# [EM] the "meaning" of a vote (or lack thereof)

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Sat Aug 27 16:19:19 PDT 2011

```On Aug 27, 2011, at 4:22 PM, Michael Allan wrote:

>>> But not for voting.  The voting system guarantees that my vote
>>> will have no effect and I would look rather foolish to suppose
>>> otherwise.  This presents a serious problem.  Do you agree?
>
> Dave Ketchum wrote:
>> TRULY, this demonstrates lack of understanding of cause and effect.
>>
>> IF the flask capacity is 32 oz then pouring in 1 oz  will:
>> . Do nothing above filling if the flask starts with less than 31 oz.
>>
>> In voting there is often a limit at which time one more would have
>> an effect.  If the act were pouring sodas into the Atlantic the
>> limit would be far away.
>
> Please relate this to an election.  Take an election for a US state
> governor, for example.  Suppose I am eligible to vote.  I say my vote
> cannot possibly affect the outcome of the election.  You say it can,
> under certain conditions.  Under what conditions exactly?

Conditions surrounding elections vary but, picking on a simple
example, suppose that, without your vote, there are exactly nR and nD
votes.  If that is the total vote you get to decide the election by
creating a majority with your vote.

Or, suppose a count of nPoor, 1Fair, and nGood and thus Fair being the
median before you and a twin vote.

If such twins vote Poor, that and total count go up by 2, median goes
up by 1 and is now Poor.
>

If such twins vote Good, that and total count go up by 2, median goes
up by 1 and is now Good.

Note that single voters get no useful power in an election for
governor, but a majority voting together do have the power (by
combining their votes) to decide the election.

Dave Ketchum
>
> Note my critique of Warren's proof in the other sub-thread:
> http://lists.electorama.com/pipermail/election-methods-electorama.com/2011-August/028266.html
>
> --
> Michael Allan
>
> Toronto, +1 416-699-9528
> http://zelea.com/
>
>
> Dave Ketchum wrote:
>>
>> On Aug 24, 2011, at 12:55 PM, Fred Gohlke wrote:
>>
>>> Michael Allan wrote:
>>> "But not for voting.  The voting system guarantees that my vote
>>>  will have no effect and I would look rather foolish to suppose
>>>  otherwise.  This presents a serious problem.  Do you agree?"
>>
>> TRULY, this demonstrates lack of understanding of cause and effect.
>>
>> IF the flask capacity is 32 oz then pouring in 1 oz  will:
>> .     Do nothing above filling if the flask starts with less than
>> 31 oz.
>>
>> In voting there is often a limit at which time one more would have an
>> effect.  If the act were pouring sodas into the Atlantic the limit
>> would be far away.
>>>
>>> To which Warren Smith responded:
>>> "--no.  A single ballot can change the outcome of an election.
>>>  This is true in any election method which is capable of having
>>>  at least two outcomes."
>>>
>>>  Proof: simply change ballots one by one until the outcome
>>>         changes.  At the moment it changes, that single ballot
>>>         changed an election outcome. QED.
>>
>> BUT there could be many previous ballots of which none made any
>> change.
>>>
>>>
>>> Since, as stated, "A single ballot can change the outcome of an
>>> election." and "This is true in any election method which is capable
>>> of having at least two outcomes.", why would a voter prefer a new
>>> electoral method over the existing plurality method?
>>>
>>> From the voter's perspective, (s)he is already familiar with
>>> plurality, so , if the new method produces the same result, why
>>> change?
>>
>> Truly no reason PROVIDED the new method provides the same result,
>> given the same input.
>>>
>>> Cui bono?  Obviously, not the voter.
>>>
>>> When considering the 'meaning' of a vote, it is more important to
>>> examine the question of what the voter is voting for or against.
>>> Voting, of the type used in plurality contests, is profoundly
>>> undemocratic, not because of the vote-counting method, but because
>>> the people can only vote for or against candidates and issues chosen
>>> by those who control the political parties - the people Robert
>>> Michels' described as oligarchs.
>>>
>>> If the object of changing the electoral method is to build a more
>>> just and democratic government, the proposed methods must give the
>>> people a way to influence the choice of candidates and the issues on
>>> which they vote.
>>>
>>> Fred Gohlke

```