[EM] Kevin V, Richard F., Raph F

David L Wetzell wetzelld at gmail.com
Mon Feb 20 11:18:43 PST 2012

> From: Kevin Venzke <stepjak at yahoo.fr>
> To: election-methods <election-methods at electorama.com>
> Cc:
> Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2012 03:01:06 +0000 (GMT)
> Subject: Re: [EM] Kevin V.
> Hi David,
> >>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 pressure 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.
> The benefits are
> 1. to the candidate: still gets to influence the result even if he loses
> 2. to the voter: greater chance of having somebody palatable to vote for
> without wasting the vote
> 3. to the candidate's party: the candidate can attract voters that might
> not have bothered voting if there
> had only been one nominee.

dlw: If it's really a clone then 2 seem like a stretch.   For 1 and 3, why
not just hire more campaign staff to GOTV?

> The main factor working against nominating clones in most methods is that
> it risks dividing up the voters
> such that they refuse to vote for all the like-minded candidates. If
> voters actually delegate power to a candidate
> (which is a little uncertain) the risk of this is reduced.

dlw: It also imposes higher costs on voters in terms of getting to know the
candidates and figuring out that so-and-so are clones...

> >>By "difficult to tabulate" I was talking about IRV itself. But no matter:
> >
> >dlw: Maybe that's why I'm pushing IRV+???
> Ok, maybe I should take that literally, that you want to use an approval
> filter because it makes IRV easier
> to tabulate. I don't know what else the lack of example scenarios could
> mean.

My motivation is pragmatic, or problem-solving driven, rather than based on
stylized hypotheticals..

> >>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 Pen 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 buy that second paragraph at all. Contrived IRV bad examples
> usually don't need more than three.
> Do you know one that requires four?

dlw: Well, it's the least important for me personally of the args, hence
why it's listed last.
It's easiest to give bad egs with 3 candidates.  That doesn't mean they
don't also exist for more than 3.
If you know of examples where order of elimination matters in a cascading
fashion then that'd make a great example for IRV+.
As for IRV working best with only 3 candidates, the pathological examples
emerge only in the relatively rare case of competitive 3 way elections
and those are relatively rare and not stable so the use of less ranking
info by IRV relative to Condorcet methods would be less important w. only 3
candidates and so on...

> >>>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 prize.
> Yes but theoretically you make the final round moot. I can't believe we're
> discussing this. You're using
> approval to pick finalists for IRV and apparently don't believe this would
> even be too different from IRV. Maybe
> you're right. But you should see that if your finalists all came from the
> same viewpoint then your method would
> actually be equivalent to Approval, not IRV. All the steps to conduct IRV
> would be a waste.

dlw: Well in that specific case of 3 near-clone-finalists, the selection of
the finalist wd be not important and we'd have done the heavy lifting in
the first stage,
either way we'd have decent results.


> Kevin
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Richard Fobes <ElectionMethods at VoteFair.org>
> To: election-methods at electorama.com
> Cc:
> Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2012 19:03:11 -0800
> Subject: Re: [EM] (Kevin Venzke) and Richard Fobes.
> On 2/19/2012 1:04 AM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm wrote:
>> On 02/19/2012 06:04 AM, Richard Fobes wrote:
>>> ...
>>> Here is a link to a "map" of the U.S. political system as I see it:
>>> http://www.votefair.org/**pencil_metaphor.html<http://www.votefair.org/pencil_metaphor.html>
>>> "If the Republican party and the Democratic party are at opposite ends
>>> of a pencil, most of the voters are way above the pencil. Both parties
>>> are pulled down away from the voters by the money coming from the
>>> biggest campaign contributors."
>>> ...
>> I like third parties, so let me use a business metaphor. Say you have a
>> monopoly. This monopoly has market-making power, so it can set prices as
>> it wants and produce worse goods than it actually would.
> > ... <more below>
> I agree with your point that monopolies are weakened by competition.
> And I agree that a third party could weaken the two main parties.
> In fact, if a third party in the U.S. offered a truly fair election
> process and offered a viable candidate for Congress (but not for a
> Presidential race because that has other complications), and if that
> candidate were elected, then the two major parties would, soon after, be
> forced to make at least some improvements in their election process (to
> avoid losing too many voters).
> Unfortunately none of the third parties in the U.S. are understanding this
> opportunity.  The "leaders" at the top of those third parties are more
> concerned about maintaining their control than representing frustrated
> voters.
> I'm not discounting the power of third parties.
> Rather, I'm picturing how things will be later, after the transitions have
> occurred.  How will things be done after the dust settles, when things have
> (relatively in terms of the issues we are now dealing with) stabilized?

Or imagine if 3rd parties all decided to push for strategically selected
forms of PR in "more local" elections, since they don't got enuf political
capital to go after their long, ambitious platforms?  Why not instead unite
together around the most 3rd party friendly reform there is, without ending
the 2-party system so that it'd be easier to get major party leaders to
concede their demands?

A strong case can be made that our 2-party system will work better if we
make it impossible for either party to dominate a state's politics and
third parties are given a constructive role to play.

> dlw

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Kevin Venzke <stepjak at yahoo.fr>
> To: election-methods <election-methods at electorama.com>
> Cc:
> Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2012 03:44:06 +0000 (GMT)
> Subject: Re: [EM] (Kevin Venzke) and Richard Fobes.
> (I've figured out how to quote since my last comment on that. I have no
> idea
> why quoting a message is merely an option...)
> ----- Mail original ----- (Richard wrote)
> > Unfortunately none of the third parties in the U.S. are understanding
> this
> > opportunity.  The "leaders" at the top of those third parties are more
> > concerned about maintaining their control than representing frustrated
> voters.
> I don't think that any parties so at odds with the Democrats or Republicans
> that they can't run under those labels, are the parties we are looking for.
> I think that if, under whatever rules were in place, there were room for
> three
> contenders in an election, you would find not-too-unfamiliar-looking
> candidates
> taking the third spot and trying to beat the Ds and Rs. With this
> situation, it
> is at least possible that a general viewpoint (about as coherent as those
> of
> the Ds and Rs) would come together and allow a third "party" including a
> label
> for it.

dlw: But most voter perceptions are endogenous or manipulated via the
mis-information that is rampant in politics and those who benefit
from the current 2-party system own the MSM that is the greatest purveyor
of mis-information.

> It isn't obvious that a three-way race will still fight over the center
> though.
> I am interested to study this, but it seems very hard to study voter
> strategy
> and nomination strategy at the same time.

dlw: This is why I'm diffident over results derived from stylized examples
or simulations, like Bayesian Regret.   It's not just a matter of tweaking
the parameters, the fundamental design of the election is hard to capture
deterministically w.o. lots of ad hoc assumptions.

> If party discipline were strengthened (though I can't imagine how that
> would
> happen) I expect it would force some current Ds and Rs to leave and form
> new
> minor parties. But I don't think this in itself would benefit voters much.
> I
> think it would mean for many that there is even less of a real choice.

If there's no brand-protection via intra-party discipline then many of our
perceived choices are not real choices as it is...

> Kevin
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