[EM] Kevin V.

David L Wetzell wetzelld at gmail.com
Sun Feb 19 15:27:38 PST 2012

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kevin Venzke <stepjak at yahoo.fr>
To: election-methods <election-methods at electorama.com>
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:56:08 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Re: [EM] (Kevin Venzke) and Richard Fobes.
Hi David,

*De :* David L Wetzell <wetzelld at gmail.com>
*À :* election-methods at lists.electorama.com
*Envoyé le :* Samedi 18 février 2012 16h58
*Objet :* Re: [EM] (Kevin Venzke) and Richard Fobes.

 That doesn't make much sense to me. The election method is a part of the
system and it has an obvious effect on how
many candidates could run.

dlw: It depends on the size of the effect of the election method.  There
still are cost-benefit rationales that would keep the number of serious
candidates down, depending of course on the size and importance of the
election.  Ceteris paribus, to have a party institution behind you will
make a difference regardless of what election method gets used.

Well, in SODA's case, I think the size of the effect is probably massive.
It reminds me of the open party list in Brazil.

dlw: Aye, but that's multi-winner.  Multi-winner vs single-winner is a
major effect.  We were talking amongst single-winner election rules.

KV:The similarity is that with SODA, you (and like-minded candidates) get a
benefit even if you don't win. Under normal methods you have the inherent
against running clones (that I think we both agree exists) with little
possible benefit in nominating them.

dlw: What is the benefit?  You might get lucky?  There'd be pressure in
real life against clones running regardless and so the strength of the
effect is still an empirical question.

and so what relative advantages there are of SODA over IRV will be less,
which then makes the first-mover marketing problem more significant,
especially if IRV can be souped up with the seemingly slight modification
of the use of a limited form of approval voting in the first stage.


If I remember correctly your idea is to use approval to pick finalists. I
don't think this is a good idea because it breaks
clone independence, which is an IRV selling point.

But does it break it strongly?  Let there be A, B, and C.  Let BB be a B
The field is split 30.1-40-29.9.  Normally B wins.  If BB enters then
either B or BB gets eliminated in the first round but then their votes
transfer to whoever remains and so the outcome wouldn't change.  You'd need
to have a crowded field so that an original finalist and their clone would
both get eliminated.  If either the original winner and clone(s) got
eliminated, which would be harder, in all likelihood, or you might change
the order of elimination in the 2nd round so that there'd be a different

I don't think you get the concern. It's not clone-winner, it's clone-loser.
Suppose the original winner was 3rd place on approval. Then clone one of
the other two candidates to
shut out the original winner.

[sarcasm]That sounds realistic.[/sarcasm]  You realize that the "approval
votes" are just the number of (up to 3) rankings a candidate receives?  How
often do you think you can clone one of the other 2 and thereby shutout the
winner?  I'd love to see an example of that.  If the winner is preferred to
the top-2 ranked-vote getters then if they were cloned, it'd not be the
eventual winner who'd lose out on approval votes.

I didn't know you could only have three rankings. I agree it is difficult
to construct the scenario where it actually works.

They don't even need to know whether 3rd place was going to win, it should
just be the standard nomination strategy. If you nominate three, you
could even win the entire race just on approval. There's some risk to this
strategy (voters may not agree to approve everyone their party wants), but
if a party so much as tries
to use this strategy the method will look dumb. You should be really clear
on what you're trying to do if you want to tell people to use a mechanic
that looks manipulable.

If you can give me a robust example of this, ie one that's not on a knife
edge, I will abandon the idea.
JQ tried to do this a while back for a slightly different matter and it was
very hard to do and he eventually agreed that it "worked", except for how
it tended to reenforce the 2-party domination thing that he believes (along
with others) is the bane of democracy.

Well, I don't understand how you see it aiding anything. If you place third
or worse on first preferences you will almost certainly lose. It doesn't
really matter if
every voter approved you.

dlw: Well that is the point, you need to become enuf voters 1st preference,
or get support for 2nd or 3rd from voters whose favorites are not popular.
I have a hard time seeing how you see it as not aiding anything.

For me, I think there are real world safeguards against clones in politics
and so to be 100% clone independence is not important.

I kind of agree with that, but only for cloning winners.

I'm not worried about cloning non-winners.

