Discussion:
[Election-Methods] Is this Condorcet method reasonable?
Diego Santos
2007-11-30 13:06:32 UTC
Permalink
There were many discussions in this mailing list about advantages of winning
votes as counterstrategy against order reversal. But sometimes truncation is
risky. Consider this example:

46: A > B > C
44: C > B > A
10: B > A > C

B is CW.

Offensive strategy by A voters:

46: A > C > B
44: C > B > A
10: B > A > C

A wins under RP(wv) or margins.

If truncation would be used:

46: A > C > B
44: C > B > A
10: B

C, the sincere Condorcet loser, wins.

Winning votes induces truncation. Voters should feel free to express
complete preferences.

I was thinking in something similiar to "automatic truncation", i. e.,
pairwise stregth in ranked pairs should be measured by plurality. If
approval is used, the method becames DMC. Maybe approval cutoffs are not
needed, then RP(plurality) is sufficient.

RP (plurality) or pairwise sorted plurality offers weak burial resistance
and is summable, opposite to Smith,IRV.

Diego Santos
Kevin Venzke
2007-11-30 14:30:58 UTC
Permalink
Hi Diego,
Post by Diego Santos
There were many discussions in this mailing list about advantages of winning
votes as counterstrategy against order reversal. But sometimes truncation is
risky.
46: A > B > C
44: C > B > A
10: B > A > C
B is CW.
46: A > C > B
44: C > B > A
10: B > A > C
A wins under RP(wv) or margins.
46: A > C > B
44: C > B > A
10: B
C, the sincere Condorcet loser, wins.
Winning votes induces truncation. Voters should feel free to express
complete preferences.
I agree, they should. But how can you promise it?
Post by Diego Santos
I was thinking in something similiar to "automatic truncation", i. e.,
pairwise stregth in ranked pairs should be measured by plurality. If
approval is used, the method becames DMC. Maybe approval cutoffs are not
needed, then RP(plurality) is sufficient.
RP (plurality) or pairwise sorted plurality offers weak burial resistance
and is summable, opposite to Smith,IRV.
However, using the plurality vote as the strength of a defeat would cause
clone independence to be violated. More importantly, it's likely that this
measure would mean that you need to rank a viable candidate in the top
position on your ballot, or risk causing him to lose.

In my opinion it's better for it to be safer to be sincere about your first
preference, than for it to be safe to rank less preferred candidates whose
supporters you fear will use strategy against you.

Kevin Venzke


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Diego Santos
2007-11-30 17:33:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kevin Venzke
I agree, they should. But how can you promise it?
I cannot do it. But pairwise sorted plurality, like DMC, gives more freedom
than winning votes, because wv advantage over margins is based in
truncation.

However, using the plurality vote as the strength of a defeat would cause
Post by Kevin Venzke
clone independence to be violated. More importantly, it's likely that this
measure would mean that you need to rank a viable candidate in the top
position on your ballot, or risk causing him to lose.
I think that cloneproof violation is not severe when a method meets Smith.
Probably near all majority rule cycles in contetions elections will be
caused by burying. Then, additional resistance to this strategy will be
desirable for a Condorcet method. If clone independence is desirable too,
"Smith,IRV" is an alternative.

In my opinion it's better for it to be safer to be sincere about your first
Post by Kevin Venzke
preference, than for it to be safe to rank less preferred candidates whose
supporters you fear will use strategy against you.
I am not advocating pairwise sorted plurality as a definitive voting method,
it is only an initial thought. I have fear that some methods can encourage
people to bullet their vote.

________________________________
Diego Santos
Kevin Venzke
2007-12-02 19:06:19 UTC
Permalink
Hi Diego,
Post by Diego Santos
Post by Kevin Venzke
I agree, they should. But how can you promise it?
I cannot do it. But pairwise sorted plurality, like DMC, gives more freedom
than winning votes, because wv advantage over margins is based in
truncation.
I think it's an illusion that you have less freedom with WV. You get to
rank more sincerely above the point that you truncate. It's more likely
that you can safely vote for your favorite candidate. Under margins it is a
good strategy to list a viable candidate as your favorite, because margins
doesn't really care how viable/strong a candidate is (i.e. how many votes
he receives in absolute terms) when sorting the defeats. Therefore you had
best try not to give your viable compromise choice any defeats.

And just because a method gives no incentive to truncate, doesn't mean you
can safely fill out the lower preferences sincerely, anyway.

Kevin Venzke


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Juho
2007-12-02 22:23:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Diego Santos
I think that cloneproof violation is not severe when a method meets
Smith. Probably near all majority rule cycles in contetions
elections will be caused by burying. Then, additional resistance to
this strategy will be desirable for a Condorcet method. If clone
independence is desirable too, "Smith,IRV" is an alternative.
Why do you expect burying to be the main reason to cycles? Does this
apply to exceptionally contentious elections only or to all typical
elections?

The cycles may also be caused also by "random like" variation in
opinions in close races. Also natural cycles where the voter opinions
really are cyclic are quite possible.

Factors that may reduce the probability of strategic cycles are e.g.
changing opinion poll results before the elections and inability of
the voters to use the strategies in the strategically optimal way.

In general I tend to think that Condorcet methods are at their best
when strategic voting is not widespread or is not well organized
(=hopefully reduces to just noise). I really wouldn't like to see
general public use all the various Condorcet strategies that are
discussed on this list. In most cases Condorcet based methods are
maybe immune enough to strategic voting (especially when compared to
other commonly used methods). If this is the case then the best
method may be the one that performs best with sincere votes (possibly
slightly random and marginally strategic).

