Discussion:
Has this idea been considered?
Russ Paielli
2011-07-04 19:52:15 UTC
Permalink
Hello,

I was somewhat active on this mailing list for a short time several years
ago. How is everyone doing?

I have an idea for a single-winner election method, and it seems like a good
one to me. I'd like to know if it has been considered before and, if so,
what the problems are with it, if any. Here's how it works:

The mechanics of casting a ballot are identical to what we do now (in the US
anyway). Each voter simply votes for one candidate. After the votes are
counted, the last-place candidate transfers his or her votes to the
candidate of his or her choice. Then the next-to-last candidate does the
same thing, and so on, until one candidate has a majority.

The transfer of votes at the close of polling could be automated as follows.
Weeks before the election, each candidate constructs a ranked list of his or
her preferences for the other candidates. The resulting preference matrix
could (should?) be published for the voters to see in advance. The bottom
candidate at each round of transfers would then have his or her votes
automatically transferred to the top remaining candidate in his or her
preference list.

The transfer of votes from the bottom finisher in each round resembles IRV,
but note that this method is "summable" -- a major advantage over IRV,
eliminating the need to maintain a record of each and every vote cast. I
think it may also have other major strategy-deterring advantages over IRV.
What do you think? Thanks.

Russ P.
--
http://RussP.us
Jameson Quinn
2011-07-04 20:10:03 UTC
Permalink
A system based purely on candidates freely transferring their votes until a
majority (or Droop quota) is reached is called Asset voting. I believe that
Asset voting is a good system, though there are certainly those who'd
disagree. It is also possible - and I'd say desirable - to combine aspects
of Asset with other systems productively. One such proposal,
SODA<http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/SODA>,
is currently my favorite practical reform proposal, something I have real
hopes for. So I'd certainly say you have (reinvented) some good ideas here.

With that said, I can see a couple of problems with this system right off.
First off, bottom-up elimination is probably the worst feature of IRV,
because there is a fairly broad range of situations where it leads
inevitably to eliminating a centrist and electing an extremist, in a way
that can clearly be criticized as "spoiled" (the centrist would have won
pairwise) and "nonmonotonic" (votes shifting to the winner can cause them to
lose). Secondly, a voter has no power to ensure that their vote is not
transferred in a way they do not approve of. This second disadvantage
compounds with the first, because a minority bloc will be eliminated early,
and their votes transferred more than once before the final result.

Cheers,
Jameson
Post by Russ Paielli
Hello,
I was somewhat active on this mailing list for a short time several years
ago. How is everyone doing?
I have an idea for a single-winner election method, and it seems like a
good one to me. I'd like to know if it has been considered before and, if
The mechanics of casting a ballot are identical to what we do now (in the
US anyway). Each voter simply votes for one candidate. After the votes are
counted, the last-place candidate transfers his or her votes to the
candidate of his or her choice. Then the next-to-last candidate does the
same thing, and so on, until one candidate has a majority.
The transfer of votes at the close of polling could be automated as
follows. Weeks before the election, each candidate constructs a ranked list
of his or her preferences for the other candidates. The resulting preference
matrix could (should?) be published for the voters to see in advance. The
bottom candidate at each round of transfers would then have his or her votes
automatically transferred to the top remaining candidate in his or her
preference list.
The transfer of votes from the bottom finisher in each round resembles IRV,
but note that this method is "summable" -- a major advantage over IRV,
eliminating the need to maintain a record of each and every vote cast. I
think it may also have other major strategy-deterring advantages over IRV.
What do you think? Thanks.
Russ P.
--
http://RussP.us
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
Kristofer Munsterhjelm
2011-07-04 20:53:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jameson Quinn
With that said, I can see a couple of problems with this system right
off. First off, bottom-up elimination is probably the worst feature of
IRV, because there is a fairly broad range of situations where it leads
inevitably to eliminating a centrist and electing an extremist, in a way
that can clearly be criticized as "spoiled" (the centrist would have won
pairwise) and "nonmonotonic" (votes shifting to the winner can cause
them to lose). Secondly, a voter has no power to ensure that their vote
is not transferred in a way they do not approve of. This second
disadvantage compounds with the first, because a minority bloc will be
eliminated early, and their votes transferred more than once before the
final result.
I wonder if it would be possible to mitigate the order-of-elimination
problem by devising a constraint program of some sort. Something like:

A candidate has links to it from other candidates according to the
voters who voted the other candidate above him. A candidate has links
away from it to other candidates according to the voters who voted him
above the other candidates.

Each candidate can hold a Droop quota's worth of voting power. Any
excess is distributed to the candidates that candidate links to,
proportional for each candidate to the strength of each link.

Start by giving the candidates power equal to how many people voted them
in first place. Then: evolve the system until some candidate gets a
Droop quota through the mutual distribution.

Perhaps this isn't always possible. I'm being a bit quick around the
edges here. The general idea is to consider equilibria of some
vote-distribution system so that the order in which the actual transfers
are done matters less.

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Russ Paielli
2011-07-05 00:09:56 UTC
Permalink
Thanks for the feedback, Jameson. After thinking about it a bit, I realized
that the method I proposed probably suffers from strategy problems similar
to IRV. But at least it avoids the summability problem of IRV, which I
consider a major defect.

