[EM] Comments on the declaration and on a few voting systems

Richard Fobes ElectionMethods at VoteFair.org
Fri Oct 14 14:28:41 PDT 2011

The biggest criticism of the Declaration of Election-Method Reform 
Advocates has been that it is too long.  I agree that we should educate 
voters, but the Declaration is not the appropriate place to get into 
lots of detail.  There is a need for general-audience materials online 
(as indicated in another post), so I would encourage you or anyone else 
to make such explanations available.

Richard Fobes

On 10/12/2011 5:25 PM, MIKE OSSIPOFF wrote:
> ...
> Before commenting on the methods themselves, I’d like to suggest that
> emphasizing the need for a better voting system should be only half of
> the declaration’s purpose: It should also advise voters on how to use
> Plurality. Voters can benefit greatly from some Plurality strategy
> advice, long before we can get a better voting system.
> As you know, and this is the problem, many voters in Plurality elections
> vote strategically, but without adequate information to inform their
> strategic voting. Plurality, like Approval, is a method in which
> strategy is justified, if there’s sufficient information for it.
> So, tell people that there’s nothing wrong strategic Plurality voting,
> if there were enough information for it. The information would consist
> of knowledge of other voters’ preferences. Specifically, we’d need
> information about each pair of candidates’ probability of being the 2
> frontrunners,_based on voters actual preferences_.Maybe the easiest ways
> to estimate those pair-frontrunner probabilities would be to estimate
> the individual candidates’ or parties’ probabilities of being a
> frontrunner, based on past elections (but not on elections where people
> vote strategically without sufficient information) and multiplying those
> probabilities together for each pair of candidates.
> But of course we don’t have any information about actualpreferences.
> That’s because, when voters strategize in Plurality, the resulting vote
> totals tell us nothing about the voters’ actual preferences.
> So tell people that, for that reason, our Plurality elections are
> zero-information elections.
> Plurality’s strategy in a zero-information election is simple: Vote for
> your favorite. That’s what voters need to do, if we’re ever to have the
> information needed to inform strategic voting in Plurality.

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