[EM] [CES #4445] Re: Looking at Condorcet

robert bristow-johnson rbj at audioimagination.com
Fri Feb 3 21:47:50 PST 2012

Clay Shentrup wrote:
>         Condorcet systems fundamentally try to maximize the wrong thing.

no.  excluding the cases where there are cycles (which is another 
topic), there is no quantitative metric to be "the wrong thing".  
Condorcet only imposes a logical consistency that, from a popular 
perspective and with the additional value that each vote counts equally, 
if some candidate is the "best" (from a popular vote POV) candidate for 
this single-seat office, then that candidate is better than each and 
every other candidate.  instead of having the candidates arm-wrestle or 
take some written exam or flip a coin, the measure of which candidate is 
"better" is simply the popular vote of the electorate.  if Candidate A 
is "better than" Candidate B, that is decided solely if more voters like 
Candidate A than voters who like Candidate B when voters are asked to 
compare and choose between the two.  that is what Condorcet 
fundamentally tries to do.  nothing other than that.

>         They try to maximize the odds of electing the Condorcet
>         winner, even though it's a proven mathematical fact that the
>         Condorcet winner is not necessarily the option whom the
>         electorate prefers.

i am no slouch at mathematics, Clay.  you (or Warren) have never proven 
that to me.  pointing to a page on rangevoting.org does not constitute 
proof.  and i don't see how you can since the ballots are different.  in 
the same manner that we compare ranked-choice voting to FPTP, but 
*assuming* that the single affirmative vote for FPTP is the same as the 
1st-choice vote in the ranked ballot, in that same manner you have to 
map the ranked ballot to a score ballot, and that requires some 
assumptions.  to compare apples to oranges, you must make assumptions.

and good definitions, like who/what is "the option whom the electorate 
prefers"?  is that the same as the "true, honest utility winner"?

Someone wrote:
>     Trouble is that the ballots ARE the voters' statements as to which
>     candidate IS the CW.  The above paragraph seems to be based on the
>     ballots sometimes not truly representing the thoughts of the
>     voters voting them.

i think the case they continue to make is that, compared to a Score 
ballot, there is some intrinsic knowledge that voters won't mark their 
ranked ballots as sincerely when they know it's Condorcet.  that's not a 
fair comparison.  how can you be making a fair comparison (apples to 
apples) when you assume one method gets sincere and informed voter 
participation and the other method does not?

On 2/3/12 11:06 PM, Jameson Quinn wrote:

> No, he's saying that when the CW and the true, honest utility winner 
> differ, the latter is better. I agree, but it's not an argument worth 
> making, because most people who don't already agree will think it's a 
> stupid one.

as do i.  it's like saying that the Pope ain't sufficiently Catholic or 
something like that.  or that someone is better at being Woody Allen 
than Woody Allen.

but for the moment, would you (Jameson, Clay, whoever) tell me, in as 
clear (without unnecessary nor undefined jargon) and technical language 
as possible, what/who the "true, honest utility winner" is?  how is this 
candidate defined, in terms the preference of the voters?


r b-j                  rbj at audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

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