OK, here's another proposal. Same thing I proposed at the top of this
thread, except that voters can vote for more than one candidate, as in
Approval Voting. How does that stack up?

By the way, I took a look at SODA, and I must tell you that I don't consider
it a "practical reform proposal." It's way too complicated to ever be
adopted for major public elections. The method I just proposed is already
pushing the limit for complexity, and it is much simpler than SODA.

Regards,
Russ P.
Post by Jameson Quinn
A system based purely on candidates freely transferring their votes until a
majority (or Droop quota) is reached is called Asset voting. I believe that
Asset voting is a good system, though there are certainly those who'd
disagree. It is also possible - and I'd say desirable - to combine aspects
of Asset with other systems productively. One such proposal, SODA<http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/SODA>,
is currently my favorite practical reform proposal, something I have real
hopes for. So I'd certainly say you have (reinvented) some good ideas here.
With that said, I can see a couple of problems with this system right off.
First off, bottom-up elimination is probably the worst feature of IRV,
because there is a fairly broad range of situations where it leads
inevitably to eliminating a centrist and electing an extremist, in a way
that can clearly be criticized as "spoiled" (the centrist would have won
pairwise) and "nonmonotonic" (votes shifting to the winner can cause them to
lose). Secondly, a voter has no power to ensure that their vote is not
transferred in a way they do not approve of. This second disadvantage
compounds with the first, because a minority bloc will be eliminated early,
and their votes transferred more than once before the final result.
Cheers,
Jameson
Post by Russ Paielli
Hello,
I was somewhat active on this mailing list for a short time several years
ago. How is everyone doing?
I have an idea for a single-winner election method, and it seems like a
good one to me. I'd like to know if it has been considered before and, if
The mechanics of casting a ballot are identical to what we do now (in the
US anyway). Each voter simply votes for one candidate. After the votes are
counted, the last-place candidate transfers his or her votes to the
candidate of his or her choice. Then the next-to-last candidate does the
same thing, and so on, until one candidate has a majority.
The transfer of votes at the close of polling could be automated as
follows. Weeks before the election, each candidate constructs a ranked list
of his or her preferences for the other candidates. The resulting preference
matrix could (should?) be published for the voters to see in advance. The
bottom candidate at each round of transfers would then have his or her votes
automatically transferred to the top remaining candidate in his or her
preference list.
The transfer of votes from the bottom finisher in each round resembles
IRV, but note that this method is "summable" -- a major advantage over IRV,
eliminating the need to maintain a record of each and every vote cast. I
think it may also have other major strategy-deterring advantages over IRV.
What do you think? Thanks.
Russ P.
--
http://RussP.us
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
--
http://RussP.us
Juho Laatu
2011-07-05 05:34:44 UTC
Permalink
Thanks for the feedback, Jameson. After thinking about it a bit, I realized that the method I proposed probably suffers from strategy problems similar to IRV. But at least it avoids the summability problem of IRV, which I consider a major defect.
I agree that if IRV is interesting then also this method is. Some IRV related problems remain but you will get summability, clear declarations of candidate preferences, very simple voting and ability to handle easily large number of candidates. You could say that this method is also an improvement of TTR (similar voting, but has ability to pick the winner in one round only, maybe smaller spoiler problem).

If people don't like the preference list given by their favourite candidate, one could nominate additional fake candidates to offer additional preference lists. If the preference list of candidate A is A>B>C, then thee could be an additional (weaker) candidate A1 whose preference order would be A1>A>C>B.

One possible extension would be to allow candidates that are afraid that they would be spoilers (that reduce the votes of a stronger favourite candidate too much so that he will be eliminated too early) to transfer their votes right away. The preference list could have a cutoff. Preference list A>B>C>>D>E (of candidate A) would be interpreted so that votes to A would be added right away also to the score of B and C (but not D and E). If A gets transferred votes from some other candidates, they will be transferred further (to candidates not mentioned above cutoff in the original transfer list) only after A has been eliminated. (One could use this trick also in regular IRV.)

If one wants to simplify the inheritance rules even more then we might end up using a tree method (I seem to mention it in every mail I send:). In that approach there is no risk of having loops in the candidate transfer order. Votes would be counted right away for each branch, and the candidate of the largest brach of the largest branch of the ... would win.
OK, here's another proposal. Same thing I proposed at the top of this thread, except that voters can vote for more than one candidate, as in Approval Voting. How does that stack up?
You should define that method a bit more in detail. I started wondering if it would allow candidate X to win if he asked also 100 of his friends to take part in the election and transfer their votes to him.

