[EM] Fwd: U/P voting: new name for simple 3-level method.

Jameson Quinn jameson.quinn at gmail.com
Fri Sep 9 06:38:29 PDT 2016

2016-09-08 21:44 GMT-04:00 Kevin Venzke <stepjak at yahoo.fr>:

> Hi Jameson,
> ________________________________
> >>De : Jameson Quinn <jameson.quinn at gmail.com>
> >>À : EM <election-methods at lists.electorama.com>
> >>Envoyé le : Jeudi 8 septembre 2016 10h09
> >>Objet : [EM] Fwd: U/P voting: new name for simple 3-level method.
> >>
> >>MCA (the one with three slots) has the simpler description surely? If
> there's a majority preferred, elect the most preferred; else
> >>elect the most approved (least disapproved).
> >
> >Using parallel language to yours, here's U/P:
> >
> >If there's a majority acceptable (minority unacceptable), elect the one
> of those that's most preferred. Else elect the most preferred.
> >
> >That's 4 words more complicated. You could do it in fewer than 4 extra
> words if you really wanted.
> Ok. Is it better than MCA?

Yes. MCA is significantly more subject to chicken truncation strategy.

In discussion with C. Benham, I have realized that U/P is actually more
similar to MTA than I'd realized. In the terms above, MTA (Majority Top
Approval) is:

If there's a majority acceptable (minority unacceptable), elect the one of
those that's most preferred. Else elect the most acceptable.

So, U/P and MTA differ only when all candidates are majority unacceptable
AND the most preferred differs from the most acceptable. I think that this
situation is on the whole unlikely, and that when it occurs, it will
probably be due to strategy. Furthermore, it may enter into consideration
as a contrafactual, in which case it is by definition strategically

I think MTA is more likely to get it "right" if the ballots are
unstrategic; but that U/P is more likely to get it "right" if the ballots
are strategic. Since, as I said, I think the latter is more likely, I think
U/P is better. Their simplicity is identical.

But I don't want to be "right" if it leads to me just arguing in my own
corner. I'd far rather choose a system that can get consensus from as many
theorists and activists as possible. That's why I continue to put approval
forward as the first reform option. I'm only working on discussing a
three-slot option in order to have a back-up suggestion for people who
object to approval because of the issues of non-expressive compromise
and/or chicken strategy (including concerns over spoilers; I think that in
approval, "spoiler" almost always refers to a chicken-type scenario.)

So I'd be happy to give up on U/P and embrace MTA if that would help build
a clearly broader consensus.

(One side advantage of U/P is that googling "MTA" is never going to send
you to a voting page.)

> >>So you are saying if nobody manages to get majority approval, you will
> only be using the top ratings and ignoring "acceptable" ratings?
> >That is unusual; my instinct is that if we can't find a majority we
> should try to find votes to get as close as possible. There's a
> >risk that you are collecting enough information to permit concluding e.g.
> that a simultaneous approval and Condorcet winner lost.
> >
> >Yes, this is possible. But consider the kind of scenario where it happens:
> >
> >20: A>B
> >20: A,B
> >19: B
> >2: C>B
> >39: C
> >
> >In this case A wins, even though B is approval and Condorcet winner. But
> I find this kind of thing very implausible in practice; and
> >if such a pathology occurred, it would not be a horrible outcome. It's
> implausible because the electorate above is bizarrely top-heavy
> >in its ratings; except for the C>B voters, who could make B win by voting
> C,B, in view of the fact that C is a clear loser against A
> >and B.
> This specific thing is probably unlikely, but my general concern is that
> you might collect a bunch of middle slot ratings without
> doing anything with them, and public might be able to speculate about
> whether it made sense.
> I am not sure why you called the above scenario bizarrely top-heavy. It's
> a top-heavy method. I'm not too clear on when one should
> be using the middle slot really.

It's a top-heavy method in that it focuses on top ratings. That does not
mean, I think, that it would lead to top-heavy ballots in which voters
tended to rate several candidates as preferred.

> >
> >It's not a horrible outcome because a majority of the electorate is fine
> with A, and there are more voters enthusiastic about A than
> >about B.
> >
> >
> >>
> >>I don't see why you are making rules for unmarked candidates if your
> intended advantage is simplicity. I believe you explained why
> >you have this to somebody else, so I won't ask you to repeat, but I
> wonder about the effect of the sentence that starts "And second."
> >You're saying that if A has majority preferred+acceptable, but is not top
> two on preferred ratings, to count blanks as disapproved
> >in hopes that this might remove A's majority approval (or rather,
> non-disapproval)?
> >
> >No. I'm saying that if the top two preferred are both disqualified, then
> all blanks should count as "unacceptable", including for
> >those top two.
> Yes I got that, but those top two were already majority unacceptable, so
> it should make no difference, right?

Right. You are correct that the rule you're suggesting would lead to the
same winner, but it could lead to different official counts for the

> >>
> >>Aside from the weird Clone-Loser issue in having a top-two rule on a
> ratings ballot,
> >
> >The chances that one faction would go to all the trouble of a clone
> campaign simply to get the uncertain advantage of guaranteeing
> >that ? counts as unacceptable... seems very remote to me.
> I won't dispute that, but not all clones are perfect clones, and not all
> are deliberately nominated. Usually the point of "top two"
> is to identify the two strongest, and mutually exclusive blocs. It seems
> basic to me that you wouldn't want to use that particular
> mechanism if they might not be different blocs.