Juho



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Steve Eppley
2007-12-03 15:43:30 UTC
Permalink
Perhaps I failed to emphasize, when I mentioned the withdrawal option a
few days ago, that it sharply reduces the incentive to vote
strategically? A candidate strategically raised over the sincere winner
could withdraw if necessary to elect the sincere winner, and typically
would have strong incentives to do so, so why would voters bother
organizing to misrepresent their preferences?

If it is agreed that the withdrawal option sharply reduces the voters'
incentive to vote strategically, then it makes little sense to choose a
voting method based on comparisons only of methods that don't permit
withdrawal, and then graft withdrawal onto the chosen method. It makes
more sense to include methods that permit withdrawal in the set of
methods being compared, and choose a method from this larger set.

--Steve
-------------------
Post by Juho
Post by Diego Santos
I think that cloneproof violation is not severe when a method meets
Smith. Probably near all majority rule cycles in contetions
elections will be caused by burying. Then, additional resistance to
this strategy will be desirable for a Condorcet method. If clone
independence is desirable too, "Smith,IRV" is an alternative.
Why do you expect burying to be the main reason to cycles? Does this
apply to exceptionally contentious elections only or to all typical
elections?
The cycles may also be caused also by "random like" variation in
opinions in close races. Also natural cycles where the voter opinions
really are cyclic are quite possible.
Factors that may reduce the probability of strategic cycles are e.g.
changing opinion poll results before the elections and inability of
the voters to use the strategies in the strategically optimal way.
In general I tend to think that Condorcet methods are at their best
when strategic voting is not widespread or is not well organized
(=hopefully reduces to just noise). I really wouldn't like to see
general public use all the various Condorcet strategies that are
discussed on this list. In most cases Condorcet based methods are
maybe immune enough to strategic voting (especially when compared to
other commonly used methods). If this is the case then the best
method may be the one that performs best with sincere votes (possibly
slightly random and marginally strategic).
Juho
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Juho
2007-12-04 05:29:16 UTC
Permalink
The withdrawal option could encourage sincere voting in Condorcet
style elections. If so, that would again put more weight on
evaluating (the rest of) the method based on how it behaves with
sincere votes. I hope there would not be need to use the withdrawal
option often.

Withdrawal option has both positive and negative impact. The positive
side was already discussed. On the negative side there are problems
like candidates deciding the outcome of the election instead of the
voters and risk of corruption. Also in the case of a natural loop
there is the possibility to buy the withdrawal of one of the
candidates. Sometimes it also makes sense for one candidate (in a
sincere loop) to withdraw to avoid electing (from his/her point of
view) some reasonably good candidate instead of a bad candidate.

One option to reduce the problems would be to require a court
decision on if strategic manipulation of the election outcome was
likely (or a possibility), and only then allow candidates to
withdraw. Of course the decision would still be very difficult, and
in some cases one would not know if independent individuals decided
to vote strategically (e.g. based of reading the EM list). Having
such a "court decision" rule could make at least public
recommendations to vote strategically less tempting.

I also note that strategic voting and recommendations to vote
strategically appear to be quite rare in current systems like top two
runoff (based on my personal relatively limited visibility to them).
Good morale, uncertainty of the opinions, heterogeneous voters and
the difficulty of controlling the voters may often be enough to keep
strategic voting at low levels although there could be some strategic
options open (theoretically).

Juho
Post by Steve Eppley
Perhaps I failed to emphasize, when I mentioned the withdrawal
option a
few days ago, that it sharply reduces the incentive to vote
strategically? A candidate strategically raised over the sincere winner
could withdraw if necessary to elect the sincere winner, and typically
would have strong incentives to do so, so why would voters bother
organizing to misrepresent their preferences?
If it is agreed that the withdrawal option sharply reduces the voters'
incentive to vote strategically, then it makes little sense to
choose a
voting method based on comparisons only of methods that don't permit
withdrawal, and then graft withdrawal onto the chosen method. It makes
more sense to include methods that permit withdrawal in the set of
methods being compared, and choose a method from this larger set.
--Steve
-------------------
Post by Juho
Post by Diego Santos
I think that cloneproof violation is not severe when a method meets
Smith. Probably near all majority rule cycles in contetions
elections will be caused by burying. Then, additional resistance to
this strategy will be desirable for a Condorcet method. If clone
independence is desirable too, "Smith,IRV" is an alternative.
Why do you expect burying to be the main reason to cycles? Does this
apply to exceptionally contentious elections only or to all typical
elections?
The cycles may also be caused also by "random like" variation in
opinions in close races. Also natural cycles where the voter opinions
really are cyclic are quite possible.
Factors that may reduce the probability of strategic cycles are e.g.
changing opinion poll results before the elections and inability of
the voters to use the strategies in the strategically optimal way.
In general I tend to think that Condorcet methods are at their best
when strategic voting is not widespread or is not well organized
(=hopefully reduces to just noise). I really wouldn't like to see
general public use all the various Condorcet strategies that are
discussed on this list. In most cases Condorcet based methods are
maybe immune enough to strategic voting (especially when compared to
other commonly used methods). If this is the case then the best
method may be the one that performs best with sincere votes (possibly
slightly random and marginally strategic).
Juho
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Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
2007-12-05 03:24:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho
Withdrawal option has both positive and negative impact. The positive
side was already discussed. On the negative side there are problems
like candidates deciding the outcome of the election instead of the
voters and risk of corruption. Also in the case of a natural loop
there is the possibility to buy the withdrawal of one of the
candidates.
I've seen this kind of argument against Asset Voting, which puts even
more power, of course, into the hands of those holding votes. In the
case of Asset, if the rules are as needed, though, the entire
political structure could change; in particular, anyone could
register and, if nothing else, vote for himself or herself; more to
the point, candidates could and, I predict, would collect votes on a
very small scale. People would end up voting for someone they know or
at least can communicate personally with.