Juho
By the way, I took a look at SODA, and I must tell you that I don't consider it a "practical reform proposal." It's way too complicated to ever be adopted for major public elections. The method I just proposed is already pushing the limit for complexity, and it is much simpler than SODA.
Regards,
Russ P.
A system based purely on candidates freely transferring their votes until a majority (or Droop quota) is reached is called Asset voting. I believe that Asset voting is a good system, though there are certainly those who'd disagree. It is also possible - and I'd say desirable - to combine aspects of Asset with other systems productively. One such proposal, SODA, is currently my favorite practical reform proposal, something I have real hopes for. So I'd certainly say you have (reinvented) some good ideas here.
With that said, I can see a couple of problems with this system right off. First off, bottom-up elimination is probably the worst feature of IRV, because there is a fairly broad range of situations where it leads inevitably to eliminating a centrist and electing an extremist, in a way that can clearly be criticized as "spoiled" (the centrist would have won pairwise) and "nonmonotonic" (votes shifting to the winner can cause them to lose). Secondly, a voter has no power to ensure that their vote is not transferred in a way they do not approve of. This second disadvantage compounds with the first, because a minority bloc will be eliminated early, and their votes transferred more than once before the final result.
Cheers,
Jameson
Hello,
I was somewhat active on this mailing list for a short time several years ago. How is everyone doing?
The mechanics of casting a ballot are identical to what we do now (in the US anyway). Each voter simply votes for one candidate. After the votes are counted, the last-place candidate transfers his or her votes to the candidate of his or her choice. Then the next-to-last candidate does the same thing, and so on, until one candidate has a majority.
The transfer of votes at the close of polling could be automated as follows. Weeks before the election, each candidate constructs a ranked list of his or her preferences for the other candidates. The resulting preference matrix could (should?) be published for the voters to see in advance. The bottom candidate at each round of transfers would then have his or her votes automatically transferred to the top remaining candidate in his or her preference list.
The transfer of votes from the bottom finisher in each round resembles IRV, but note that this method is "summable" -- a major advantage over IRV, eliminating the need to maintain a record of each and every vote cast. I think it may also have other major strategy-deterring advantages over IRV. What do you think? Thanks.
Russ P.
--
http://RussP.us
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
--
http://RussP.us
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
Russ Paielli
2011-07-05 08:19:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Russ Paielli
Thanks for the feedback, Jameson. After thinking about it a bit, I realized
that the method I proposed probably suffers from strategy problems similar
to IRV. But at least it avoids the summability problem of IRV, which I
consider a major defect.
I agree that if IRV is interesting then also this method is. Some IRV
related problems remain but you will get summability, clear declarations of
candidate preferences, very simple voting and ability to handle easily large
number of candidates. You could say that this method is also an improvement
of TTR (similar voting, but has ability to pick the winner in one round
only, maybe smaller spoiler problem).
After thinking about it a bit more, it seems to me that the method I
proposed at the top of this thread greatly improves on the practicality of
IRV. Not that I'm a big fan of IRV, but it *is* getting a lot of political
support these days, so improving it should be of interest.

First of all, my method is summable, which I consider a huge practical
benefit. Secondly, my method does not require the voter to rank candidates.
That's another huge practical benefit, greatly simplifying equipment
requirements and voter education.

The only "benefit" missing in my proposal compared to IRV is that the voter
cannot specify his own ranking of the candidates but rather must depend on
the candidates own rankings of the other candidates. I hardly consider that
a benefit anyway. I'll bet most voters would rather just leave the ranking
to their preferred candidate anyway. The candidate is likely to have more
time to research the issue, and if you trust the candidate to govern, you
must trust his judgment to some extent to some extent anyway.
Post by Russ Paielli
If people don't like the preference list given by their favourite
candidate, one could nominate additional fake candidates to offer additional
preference lists. If the preference list of candidate A is A>B>C, then thee
could be an additional (weaker) candidate A1 whose preference order would be
A1>A>C>B.
One possible extension would be to allow candidates that are afraid that
they would be spoilers (that reduce the votes of a stronger favourite
candidate too much so that he will be eliminated too early) to transfer
their votes right away. The preference list could have a cutoff. Preference
list A>B>C>>D>E (of candidate A) would be interpreted so that votes to A
would be added right away also to the score of B and C (but not D and E). If
A gets transferred votes from some other candidates, they will be
transferred further (to candidates not mentioned above cutoff in the
original transfer list) only after A has been eliminated. (One could use
this trick also in regular IRV.)
If one wants to simplify the inheritance rules even more then we might end
up using a tree method (I seem to mention it in every mail I send:). In that
approach there is no risk of having loops in the candidate transfer order.
Votes would be counted right away for each branch, and the candidate of the
largest brach of the largest branch of the ... would win.
That sounds interesting, but I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Can
you give an example?
Post by Russ Paielli
OK, here's another proposal. Same thing I proposed at the top of this
thread, except that voters can vote for more than one candidate, as in
Approval Voting. How does that stack up?
You should define that method a bit more in detail. I started wondering if
it would allow candidate X to win if he asked also 100 of his friends to
take part in the election and transfer their votes to him.
Yeah, it could get a bit weird. Maybe it's not a great combination.

