[EM] Kristofer: The Approval poll

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Thu Mar 22 11:57:47 PDT 2012

While the poll has comments of low quality, and the users seem to be 
against Approval at the moment, I do think even those low-quality 
comments can be useful.

Namely, they give us insight into the objections, fair or not, to 
Approval itself. There are partisan arguments ("this is a liberal plot 
to deny conservatives their voting power"), what can be done about them? 
Can we point out places where conservatives are being hurt by 
vote-splitting? Can we point at Ron Paul when responding to a libertarian?


There are plenty of voters who report having to "hold their nose" and
vote only for someone they don't like. They'd all like to be able to
vote for better candidates to, including their favorites. Even if one
only counts the Democrat voters who say that they're strategically forced
to vote only for someone they don't really like, amounts to a lot of 
people who'd see the improvement brought by Approval.

Especially since it would no longer be necessary to try to guess who
one's necessary compromise is (because you can vote for all the candidates
you might need as compromise). No more split vote, since it isn't necessary
for candidate Worst's opponents to all vote for the same candidates--They'd
easily be able to vote for the same _set_ of candidates, without all agreeing
on one candidate to unite on. These things answer the complaint of someone who
says that they had to hold their nose to vote for the Democrat. With Approval
they can approve the Democrat if they think they need to, and also everyone
better, including their favorite. Such voters will no longer be resigned to pure

Then there are method centric arguments. Some are just confused about 
what the thing means, as one can see by the "oh, and let the voters vote 
for a single candidate many times" type of posts. Others think it 
violates one-man one-vote. How can we clear that up? Perhaps by 
rephrasing it in terms of thumbs-up/thumbs-down? If each voter gets ten 
options to either do thumbs-up (approve) or not (don't approve), then 
the voting power is the same for each. 


Yes, if you give thumbs-down to nearly all of the candidates, you're giving just
as many ratings as the person who gives thumbs-up to nearly all of the candidates.
S/he doesn't have more voting power than you do. As I said, you can cancel out
any other voter, by an opposite ballot, no matter how many candidates s/he gives
thumbs-up to.

With N candidates, each voter has the power to rate N candidates, up or down.

You continued:

Maybe that is a better phrasing 
than approve/not in any case


I like "approve", because it's a good way of saying what you're doing. ...as long
as it's well-understood that no approval is counted as a disapproval.  You rate each
candidate as approved or not approved. It's important that people understand that.

If "thumbs-up" vs "thumbs-down" is easier for people to understand, then that would be fine.

The ballot could require the person to mark an "approve" box or a "disapprove" box, where
it's understood that "disapprove" is the default assumption. Or it could be "thumbs-up" vs
"thumbs-down", or "accept for compromise" vs "reject", or "in better set" vs "in worse set".

Of all those, I like "approve" vs "disapprove". As I said, we don't mean "approve" in the
psychological sense. We mean it in the procedural sense. The operational sense. The business
sense, as when one businessman says to another, "Yes, I'll approve that proposal."

Approving is an action, not a feeling. And its opposite is disapproving. With either, you're
rating the candidate, up or down.

You continued:
 I do note that there are very few arguments about chicken dilemma 
situations. If there are barriers to Approval being adopted, that isn't 
it - at least not yet. Though one could of course say that the reason 
nobody objects using the chicken dilemma is that they haven't studied 
the thing enough to know there actually *is* a chicken dilemma problem.


The chicken dilemma isn't, and can't be, an objection to switching from Plurality
to Approval, because Plurality has it, at least as bad. "We won't vote for your candidate,
so you'd better vote for ours if you want one of {yours,ours} to win." That chicken
dilemma is worse than Approval's, because, to co-operate requires actually abandoning
your favorite, and not even acknowledging that s/he is acceptable. It requires voting the
other candidate over yours, and saying, in your ballot that s/he is better than yours.

Ask people: 

"What problem does Approval have that Plurality doesn't have? What undesirable
result do you think Approval will have that Plurality doesn't have?"

When millions of people report having to hold their nose and vote only for someone whom
they don't like, with no mention or support for anyone better,
in order to defeat someone worse, something is very wrong with the voting
system. One shouldn't expect a healthy society, with such a sick voting system.

Mike Ossipoff

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