Here, though, we'd have something much more like a traditional
election. What is missed by these arguments is that elections are
held for a purpose, and the purpose is not (both from the voter and
the candidate's perspective, as well as from the perspective of one
who would attempt to corrupt the process) to get elected, per se, but
to exercise power.

If someone can buy a candidate's withdrawal, they could presumably
also buy the candidate if the candidate wins, and the latter is
actually more dangerous!

There seems to be some kind of automatic reaction to the idea of
candidates deciding election outcomes, even if those candidates have
specifically been given that power by voters deciding to trust them
with their votes. Again, if we can't trust the judgement of a
candidate in how he or she would transfer votes, why would we trust
the candidate in office? For many offices, and certainly for major
ones, the ability to make good choices in the delegation of power is
crucial. Someone not good at it, someone corruptible in it, will be
corruptible in either position: as an "elector" or as a winner holding office.

There is an endemic and deep distrust of politicians. While it's
certainly understandable, it's also abusive. Power corrupts, we
definitely need to understand that, but it also corrupts through
specific mechanisms; when power is concentrated on a mass scale with
no close responsibility, it becomes easily corrupted.

Consider an asset system where the electors maintain the right of
recall -- essentially vote reassignment. If an office holder were
responsible to -- and recallable by -- say, twenty electors who had,
directly and indirectly, assembled the votes to elect him or her, the
responsibility, the connection with the source of power, i.e., the
people, would be immediate and effective. One who would corrupt by
exerting influence over a power node could easily find that they
succeed in influencing the official, who then loses office because of
losing the trust of the twenty. So, then, the effort would be focused
on the twenty. Besides becoming many times as expensive, each of
those twenty has been assigned votes by, say, twenty.

The one corrupted is going to have to come up with some very good
arguments in order to be able to convince those who maintain his or
her power. And if those arguments exist, why not just use the
arguments instead of trying to buy compliance? Not only is it
cheaper, it's also legal and not risky.

On the other hand, trying to buy influence in such a system is only a
problem if it is concealed and focused (this is necessary when it's
truly corruption, i.e., the influence is contrary to the interests of
whose power is being corrupted, but who do not receive the benefit of
the payoff). If it is open, it is not corruption, it is mitigation
and negotiation.

These benefits become, I expect, quite clear when terms of office are
abolished, that is, officers serve, as in a parliamentary system,
only with the maintained consent of those they serve. Terms are
typically long enough that a great deal of damage can be done before
a miscreant who simply loses trust -- which might be a matter of
intuition -- can be removed. Only if the misbehavior is blatant can
recall, a cumbersome, difficult and expensive process in itself,
possibly succeed, unless proof of criminal activity can be found.
(Recall is also used abusively by well-funded political interests who
can sometimes capitalize on weaknesses in the public perception of
some officeholders.)

I think we need to start looking at how to realize, much more fully,
efficiently, and effectively, the promise of democracy: government by
the consent of the governed. And we can do even better than that; it
may be possible to remove much or even most of the coercive nature of
government, when people begin to truly trust it as an institution
that serves them, listens to them, is responsible and responsive to
them, personally as well as collectively.

And it's possible to get from here to there, one step at a time.

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Juho
2007-12-05 06:12:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
If someone can buy a candidate's withdrawal, they could presumably
also buy the candidate if the candidate wins, and the latter is
actually more dangerous!
Buying the withdrawal of a losing candidate is probably cheaper.
Post by Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
Consider an asset system where the electors maintain the right of
recall -- essentially vote reassignment.
This kind of systems would keep the voters in touch and in charge of
what is happening in politics. The inability of voters to change
their opinion in midterm can also be intentional. This kind of an
arrangement guarantees the representatives a more steady basis for
work and makes it possible to make decisions that are not very
popular among the voters (e.g. taxes) (but that might be better
understood among them by the next election).

Juho




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Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
2007-12-10 14:40:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho
Post by Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
If someone can buy a candidate's withdrawal, they could presumably
also buy the candidate if the candidate wins, and the latter is
actually more dangerous!
Buying the withdrawal of a losing candidate is probably cheaper.
Cheaper and less effective. Essentially, one is buying fewer votes.
Now, how is the winner going to know that he should be grateful to
Mr. Bigpockets for the bribe? Tell him, it might backfire. (Either
the winner is ethical and reports the attempt to align him with Mr.
Bigpocket's desires, or he is not and, of course, wants more money,
and what was paid to the loser isn't of any benefit to him.... he
*might* think it was, and *might* go along, but it's risky for
Bigpockets. Buy the winner and you have control over the process of
legislation. Buy a loser, you merely gain a shaky opportunity.
Post by Juho
Post by Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
Consider an asset system where the electors maintain the right of
recall -- essentially vote reassignment.
This kind of systems would keep the voters in touch and in charge of
what is happening in politics.
Probably not, at least not the average voter. But it creates a class
of voters who *are* likely to be more interested, because their
interest can result in changes. Immediate changes, if there are enough of them.
Post by Juho
The inability of voters to change
their opinion in midterm can also be intentional.
It is.
Post by Juho
This kind of an
arrangement guarantees the representatives a more steady basis for
work and makes it possible to make decisions that are not very
popular among the voters (e.g. taxes) (but that might be better
understood among them by the next election).
Yes, this is the classic argument. It's a fundamentally
antidemocratic argument, I'll note. The same principle is used to
argue against *any* democracy, except among an elite.

