[EM] Yes/?/No

Kristofer Munsterhjelm km_elmet at t-online.de
Fri Nov 6 15:20:35 PST 2020

On 06/11/2020 06.11, Forest Simmons wrote:
> In summary, to the common person, the biggest selling point of IRV/RCV
> is that it achieves a 50+ majority without a physical runoff. And its
> biggest defect is that it requires the voters to rank the candidates.

I'd say the value of that property is rather illusory. For one, voters
can change their minds between rounds of an actual runoff, which allows
for some strategy beyond what IRV provides. In addition, actual runoffs
can also fail to center squeeze. So sacrificing equal-rank and
truncation on the altar of "majority winners every time!" does not
actually buy the voters what they think it does.

> And here in the States we compromise the biggest selling point in order
> to ameliorate the biggest defect. So we have to fall back on the second
> biggest selling point which is resolution of the Duverger problem that
> entrenches the two party dynamic. That's a good selling point for 3rd
> party supporters but not easy to get typical voters excited about.
> The good news is that Dodgson gives us a way to break the two party
> stranglehold without the use of rankings, ratings, etc.

Does it, though? Consider Australia. The how-to-vote cards are, for any
voter that follows such a card, in essence a precommitted ranking proxy
method on top of IRV. And despite having STV for one of its houses,
Australia is still two-party (if you count Lib-Nats as one).

It would seem that it's not enough to have a delegation mechanism on top
of a voting method; the voting method itself has to not be *too*

If that's right, then the main benefit of proxy is that it turns
"voter-hostile" methods into less voter-hostile ones by making the
candidates deal with the hostility themselves. Implicitly proxy-assisted
IRV is better than ordinary IRV because the voters don't have to fill in
every ballot, and proxy-assisted Approval is better than ordinary
Approval because the voter doesn't have to decide where to place the
cutoff. But it won't turn a Duvergerian setup into one that supports
third parties.

Although, to be fair, perhaps it's different if there's a negotiating
step after the election rather than precommitted rankings. I don't know
of any real-world cases of such a system, unless you count multiparty
party list parliamentarism, with the parties being the proxies during
the government formation process. But parliamentarism may be more
third-party friendly because the proxies can also withdraw confidence;
the election is not a one-off matter.

> What I have tried to show with Yes/?/No, Voter Friendly Approval, and
> Earn My Vote, is that even the most voter hostile method (Approval) can
> be tamed and made voter friendly through Dodgson's basic insight.
> It is much easier to tame ASM Approval Sorted Margins ... just use it in
> Eppley's VPR where the published rankings include a virtual approval
> cutoff candidate in the ranks.... a piece of cake!

I think there's a balance to be had. There's not all that much to gain
from placing a proxy step on top of a method that's very good by itself
(e.g. cloneproof ISDA Condorcet methods that allow equal-rank and
truncation). This because the method isn't particularly hostile to begin
with. In addition, you likely have to spend some kind of political
capital to get a complex method through, so the return on the additional
complexity may not be worth it.

On the other hand, if the method is theoretically good but very hard to
use, then this method plus proxy may be easier to get through than one
of the complex methods above.

I'm not sure where that leaves ASM, though. It would seem to belong to
the first category, in which case there are perfectly good methods that
don't need proxying.

> Yesterday in the election news they were talking about an RCV mediated
> race where nobody got 50% in the first round, so they said all the
> ballots had to be rounded up so they could remove the first round loser
> from all the ballots and go to the second round. ... not very efficient
> ... especially in comparison with any efficiently summable by precinct
> method like ASM even w/o its VPR implementation!
> It is painful to watch ... very pathetic ... but you have to give them
> credit for trying!
> So how can we get this going before four more years go by?
> I nominate a VPR implementation of ASM. Voters that feel motivated and
> competent can submit their own rankings (with cutoffs) while the rest
> vote for a published ballot of their choice.

The absolutely simplest negotiation method is Asset itself - Plurality
plus negotiation. If negotiation can "un-Duverger" a method, then that
*should* be good enough; otherwise, the base should probably be some
kind of Approval.

To avoid double counting, in a straightforward Approval Asset, the
tradeable assets should be votes, not approvals. Proxies could only give
a ballot to a candidate who is listed as approved on the ballot in
question, and the candidate with the most ballots after negotiation wins.
But it's not clear how to initially distribute the votes to the proxies,
unless the voter specifies a favorite. If you split each ballot evenly
between the approved candidates, you get something more like cumulative
vote plus negotiation, and that doesn't sound like a good solution.

And the simplest variant of EMV is probably straight up Approval, but
with continuous feedback. The voters approve of a number of candidates
and the number of approvals for each is publicly shown. The candidates
then adjust their positions according to the approval distribution until
some deadline, after which the candidate with the most approvals wins.
But it's only simple in theory. The logistics is a completely different

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