--Russ P.
Post by Russ Paielli
Juho
By the way, I took a look at SODA, and I must tell you that I don't
consider it a "practical reform proposal." It's way too complicated to ever
be adopted for major public elections. The method I just proposed is already
pushing the limit for complexity, and it is much simpler than SODA.
Regards,
Russ P.
Post by Jameson Quinn
A system based purely on candidates freely transferring their votes until
a majority (or Droop quota) is reached is called Asset voting. I believe
that Asset voting is a good system, though there are certainly those who'd
disagree. It is also possible - and I'd say desirable - to combine aspects
of Asset with other systems productively. One such proposal, SODA<http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/SODA>,
is currently my favorite practical reform proposal, something I have real
hopes for. So I'd certainly say you have (reinvented) some good ideas here.
With that said, I can see a couple of problems with this system right off.
First off, bottom-up elimination is probably the worst feature of IRV,
because there is a fairly broad range of situations where it leads
inevitably to eliminating a centrist and electing an extremist, in a way
that can clearly be criticized as "spoiled" (the centrist would have won
pairwise) and "nonmonotonic" (votes shifting to the winner can cause them to
lose). Secondly, a voter has no power to ensure that their vote is not
transferred in a way they do not approve of. This second disadvantage
compounds with the first, because a minority bloc will be eliminated early,
and their votes transferred more than once before the final result.
Cheers,
Jameson
Post by Russ Paielli
Hello,
I was somewhat active on this mailing list for a short time several years
ago. How is everyone doing?
I have an idea for a single-winner election method, and it seems like a
good one to me. I'd like to know if it has been considered before and, if
The mechanics of casting a ballot are identical to what we do now (in the
US anyway). Each voter simply votes for one candidate. After the votes are
counted, the last-place candidate transfers his or her votes to the
candidate of his or her choice. Then the next-to-last candidate does the
same thing, and so on, until one candidate has a majority.
The transfer of votes at the close of polling could be automated as
follows. Weeks before the election, each candidate constructs a ranked list
of his or her preferences for the other candidates. The resulting preference
matrix could (should?) be published for the voters to see in advance. The
bottom candidate at each round of transfers would then have his or her votes
automatically transferred to the top remaining candidate in his or her
preference list.
The transfer of votes from the bottom finisher in each round resembles
IRV, but note that this method is "summable" -- a major advantage over IRV,
eliminating the need to maintain a record of each and every vote cast. I
think it may also have other major strategy-deterring advantages over IRV.
What do you think? Thanks.
Russ P.
--
http://RussP.us
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
--
http://RussP.us
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
----
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--
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Juho Laatu
2011-07-05 09:14:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
If one wants to simplify the inheritance rules even more then we might end up using a tree method (I seem to mention it in every mail I send:). In that approach there is no risk of having loops in the candidate transfer order. Votes would be counted right away for each branch, and the candidate of the largest brach of the largest branch of the ... would win.
That sounds interesting, but I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Can you give an example?
Here's one example.

Tree of candidates + number of personal votes + sum of votes of candidates of each branch:

Branch1 (13)
Branch1.1 (7)
A (4)
B (3)
Branch1.2 (6)
C (6)
Branch2 (18)
Branch2.1 (12)
D (5)
E (7)
Branch2.2 (5)
F (3)
G (2)
Branch2.3 (1)
H (1)

- Branch2 has more votes than Branch1 => Branch2 wins
- Branch2.1 has more votes than Branch2.2 and Branch2.3 => Branch2.1 wins
- candidate E has more votes than candidate D => candidate E wins

The tree approach thus forces the order of transfer to be non-cyclic. The transfer order of candidate E is E > D > {F, G, H}.

The tree format can be printed on paper and it is easy to grasp. The ballot sheet may also follow the same tree format. Branches may have names (e.g. party names) or be unnamed. Left wing parties could join forces under one branch. Candidates of one party could be divided in smaller groups. Or maybe the branches have no party names and party affiliations, maybe just descriptive names, maybe no branch names at all.

Juho
Russ Paielli
2011-07-06 03:42:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
If one wants to simplify the inheritance rules even more then we might end
Post by Juho Laatu
up using a tree method (I seem to mention it in every mail I send:). In that
approach there is no risk of having loops in the candidate transfer order.
Votes would be counted right away for each branch, and the candidate of the
largest brach of the largest branch of the ... would win.
That sounds interesting, but I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Can
you give an example?
Here's one example.
Branch1 (13)
Branch1.1 (7)
A (4)
B (3)
Branch1.2 (6)
C (6)
Branch2 (18)
Branch2.1 (12)
D (5)
E (7)
Branch2.2 (5)
F (3)
G (2)
Branch2.3 (1)
H (1)
- Branch2 has more votes than Branch1 => Branch2 wins
- Branch2.1 has more votes than Branch2.2 and Branch2.3 => Branch2.1 wins
- candidate E has more votes than candidate D => candidate E wins
The tree approach thus forces the order of transfer to be non-cyclic. The
transfer order of candidate E is E > D > {F, G, H}.
The tree format can be printed on paper and it is easy to grasp. The ballot
sheet may also follow the same tree format. Branches may have names (e.g.
party names) or be unnamed. Left wing parties could join forces under one
branch. Candidates of one party could be divided in smaller groups. Or maybe
the branches have no party names and party affiliations, maybe just
descriptive names, maybe no branch names at all.
Thanks for the example, but I don't understand. Who decides what the
branches are, and based on what? Why is E transferring votes if E has the
most votes? And what are the counts after each transfer? Sorry if those are
dumb questions.