The argument is actually sound, in a way, given the existing
structure. Implement direct democracy, you'll see serious problems.
But Asset Voting is not direct democracy, and the
Direct/Representative hybrid I've proposed doesn't interfere with the
ability of representatives to *work.* The "work" is deliberative
process, and there is no need to bounce elected representatives from
that process immediately, even if they lost all their votes. Only if
they were seriously disruptive would it become necessary to relieve
them of their seat quickly. And any assembly can do that anyway under
current conditions.

The basic concept that has been introduced here is a separation
between deliberative process (which requires a smaller participating
group) and voting (which need not be so restricted). Routinely, I
expect that nearly all votes would be cast by those with seats and
only a few by electors outside the assembly. However, if the assembly
seriously departs from representing the voters (through the freely
chosen electors), there is then a safety valve, a penumbra of
electors starts to become more active, reweighting the assembly
toward representing the people. Gradually, the seats are recomposed,
but not quickly, unless there are immediate recall actions. I'd
discourage that, absent true emergency, and I can't imagine one that
would require it.



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Juho
2007-12-11 22:01:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
Post by Juho
Post by Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
If someone can buy a candidate's withdrawal, they could presumably
also buy the candidate if the candidate wins, and the latter is
actually more dangerous!
Buying the withdrawal of a losing candidate is probably cheaper.
Cheaper and less effective. Essentially, one is buying fewer votes.
Now, how is the winner going to know that he should be grateful to
Mr. Bigpockets for the bribe? Tell him, it might backfire. (Either
the winner is ethical and reports the attempt to align him with Mr.
Bigpocket's desires, or he is not and, of course, wants more money,
and what was paid to the loser isn't of any benefit to him.... he
*might* think it was, and *might* go along, but it's risky for
Bigpockets. Buy the winner and you have control over the process of
legislation. Buy a loser, you merely gain a shaky opportunity.
The deal could be e.g. such that there are three looped candidates
A>B>C>A. A has the smallest defeat and is about to win before the
"withdrawal rounds". Candidate B can now withdraw and make C the
winner. C offers B some nice position to B for a withdrawal (C will
be the winner so he can arrange this).

B may also actually prefer C to A and will withdraw from that reason
since based on the results B>C>A was probably a common opinion among
the C supporters, and maybe B's personal opinion too.

B might claim that the reason for his withdrawal is the high number
of strategic votes that made A unjustly the winner. We have no way of
knowing if that is the truth.

Juho



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Diego Santos
2007-12-10 16:53:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Eppley
Perhaps I failed to emphasize, when I mentioned the withdrawal option a
few days ago, that it sharply reduces the incentive to vote
strategically? A candidate strategically raised over the sincere winner
could withdraw if necessary to elect the sincere winner, and typically
would have strong incentives to do so, so why would voters bother
organizing to misrepresent their preferences?
If it is agreed that the withdrawal option sharply reduces the voters'
incentive to vote strategically, then it makes little sense to choose a
voting method based on comparisons only of methods that don't permit
withdrawal, and then graft withdrawal onto the chosen method. It makes
more sense to include methods that permit withdrawal in the set of
methods being compared, and choose a method from this larger set.
- Sometimes withdraw option is not applicable (e. g., referenda)
- I think that effective use of CWO should be avoided, because of their
possible negative perception of change of winner after elections.
________________________________
Diego Santos
Steve Eppley
2007-12-10 22:02:17 UTC
Permalink
Hi,
Post by Diego Santos
Post by Steve Eppley
Perhaps I failed to emphasize, when I mentioned the withdrawal option a
few days ago, that it sharply reduces the incentive to vote
strategically? A candidate strategically raised over the sincere winner
could withdraw if necessary to elect the sincere winner, and typically
would have strong incentives to do so, so why would voters bother
organizing to misrepresent their preferences?
If it is agreed that the withdrawal option sharply reduces the voters'
incentive to vote strategically, then it makes little sense to choose a
voting method based on comparisons only of methods that don't permit
withdrawal, and then graft withdrawal onto the chosen method. It makes
more sense to include methods that permit withdrawal in the set of
methods being compared, and choose a method from this larger set.
- Sometimes withdraw option is not applicable (e. g., referenda)
- I think that effective use of CWO should be avoided, because of their
possible negative perception of change of winner after elections.
________________________________
Diego Santos
The withdrawal option can be used for referenda and other ballot
propositions. Each referendum or proposition is placed on the ballot by
someone, who can be authorized to withdraw it.

Obviously, there is no empirical evidence there will be a negative
perception that the winner has changed wrongfully after a candidate's
withdrawal influences the outcome. I do not agree that the possibility
some voters will view the outcome negatively is sufficient reason not to
allow withdrawal. Think about the candidates' incentives. The
candidates will expect scrutiny of their decisions whether or not to
withdraw, and if their decisions do not pass muster then their political
futures will be undermined. Also, think about the voters' learning
process. I do not believe it would take more than one or two election
cycles before most voters understand the usefulness of the withdrawal
option to society.

If candidates may not withdraw after the voting, some of them may be
forced to withdraw before the voting (also known as "deciding not to
run, out of fear of being a spoiler that worsens the outcome") or some
voters may be induced to vote insincerely. I've observed considerable
voter negativity regarding not having a good enough candidate to vote
for on election day, in systems where spoiling prevents candidates from
running, and having to "hold one's nose" while casting a vote for a
less-preferred candidate. I expect there would be considerable voter
negativity regarding the need to vote strategically in systems that do
not permit withdrawal.

