[EM] Condorcet Meeting: Narrowing the Field

Forest Simmons forest.simmons21 at gmail.com
Sun Sep 3 23:43:52 PDT 2023

We will never see 500 presidential candidates on a general primary here in
the states.

Even the Green Party candidate ... it's touch and go to get her on the
ballot in some states.

A "direct democracy delegable proxy scheme" is designed for this kind of
heavy burden.

The other possibility is Eppley's Vote for a Published Ranking (VPR):
"I vote for ranking number 7029 with the following amendments..."

We're not going to see it, but visualizing the problem might stimulate
ideas on more efficient handling of more realistic but still difficult

>From 500 to 5 is two orders of magnitude. How about interposing a stage ...
so one stage for each order of magnitude ... 1000 to 100, then the 100 to
10, and finally 10 to one.

Some people would skip the first stage, and some would skip the second
stage ... but after all of that trouble, you better have a great excuse for
sitting out the final stage!


On Fri, Sep 1, 2023, 4:21 PM Kristofer Munsterhjelm <km_elmet at t-online.de>

> I think I'm more or less done with this subject, as I don't feel like
> I'm getting anywhere much. But I will reply to this:
> On 9/1/23 17:47, Colin Champion wrote:
> > It seems to me that the position is this. Condorcet voting works well
> > under certain assumptions, which include voters sincerely ranking all
> > candidates in order of preference. Strategic voting turns out to be less
> > of a problem than one might fear, but drastic truncation is fatal.
> >     The merits of Condorcet voting lie partly in its not penalising
> > minor parties, so you'd expect it to lead to an explosion in the number
> > of candidates.
> >     So you're organising a presidential election, hoping to take
> > advantage of the merits of Condorcet voting, and you expect 500
> > candidates to put themselves forward. What do you do?
> >     One no-brain solution is to run a Condorcet election with 500
> > candidates. Another is to rely on administrative procedures, eg. only
> > the 5 candidates with most supporting signatures get onto the ballot.
> > This isn't a bad idea; something like it is widely practised. I think
> > the Virginia meeting is intentionally allowing it as an option. Can we
> > do better?
> I guess that with numbers around 500, nothing will really work well, and
> that we would bump against the, for lack of a better term, "aristocratic
> nature" of elections. That is, if we don't do anything to counteract it,
> such a field will naturally thin itself out by who's got the best
> marketing; by what candidates are able to amplify their voice and get
> their message out the most, and that undoing this bias will require a
> more thorough redesign than changing the way votes are tallied.
> If that's right, then it would seem the only option is to augment the
> electoral procedure itself. Do something like asset voting or have a
> representative sample dig deep into the candidates policies and pick the
> finalist set. For 500 candidates, the voters would otherwise face a
> burden just getting to know what they're about, no matter the voting
> system, and the 100:1 "compression ratio" down to a finalist set of 5 is
> so high that it's very difficult to get the right set if they skip on
> that burden. Any consistent bias will greatly shrink that 500-candidate
> set with time.
> If we suppose that all of the 500 have a chance to get into the finalist
> set, there has to be a considerable period before the general happens,
> so that finalist set can inform the electorate of their positions.
> The more we consider the possibility that anybody could be a good
> winner, the more elections, as a mechanism, is at a disadvantage from
> the start. My intuitive feeling is that at a 100:1 ratio, if you only
> choose centrists, then the non-centrists are disincentivized as you say.
> If you don't only choose centrists, then there's not enough room for the
> full variety of the 500 to be represented in a set of size 5 anyway. So
> something has to give.
> Even if I'm wrong, the contention about clone dependence suggests to me
> that we don't really know how to make a voting system that does what's
> asked of such a primary. In a sense, it's not just that we don't know
> how to solve the puzzle, but we're uncertain what kind of puzzle it is
> (what the desiderata and dynamics are). But you said in another post that
> > I posted some figures a while ago indicating that as the level of
> > truncation increased, some strange reversals set in just after the
> > half-way mark: the Borda count briefly gained in accuracy while
> > Condorcet methods started a headlong fall.
> This in turn suggests that you could at least determine if a particular
> suggestion would be good by simulating the two-stage process:
> - Lots of candidates present themselves
> - Voters vote in the primary according to the method to be tested
> (possibly with some noise)
> - Then the voters' hypothetical correct no-truncated ranking (of 500
> candidates!) is used as a basis for the general method, but after
> everybody but the finalist set is eliminated.
> - Now determine the VSE, strategic resistance, or other figure of
> interest wrt the winner of the general.
> Maybe by tinkering with this, it would be possible to get some idea of
> what works and what doesn't. But note that it doesn't incorporate the
> idea that getting acquainted with candidate positions is very expensive
> when there are 500 of them, unless the primary deliberately takes that
> into account.
> -km
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