--Russ P.
--
http://RussP.us
Juho Laatu
2011-07-06 07:46:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
Post by Juho Laatu
If one wants to simplify the inheritance rules even more then we might end up using a tree method (I seem to mention it in every mail I send:). In that approach there is no risk of having loops in the candidate transfer order. Votes would be counted right away for each branch, and the candidate of the largest brach of the largest branch of the ... would win.
That sounds interesting, but I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Can you give an example?
Here's one example.
Branch1 (13)
Branch1.1 (7)
A (4)
B (3)
Branch1.2 (6)
C (6)
Branch2 (18)
Branch2.1 (12)
D (5)
E (7)
Branch2.2 (5)
F (3)
G (2)
Branch2.3 (1)
H (1)
- Branch2 has more votes than Branch1 => Branch2 wins
- Branch2.1 has more votes than Branch2.2 and Branch2.3 => Branch2.1 wins
- candidate E has more votes than candidate D => candidate E wins
The tree approach thus forces the order of transfer to be non-cyclic. The transfer order of candidate E is E > D > {F, G, H}.
The tree format can be printed on paper and it is easy to grasp. The ballot sheet may also follow the same tree format. Branches may have names (e.g. party names) or be unnamed. Left wing parties could join forces under one branch. Candidates of one party could be divided in smaller groups. Or maybe the branches have no party names and party affiliations, maybe just descriptive names, maybe no branch names at all.
Thanks for the example, but I don't understand. Who decides what the branches are, and based on what? Why is E transferring votes if E has the most votes? And what are the counts after each transfer? Sorry if those are dumb questions.
Maybe the method is simpler than you expected. It could be as well described as a list based method where the "parties" can be internally split in smaller groupings (or they can join also together in larger groups). My references to vote transfers are just to explain how this method relates to methods that use transfers in the vote counting process. The votes that E "transfers" are actually not taken away from him but counted both for him and all the branches that contain him (sorry about using such confusing terms). In this method one can in a way "transfer" all the votes right away to the groups that some candidate is part of. We thus just count the votes of each party / grouping (i.e. sum up the votes to the candidates of that party). Votes are not "transferred" (or summed up) to other candidates but to the branches of the tree (= parties, groups) that represent all the candidates within them. The formal vote counting rules will probably not use term "transfer" at all (maybe "sum" instead).

The numbers in the example show the final counts, where the votes (that were all given to the candidates) have been summed up. The vote counting rule starts simply "the biggest party gets the only seat". In this example Branch2 (= party2 or wing2) is bigger than Branch1, and therefore the only available seat goes to that party. (Note that the tree method could be used as well in multi-member elections.) Then that single seat will be allocated within Branch1 to the biggest of the "party internal" branches, i.e. Branch2.1, and then to E that has more votes than D.

The branches will be decided by the parties or whatever associations or groupings the candidates and their supporters will form. Let's say that Branch1.1 and Branch 1.2 are two left wing parties that nominated their candidates ( {A, B} and {C} ) themselves and then decided to joins forces and form a joint branch (Branch1) to beat the right wing candidates (that was not enough though since the right wing parties did the same thing and got more votes). Or in a two-party country like the U.S. this example would of course be Branch1=Democrats, Branch2=Republicans, and then the candidates of these parties would form some groups within that party. Branch2.1. could contain two similar minded candidates from California. They joined together since they understood that if they would both run alone, they would probably be spoilers to each others and they could not win. Party internal groupings could thus be arranged by the party itself or by the individual candidates that form the sub-branch. It would depend on the election rules who is will formally nominate such groups (party vs. already nominated candidates vs. whatever group of candidates).

From strategic point of view it makes sense to form sub-brances (all the way to a binary tree). Within Branch2 sub-branches Branch2.2 and Branch2.3 could have also joined forces together (and add one extra level of hierarchy in the tree) in order to try to take the victory away from Branch2.1 (they would not have been successful though since together they had only 6 votes).

Parties could also avoid making too many branches in the fear that they would make the party appear or actually "split inside" into different camps. Maybe parties could nominate less candidates because of that. But on the other hand some other party might nominate more candidates and get also more votes this way (since they could nominate candidates that represent a wide variety of voter opinions).

The tree method sets some clear limitations to the inheritance order. But on the other hand these limitations help the poor voters in making their decisions since they need not wonder why candidate A transfers to C although a very similar (in their minds) candidate B transfers to D. In the tree model candidates that think the same way would be forced to join forces and have similar transfer order from some branch point onwards.

Trees make it thus very clear what the individual candidates stand for. And that clear understanding will influence their behaviour also after the election. "Green" and "southern" candidates must decide if they form a green branch that will be internally split into southern and northern sub-branches, or if they form a southern branch that will be further divided in green and some other groups. The more important topics should be used first, closer to the root of the tree. That should make also the inheritance order and relative closeness of different candidates in the tree quite natural (but not perfect since e.g. the green candidates can not first transfer to all the greenish candidates of all the parties and then to their own party).

And of course the voters can not transfer their votes in whatever order. The tree format actually reflects more what the candidates think of themselves than what the voters think about them. This property (that is shared by all methods that are based on transfer order as given by the candidates, like your method) is a good thing in the sense that when candidates clearly say what they stand for, they can not tell different stories to different voter groups in the hope that they would get higher in the preference order of those voters, and voters with false understanding on what some candidate stands for are corrected.