A couple of weeks ago in this thread of messages, I wrote about voting
methods in which each candidate publishes an ordering of the candidates
prior to election day. Another advantage of such methods (besides
simplifying election day for the voters) is that the published orderings
would serve to forecast the candidates' decisions whether to withdraw.
A candidate whose withdrawal decision is inconsistent with his published
ordering would presumably attract intense scrutiny, undermining his
political future. Also, the candidates' orderings would help prepare
voters in advance for the withdrawal decisions, and (the few) voters who
might respond negatively could choose to vote for someone else.
--Steve
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Juho Laatu
2007-12-11 22:47:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Eppley
If candidates may not withdraw after the voting, some of them may be
forced to withdraw before the voting (also known as "deciding not to
run, out of fear of being a spoiler that worsens the outcome") or some
voters may be induced to vote insincerely.
Fortunately the results of the election are typically not known
beforehand. Therefore the reasons and information behind a withdrawal
before the election are typically quite different from what they
would be after the election. I also note that e.g. in the US
presidential elections there have been few spoilers and many
candidates that could have become spoilers but I think there are not
many that would have given up the race already before the election.
Post by Steve Eppley
I've observed considerable
voter negativity regarding not having a good enough candidate to vote
for on election day, in systems where spoiling prevents candidates from
running, and having to "hold one's nose" while casting a vote for a
less-preferred candidate. I expect there would be considerable voter
negativity regarding the need to vote strategically in systems that do
not permit withdrawal.
After an election with withdrawals there can be two winners - one
that would have won based on the ballots and one that won as a result
of the withdrawals. Maybe the voters that supported the first
"winner" are also disappointed with the method. That may be true
especially if the first winner did not "win" as a result of strategic
voting. Or if most of his supporters think so.

Juho

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Steve Eppley
2007-12-12 16:10:11 UTC
Permalink
Hi,
Post by Juho Laatu
Post by Steve Eppley
If candidates may not withdraw after the voting, some of them may be
forced to withdraw before the voting (also known as "deciding not to
run, out of fear of being a spoiler that worsens the outcome") or some
voters may be induced to vote insincerely.
Fortunately the results of the election are typically not known
beforehand. Therefore the reasons and information behind a withdrawal
before the election are typically quite different from what they would
be after the election.
As I wrote in my previous email (above) what I meant by "withdrawing
before the election" is deciding not to run. Even without precise
knowledge, fear of spoiling will motivate candidates not to run. In
partisan elections, the decision not to run will typically be made not
by the individual but by his/her party. If the voting method is
spoiler-prone, the party will be afraid to nominate a potential
spoiler. Even in non-partisan elections, fear of being a spoiler (given
a spoiler-prone voting method) will deter potential candidates from running.
Post by Juho Laatu
I also note that e.g. in the US presidential elections there have been
few spoilers and many candidates that could have become spoilers but I
think there are not many that would have given up the race already
before the election.
That is not what I have observed. Ask yourself why do the parties each
nominate only one person per office? The reason is to avoid spoiling
and losing. Many people have competed to be the nominee of one of the
two big parties, and nearly all who failed to be nominated chose not to
compete in the general election.
Post by Juho Laatu
Post by Steve Eppley
I've observed considerable
voter negativity regarding not having a good enough candidate to vote
for on election day, in systems where spoiling prevents candidates from
running, and having to "hold one's nose" while casting a vote for a
less-preferred candidate. I expect there would be considerable voter
negativity regarding the need to vote strategically in systems that do
not permit withdrawal.
After an election with withdrawals there can be two winners - one that
would have won based on the ballots and one that won as a result of
the withdrawals. Maybe the voters that supported the first "winner"
are also disappointed with the method. That may be true especially if
the first winner did not "win" as a result of strategic voting. Or if
most of his supporters think so.
Yes, but all voting methods are subject to disappointment by supporters
of a loser, particularly if there exists another voting method that
would have elected their preferred candidate. So, why single out
withdrawal methods for this criticism? Furthermore, why believe that
disappointment with a withdrawal method will be greater than
disappointment with methods where voters must calculate and organize
strategies every time there's a high-stakes election?

It appears to me that critics of withdrawal are forgetting that the
incentive for candidates trying to win will be to compete to be the best
compromise. Their positions on the issues will be similar. Assuming
this is so, and assuming the underlying voting method chooses from the
top cycle, how great could the voters' disappointment be? Here's a
spatial diagram to illustrate my point:

L C1 R
C2 C3

Assume C1, C2 and C3 cycle. Since they are spatially near each other,
the disappointment of the voters who prefer the pre-withdrawal winner
should not be intense.

Assuming the C candidates are similar on the issues, I would NOT expect
the voters' ranking of the C candidates in such elections to resemble
the classic example of majority cycling:

?% ?% ?%
C1 C2 C3
C2 C3 C1
C3 C1 C2

I would expect the voters to be far more split: a significant number of
voters who rank C1 first would rank C2 second and a significant number
of voters who rank C1 first would rank C3 second, etc. I would also
expect the voters' preference intensities regarding the C candidates to
be relatively small compared to the intensities involving L and/or R. I
would expect the candidates' and parties' preference intensities
regarding the C candidates to be small too.

Assume C1 > C2 > C3 > C1 (where '>' means "is ranked by a majority
over") and that C1 wins if no one withdraws. It has been suggested that
C3 may pay C2 to withdraw. If so, why care? Elections are crude
instruments for making social choices. Furthermore, C1 has the moral
high ground and could offer to pay C2 not to withdraw or could offer to
pay C3 to not pay C2.

