[EM] Borda?????

robert bristow-johnson rbj at audioimagination.com
Mon Jan 6 11:06:48 PST 2014

On 1/6/14 1:25 PM, Dick Burkhart wrote:
> > From the point of view of a well-informed and fair voter, score / range /
> cardinal voting is by the best, with simplistic comparisons (A or B) being
> "ick". But when killing strategic voting is your # 1 concern, not promoting
> more thoughtful voting, you want just the opposite.

so i'll repeat myself:

> we're not judges at the Winter Olympics holding up score cards. we're
> partisans. and, depending on the circumstances, with Borda or Score, we
> may end up amplifying our choice insincerely to try to get our favorite
> elected.

unlike your legislator or some other official making a public decision 
that he or she may have to justify in public, we voters vote by secret 
ballot.  and unlike the public official, we voters need not weigh the 
interests of competing constituencies which might temper the score.

so we voters that are voting by secret ballot can bring whatever selfish 
motive, whatever prejudice, whatever stupidity we want into the ballot 
box and, even so, our vote counts just as much as any other voter's 
vote.  just because you like your candidate a little more than his/her 
opponent, and i like that opponent a helluva lot more than your 
candidate, your vote counts just as much as mine.  no less.

unless you want to throw away the only power you have as a voter and 
dilute your vote.

so, assuming that you do not want to dilute your vote, please tell me if 
you were voting Range/Score and assuming there were more than two 
candidates and more than two that you have an opinion and interest in, 
how much score do you give to your second choice?  give him/her too much 
and he/she might beat your favorite.  give him/her too little and he/she 
might lose to your least favorite.  what to do, what to do??  oh me, oh 
my, oh me, oh my...!!

with Borda, that's like Score voting but even worse.  now you have no 
choice at how much to weigh your second choice (unless you can leave the 
2nd-ranking blank and assign your second choice number 3 or 4).  so you 
may really like your first and second choice, but maybe your first 
choice just a little bit more.  or you may hate your second choice but 
you hate your second choice a little less than your last choice.  Borda 
does not differentiate between the two cases.  any voter will understand 
that and might not want to help a second choice that much.  then they 
have a problem in the voting booth.  *and* a poorly supported second 
choice (say he's Adolf Hitler) that is not Satan-from-hell, might defeat 
your first choice just because you might want to express that you'ld 
rather have Adolf than Satan.

> Ranking, with Borda-type compilation, is a great compromise:  It's not a
> perfect for those with strong opinions, yet it imposes a certain discipline
> that, if done properly, minimizes the effects of any strategic voting. And,
> of course, it has the overwhelming virtues of being somewhat proportional
> while at the same time encouraging strategic alliances (more consensus, less
> partisanship).
> Borda is often attacked by citing a straw man case - strategic ranking of
> all candidates, maybe even with clones. That's why I use only the top few
> rankings ('n' rankings for 'n' positions, except at least 3), with a
> proportional primary in the most high stakes partisan cases.

it's no straw man.  i just destroyed Borda and i'm not the first one to do it.



r b-j                  rbj at audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

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