(As a multi-member method trees will also provide very accurate proportional representation between the branches.)

Juho
Post by Juho Laatu
--Russ P.
--
http://RussP.us
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
Jameson Quinn
2011-07-05 09:54:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Russ Paielli
Thanks for the feedback, Jameson. After thinking about it a bit, I realized
that the method I proposed probably suffers from strategy problems similar
to IRV. But at least it avoids the summability problem of IRV, which I
consider a major defect.
OK, here's another proposal. Same thing I proposed at the top of this
thread, except that voters can vote for more than one candidate, as in
Approval Voting. How does that stack up?
By the way, I took a look at SODA, and I must tell you that I don't
consider it a "practical reform proposal." It's way too complicated to ever
be adopted for major public elections. The method I just proposed is already
pushing the limit for complexity, and it is much simpler than SODA.
The method you just proposed *is* SODA. That is, you've given the
one-sentence summary, and SODA works out the details. Voters are used to the
fact that laws typically have both a pithy name/goal and an actual content
which is paragraphs of legalese. Even approval voting or plurality take
paragraphs to define rigorously.

JQ
Jameson Quinn
2011-07-05 19:39:12 UTC
Permalink
Russ, you said that SODA was too complicated. In my prior message, I
responded by saying that it was actually pretty simple. But thanks for your
feedback; I realize that the SODA page was not conveying that simplicity
well. I've changed the procedure there from 8 individual steps to 4 steps -
simple one-sentence overviews - with the details in sub-steps. Of these 4
steps, only step 1 is not in your proposal. And the whole of step 4 is just
three words.

The procedure is exactly the same, but I hope that this
version<http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/Simple_Optionally-Delegated_Approval#Procedure>does
a better job of communicating the purpose and underlying simplicity of
the system.

Thanks,
Jameson
Russ Paielli
2011-07-06 04:19:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jameson Quinn
Russ, you said that SODA was too complicated. In my prior message, I
responded by saying that it was actually pretty simple. But thanks for your
feedback; I realize that the SODA page was not conveying that simplicity
well. I've changed the procedure there from 8 individual steps to 4 steps -
simple one-sentence overviews - with the details in sub-steps. Of these 4
steps, only step 1 is not in your proposal. And the whole of step 4 is just
three words.
The procedure is exactly the same, but I hope that this version<http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/Simple_Optionally-Delegated_Approval#Procedure>does a better job of communicating the purpose and underlying simplicity of
the system.
I still think that's too complicated. The whole "do not delegate" option is
over the top -- way over the top for major public elections. Also, the
week-long delay after the initial count is unacceptable. Why is it necessary
if, as you say, "the correct strategies for all candidates and the resulting
winner will already be obvious"?

Yeah, I know it's frustrating. Back when I was somewhat active on this list,
I got caught up in complicated schemes, but I eventually realized I was
kidding myself to think that those schemes will ever see the light of day in
major public elections. What is the limit of complexity that the general
public will accept on a large scale? I don't know, but I have my doubts that
anything beyond simple Approval will ever pass muster -- and even that will
be a hard sell.

Your SODA rules may be mathematically sublime and beautiful, but it won't
matter. Once you start explaining it to the general public, people will just
roll their eyes ask what you are smoking to make you think that these rules
would ever be used in a major election. I wish it weren't so, but I'm afraid
it is.

If you take out the "do not delegate" option and eliminate the week-long
delay, you might have a better chance, but even that will be a very tough
sell.

Regards,
Russ
--
http://RussP.us
Andrew Myers
2011-07-06 17:48:05 UTC
Permalink
...I eventually realized I was kidding myself to think that those
schemes will ever see the light of day in major public elections. What
is the limit of complexity that the general public will accept on a
large scale? I don't know, but I have my doubts that anything beyond
simple Approval will ever pass muster -- and even that will be a hard
sell.
My experience with CIVS suggests that ranking choices is perfectly
comprehensible to ordinary people. There have been more than 3,000
elections run using CIVS, and more than 60,000 votes cast. These are not
technically savvy voters for the most part. To pick a few groups rather
arbitrarily, CIVS is being used daily by plant fanciers, sports teams,
book clubs, music lovers, prom organizers, beer drinkers, fraternities,
church groups, PBeM gamers, and families naming pets and (!) children.

If anything, to me ranking choices seems easier than Approval, because
the voter doesn't have to think about where to draw the
approve/disapprove cutoff, which I fear also encourages voters to think
strategically.

-- Andrew
Dave Ketchum
2011-07-07 19:11:00 UTC
Permalink
Russ and Andrew each offer important thoughts.

Russ is right that overly complex methods will likely get rejected -
and I agree they deserve such, though Approval is not near to a
reasonable limit.

And Andrew is right that voters can accept something beyond Approval.
Reviewing the steps as voters might think of them:
. Approval is simply being able to voye for more than one, as if
equals - easy to vote and easy to implement, but makes you wish for
more.
. Condorcet adds ranking, so you can vote for unequals such as
Good that you truly like and Soso as second choice for being better
than Bad, that you would happily forget.
. Reasonable part of the ranking is ranking two or more as equally
ranked.