Usually that's the point of "top two", but not in this case. In this case,
it's just a simple heuristic for "is there some non-dark-horse candidate
without majority unacceptable?" You could get the same effect in other ways:

- A quorum rule: non-votes for X count as "acceptable" iff over 50% of
voters have rated X explicitly.
- A partial rule: non-votes count as 0.55 of an "unacceptable" vote and
0.45 of an "acceptable" vote. That way, a dark horse would need "prefer" to
beat "unacceptable" by about 9% to win.

I'd consider either of the above to be fine, but my guess is that the "top
two" rule I've already enunciated is the most politically feasible. I think
rules like the two suggestions just above seem more arbitrary and strange.

> >>
> >>it feels a little schizophrenic to me that you really want winners to
> have majority non-disapproval yet do not actually think it
> >>indicates a worthy candidate.
> >
> >I think that majority explicit non-disapproval does indicate a worthy
> candidate; and that majority implicit non-disapproval is
> >better than majority disapproval IF the candidate achieved sufficient
> scrutiny (which we can assume is true for the two frontrunners).
> >But I think that unless we have evidence that a candidate got
> scrutinized, majority of combined unacceptable or didn't-bother-rating
> >is as bad as a majority of unacceptable.
> Sure, I just wish it seemed more organic.

If you have a better idea, please share. I wouldn't be surprised if we came
up with something better.

> >
> >>
> >>I tend to think we will be lucky if we can consistently get even one
> majority non-disapproved candidate in elections.
> >
> >I disagree. The people who hate both frontrunners in the current system
> are louder than those who are OK with either; and in the
> >current presidential election, they might well be more numerous; but in
> the average election, I think that "either one is acceptable"
> >is more common than we might realize.
> Hmm... Voters who are OK with either? I have a lot of questions about
> that. Firstly do these voters really exist. And do they vote?
> Would they be willing to put on the ballot that they are OK with either?

Remember, this starts to matter in 3-way elections. The closest cases like
that in US presidential history are '92 and '96, with Perot. I think that
there were probably a non-trivial minority of "anybody but Perot" voters;
that is, people who would have voted something like Bush>Clinton>Perot or
Clinton>Bush>Perot in U/P. If those people outnumber the
Perot>...>Clinton,Bush people, then it's likely (guaranteed?) that one of
Clinton or Bush would get a majority acceptable.

> >>
> >>In a U/P race with two major candidates, one of those is basically
> guaranteed to get the label penalty in the next race.
> >
> >Note that in the current system, "you lost last time" usually means you
> don't get to run again. Gore, Kerry, McCain, Romney... didn't
> >run again after being nominated. Clinton... waited a cycle. So this rule
> would mostly matter only for those who won in a NOTA
> >election (that is, one in which all candidates had majority
> unacceptable). I think that there should be some difference between "won
> >with majority acceptable" and "won despite majority unacceptable", and
> that a label penalty that the voters can choose to ignore is
> >not excessive.
> We have a while to wait to see whether Clinton fits the mold of the
> others. But anyway, it sounds like your main intention is to
> penalize candidates who actually won, not those who lost. That is more
> interesting than I was thinking.

Right. This is to satisfy the NOTA and term-limit supporters. Generally, I
oppose hardline proposals along those lines, but I think a compromise like
this could work.

> Kevin
> >
> >
> >________________________________
> > De : Jameson Quinn <jameson.quinn at gmail.com>
> >À : EM <election-methods at lists.electo rama.com>;
> electionsciencefoundation <electionscience at googlegroups. com>
> >Envoyé le : Mercredi 7 septembre 2016 12h59
> >Objet : Re: [EM] U/P voting: new name for simple 3-level method.
> >
> >
> >
> >The main advantage of U/P voting over other systems like MJ or MCA is
> simplicity of description. So I'm going to try to describe it as simply as
> possible.
> >
> >
> >To vote, you rate each person running as "preferred", "acceptable", or
> "unacceptable". You can rate any number at each level.
> >
> >
> >If more than half of voters rate a person "unacceptable", that person
> can't win, unless the same is true of all the people running. Of those
> remaining, the winner is the one rated "preferred" by the most voters.
> >
> >
> >If you leave all three ratings blank for a candidate, that usually means
> the same as rating them "acceptable". There are two exceptions. First, if
> you made a mark to rate some candidates "acceptable", then the ones you
> didn't make any mark for are counted as "unacceptable". And second, if the
> two most-preferred candidates both can't win, because more than half of
> voters marked them "unacceptable", then candidates with no mark count as
> "unacceptable". That way, you don't end up letting a weak candidate win by
> mistake.
> >
> >
> >2016-09-06 13:17 GMT-04:00 Jameson Quinn <jameson.quinn at gmail.com>:
> >
> >I've recently posted a few messages discussing a simple 3-level graded
> Bucklin method:
> >>
> >>Ballot: For each candidate, you may rate them “preferred”, “acceptable”,
> or “unacceptable”. Any candidate, including an incumbent, who had gotten
> over 50% "unacceptable" in the prior election would have a note to that
> effect next to their name on the ballot. (In prior messages, I'd suggested
> not allowing them on the ballot. I now think that allowing them on, but
> with a note, would be better.)
> >>
> >>
> >>Counting: For the current eIection, if some but not all candidates have
> a majority (50%+1) of “unacceptable” votes, then they are disqualified. The
> winner is the non-disqualified candidate with the most approvals.
> >>
> >>
> >>My new name for the above system is U/P voting. It stands for
> "unacceptable/preferred", and can be pronounced "up voting" for quick
> discussion; or "you pee voting" if necessary to avoid confusion.
> >
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