# [EM] IRV vs Plurality (or is it about Range?)

robert bristow-johnson rbj at audioimagination.com
Thu Jan 28 10:20:12 PST 2010

```On Jan 27, 2010, at 6:55 PM, Juho wrote:

> On Jan 27, 2010, at 11:47 PM, Jameson Quinn wrote:
>
>> Without the uneven strategy problem, "full-blown Range" would be,
>> hands down, the best (single-winner) voting system possible
>
> Would you be happy with fixed range ballots (e.g. 0 - 99) or should
> one allow any integer to be used ( -infinity - infinity )?

:-)

> If one uses a fixed range should all voters then normalize their
> ratings (worst=0, best=99) or use a narrower scale (e.g. worst=40,
> best=85) if their feelings about the candidates are not very strong?

:-)

implicit to that question is what voters, who bother to come to the
poll to express their opinions/wishes, would voluntarily reduce their
influence by narrowing their ranges of approval.  who comes to the
polls without a desire to support a favorite candidate?  if they do
not wish to reduce their influence, what will they do with Range?  i
think nearly every voter will have a 99 and at least one 0.
otherwise, they leave the poll thinking they threw part of their vote
away.

> Should one determine some reference points for the voters (e.g.
> less than 10 = not accepted, 90 = excellent) to make sure that the
> given ratings are comparable? (this is more important if the range
> is infinite)

:-)

no, i think that if i can think up a negative number with greater
magnitude than anyone else, i should be able to single-handedly
scuttle a popular candidate.

> Is the sum of votes (or average) really what one wants or should
> one aim at providing about equal results to all, or maybe try to
> keep the worst results to individual voters as high as possible
> (40,40,40 vs. 0,60,60)?
>
> Would there still be electons where we would want to decide based
> on majority and breadth of opposition, or should all elections
> follow the "sum of utilities" pholosophy?

maybe if we changed it from "sum of utility" (which is just a scaled
version of "mean of utility") to "median of utility".  that might
help prevent skewing by extremists that will plug their candidate
with 99 and every opponent with 0.  but if people all do that, Range
becomes Plurality.

this is the strategy problem of Olympic judges (say of figure skating
or gymnastics or something with 8 judges holding up cards rating the
performance).  there is a problem with adding sincere ratings to
insincere and exaggerated ratings.  *especially* with a secret ballot
where no one needs to own up to and justify their exaggerated rating.

> My point is maybe that if we would get rid of the strategy related
> problems we would be well off but we might then move towards
> solving more detailed problems, performance with sincere votes and
> other problems that are just noise today. On the other hand we do
> have also (almost) strategy free environments/elections/polls today,

with the exception of the strategy called "compromising".  that
happens quite a bit when there are more than two candidates and there
are at least two candidates that go into the election nearly evenly
matched in pre-election polls.

it's amazing that anyone touts Range as the most strategy free.  the
more handles one finds on a control device (think of the ballot as
such) or the more positions one can set the knobs to, the more one
has to strategize on how to control it to one's intent.

--

r b-j                  rbj at audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

```