[EM] List of primary voting projects

Richard Fobes ElectionMethods at VoteFair.org
Thu Mar 28 23:18:14 PDT 2013

On 3/28/2013 10:39 AM, Michael Allan wrote:
> Thanks for explaining, Richard.

This is an important topic, so I want to help out.

>> 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.  ...
> What drives this change (convergence) in the results?

Dissatisfaction with the current list of recommended proposals.

Specifically it happens when a minority fails to get their most 
important proposal into the list of recommended proposals, or when any 
group sees a "very bad" proposal getting into the list of recommended 

>   Do some of the
> existing participants change their minds and re-rank the proposals?

It's more like they are seeing which of their proposals are disliked, 
and splitting those up so that some of the narrower proposals (hopefully 
the ones they care about the most) will be approved.

As an example from Oregon history, a proposed law to ban all animal 
traps failed to get passed by the voters.  But if the law only covered 
trapping specific animals (wolves & such), then it might have passed. 
The proposed law would have made it illegal to trap moles, and that's 
the only way to deal with moles (that anyone in this neighborhood has 
found to work).

In other words, the animal-rights activists got too greedy.  Greedy 
proposals get ranked as "disliked".

Projecting this issue onto the negotiation-tool usage, if there was one 
proposal to ban traps that are set for wolves, that might pass.  If 
there was another proposal to ban the trapping of moles, that would not 
have passed.  That would have given the activists what they wanted most. 
  By overreaching, they lost out completely.

> Or do new participants enter the process and rank the proposals, with
> those rankings not subsequently modifiable?

Everything can be modified at any time.

> In your case, it might not matter.  Clearly your use cases show an
> intention to inform decisions.

Yes.  One of the basic ways to find a solution that "everyone" likes is 
to learn more about what people really want.

>    And clearly the method tries to do so
> through consensus, even if it's not dynamic.  Still I'm curious.

Yes, through consensus.  But I don't know what you mean by "not dynamic" 
because, as indicated above, anything can be changed at any time.

Richard Fobes

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