[EM] Why I prefer ranked-choice voting to approval voting

robert bristow-johnson rbj at audioimagination.com
Tue Oct 11 12:11:03 PDT 2016

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------

Subject: Re: [EM] Why I prefer ranked-choice voting to approval voting

From: "Ralph Suter" <RLSuter at aol.com>

Date: Tue, October 11, 2016 2:35 pm

To: election-methods at lists.electorama.com


> I agree with everything Jameson says except for one point in his ps. I

> don't think it's important that voters know exactly how votes are

> tallied to decide the winner as long as they understand the basic idea

> that in Condorcet voting, the winning candidate is the one who outranks

> every other candidate in one to one comparisons.
And this basic idea can be stated even more simply and persuasively:
"If more voters mark their ballots that they prefer Candidate A over Candidate B than the number of voters who mark their ballots to the contrary, then
Candidate B is not elected."
stated more loosely (but less accurately, considering the meaning of "majority")
"If a majority of voters mark their ballots preferring Candidate A over Candidate B, then Candidate B is not elected."
That's all
voters need to really know about a Condorcet method.  Of course, this is in the case of no cycle, if there is a cycle, this principle cannot be satisfied.
> Furthermore, figuring
> out how votes are tallied in IRV voting is not especially easy either

> for most voters, despite the arguments about it's simplicity that IRV

> supporters often make, which I have never found terribly persuasive.
terribly unpersuasive.  i call it the "Kabuki dance of transferred votes."

> One other point I'd like to make is that in some voting situations, such

> as voting in informal meetings for options that most participants aren't

> terribly passionate about (e.g., "where and when shall we meet again"),

> approval voting is often vastly preferable to any ranked choice method

> and has a much lower cognitive burden.
makes sense.
> That's why I believe we need to

> discuss the relative merits of different voting methods not just for the

> purpose of elections for public office but for all kinds of voting

> situations.


> It may also be (and probably is) that some methods are better for some

> kinds of public elections than for other kinds. For example, approval

> may be preferable to any ranked choice method in many if not most

> elections for city council, while ranked choice may be preferable to

> approval for the U.S. presidential election.



> On 10/11/2016 1:02 PM, election-methods-request at lists.electorama.com wrote:

> > ps. You mention Condorcet, and argue that the strategic cognitive

> burden is

> > higher than IRV. I disagree; but since Condorcet comes with a higher

> > cognitive burden in just figuring out why a given candidate won, I agree

> > that Condorcet methods are probably not best for large-scale elections.
not true at all.  IRV requires more of a cognitive burden because its result, in the ideal, cannot be stated as simply as with Condorcet.  if someone asks *how* do we do Condorcet and pick the winner,
we say we examine runoffs between every pair of candidates and elect the only candidate who doesn't lose to another candidate.

r b-j                  rbj at audioimagination.com
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
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