[EM] Lomax reply, 3/12/12

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Mon Mar 12 14:30:19 PDT 2012


Thanks for the flattery, but I don't claim to always live up to it, because errors
are part of voting system discussion, and I routinely make at least my share of them.

These days don't get so many opportunities to return to the computer, and so this
reply will almost surely have to be in installments. I've been away from the computer
since Friday.

>> >If you rank your favorite, F,  in 1st place, s/he gets a majority,
>> >even though s/he doesn't win, because someone else has a higher
>> >majority.
>>That's apparently quite unusual. Even if multple votes in first rank
>>are allowed -- they certainly should be -- most voters will not use them.
>You don't have sufficient information to make that prediction.

Sure I do. There are some scenarios that can be asserted that can 
lead to a conclusion that if overvoting is allowed in first rank, 


Overvoting is equal-ranking, correct?

You continued:

voters will use it strategically. Otherwise, from what we know about 
Approval Voting, and from the history of Bucklin in certian 
elections, I *predict* that most voters won't use them. Mike, do you 
have sufficient information to show that this is unlikely to be true?


Certainly, at least as regards Approval: Right now, many or nearly all progressives, 
people who want policies more progressive, humane, or innovative than those of the Democrats, insist
on "pragmatically" holding their noses and voting for the Democrat in Plurality. So,
what will they do in Approval? They'll continue voting for the Democrat, but will also
vote for everyone who is better than the Democrat. They'll vote for at least two candidates.
Nader and Gore, for instance, if they prefer Nader, but feel a need to vote for Gore as a

As for ABucklin (ER-Bucklin), no one can say for sure. It's my perception that often
one's best strategy will be to only vote for a set of candidates at first rank position.
When there are completely unacceptable candidates who could win, one's best strategy is to
top-rank all of the acceptables and not rank anyone else.

When the fear about failing to elect one of the better candidates isn't so great, one might
want to distinguish between some of them by ranking them at several rank-levels, though that
increases the risk that someone else will win.  But sometimes
maybe not. Imagine an Approval election in which the ABucklin option is allowed. If someone you don't
like has an early majority, maybe largely from Approval ballots, then you're out of luck. Candidates
in your ranking who haven't yet received your Abucklin votes lose because you've missed your chance
to help them (as you could have if you'd top-ranked them). Looking at ABucklin as an option in an Approval
election, that vote-management option doesn't look like necessarily always a good idea. That suggests
that, in an ABucklin elecion, voting Approval-style might often be the best way to vote. But that's just
my subjective impression.


 >  My answer
>to that is that plumping is a valid good strategy if no one but your favorite
>is acceptable to you, or if you're sure that s/he will win if you don't rank
>anyone else.

"Plumping" here means? I get two possible meanings. It means bullet 
voting, entirely, or it means only voting for one in first rank.


Yes, "plumping" is voting for only one candidate. 

 Many voters only care about voting for their favorite, no matter what 
system you give them, unless you *force* them to add additional 


But not many progressives, regrettably. Nearly all progressives refuse to vote for
their favorite, voting instead for a "lesser-evil".

There's no reason to believe that all those people will stop voting for a lesser-evil
in the 1st Approval election. But they'll be able to also vote for everyone who is better.

But yes, after the 1st Approval election, when the reported vote totals show that a progressive candidate can beat a Republican,
hopefully many or most of those voters will stop voting for the Democrat, and will only vote
for their genuine favorite(s). Maybe for their one most favorite candidate. Maybe for several
best candidates who are all significantly better than the others. All of the Approval strategies
that we've discussed here amount to voting for every candidate who is better than your expectation
for the election.

>From conversations with Democrat-voters, it's my opinion that, among those who have actually looked at or listened to candidates' and parties'
policy proposals, no one considers the Democrat their favorite. I don't think that the Democrats
have any serious favorite-voters. They're only lesser-evils. Their genuine support doesn't exist. With
the enactment of Approval, those fictitious hollow-men known as Democrats will cease to appear to exist.

Indeed, that was the thinking behind Carroll's invention 
of Asset Voting.

>Those were only municipal elections, of course. You can't use them to predict
>voting in national or state elections. In important elections, 
>people would soon
>learn what voting strategy is in their best interest.

Let's start with small scale elections, eh? First of all, there are 
as yet no national elections in the U.S.


I just mean elections for national office. So I include elections for presidents and congress-members 
(including senators) as national elections. Of course I should say "national-office elections" instead
of "national elections".

Innovation is easier to achieve locally, but it takes a while for local innovation to filter up to
the national-office level. It would be nice if, somehow, Approval could be enacted for state or national
offices without going through the long local-offices-first process.

I like ABucklin, and it seems to me that the best route to it, the natural route, is as an option
in Approval elections. As I often say, it's difficult to oppose or criticize an option. After all, how
someone uses their Approval vote will be understood to be their business. So how could anyone object to
a vote-management option such as ABucklin, in Approval elections?

But I feel that the real improvement on Approval is getting rid of the co-operation/defection problem. That's
accomplished by AOC, GMAT and MMT. Options such as those, for an Approval election, (they aren't mutually compatible as options in the same
election) are therefore the ones that I'd suggest first. Later I'd suggest ACBucklin or AOCBucklin (wherein a voter could optionally make
any non-top listing of a candidate conditional). 

In ordinary non-conditional ABucklin, of course the C/D problem could be dealt with in the various ways we've
discussed for ordinary Approval and RV. So ordinary ABucklin isn't without merit. It's just that I personally
feel that, as Approval-election vote-management options, AOC, GMAT or MMT offer a more important kind of improvement over ordinary

, the largest jurisdiction to 
hold an election is a state. What we think of as presidential 
elections are actually local elections of pledged electors.


An uncontroversial tacit agreement in these discussion is that the president should be elected
by a direct national election, dispensing with the electoral college.

Of course it could be reasonably argued that parliamentary government would be better, and I have no quarrel with that.
But proposing a better way to elect the president is much more modest than proposing the drastic change from presidential
to parliamentary system.

You continued:

There is a lot of crap out there on what strategy is in the voter's 
best interest


...like the crap that says we should vote for a lesser-evil in Plurality. Maybe sometimes vote
for a compromise, the most winnable acceptable candidate, or a candidate agreed-upon by a similar-believing
large set of voters. But never vote for an evil, even if a lesser one.

You continued:

, and there is a large class of voters who vote for what 
is in the society's best interest (in their opinion, of course, but 
these voters will value *consensus* and will recognize that getting 
their own preference is not necessarily best for the society).


Maybe some will vote that way in RV. I don't know. But surely most people feel
that their favorite candidate would be best for society, and that has a lot to do with
why he's their favorite. Might some know that their candidate is bad for society, but good for
their own private special interest? Maybe, but probably most people have convinced themselves
that he's best for society in some meaningful sense.

To be coninued...

Mike Ossipoff

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