Note the similarity between withdrawal and parliamentary coalition
formation. When parties form a coalition to select the executive
cabinet officers (in particular, the prime minister) they are not bound
by the votes of the recent election. Who knows what deals they will
make? At least with withdrawal, all a candidate can do is step out of
the way of their supporters' next choice.
Post by Juho Laatu
Juho
Regards,
Steve
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Juho
2007-12-12 18:28:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Eppley
As I wrote in my previous email (above) what I meant by "withdrawing
before the election" is deciding not to run.
Ok, there are two cases, one where the candidate has already been
identified as a candidate and another one where not.
Post by Steve Eppley
In
partisan elections, the decision not to run will typically be made not
by the individual but by his/her party. If the voting method is
spoiler-prone, the party will be afraid to nominate a potential
spoiler.
I'd classify this as a special case where the idea is to eliminate
the impact of losing to candidates of one's own party. In this case
there are methods that can be used to eliminate the risks without
using withdrawal. One approach is e.g. to use minmax and simply
decide that party internal losses will not be counted. (I'm however
not sure that any defensive actions are needed.)
Post by Steve Eppley
Post by Juho Laatu
I also note that e.g. in the US presidential elections there have been
few spoilers and many candidates that could have become spoilers but I
think there are not many that would have given up the race already
before the election.
That is not what I have observed. Ask yourself why do the parties each
nominate only one person per office?
Ok, within a party limiting the number of candidates is possible (and
stepping up as a competitor to one's own party after losing the pre-
elections is maybe not an option to most people).

The risk of being a (party internal) spoiler is smaller in Condorcet
based methods than what it is in plurality.
Post by Steve Eppley
Post by Juho Laatu
After an election with withdrawals there can be two winners - one that
would have won based on the ballots and one that won as a result of
the withdrawals. Maybe the voters that supported the first "winner"
are also disappointed with the method. That may be true especially if
the first winner did not "win" as a result of strategic voting. Or if
most of his supporters think so.
Yes, but all voting methods are subject to disappointment by
supporters
of a loser, particularly if there exists another voting method that
would have elected their preferred candidate. So, why single out
withdrawal methods for this criticism?
The problem with withdrawal is that the candidates and politicians
themselves are given the option to "change" the result "after the
public election" based on their own opinions. In some sense the
ability of one or few persons to decide the winner beaks against the
default rules of democracy. (Also the increased risk of corruption is
one additional concern.)
Post by Steve Eppley
Furthermore, why believe that
disappointment with a withdrawal method will be greater than
disappointment with methods where voters must calculate and organize
strategies every time there's a high-stakes election?
I don't want to defend strategies. They are bad in all scenarios. On
the other hand I'm not convinced that withdrawal would significantly
reduce strategic voting (including concerns of strategic withdrawal).
One can also claim that in normal large scale public Condorcet
elections (and when assuming that the voters have the tendency to
make their own decisions instead of expecting voting orders from the
party) the impact of strategic voting can well be insignificant.
Post by Steve Eppley
It appears to me that critics of withdrawal are forgetting that the
incentive for candidates trying to win will be to compete to be the best
compromise. Their positions on the issues will be similar. Assuming
this is so, and assuming the underlying voting method chooses from the
top cycle, how great could the voters' disappointment be? Here's a
L C1 R
C2 C3
Assume C1, C2 and C3 cycle. Since they are spatially near each other,
the disappointment of the voters who prefer the pre-withdrawal winner
should not be intense.
Assuming the C candidates are similar on the issues, I would NOT expect
the voters' ranking of the C candidates in such elections to resemble
?% ?% ?%
C1 C2 C3
C2 C3 C1
C3 C1 C2
I would expect the voters to be far more split: a significant
number of
voters who rank C1 first would rank C2 second and a significant number
of voters who rank C1 first would rank C3 second, etc. I would also
expect the voters' preference intensities regarding the C
candidates to
be relatively small compared to the intensities involving L and/or R. I
would expect the candidates' and parties' preference intensities
regarding the C candidates to be small too.
Ok, the cycle is likely to be weak then.
Post by Steve Eppley
Assume C1 > C2 > C3 > C1 (where '>' means "is ranked by a majority
over") and that C1 wins if no one withdraws. It has been suggested that
C3 may pay C2 to withdraw. If so, why care?
You didn't expect any strategic or otherwise insincere voting to be
present. If so, maybe C1 should win.
Post by Steve Eppley
Elections are crude
instruments for making social choices. Furthermore, C1 has the moral
high ground and could offer to pay C2 not to withdraw or could
offer to
pay C3 to not pay C2.
Note the similarity between withdrawal and parliamentary coalition
formation. When parties form a coalition to select the executive
cabinet officers (in particular, the prime minister) they are not bound
by the votes of the recent election. Who knows what deals they will
make? At least with withdrawal, all a candidate can do is step out of
the way of their supporters' next choice.
I accept the ideas of representative democracy (representative will
decide instead of citizens deciding directly) and allowing the
representatives the luxury to work in the way they wish until the
next elections. It is more problematic to me to allow the candidates
to decide who will be elected.


Some more discussion on the example above:

The example could be extended a bit by assuming that the C1
supporters voted strategically and this way were able to make C1 win.
In Condorcet elections this could mean that the sincere preference of
the strategists was C1>C3>C2 but they voted C1>C2>C3 and successfully
buried C3, and that C3 would have been the winner with sincere votes.
Now C2 would have some moral reasons to withdraw and change the
winner from C1 to C3. C2 and majority of his/her supporters could
also prefer C3 to C1.

