[EM] Clarke-Groves-Tideman-Tullock voting with money scheme

Michael Rouse mrouse1 at mrouse.com
Sat Mar 28 18:34:10 PDT 2009

I was perusing the rangevoting.org site (hi, Warren! :) ) after the 
latest IRV argument, and I came across something I remembered vaguely 
but thought was quite interesting, namely the 
"Clarke-Groves-Tideman-Tullock 'perfect' scheme for voting with money" 
(link here:  http://scorevoting.net/CTT.html  )

It seemed like an interesting idea, but the drawbacks mentioned included 
the possibility of non-payment and the problem of secrecy. So I looked 
at the problem from another angle -- what activity does every election 
have where people let others know who they support, and how much? Bingo, 
campaign contributions, where donations (at least those above a certain 
amount) have a name attached to them.

Now, I don't know if this  breaks all of the other good features of  
GCTT, but  what about considering each dollar of *campaign 
contributions* the equivalent of a vote, with the amount of money given 
corresponding to  the "true worth" of the candidate?  Set aside a 
portion of each donation in an account, and after the election either 
return the money to the original donor, or (in the case where the GCTT 
criterion is met) giving the  "made a difference" amount to whoever we 
decide the recipient to be. For example, if Candidate A wins by 1% over 
Candidate B, and someone gave 2% of the total campaign contributions to 
the winning candidate, he or she would lose  half (or as close to that 
as the set-aside was) to the lucky person or government agency.

Of course, money donated is only  roughly correlated to  the number of 
votes someone receives -- Ron Paul had a core of very dedicated  
campaign contributors, even though several other Republican candidates 
had an electoral advantage -- so this is just a standard voting system 
with a strange way of disbursing part of campaign contributions. It 
would still be interesting to see the money winner versus the vote 
winner in the election using such a system, however.

I would stop there, but then I thought of an interesting "gambling" 
version. Unfortunately, I don't have enough math skills to figure out if 
it's fair, or suffers from serious economic and electoral paradoxes, but 
hey... :)

Let's assume that half of the money given to each candidate can be spent 
by that candidate for advertising and related campaign expenses, and 
half is saved in a "payoff" account. After the election, the payoff 
account of the winner is split among all the losing donors in proportion 
to how much they gave to the candidate they supported. If  Candidate A 
was giving $1 million and Candidate B $500K (assuming a two-person 
race), a win by Candidate A would completely pay back the donors of 
Candidate B, /plus/ they would make a 50% profit (they get back all of 
their payoff account and all of the payoff account of Candidate A, or a 
total of $750K for a $500K investment). If Candidate B won, despite 
spending only half as much, donors to Candidate A would get back 75% of 
their money (half of their $1 million donation, plus half of the $500K 
donation to Candidate B).

Like I mentioned, my math skills aren't really up to the task of 
figuring out either case, but I thought it was an interesting idea. It 
would be fun to see if it was workable, or if it had a fatal flaw.

Michael Rouse

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