[EM] Dave: Condorcet

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Mon Apr 2 06:49:28 PDT 2012

At 08:57 PM 4/1/2012, robert bristow-johnson wrote:
>On 4/1/12 2:23 PM, Dave Ketchum wrote:
>>On Mar 28, 2012, at 10:42 AM, MIKE OSSIPOFF (whom i've plonked) wrote:
>>>You wrote:
>>>Which leaves me promoting Condorcet.  It allows ranking but, unlike
>>>ABucklin or IRV, all that a voter ranks gets counted.  Further, any
>>>voter able to match their desires to Plurality or Approval for a
>>>particular election, can vote by those rules and have them counted
>>>with the same power by Condorcet rules.
>>Why bother?  I see Fine and Soso as best so would consider 
>>approving both.  Trouble is that this would imply equal liking, 
>>perhaps getting Soso elected while I like Fine much better.
>>With Condorcet I can rank Fine above Soso, so that my ranking can 
>>improve the chance of Fine getting elected, while Soso has a chance 
>>if Fine fails.
>the question the Approval guys never seem to answer is: "Do I or do 
>I not approve my 2nd choice?"  (It is a similar question to the 
>counterpart in Range/Score: "How high do I rate my 2nd choice?")

I'm not sure if I'm an "approval guy." But I'm sure not going to 
answer that question, because the answer is not Yes or No, it is, "it 
depends." Basically, if you are sensible and have some political 
knowledge, it depends on the odds. If the top two contenders (that's 
a matter of odds) are Fine and SoSo, no, you don't approve. If So-So 
and Awful are the top two, you approve of So-So. But, but ... what if 
it's a 3-way race or I don't know?

As to "don't know," there is no substitute for knowledge. 3-way race, 
it depends on *how much* you prefer Fine over So-So. It depends on 
whether or not you are willing to take responsibility for electing So-So.

>Approval applies a burden of tactical voting to the voter right from 
>the start.

In other words, a burden of responsibility for the effect of our 
actions on the world. Those who would protect voters from taking 
responsibility for their actions are those who really don't care 
about democracy, which requires this responsibility. Note that 
Approval is simply Plurality with an option. With an option comes an 
increase in power, with an increase in power comes an increase in 

Much of the difficulty here comes from adopting an anti-democratic 
principle, election without a true majority approval. Basic 
democratic process requires making no decision without majority 
approval. In the name of "efficiency" or "cost savings" -- same thing 
-- we give up democracy. That's an old story, eh?

Within standard process, where elections fail (and presumably are 
repeated, then), if there is no majority approval for an outcome, 
Approval can be seen as a simple and fair way to make the process 
more efficient. Don't know whether or not to Approve So-So? Don't. 
But that might cause the election to fail! We'll need to keep voting 
or the Office of Dogcatcher will go vacant! Sure. Don't want that 
cost, approve So-so. There is still no such thing as a free lunch.

>   perhaps someone will want to bury a candidate they sorta like but 
> who is not their favorite, to help their favorite win.  if they 
> don't Approve, then how much Bayesian regret will result when they 
> find out their favorite was not in the running at all and their 2nd 
> choice lost narrowly to someone they hated?  if they do Approve, 
> how much regret will result when their favorite lost narrowly to 
> their 2nd choice?

Oh, my head hurts! You mean I actually have to think and weigh 
options? They didn't warn me about this when I registered to vote!

>so with me, the Score and Approval advocates do not get past square 
>1 because of that.

Robert, in a real democracy, you decide whether or not the system 
will be improved if you vote or not. Nobody else makes that decision 
for you. However, that doesn't mean that I need think the outcome 
will be improved if you vote. Maybe it will and maybe it won't. 
Depends, perhaps, on the intelligence and care you bring to the process.

Very simple: Plurality, one vote per voter, max.
Approval: one vote per candidate, max.
Score: fractional votes allowed, one full vote per candidate max.

All of these work better with repeated elections if there is majority 
failure. Score is the most efficient in measuring the opinions of the 
electorate, and score can run with rules that will never elect a 
candidate who is pairwise beaten by another, i.e., the full method 
(with runoffs) will be Condorcet-compliant. With sufficient 
resolution, Score allows full ranking and more, it allows expression 
of preference strength.

And Asset will outperform every one of them, and Asset only requires 
one vote per voter. Vote for your favorite, let your favorite make 
any further decisions, just as the favorite would make the actual 
decisions needed by the job, including whom to delegate aspects of it to.

If you don't trust your Favorite to make further decisions, why in 
the world would you want to elect him or her to the job? 

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list