[EM] Election thinking,

Adrian Tawfik adriantawfik at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 22 18:49:40 PDT 2012

I think it is good to have the issue analysed from multiple perspectives.  If someone want to write a different article than Mr. Ossipoff, than we can definitely incorporate it on the website.  I'm not sure what you believe Mr. Ossipoff left out, can you clarify?  I think the best thing is to print Mr. Ossipoff's article and also have different articles that look at other solutions.  There a million articles lurking in the work that you all do.  I would love to have any of you write about election method reform but also any aspect of democracy that you think is important.  Democracy is a big subject and very complex but it is the foundation of modern life.  What do you think?

 From: Dave Ketchum <davek at clarityconnect.com>
To: election-methods Methods <election-methods at electorama.com> 
Cc: Adrian Tawfik <adriantawfik at yahoo.com> 
Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2012 8:41 PM
Subject: Election thinking, 
Seemed to me Mike left out some important thoughts - can we do better?

On Apr 21, 2012, at 3:41 PM, Michael Ossipoff wrote, as:
       Article, with the added paragraph and some better wording
> Adrian and EM:
Elections are important to many organizations - and important that they help the voters express their desires effectively.  Important enough that voters should see to it, whatever it takes, that they get the information they need and that their thoughts find their way correctly to whoever is responsible for responding.

This article's topic is election methods.

Normally candidates get nominated, and can campaign as needed.  Even with these, write-in voting should almost always be permitted - there is almost always the possibility of a nominated candidate becoming unsuitable too late for formal replacement.
> Our current voting system, of course, is the vote-for-1 method. Also  called
> "Plurality", or the "single mark method".
> In our Plurality elections, we often hear people saying that they're going
> to vote for someone they don't really like, because he/she is the
> "lesser-of-2-evils". Note that they're voting for someone they don't like,
> and not voting for the people they really do like, because the people they like are
> perceived as unwinnable.

A related possibility is voting for the unwinnable candidate and letting the "worst-of-2-evils" win.

A possibility that helps, sometimes, is to be permitted to Approve as many candidates as the voter likes best - protecting against the "worst-of-2-evils" winning.

This Approval method is a trivial expense and trivial improvement over Plurality voting.

>  The candidate with the most
> "Approved" ratings wins. The result? Well, we'd be electing the most
> approved candidate, wouldn't we.  Who can criticize that?

The voter who did not have equal liking for all Approved.  There are many voting methods to choose from, so we will only mention a few here:

.     Condorcet - really a family of methods - variations on a design using ranking.  One can use a single rank value for one candidate (same value as Plurality), or several (same value as Approval).  A voter can also use different ranks, using higher ranks for those most preferred, and leaving unranked those least-liked.

Here each pair of candidates is in  a two-party race counting how many voters rank one, or rank one higher than the other.  The candidate winning all of its races wins but, if none, the one coming closest wins.

.     IRV - a Condorcet method, though a voter can use each rank number only once and the counting is different.

Considering only each voter's top rank, see if there is a winner.  If not, discard the top rank for the least-liked candidate and move each such ballot to next candidate.

The discarding sounds good, and usually discards truly least-liked. Trouble is. the truly best-liked may have been hidden behind lesser-liked by enough voters to have been discarded as least-liked.

..     Score - voters rate each candidate and ratings are added to determine winner.  Tricky because making a rating higher or lower can affect who wins.

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