So I looked for what Andrew was referring to as CIVS - seems like it
deserves more bragging than I have heard. Voters can easily get
invited and vote via Internet in the flexibility doable that way.
Read more at http://www.cs.cornell.edu/andru/civs.html

Seems like CIVS would be good to use as is in many places where voting
via Internet makes sense - and shows using Condorcet - something
adaptable to the way we normally do elections.

Dave Ketchum
Post by Andrew Myers
...I eventually realized I was kidding myself to think that those
schemes will ever see the light of day in major public elections.
What is the limit of complexity that the general public will accept
on a large scale? I don't know, but I have my doubts that anything
beyond simple Approval will ever pass muster -- and even that will
be a hard sell.
My experience with CIVS suggests that ranking choices is perfectly
comprehensible to ordinary people. There have been more than 3,000
elections run using CIVS, and more than 60,000 votes cast. These are
not technically savvy voters for the most part. To pick a few groups
rather arbitrarily, CIVS is being used daily by plant fanciers,
sports teams, book clubs, music lovers, prom organizers, beer
drinkers, fraternities, church groups, PBeM gamers, and families
naming pets and (!) children.
If anything, to me ranking choices seems easier than Approval,
because the voter doesn't have to think about where to draw the
approve/disapprove cutoff, which I fear also encourages voters to
think strategically.
-- Andrew
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
Russ Paielli
2011-07-07 19:54:08 UTC
Permalink
Let me just elaborate on my concerns about complexity. Most of you probably
know most of this already, but let me just try to summ it up and put things
in perspective.

Some of the participants on this list are advanced mathematicians, and they
have been discussing these matters for years. As you all know, the topic of
election methods and voting systems can get very complicated. As far as I
know, there is still no consensus even on this list on what is the best
system. If there is no consensus here, how can you expect to get a consensus
among the general public?

But let's suppose a consensus is reached here on the EM list. What happens
next? You need to generate public awareness, which is a major task. As far
as the general public is concerned, there is no problem with the voting
system per se. Voters vote, and the votes are counted. The candidate with
the most votes wins. What else do you need?

So let's say we somehow manage to get widespread public awareness of the
deficiencies of the current plurality system. Then what? Eventually, and
actual change has to go through Congress. Try to imagine Senator Blowhard
grilling the experts on the proposed rules of their favorite system. It
would certainly be good for one thing: fodder for Jon Stewart and Steven
Colbert!

Also, consider the fierce opposition that would develop from any group that
thinks they would suffer. And who might that be? How about the two major
parties! Do you think they would have the power to stop it? For starters,
they would probably claim that any "complicated" vote transfer algorithm
cannot be used because it is not in the Constitution.

I realize that IRV has garnered considerable support and success. I suppose
that's a tribute to the "open-mindedness" of ultra-leftist enclaves such as
SF and Berkeley. On the other hand, it just goes to show that a
fundamentally flawed system can be sold in such enclaves.

Sorry if I'm coming across as negative. I'm just trying to be realistic. I
am a Republican, and I got interested again in the whole EM thing because of
what I see happening in the Republican primary, with so many candidates to
split the vote and so many potential voters seemingly oblivious to the
problem. I wish there were a good, viable solution, but I just don't see it
happening in the foreseeable future.

