[EM] Democracy Chronicles, answers to interview questions
nkklrp at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 6 12:34:17 PDT 2012
(I'm re-posting this with the correct subject-line)
Question 1. Your name and the city and country you work in.
I answer: Miami, Florida, U.S. (originally California)
Question 2. What is your Company or Organization?
I answer: No company or organization, though I've been a regular
participant at the Election Methods mailing list, at electowiki.
Question 3. Any contact info you wish to give to be published with
article for readers (for example your email or website.)
I answer postings at the elecion-methods mailing list. The mailing list
probably makes its participants' e-mail addresses available.
Question 4. If you have signed the Declaration, is there any additional
information, beyond what's in your signature, that you feel is important
Question 5. If you have not signed the Declaration, why?
My answer to questions 4 and 5:
The only reason why I haven't yet signed the declaration is because I'd
assumed that it was only for celebrities, dignitaries, academic authorities
or other officially recognized authorities.
If anyone can sign the declaration, then I intend to sign it as soon as possible.
I thoroughly agree with the declaration's main statement: The statement that
the currently-used Plurality voting system is either the worst, or nearly
the worst possible voting system. It's effectively a points system that
(inexplicably) only allows people to give a point to one candidate--forcing
millions of voters to give it all away to an un-liked "lesser-evil", giving
eachother the false impression that they like that lesser-evil better than their
actual favorite(s). That will never happen with Approval.
I also thoroughly support the declaration's favorable mention of the six
methods that it lists.
Condorcet and IRV would be fine methods if voters didn't have their serious
tendency to over-compromise, burying their favorite to help a lesser-evil. That
voter-attribute makes it necessary for a method to meet FBC, the Favorite Betrayal
Criterion, guaranteeing that no one will ever have any incentive to vote someone
over their favorite. IRV's FBC failure is blatant and extreme. Condorcet's is more
subtle. But both fail. Given the existing electorate, neither method is satisfactory.
Of the other four recommended methods, three
effectively amount to Approval, my favorite method. The remaining method
is an enhancement of Approval.
Question 6. Briefly explain what characteristics you think are most
important for a voting method to have?
The worst problem of Plurality is that it causes voters to abandon their favorite(s)
and vote someone less-liked over their favorite(s).
I claim that a method should never give anyone incentive or reason to vote someone
else over their favorite. That requirement is called the "Favorite-Betrayal-Criterion"
(FBC). One could also regard FBC as standing for "Favorite-Burial-Criterion".
Approval meets FBC. In fact, of the 5 methods mentioned in the recommendation, they
all meet FBC, with the sole exception of IRV.
FBC is the essential necessary criterion for a voting system.
Question 7. What do you think is the most important election reform
needed where you live (either locally or nationally)? Why is this
Approval Voting. We need it nationally.
Approval doesn't violate 1-person-1-vote, because every voter can give to
each candidate an "Approved" or a "Not-Approved" rating. Marking a candidate's
name on the ballot gives to him/her an "Approved" rating.
The candidate approved by the most people wins. People who now vote for a lesser-evil
would be able to approve him/her, but could and would also approve everyone whom
they like better, including their favorite. The result: The winner would be
someone more genuinely liked than the unliked lesser-evils who win now.
People who now vote their favorite would be free to approve only him/her in
Question 8. What is your opinion on other aspects of election reform
such as reforming money's role in politics or redistricting
(particularly in the US but very interested as well concerning election
Approval does much to counteract the effect of contribution-bought advertising,
when the election-results show how liked the candidates really are. The media
and the advertising buyers would no longer be able to deceive voters about that.
But I suggest that, ideally, all candidates and parties should receive media
exposure, including airtime, etc., in proportion to their popularity, as measured
by signatures or vote-totals. The media-share of the now-under-advertised candidates
would of course start out small, but it would begin increasing, even with a small
share of media time. It would soon reach its rightful equilibrium value, as people
started hearing other opinions and proposals, for the first time.
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