[EM] Sociological issues of elections

Vidar Wahlberg canidae at exent.net
Tue Sep 3 12:12:59 PDT 2013

On Mon, Sep 02, 2013 at 10:30:01PM -0400, Michael Allan wrote:
> I agree with Juho, the problem is a lack of information.  I would add
> that a rational decision can only be made by first learning what the
> decision *ought* to be, then by making it so in fact.  Therefore the
> rational decider will always know the decision in advance.
> We have empirical evidence (so to speak) that modern electors never
> make rational electoral decisions.  Every election night finds them
> glued to their TV screens waiting to learn who they just elected.
> Again, I think it would be better if the electors discussed the matter
> in advance of the election and agreed amongst themselves who to elect.
> Then they could throw away their TVs. ;-)
> Do you have a preferred solution of your own?

No, not really. Giving the electors balanced information and maintaining
a transparent government is desirable, but this also depends on media
and influental people "playing by the book". While better information
obviously will improve electors ability to make rational decisions, it
will still be quite possible to influence the voters based on less
relevant traits (charisma, fearmongering, etc). Then again, what is
relevant and what is not is neither a clear distinction.
I mainly wanted to raise the subject that there's a lot of information
going around before an election that's only meant to convince the
elector to vote for a certain candidate/party, regardless of whether
that would be the electors preference given enough insight into the
candidate/party's capability. I would like to see a system where
electors are encouraged to gain insight and reflected views, and vote

Some claim that preferential election works well against negative
campaigning, anyone looked into if there's any truth to this?

As mentioned, this really is a fuzzy area, and encouraging electors to
vote based on a rational decision is obviously not a simple task. I
appreciate all the feedback and would still like to hear more thoughts
anyone may have.
Many thanks to Gohlke for providing papers on the subject, I'm reading
up on it when I got the time.

Vidar Wahlberg

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