[EM] another concern - the opposite of the Spoiler Effect - *Packing*

Benjamin Grant benn at 4efix.com
Thu Jun 27 18:30:40 PDT 2013

Something else came up while I was analyzing some voting methods.  If you
have a disproportionate number of political leaning in an election, some
voting systems go awry.


There may be a criterion for this, this is what I mean.


Let's say that you have three total candidates.  one is conservative, two
are liberal, none are moderate.  If the majority of the electorate is
conservative, then it may make sense that a conservative gets chosen.
However, in some systems - say one in which each voter gets one positive
vote and one negative vote to cast - having more candidates of a particular
"wing" can hurt you. Continuing this example, if we run Gore/Nader/Bush,
both Gore and Nader supporters give their negative votes to Bush, casting
their positive votes for their own candidate.


If Gore supporters are 36%, and they vote Gore +1, Nader 0, Bush -1; and
Nader supporters are 10%, and they vote Gore:0, Nader +1, Bush -1; and Bush
supporters are the remaining 54% and they vote Gore -1, Nader 0, Bush +1.


Nader wins. Even though 54% of the people voted for Bush. Even though only
10% voted for Nader.


Is this a thing? Kind of the opposite of the spoiler effect - that having
many like-minded candidates actually increases the chance that one of them
might win, even if their opposition is more numerous?


Does this only happen with negative votes?  Or can it happen with other


-Benn Grant

eFix Computer Consulting

 <mailto:benn at 4efix.com> benn at 4efix.com



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