[EM] List of primary voting projects

Richard Fobes ElectionMethods at VoteFair.org
Wed Mar 27 23:04:38 PDT 2013

On 3/25/2013 10:40 AM, Michael Allan wrote:

> Sorry if I'm asking a question that was already answered elsewhere.  I
> haven't followed your postings about VoteFair, because it always
> seemed to me a static decision tool.

Not a problem.  All of us are too busy and we have to ignore some messages.

In VoteFair _negotiation_ ranking, _participants_ rank _proposals_ .

In the other kinds of VoteFair ranking, which are named using the
words "popularity", "representation", "party", and
"partial-proportional", _voters_ rank _candidates_ .

> Does the VoteFair tool allow vote shifts?  Can you explain how the
> negotiation aspect works?  I mean just briefly, "People shift their
> votes, looking at the results, and trying to..."

Hopefully the following description of VoteFair _negotiation_ ranking
answers your questions.  If not, feel free to ask more questions.

You can post the description on your wiki.

Richard Fobes

---- description below ----

The purpose of VoteFair negotiation ranking is to calculate a 
negotiation outcome that comes close to what would arise if a consensus 
process -- with continuous feedback -- were used.  This means that 
significant-sized minorities get a significant level of influence.  This 
approach contrasts with methods that allow the majority to have full 
control.  And it defeats the blocking tactics that work in full 
consensus negotiations.

Using the VoteFair negotiation software at www.NegotiationTool.com , 
each participant ranks all the proposals.  There are three general 
categories: "liked", "neutral", and "disliked".  Within the liked and 
disliked categories, each participant ranks the proposals, putting their 
favorite proposals at the top, and their most-disliked proposals at the 

When new proposals are added, they appear in the "neutral" category, and 
the most recent proposal appears at the top of that category.  A 
participant can then move these new proposals into their "liked" and 
"disliked" categories, and rank them above the proposals they like less 
and below the proposals they like more.

In addition to the need to rank proposals, the software needs to know 
which of the popular proposals are incompatible with which other popular 
proposals.  To do so, either an administrator (such as an arbitration 
expert) can specify incompatibilities, or the participants can vote on 
incompatibilities (in which case a threshold is involved).

Based on the rankings and the incompatibilities -- and nothing else -- 
the algorithm calculates which proposals can be combined into a document 
or agreement or law, such that the result is likely to be approved by 
most of the participants, or at least approved by a majority of 

If the early results include proposals that are obviously incompatible 
with each other, then the incompatibility information needs to be 
corrected (either by the administrator or by participant voting).  There 
is no need to exhaustively indicate all possible inconsistencies because 
lots of proposals will not be popular enough to get into the group of 
overall-accepted proposals.

The www.NegotiationTool.com website currently does not support 
delegation, but the internal software allows for the possibility of 
specifying more than one vote for participants who are acting on behalf 
of other, non-voting participants.

What might be called the "liquid" part of VoteFair negotiation ranking 
is that participants can add proposals at any time.  If there are lots 
of participants, the added proposals can be "vetted" (approved for 
addition) by a neutral administrator, and the administrator can remove 
proposals that obviously will not be accepted in the calculated results. 
  The goal here is to keep the number of proposals reasonable.

The encouraged strategy is to split unpopular proposals into several 
separate new proposals.  This allows the participants to highly rank the 
parts they like, and lowly rank the parts they dislike.  The recommended 
result is designed to produce both gains and concessions for almost all 
the participants.

The algorithm does not attempt to identify when the negotiation process 
is done.  If the participants have a genuine desire to reach a mutually 
satisfactory agreement, then the results will slowly converge on an 
optimum set of approved proposals.  An external yes-or-no vote with a 
majority of yes votes determines when the negotiation is done.

To see what a participant ranking looks like, and what an overall 
calculated result looks like, follow these links to an example in which 
an employer and an employee work out a terms-of-employment contract.



The www.NegotiationTool.com website also includes an example in which 
parliament members choose cabinet members, which is a very challenging 
negotiation process that the software easily handles.

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