Good Morning, David
> re: "Suppose I take an interest in becoming mayor of
> Owego.
>      This will require my neighbors
> learning this, and something
>      of what I might do as mayor."
> The essence of democracy is not what you want, it is what
> the people of Owego want.
> The only way we can find out who the people of Owego want
> to be their mayor is to ask them.  Our present
> electoral methods do not ask the people who they want, they
> tell the people what choices they have. Campaigning is not
> asking, it is telling.
> The failure of our political system is that it is not an
> asking mechanism, it is a telling mechanism.  In spite
> of the advances in transportation, communication and data
> processing over the past 200-odd years, we have not yet
> devised a means of asking the people to make their own
> political decisions.  We have the means, but not the
> method.
> My purpose is to devise a practical method of asking the
> people of Owego who they want as their mayor.
> Fred Gohlke
> ----
> Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info


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