[EM] Yes/?/No

Forest Simmons fsimmons at pcc.edu
Fri Nov 6 18:52:01 PST 2020

On Friday, November 6, 2020, Kristofer Munsterhjelm <km_elmet at t-online.de>

> 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*
> Duvergerian.

I did not mean to imply that any old base method (least of all IRV/RCV/STV)
would do, rather only that any good method could be made voter friendly by
use of proxies, whether or not it required complete rankings or majorities
of one kind or another.

> 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.


If some voters think ranking is easy, they  do not need to delegate that
task to a proxy.

>  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.

There is no complexity to VPR, which is what I suggest for base methods
like River, CSSD, ASM, RP, et.

> 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.

ASM uses rankings where the approval cutoff is treated as a virtual
candidate that is ranked among the other candidates ...  no special

So VPR is the appropriate voter friendly implementation.

> > 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.

It depends on how much free rein the voters are willing to give to their
proxies in a bargaining / negotiations session.

If the voters trust their proxies implicitly, then Asset voting is ideal.

Voter Friendly Approval is appropriate at an intermediate level of trust.
Voters exercise complete control over the approvals or lack thereof for the
candidates that they want to, presumably the ones they feel strongly about
whether for or against. And (in the tightest control version) they can
designate different proxies to resolve different question marks if they so

If they do not trust their proxies with any active role, then VPR is the
most appropriate approach; the candidates publish their ballots before the
election and then submit xerox copies of them for all their supporters as
soon as they find out how many supporters they have.

> 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.

Combining Asset with Approval in the way you suggest below makes the
approval ballots too stiff ...  not enough flexibility to fully exploit the
strategic nature of approval voting during the bargaining.

> 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
> matter.

One more remark about VFA: here's the best way imho to give the punch line:
once all of the question marks have been resolved into yeas and nays, the
candidate with the greatest ratio of yeas to nays is declared winner.
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