There are however problems like deciding who will withdraw. Also
others may have voted strategically, or at least often people are
tempted to explain their losses that way. This could lead to closed
negotiations between C1, C2 and C3 right after the election. The
voters would need to wait for some time for C1, C2 and C3 or their
parties to decide who will be allowed to win. This setting doesn't
sound very positive to me.

If two of the three cyclic candidates are from the same party (C2,
C3), then that party could decide that one of the two candidates
should withdraw (C2) (and voters would maybe accept that). One
problem is that C3 lost to C2 but now wins. On the other hand C3 won
C1, so he is a good winner from that point of view. But as already
said, I'd prefer this dilemma to be solved in the basic method
without withdrawal. (Well, maybe allowing a party member to withdraw
to make another party member win would be an option that would be
less problematic than a free withdrawal option. I prefer
deterministic voter decisions though.)


I'm still missing an example where the withdrawal option would bring
clear improvements (on problems that are likely to appear in
elections) and would not introduce many problems itself. One big
problem is also the quite possible perception of the voters that the
candidates/politicians ignored the opinion of the citizens and
decided otherwise. In the case of withdrawal multiple explanations to
the withdrawals are likely to exist (=no clear well justified
explanation of defending against strategic voting).

Juho




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Steve Eppley
2007-11-30 15:29:54 UTC
Permalink
Hi,

In Diego Santos' example (below) the A voters who strategically
downranked B had a strong incentive not to do so, assuming they were
aware the B voters intended to truncate. This highlights some
advantages of the truncation strategy used by the supporters of the
sincere Condorcet winner (B):

1. It does not need to be kept secret, and benefits by being announced.
Announcing their intention to truncate creates a group strategy
equilibrium (more powerful than a Nash equilibrium) in which
the sincere Condorcet winner is elected, assuming the other
voters believe the announcement is credible.

2. It encourages sincere voting by other voters.

That assumes the voting method satisfies the Minimal Defense criterion
(similar to Mike Ossipoff's Strng Defensive Strategy Criterion). For
more information about the truncation defensive strategy, follow the
link to Minimal Defense at my website, which is at:
http://www.alumni.caltech.edu/~seppley
The website is about the Maximize Affirmed Majorities (MAM) voting
method, which other people often refer to as "Ranked Pairs (Winning Votes)."

* * * * *
A simple way to minimize the need for defensive strategy is to allow
candidates to withdraw from contention after the votes have been cast.
In other words, at the end of election day the votes would be published
(without identifying information that would disclose how individual
voters voted, of course) and then the candidates would be allowed a
period of time (days, maybe weeks) to decide whether to withdraw. After
that period of time has elapsed, the votes would be tallied to determine
the winner, with withdrawn candidates omitted from each vote.

In the example, if we assume candidate C's preferences are similar to
the preferences of the 44% who rank C on top, C has an incentive to
withdraw if necessary to defeat A. If the 46% who rank A on top attempt
to defeat B by strategically voting B at the bottom, candidate C can
neutralize their strategy by withdrawing.

Note that some non-Condorcetian methods, if coupled with the withdrawal
option, would favor sincere Condorcet winners. Instant Runoff would.
Borda not so much, I think, due to the egregious way Borda fails the
clone independence criterion.

* * * * *
Another technique to make preference order voting much simpler for the
voters is for each candidate to publish an ordering of the candidates
before election day. On election day, each voter selects one candidate.
(Nothing could be simpler.) This would be tallied as if the voter had
expressed the ordering published by the candidate s/he selected.

Such votes can be quickly tallied, would ease the voters'
information-gathering burden, and would reduce the best compromise
candidates' need for campaign money.

Australia's STV proportional representation elections provide the voters
a similar (optional) shortcut: Before election day, each party publishes
a ranking and on election day each voter may either select a party or
rank the candidates. If the voter selects a party, her vote is tallied
as if she had expressed the ranking published by that party. Most
Australian voters use the shortcut. (Some folks in Australia want to
eliminate the shortcut option and force the voters to rank the
candidates. Gary Cox, professor of political science at UCSD --
University of California at San Diego -- and author of Making Votes
Count, likes the Australian shortcut. He says it makes STV PR behave
more like closed list PR, which tends to reduce the pork promised during
election campaigns. In pure STV PR, similar candidates compete against
each other for the same segment of the voters, creating the incentive to
promise pork for that segment.)

If we assume candidate C's preferences are similar to the 44% who rank C
on top, C has an incentive to publish C>B>A, to help defeat A.
(Similarly, A has an incentive to publish A>B>C to help defeat C.) Many
of C's supporters would want C to publish C>B>A, so if C publishes any
other ranking it would attract media scrutiny and probably reduce C's
vote total. (That is, some of C's supporters would vote for B if
necessary to defeat A, or for some 4th candidate similar to C, say C',
who publishes C'>C>B>A, if there is such a candidate.)

It might be desirable to allow candidates to change their published
ordering before election day. If this is allowed, and if voters may
vote before election day by mailing in an "absentee ballot," the
absentee ballot should probably be treated as if it expressed the
ordering published before the absentee ballot was mailed.

Given adequate technology in the voting booth, the voters could be given
more flexibility. Each voter would begin by selecting a candidate. This
would immediately cause that candidate's published ordering to be
displayed to the voter. Then the voter would be able to rearrange the
ordering, if desired. (Perhaps by drag & drop. The NetFlix interface
now allows each customer to rearrange his movie queue using drag & drop,
by the way.) When the voter is satisfied with the displayed ordering,
she submits it as her vote.

