[EM] Election thinking,

Michael Ossipoff email9648742 at gmail.com
Sun Apr 22 19:20:24 PDT 2012

Replying to Dave:

On Sun, Apr 22, 2012 at 8:41 PM, Dave Ketchum <davek at clarityconnect.com>wrote:

> 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:
>> Mike adds: I want to clarify that the text quoted from me so far,
>> consists only of "Adrian and EM". The text following these lines is from
>> Dave. He quotes me later. I'll indicate where that is.

> 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.
>> Dave quotes me here:

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


Not just related--It's definitely part of the scenario to which I refer.
What Dave mentioned above is
the possibility that scares millions of voters into voting for a Democrat
that they don't really like.
Dave continues:

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.


Yes, that's the solution that I discuss in my article.

Dave continues:

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


Richard Fobes, one of the two organizers and writers of the Declaration,
has wisely invited people to comment on _errors regarding objective fact_
in the articles posted here. Any such objections should be accompanied by
supporting arguments and facts. Dave, in the above-quoted statement by you,
you aren't doing that. To avoid letting these group-criticisms of articles
turn into the usual mess, would you please confine yourself to statements
to criticisms of errors regarding objective, verifiable fact?

If you want to make other comments, criticisms of a voting system, and not
abide by that rule, please clearly label your post at the top, or in the
subject-line, as "personal opinion". There's nothing wrong with expressing
personal opinioin.I'll answer yours here. But kindly distinguish clearly
between your factual criticism of an article, vs expressions of your
personal opinion about a voting system.

Now, to answer your uinsupported personal opinion expressed above, I'll
re-copy it here:

This Approval method is a trivial expense

[I take that to mean that you agree with me, that Approval won't have a
significant set-up cost, for the changeover from Plurality to Approval.

Dave continued:

 and trivial improvement over Plurality voting.


I've thorougly described Approval's improvement over Plurality voting, and
Approval's advantages over other reforms. In fact, I covered those subjects
in my article, the one that Dave is commenting on.

Dave continues:

 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?

> Dave says:

> The voter who did not have equal liking for all Approved.


What? Did anyone say that the voter had to have equal liking for all

I was afraid that this would happen, if this serious article-evaluation is
conducted on EM. Maybe a better solution would be to set up
a "reply-to-all" e-mail group discussion, among Adrian and some EM
members who are appointed by Fobes and Quinn.  That would keep the
careless, irrelevant statements and unsupported personal opinion ouf of the
serious evaluation of articles.

I'm not criticizing expression of personal opinion, or discussion of
advantages and disadvantages of voting systems--In fact, I engage in it
myself. But I clearly distinguish it from the serious article-evaluation
that Fobes spoke of.

Ok, clearly, in this part of the e-mail, we're not talking about a
particular article anymore, and now it's just a discussion of voting
systems. A legitimate subject, and I'm glad to reply.

Dave continues:

  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.


In other words, each possible pair of candidates X and Y is compared by
determining how many ballots have ranked X over Y, and how many have ranked
Y over X. If more have ranked X over Y, than X is said to "pair-beat" Y.
A candidate who pair-beats all of the others is called the Condorcet
winner, or CW. Sometimes we speak of the "sincere CW", a candidate who'd
pair-beat everyone if all the voters ranked sincerely.

As for Dave's last clause above, there are various ways of choosing the
winner when there is no CW. We needn't get into listing them all. In CT, I
suggest electing the Smith set member who is ranked in 1st rank position on
the most ballots. Dave objected that there could be a Smith set none of
whose members are favorite on anyone's ballot. 1) That's vanishingly
unlikely, especially in a large public election. Surely at least each
candidate will vote for hirself.
2) Sure, there can be ties, in which to candidates have the same score,
whatever kind of score is being counted.

Maybe two or more candidates are ranked top on the same number of ballots.
Or maybe no candidates are. All methods can have ties. For puiblic
elections, instead of including a special rule for ties, it would probably
be much easier and better to just stipulate that tiess (which will be
vanishingly rare) are to be solved by the methods already on the books.

Dave continues:

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


IRV is most definitely not a Condorcet method, by any definition used here,
or anywhere else that I know of.

Dave continues:

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.


IRV's flagrant FBC violation disqualifies it from consideration, for our
existing electorate.

Dave continues:

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

Well, that's the whole point of voting. Score Voting, also known as Range
Voting is one of the methods recommended by the Declaration. When people
vote instrumentally in their own best interest, Range turns into Approval.
Because I like Approval, I have no objection to Range. Likewise for
Majority-Judgement. SODA, mentioned in the Declaration, but not
recommended, merely due to its newness, is Approval with the option to
delegate one's vote. Because it's Approval, I have no objection to it

Mike Ossipoff

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