[EM] Approval vs Schwartz Woodall for organizations

Michael Ossipoff email9648742 at gmail.com
Fri Mar 29 21:57:14 PDT 2013

FairVote has claimed that Approval is only good for non-contentious
elections. I've never agreed with that. Approval can work fine with any
kind of elections, including contentious ones.

When there is strong contention, when there are greately differing
alternatives, some of which are unacceptable to some voters, voters will
want to win if they have a majority. For that kind of elections, it's
desirable to use a voting system that automatically enforces majority rule.

In those strongly-contested elections in which people want majority rule,
Approval can work too. The chicken dilemma is about an {A,B} majority that
wants to defeat C, but who don't trust eachother to not take advantage
of eachother's cooperativeness.

In fact, maybe the A voters could have a majority, but, if they don't know
it, they could give it away by helping B.

Those problems aren't really problems in Approval, because they're well
dealt with by strategic fractional ratings, whilch I've much described.
There are additional reasons why those things aren't a problem, and I've
listed them at this forum.

Nevertheless, when it's a contentious election, where there are some
alternatives that are unacceptable to some voters, you'd rather have
automatic enforcement of majority rule. That measn easier and quicker
majoriity rule.

For that kind of elections, I'd recommend Schwartz Woodall as the voting
system for an organization, club, meeting, committee, family-voting, etc.

Under less contentious conditions, when the alternatives aren't so
different, and no winnable ones are unacceptable to anyone, then there's
little or no reason to not use Approval. Approval brings important and
desirable social optimaizations, choosing the most liked alternative, or
the one that is acceptable to the most people, and maximizes the number of
pleasalntly-surprised voters.

Returning to contentious elections for a moment:

The important majority is a mutual majority. IRV and its hybrids that I
recommend (I refer to them collectively as IRV etc. or I&c) meet the Mutual
Majority Criterion (MMC) and don't have the chicken dilemma. Some meet the
Condorcet Criterion (CC) and some don't.

I don't consider CC to be necessary. A mutual majority (MM) is the
important majority. But protecting other majorities too, by electing the
CW, is good for stability, and often or usually, that's a good idea. As
I've mentioned, not electing CW compromises probably makes a method too
adversarial and non-cooperative for amicable organizations, but not for
public political elections.

Still, the stability of electing the CW can be desirable for official
public elections too, and it might be demanded by a majority. I've spoken
of the possibility that the CW preferrers might not want their CW to get
eliminated, and might side with the non-MM voters in demanding a method
that better elects CWs.

The Greens offer IRV, and I fully support that. If, after IRV has been in
use for a while,  they later find that they're the CW, and they want a more
Condorcet-efficient method, that's fine too. I myself don't consider
Condorcet efficiency to be necessary for official public elections in the
Green scenario, but CW-preferrers might (or might not) want it.

By the way, Bucklin has the chicken dilemma, and in its more
briefly-defined version, the one preferred by Lomax, Bucklin fails the
Mutual Majority Criterion.

IRV, and its hybrids that I recommend all meet the Mutual Majority
Criterion and don't have the chicken dilemma.

The IRV hybrids that I recommend are:

MM/Woodall, MM//Benham, AIRV, Woodall, Benham.

I've defined Woodall and Benham in recent posts.

I'll re-state my definitions of MM//Woodall and MM//Benham here:


Choose from the innermost mutual majority preferred-set. Choose from it by
Woodall, counting only the rankings of the members of that innermost mutual


Same, but substitute "Benham" for "Woodall".

Michael Ossipoff
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