[EM] Richard reply, 4/16/12

Michael Ossipoff email9648742 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 16 14:34:52 PDT 2012

Richard said:

Mike seems to be in a hurry for an explanation for my earlier statement.


That's funny. I thought that I emphasized that there was no hurry. In fact,
I additionally said that it would be fine with me if Richard didn't even
support his claim at all, leaving it as an unsupported claim.

Richard continued:

 As I recall the issue is that I stated in a previous message that
Approval voting was very unlikely to be adopted for use in U.S.
Presidential _general_ elections.  Here are some reasons:

1: Making that change requires adopting a Constitutional Amendment.

2: By the time Congress is ready to consider writing such an amendment,
various kinds of advanced voting methods will have been tried, which
means that voters will be familiar with various kinds of better ballots,
which means they will not be intimidated by marking ranked ballots or
score ballots.


Riohard is missing the point. It isn't that the voters will be intimidated
by the voting of a rank ballot. The problem is and will be that it's easy to
say, "This will require more study."

Congress will be "ready" to support voting system improvement only at such time
as the public is well aware of the need for it, to the extent that
will either support it or be out of politics. Whether or not it takes
an amendment
isn't crucial to this subject. Whether it does or doesn't, they'll
support it and
enact it only when the public wants it strongly enough to jeopardize
the re-election
of uncooperative congressmembers.

I agree that the voters will have to very much want voting reform
before Congress will act.

But,for one thing, the voters will understand that Approval is an
unquestionable, unqualified
advantage over Plurality long before they'd (if ever) understand that
about Kemmeny (or even

And, as for Congress, Approval's simple transparent improvement won't
leave Congress the
wiggle-room of saying "This needs a lot more study, to ensure that it
won't be worse than
Plurality."  I can assure you that they _will_ say that about
Condorcet, and very especially
about Kemmeny.

And so, even with public demand, Congress still would have an excuse
to refuse to support
Condorcet, and especially Kemmeny.

Your arguments are based on some optimistic and self-serving (as a
Kemmeny-advocate) assumptions.

Richard continued:

This situation undermines the biggest advantage of
Approval voting, which is that it is simple, and the easiest to
understand (in terms of both ballot marking and ballot counting) for
someone who is only familiar with plurality voting.


Approval's transparency, and the unquestionable obviousness that it is
an improvement,
and only an improvement, in comparison to Plurality is an enactment
advantage unique to Approval.

Approval is the minimal change to Plurality that gets rid of its
ridiculous property
of forcing falsification (when it requires voters to bottom-rate all
but one of the candidates--especially
when one of those whom they must bottom-rate is their favorite).

Approval is the minimal change that would fix Plurality's ridiculousness.

Richard continues:

3: The majority of voters do not understand mathematics (and even most
judges would not be comfortable with mathematics) so they would think
that being able to mark more than one candidate would violate the "one
person, one vote" rule.


Nonsense. Richard hasn't read the EM posts on this subject.

It doesn't take a mathematician to understand why Approval doesn't
violate 1-person-1-vote
(1p1v). We've given you many explanations for why it doesn't. I'll say
a few things here:

1. 1p1v was intended to refer to an altogether different problem, and
says nothing about balloting.
1p1v is about voters being explicitly weighted differently by voting rules.

2. Approval is a points system. No one would be so ridiculous as to
say that the Olympic 1-10 RV method
violates 1p1v. Approval is simply the 0-1 points system.

3. It's blatantly obvious that, in Approval, any voter has the power
to cancel out any other voter's
ballot. I can cancel out your ballot by voting oppositely to how you
voted. Do you think that you have
more voting power than I do when you vote for all of the candidates?
When you do, your ballot can only
have zero effect on the outcome.

Or do you think that you have more voting power than I do when you
vote for all of the candidates but one?
In a 20-candidate election, you're voting for 19 candidates. You
smugly think that you're more powerful because
you're using votes. So then I cast a ballot that votes only for the
one candidate for whom you didn't vote.

By using one "vote", I've cancelled out your ballot on which you used
19 "votes".

This fiction of having and using "votes" should be avoided in Approval

It's more clear and honest to speak of rating each candidate.

4. Approval lets you rate each candidate. Each voter has equal power
to rate each candidate.

You can speak of it as rating a candidate 0 or 1, or you can speak of
rating a candidate as
"Approved" or "Unapproved".

I emphasize that all of this won't be needed. One of these arguments
will do, though each answer is available to
answer specific objections.

No one can object to electing the candidate approved by the most
people. Of course we're using an operational
procedural definition of "approve", as when someone says, "Yes, I give
that proposal an approval." Electing the candidate
most approved, even in that operational, procedural sense, is
difficult to criticize.

Remember that no one will force you to approve more candidates than
you want to. No one will force you to compromise.

But, when you do compromise, you can still approve (and thereby give 1
point instead of 0 points) all of the better
candidates too, including your favorite(s).

No longer will unliked lesser-evils keep winning. Genuinely-liked
candidates, everyone's favorite(s) will get full

Approval is simply Plurality without the forced falsification.

Mike Ossipoff
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