Regards,
Steve Eppley
------------------------------
Post by Diego Santos
There were many discussions in this mailing list about advantages of winning
votes as counterstrategy against order reversal. But sometimes truncation is
46: A > B > C
44: C > B > A
10: B > A > C
B is CW.
46: A > C > B
44: C > B > A
10: B > A > C
A wins under RP(wv) or margins.
46: A > C > B
44: C > B > A
10: B
C, the sincere Condorcet loser, wins.
Winning votes induces truncation. Voters should feel free to express
complete preferences.
I was thinking in something similiar to "automatic truncation", i. e.,
pairwise stregth in ranked pairs should be measured by plurality. If
approval is used, the method becames DMC. Maybe approval cutoffs are not
needed, then RP(plurality) is sufficient.
RP (plurality) or pairwise sorted plurality offers weak burial resistance
and is summable, opposite to Smith,IRV.
Diego Santos
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Diego Santos
2007-11-30 18:03:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Eppley
Hi,
In Diego Santos' example (below) the A voters who strategically
downranked B had a strong incentive not to do so, assuming they were
aware the B voters intended to truncate. This highlights some
advantages of the truncation strategy used by the supporters of the
1. It does not need to be kept secret, and benefits by being announced.
Announcing their intention to truncate creates a group strategy
equilibrium (more powerful than a Nash equilibrium) in which
the sincere Condorcet winner is elected, assuming the other
voters believe the announcement is credible.
2. It encourages sincere voting by other voters.
That assumes the voting method satisfies the Minimal Defense criterion
(similar to Mike Ossipoff's Strng Defensive Strategy Criterion). For
more information about the truncation defensive strategy, follow the
http://www.alumni.caltech.edu/~seppley
The website is about the Maximize Affirmed Majorities (MAM) voting
method, which other people often refer to as "Ranked Pairs (Winning Votes)."
I dislike MAM or Schulze(WV) because these methods require information about
other voters' behavior:
- or all voters are sincere
- or all voters are insincere (strategic or counterstrategic).

If perfect knowledge about all voters' preferences, and optimal strategies
and counterstregies are used, plain plurality elects the sincere CW too. An
electoral method is more near from ideal how much it is free from
manipulation.

* * * * *
Post by Steve Eppley
A simple way to minimize the need for defensive strategy is to allow
candidates to withdraw from contention after the votes have been cast.
(...)
Another technique to make preference order voting much simpler for the
voters is for each candidate to publish an ordering of the candidates
before election day. (...)
Candidate withdraw option and "how to vote" cards are welcome alongside
paiwise sorted plurality or other somewhat burying resistant with zero info.
________________________________
Diego Renato dos Santos
Dave Ketchum
2007-12-02 15:23:13 UTC
Permalink
Agreed margins is better, though I do not see this test case as proof.

Also, rules should be neutral as to promoting or discouraging truncation.

AND, rules should be simple, to promote voters being able to understand them.

I happily throw darts at IRV, noting that Condorcet is summable, while its
cousin, IRV, is not.
Post by Diego Santos
There were many discussions in this mailing list about advantages of
winning votes as counterstrategy against order reversal. But sometimes
46: A > B > C
44: C > B > A
10: B > A > C
B is CW.
Agreed.
Post by Diego Santos
46: A > C > B
44: C > B > A
10: B > A > C
A wins under RP(wv) or margins.
??? A voters say they like C better than B - suspicious for, to me, this
makes a cycle with C winning (90>10 voters prefer C>B; 56>44 A>C; 54>46 B>A.

C voters could do the same for A.
Post by Diego Santos
46: A > C > B
44: C > B > A
10: B
C, the sincere Condorcet loser, wins.
Agreed - but C wins due to A voters' change. B voters' change from A>C to
A=C is too trivial to matter.
Post by Diego Santos
Winning votes induces truncation. Voters should feel free to express
complete preferences.
I was thinking in something similiar to "automatic truncation", i. e.,
pairwise stregth in ranked pairs should be measured by plurality. If
approval is used, the method becames DMC. Maybe approval cutoffs are not
needed, then RP(plurality) is sufficient.
RP (plurality) or pairwise sorted plurality offers weak burial
resistance and is summable, opposite to Smith,IRV.
Diego Santos
------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Kevin Venzke
2007-12-02 18:33:55 UTC
Permalink
Dave,
Post by Dave Ketchum
Post by Diego Santos
46: A > C > B
44: C > B > A
10: B > A > C
A wins under RP(wv) or margins.
??? A voters say they like C better than B - suspicious for, to me, this
makes a cycle with C winning (90>10 voters prefer C>B; 56>44 A>C; 54>46 B>A.
A wins the cycle because A's loss to B is the weakest loss.

Kevin Venzke


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Dave Ketchum
2007-12-03 01:51:39 UTC
Permalink
Apologies! I picked what looked good to me as a winner, and then assumed
I understood compatible rules.

Since I had the rules wrong, please forget what I said based on them.

DWK
Post by Kevin Venzke
Dave,
Post by Dave Ketchum
Post by Diego Santos
46: A > C > B
44: C > B > A
10: B > A > C
A wins under RP(wv) or margins.
??? A voters say they like C better than B - suspicious for, to me, this
makes a cycle with C winning (90>10 voters prefer C>B; 56>44 A>C; 54>46 B>A.
A wins the cycle because A's loss to B is the weakest loss.
Kevin Venzke
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Dave Ketchum 108 Halstead Ave, Owego, NY 13827-1708 607-687-5026
Do to no one what you would not want done to you.
If you want peace, work for justice.



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