# [EM] Highly-expressive preference voting

Sebastiaan Snoeckx ikke at sebastiaansnoeckx.be
Thu Aug 27 05:02:15 PDT 2015

```Hello

This may sound like an insanely strange question, but I was wondering
whether there were specific election algorithms and ballot designs that
would allow a voter to express preferences between specific candidates,
without having to specify their preference between the expressions of
preferences themselves.

Don't worry if this sounds inconsistent, I'll explain by example:
1. The voter prefers A over B (A>B)
2. The voter prefers C over D (C>D)
3. The voter prefers E over F and G (E>F=G)
4. The voter prefers their own preference of A>B over their preference
C>D, but could care less whether E>F=G is preferred over the others

Notationally, it would be a bit like this: ((A>B)>(C>D))=(E>F=G)

Ow! I can imagine any voting system choking over this (and imagine this
happening with loops allowed!), but it is an incredibly common thing in
real life: people prefer burgers over pizza and prefer coke over sprite
(YMMV!), but when you ask them wether this mean that they prefer burgers
over coke or pizza over sprite, they'll shrug and say these are not
comparable: (burgers>pizza)=(coke>sprite).

In real-life elections, candidates are rarely comparable to each other
(ie. one-issue candidates or mutually-complementary ideologies), and
forcing voters to rank (or score, in a cardinal system) incomparable
candidates or ideologies seems to me like a lot of information is lost.

Did this make any sense at all?

I myself had been thinking this would be akin to a candidate-grouping
scheme (whereby candidates should be allowed to be part of multiple
groups, or none) where you'd have a matrix comparing every
group-candidate-ranking combination to every other
group-candidate-ranking combination. Or something in that style; or not.

Thanks and hoping to hear any and all comments!

```