[EM] [CES #8922] Score Voting and Approval Voting not practically substantially different from Plurality?

Benjamin Grant panjakrejn at gmail.com
Mon Jun 24 08:40:11 PDT 2013

On Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 11:08 AM, Stephen Unger <unger at cs.columbia.edu>wrote:

> One point overlooked here is that any new party has to go thru an
> incubation period during which it has virtually no chance of
> winning. Voting for such a party helps strengthen it, and makes it
> more likely that others will support it next time around. At some
> point it may become a contender, and then it might actually start
> winning elections. If you cast votes (approve or give high scores to)
> only for parties that might win the current election, then we will be
> stuck forever with the existing 2-party scam.

It doesn't seem like you are saying I am wrong about that, you just seem
unhappy that I am right?

And under Score/Approval/Plurality voting systems, there would be three
phases a party might go through:

A) unpopular enough not to be a spoiler
B) popular enough to be a spoiler, but not popular enough to win
C) popular enough to win often (>25% of the time, for example.)

On your way to C, you are going to have a LOT of B, and you may never make
it to C, especially if people get burned voting for the emerging party by
getting their least preferred candidate.

The only way to build a strong new party in reality, as far as I can see,
is to have a voting system that does not penalize you into getting your
least favored choice by voting for your most favored one.

Voters may have many different philosophies, and the voting system
> should accommodate as many as possible.

I don't know that I agree with either side of this.  Voters ultimately, by
and large and by definition, I think, want the best outcome possible.  If
Nader isn't a real possibility, then a non-conservation wants Gore FAR
ahead of Bush.  Most non-conservative are intelligent enough to see that
Gore and Bush are equally bad from their point of view.  And most would
rate the election of Bush far more a likely than the election of Nader, and
even if it was a coind toss among all three (Gore/Nader/Bush) most would
rightly view stopping Bush as more critical than helping Nader beat Gore.

 It is easily possible that, in the same SV election, voters A and B

> both score 3 candidates, C1, C2, C3,  as 9, 0, 0, respectively for
> different reasons. A might consider C2 and C3 both to be terrible,
> while B might consider C2 to be perhaps a 4 or 5, but chooses 0
> because of concern that C2 might defeat C1. A third voter with views
> similar to C2's might score the  candidates as 9, 5, 0. All are
> perfectly legitimate actions. Since we cannot distinguish between
> pairs such as A and B, it is not appropriate to try to alter the
> voting system so as to prevent voters from acting "strategically". (I
> think it would be a good idea to urge voters to cast SV votes that
> accurately correspond to their appraisals, and candidates might do
> well to so advise their supporters.)

Again, is it *theoretically possible" that Nader voters might prefer Bush
to Gore, but in the real world, progressive tend to see democrats as far
superior to republicans, and libertarians tend to see republicans as far
superior to democrats.  Ignoring that seems like a bad idea.

 Efforts to change the voting system to nullify or prevent strategic

> voting lead to systems that restrict the voter's options. E.g,
> median-based score voting, in effect, restricts the extent to which a
> voter can support a candidate.

First of all, is "efforts to ... nullify or prevent strategic voting" the
same meaning as "efforts to make sincere voting produce similar choices to
strategic voting."?

Second of all, it seems to me that the less divergence there is between
strategic and sincere voting, the more beneficial qualities the voting
system has, such as:
-we can worry less about the spoiler effect, which promotes more than just
2 parties
-we can worry less that people are accidentally voting against their
-we can have fewer debates about whether people have an obligation to vote
strategically or sincerely

This would seem to be a good thing.

But ultimately, I don't think you answered my central questions (and pardon
me if you did and I just don't see it):

   - Intelligent use of Score Voting becomes Approval Voting, and the harm
   in unwise use of Score voting means that Approval Voting is superior to
   (and simpler than) Score voting pragmatically.

   - Approval Voting tends to result in irrelevant approval votes being given
   to weak candidates – which is pointless, or slightly stronger (but still
   losing) candidates can once again present a spoiler effect where a person’s
   least preferred choice is elected because they cast their approval only
   toward their most preferred choice, who was nowhere near supported enough
   to stop their least preferred choice.

      Am I substantially wrong about any of this? Ultimately, in real
and practical
terms, it seems that done intelligently, Score Voting devolves into
Approval Voting, and Approval Voting devolves into Plurality Voting.

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