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

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Sat Aug 27 20:12:01 PDT 2011

```On Aug 27, 2011, at 9:23 PM, Michael Allan wrote:

> Dave Ketchum wrote:
>> 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.
>
> What do nR and nD stand for?

ANY topic for which voters can choose among two goals.
>
>
>> 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.
>
> This example speaks of two votes, but the rules grant me only one.  I
> am interested in the effects of that vote, and any meaning we can
> derive from them.  I say there is none.

Ok, so you vote alone.  To work with that, whenever median is not an
integer, subtract .5 to make it an integer.

>> If you vote Poor, that and total count go up by 1, median is
>> unchanged and is now Poor.
>>
>> If you vote Good, that and total count go up by 1, median is
>> unchanged and remains Fair.
>
>> 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.
>
> I believe that is true for all elections that are conducted by
> conventional methods, regardless of the ballot used - Plurality,
> Range, Condorcet or Approval.  An individual's vote can have no useful
> effect on the outcome of the election, or on anything else in the
> objective world.  Again it follows:
>
>  (a) What the individual voter thinks is of no importance; or
>
>  (b) The election method is flawed.
>
> Which of these statements is true?  I think it must be (b).

Agreed that a is not true though, as you point out, one voter, alone,
changing a vote cannot be certain of changing the results.

I do not see you proving that b is true.  "Flawed" requires the method
failing to provide the results it promises.

Dave Ketchum
> --
> Michael Allan
>
> Toronto, +1 416-699-9528
> http://zelea.com/
>
>
>> 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?
> ----

```