[EM] Suppose, for a moment, there were never any cycles...

Joseph Malkevitch jmalkevitch at york.cuny.edu
Tue Jan 24 15:33:32 PST 2023


With regard to Condorcet this technical paper may have some interest.





Joseph Malkevitch


jmalkevitch at york.cuny.edu



From: Election-Methods <election-methods-bounces at lists.electorama.com> on behalf of robert bristow-johnson <rbj at audioimagination.com>
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2023 5:10 PM
To: EM list <election-methods at lists.electorama.com>
Subject: Re: [EM] Suppose, for a moment, there were never any cycles...

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> On 01/24/2023 9:21 AM EST Kevin Venzke <stepjak at yahoo.fr> wrote:
> Hi Robert,
> Thanks for clarifying. I think we have some miscommunication somehow.

We do.  But I am not satisfied with the apparent meaning you construe to what I have written.

> This is what I wrote:
> >> To the extent a method deals badly with spoilers, the interested parties will aim to avoid
> >> the issue through their nomination choices or voting advice.
> >>
> >> For example FPP always elects the CW on those ballots. Spoiled FPP elections aren't that
> >> common. But we would probably say that's because they tried not to have 3+ candidates on
> >> the ballot, not because FPP is so Condorcet-efficient.
> I specifically offer the example of FPP's nomination disincentive that you seem to
> acknowledge is a thing in your last post.

WTF??  What was it that I "seem to acknowledge"?

> To the first paragraph you replied "I doubt it"

There is no convincing evidence provided that parties will nominate different candidates based on the method used in the **general** election.  Of course the method used in the **primary** election might affect who gets nominated.

> and to the second you said this:
> >> "They" are who?  Each party only nominates a number of candidates equal to the winning
> >> seats.  Independents (and those signing their petition to get on the ballot) choose
> >> independently if they're gonna run or not.
> I took this as a rhetorical question. Was it? To me it reads like you deny that FPP creates
> any incentives that could affect how many candidates run.

A concession (or clarification), now that you first bring this issue up:  FPTP *may* very well affect whether a party proffers a candidate at all to run for an office.  In fact, not since 2012 has the Republican party in Burlington Vermont (essentially the "third party" in our city) run a candidate for mayor.  They know that all they will do is split votes with the Democrats and that will help elect the Prog, whom they least want elected.  Perhaps, RCV will encourage them to run a candidate, but after the experience the GOP in Burlington had with Hare RCV (that their candidate became the spoiler anyway and the candidate they hated was elected anyway and unnecessarily), they might *still* distrust the system to the point of not wasting money and running a GOP candidate.

I didn't consider "no candidate" to be one of the nominating choices.  Indeed, I still think that *if* a party is nominating actual people to run for an office, *which* person that is nominated will not be affected by the method used in the general election.

> Sure, there can always be third
> parties and write-ins, but that's clearly not what candidates I would mean in an FPP
> context.

What *did* you mean?  Did you mean that the two major parties will make calculated adjustments to whom is nominated (that is not the same as *if* someone is nominated) based on the method used in the general election?  It is to that, that I have consistently said "I doubt it".

> > > > > For example FPP always elects the CW on those ballots.
> > > >
> > > > Oh, that seems to me to be a little disingenuous.  There's only one ranking level other than
> > > > unranked.  You don't know who the CW is if voters were allowed to be more specific about
> > > > their preferences.  It's like the Approval folks insisting that they're better at electing the
> > > > CW than IRV.
> > >
> > > So what do you think would happen if FPP was actually conducted with rank ballots?
> >
> > Oh, c'mon, Kevin...  If the voters were issued ranked ballots and told that **only** their
> > first-choice vote will count and the candidate with most first-choice votes in the
> > one-and-only round will be elected, what I think would happen is massive voter confusion.
> >
> > > I dare
> > > speculate that most FPP elections are won with a full majority,
> >
> > I agree.  In fact, most FPTP elections have only one or two candidates on the ballot.
> >
> > > so the use of rank ballots
> > > would probably not dent FPP's observable Condorcet efficiency by much.
> >
> > So what?  FPTP will also elect the Hare winner or the Borda winner or the Bucklin winner or
> > even the Approval winner if all you have is one ranking level other than the implicit
> > unranked level.
> The point was that the aspect of the analogy you called disingenuous, isn't likely to make
> much difference. If FPP elects a majority favorite 95% of the time then its observable
> Condorcet efficiency is going to be at least 95% no matter how many ranks you add to the
> ballots,

oh, no, no.  That's false.  If you add more ranking levels (than just one), the apparent CW may very well be a different candidate.  That is because voters will rank some candidates at different levels whereas in FPTP they were all at one level, specifically unranked.

> because a voted majority favorite is always the voted CW, and adding ranks doesn't
> change the strategy.
> And the point of all that, is that voted Condorcet efficiency from real elections doesn't
> seem like a very reliable indicator of method quality. Most methods will look very good,
> because parties and voters have ways to compensate for any mediocrity.
> > The only difference in voting strategy (I would call these voting tactics, my semantic is
> > that "compromising" is a *tactic* and less a "strategy") I would attribute to Hare vs.
> > Condorcet is, if it's Hare *and* the election is perceived as a close 3-way race, there may
> > be voters on either the Left or Right wing (the wing that is perceived as weaker) that may
> > choose to compromise and vote for the centrist so that the spoiled election that happened
> > in Burlington 2009 or in Alaska in August 2022 will not happen to them.  That's the only
> > effect on different voting tactic I would predict between RCV decided by Hare vs. Condorcet.
> Ok, noted.



r b-j . _ . _ . _ . _ rbj at audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

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