In your method or in general?? I don't see how it can be denied that
parties would nominate many candidates for a single seat if that was the
best strategy for
winning. We can find examples of parties using the electoral method in
unexpected ways (Taiwan and Italy occur to me), and we also have the open
party list
tactic of nominating more candidates than there are even seats to be won.

dlw: In my method especially, and because I trust there'd be ways to
mitigate the problem if some parties did try to game the system in that

 If your goal is to e.g. not elect Condorcet winners who place third,

I don't think my goal is not to elect CW's who get 3rd amount of
top-rankings among the three finalists.   I think the goal is to reduce the
distance between the de facto center and the true center,
while allowing that we don't know the true changing center and don't want
to chase it too easily.

That's a pretty unusual goal that I still don't quite get. (Why do you pick
the terms "de facto" and "true"? Wouldn't it be "anticipated" vs. "actual"
or something? If the "true
changing" center is the actual location of the median voter, how on earth
does "de facto" contrast with this?)

dlw: de facto is based on the positioning of parties and determines what
issues are on the docket.  True is what would be the case if every vote was
taken seriously by the system as a whole, but this in real life is really
dynamic and there could be some unintended consequences behind voting
methods that successfully always nailed the true political center.
 Typically, it takes time to enact serious policy changes, hence the need
for a 2-party dominated system to provide the leadership required for
serious changes.

I think you should use the Approval-IRV hybrid that eliminates the least
approved candidate until there is a majority
favorite. I call it AER... I think Woodall called it Approval AV.

dlw: IRV+ is easy to tabulate at the precinct level.  One could get the 3
finalists on election night.

The next day the votes can be sorted into 10 categories, once again at the
precinct level, and the results used to find the winner.
This is  more important than clone independence, cuz the true winner(for
normal irv) would be more immune to the existence of clones than other

I wish I understood what you feel makes IRV good and how you are trying to
improve it.

My arg has been that what is crucial is to change the mix of single-winner
and multi-winner elections and that in our system the diffs in quality
among single-winner rules is of 2nd order import.  As such, it's best to go
with a tweaked version of the first-mover alternative to FPTP that's been
endorsed by the president of the USA and John McCain and many others, as
shown in Rob Richie's NYTIME article.

I'm pretty sure that if those were nailed down, you could find something
easier and
better. Using approval you are already discarding the LNHarm guarantee.

dlw: But not very much.  The use of IRV for the last 3 keeps most of the

Why stick to something relatively difficult to tabulate?

It's not hard to tabulate how many times a candidate gets ranked, so long
as you catch the cases where voters rank the same candidate twice or
what-not.  That's easy to do.

By "difficult to tabulate" I was talking about IRV itself. But no matter:

dlw: Maybe that's why I'm pushing IRV+???

KV:Ok, so you are married to IRV or variants because of its "first mover"
status. Then my question switches to how the approval rule helps it. Do you
have a
scenario on-hand that shows your method doing something preferable to what
IRV normally would do? I can't think of what the expected difference would
be, except when somehow the second-place (on first preferences) candidate
isn't among the top three approved. Are you thinking of a Chirac/Jospin/Le
scenario (2002 French presidential election)? Though that would not even
have happened under IRV.

dlw: Speeding up the election and simplifying the use of IRV are enuf to
justify the use of IRV+ over IRV, especially for bigger elections.  It
doesn't matter how often it'd get a different outcome.
There'd be no recursion in the explanation of how it'd work and that'd be
one less arg that opponents of electoral reform could use against it.
Plus, almost all of the args used by advocates of Approval Voting against
IRV would get watered down..., cuz the simple fact of the matter is that
IRV works best with only 3 candidates.

I don't think you can ride IRV's coattails if you
won't keep the (demonstrable) properties of it. And picking finalists using
raw approval... That is just a basic thing not to do, like
plurality-at-large for multiple seats.

It's not raw for a first stage of single-winner election.  Plurality
at-large for multiple seats is not unlike single-winner elections, but
that's the point, it's a single-winner election rule.
thanks for the good comments.

By "raw" I mean "nothing is done to ensure one viewpoint doesn't take all
the spots." Usually finalist selection isn't "single-winner" (read: single
viewpoint) but
are somewhat representative of all the voters, such as the last two
candidates standing in IRV.

dlw: Well, if there's only winner in the end, it doesn't matter if all
viewpoints are expressed in the final round.  There's usually no door-bell


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