[EM] Richard reply, 4/16/12

Richard Fobes ElectionMethods at VoteFair.org
Mon Apr 16 17:24:08 PDT 2012

On 4/16/2012 2:34 PM, Michael Ossipoff wrote:
> Richard said:
> Mike seems to be in a hurry for an explanation for my earlier statement.
> [endquote]
> That's funny. I thought that I emphasized that there was no hurry.  ...

You said you were in no hurry for me to remove your email address from 
your signature.

> ... 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.

This sounds to me like an invitation to hurry, or else to consider my 
claim to be unfounded.

> 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.
> [endquote]
> 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."

I certainly agree that Congress will try to stall as long as possible. 
That's partially why I said that voters will have learned a lot about 
voting methods by the time anything is done.

> 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 congressmembers
> 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
> Condorcet).
> 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.

I have not claimed that the Condorcet-Kemeny is a likely choice for U.S. 
Presidential general elections.

Lots of things will happen between now and then, so it's impossible to 
know the details about what will be done.

Yet I am optimistic that a fairer method will get adopted eventually.

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

See above.  This issue has nothing to do with specifically which fair 
voting method will be eventually adopted -- beyond my predicting that it 
isn't likely to be Approval voting.

> 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.
> [endquote]
> 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.

I assume you are saying that transparency is a big advantage.  I don't 
disagree with that.

> 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.
> [endquote]
> 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

I don't disagree.

I do say that I'm amazed at how lots and lots of people have no clue 
about anything mathematical, even numbers (and especially division and 
percentage numbers).

As soon as someone mentions _anything_ numerical (even the number 
"one"), those people mentally check out.  And logical arguments are not 
relevant to them.

I once heard a woman say "The sign says the cookies are two for a 
dollar. Just roughly, about how much is that?"  And she otherwise was an 
intelligent person.

You somehow seem to think that I think that Approval violates 
one-person-one-vote.  I am not one of the people I am referring to here.

Perhaps it is relevant to again mention that I have a degree in Physics. 
  That means that I took lots of mathematics courses.

Now that I've supported my claim that Approval voting is unlikely to be 
adopted for U.S. Presidential general elections, I hope to get back to 
answering the mathematical questions from Jameson and Kristofer that I 
haven't had time to reply to.

Richard Fobes

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