--Russ P.
Post by Dave Ketchum
Russ and Andrew each offer important thoughts.
Russ is right that overly complex methods will likely get rejected - and I
agree they deserve such, though Approval is not near to a reasonable limit.
And Andrew is right that voters can accept something beyond Approval.
. Approval is simply being able to voye for more than one, as if equals
- easy to vote and easy to implement, but makes you wish for more.
. Condorcet adds ranking, so you can vote for unequals such as Good
that you truly like and Soso as second choice for being better than Bad,
that you would happily forget.
. Reasonable part of the ranking is ranking two or more as equally
ranked.
So I looked for what Andrew was referring to as CIVS - seems like it
deserves more bragging than I have heard. Voters can easily get invited and
vote via Internet in the flexibility doable that way. Read more at
http://www.cs.cornell.edu/**andru/civs.html<http://www.cs.cornell.edu/andru/civs.html>
Seems like CIVS would be good to use as is in many places where voting via
Internet makes sense - and shows using Condorcet - something adaptable to
the way we normally do elections.
Dave Ketchum
Post by Andrew Myers
...I eventually realized I was kidding myself to think that those schemes
will ever see the light of day in major public elections. What is the limit
of complexity that the general public will accept on a large scale? I don't
know, but I have my doubts that anything beyond simple Approval will ever
pass muster -- and even that will be a hard sell.
My experience with CIVS suggests that ranking choices is perfectly
comprehensible to ordinary people. There have been more than 3,000 elections
run using CIVS, and more than 60,000 votes cast. These are not technically
savvy voters for the most part. To pick a few groups rather arbitrarily,
CIVS is being used daily by plant fanciers, sports teams, book clubs, music
lovers, prom organizers, beer drinkers, fraternities, church groups, PBeM
gamers, and families naming pets and (!) children.
If anything, to me ranking choices seems easier than Approval, because the
voter doesn't have to think about where to draw the approve/disapprove
cutoff, which I fear also encourages voters to think strategically.
-- Andrew
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
--
http://RussP.us
Dave Ketchum
2011-07-07 20:46:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Russ Paielli
Let me just elaborate on my concerns about complexity. Most of you
probably know most of this already, but let me just try to summ it
up and put things in perspective.
Some of the participants on this list are advanced mathematicians,
and they have been discussing these matters for years. As you all
know, the topic of election methods and voting systems can get very
complicated. As far as I know, there is still no consensus even on
this list on what is the best system. If there is no consensus here,
how can you expect to get a consensus among the general public?
Because we, hopefully, honor the different rules that make sense when
we are voting for the public, rather than what you properly complain
about.
Post by Russ Paielli
But let's suppose a consensus is reached here on the EM list. What
happens next? You need to generate public awareness, which is a
major task. As far as the general public is concerned, there is no
problem with the voting system per se. Voters vote, and the votes
are counted. The candidate with the most votes wins. What else do
you need?
Need to start, before listening to your words, with how to let the
voters express their desires - something some of them realize need of
already.
Post by Russ Paielli
So let's say we somehow manage to get widespread public awareness of
the deficiencies of the current plurality system. Then what?
Eventually, and actual change has to go through Congress. Try to
imagine Senator Blowhard grilling the experts on the proposed rules
fodder for Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert!
Congress is important for later - need to start with more lolcal
targets.
Post by Russ Paielli
Also, consider the fierce opposition that would develop from any
group that thinks they would suffer. And who might that be? How
about the two major parties! Do you think they would have the power
to stop it? For starters, they would probably claim that any
"complicated" vote transfer algorithm cannot be used because it is
not in the Constitution.
Constitution? Anyway, need to have a plan to have some idea about who
might agree/oppose.
Post by Russ Paielli
I realize that IRV has garnered considerable support and success. I
suppose that's a tribute to the "open-mindedness" of ultra-leftist
enclaves such as SF and Berkeley. On the other hand, it just goes to
show that a fundamentally flawed system can be sold in such enclaves.
Above you said selling would be undoable; here you say what should
never get bought has demonstrated possibility of selling such?

Dave Ketchum
Post by Russ Paielli
Sorry if I'm coming across as negative. I'm just trying to be
realistic. I am a Republican, and I got interested again in the
whole EM thing because of what I see happening in the Republican
primary, with so many candidates to split the vote and so many
potential voters seemingly oblivious to the problem. I wish there
were a good, viable solution, but I just don't see it happening in
the foreseeable future.
--Russ P.
Russ and Andrew each offer important thoughts.
Russ is right that overly complex methods will likely get rejected -
and I agree they deserve such, though Approval is not near to a
reasonable limit.
And Andrew is right that voters can accept something beyond
. Approval is simply being able to voye for more than one, as if
equals - easy to vote and easy to implement, but makes you wish for
more.
. Condorcet adds ranking, so you can vote for unequals such as
Good that you truly like and Soso as second choice for being better
than Bad, that you would happily forget.
. Reasonable part of the ranking is ranking two or more as
equally ranked.
So I looked for what Andrew was referring to as CIVS - seems like it
deserves more bragging than I have heard. Voters can easily get
invited and vote via Internet in the flexibility doable that way.
Read more at http://www.cs.cornell.edu/andru/civs.html
Seems like CIVS would be good to use as is in many places where
voting via Internet makes sense - and shows using Condorcet -
something adaptable to the way we normally do elections.
Dave Ketchum
...I eventually realized I was kidding myself to think that those
schemes will ever see the light of day in major public elections.
What is the limit of complexity that the general public will accept
on a large scale? I don't know, but I have my doubts that anything
beyond simple Approval will ever pass muster -- and even that will
be a hard sell.
My experience with CIVS suggests that ranking choices is perfectly
comprehensible to ordinary people. There have been more than 3,000
elections run using CIVS, and more than 60,000 votes cast. These are
not technically savvy voters for the most part. To pick a few groups
rather arbitrarily, CIVS is being used daily by plant fanciers,
sports teams, book clubs, music lovers, prom organizers, beer
drinkers, fraternities, church groups, PBeM gamers, and families
naming pets and (!) children.
If anything, to me ranking choices seems easier than Approval,
because the voter doesn't have to think about where to draw the
approve/disapprove cutoff, which I fear also encourages voters to
think strategically.
-- Andrew
Andrew Myers
2011-07-07 21:19:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Russ Paielli
Let me just elaborate on my concerns about complexity. Most of you
probably know most of this already, but let me just try to summ it up
and put things in perspective.
Some of the participants on this list are advanced mathematicians, and
they have been discussing these matters for years. As you all know,
the topic of election methods and voting systems can get very
complicated. As far as I know, there is still no consensus even on
this list on what is the best system. If there is no consensus here,
how can you expect to get a consensus among the general public?
...
So let's say we somehow manage to get widespread public awareness of
the deficiencies of the current plurality system. Then what?
Eventually, and actual change has to go through Congress. Try to
imagine Senator Blowhard grilling the experts on the proposed rules of
fodder for Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert!
...
I wish there were a good, viable solution, but I just don't see it
happening in the foreseeable future.
--Russ P.
Russ, I think you might be too focused on US presidential elections.
Changing that will take a long time and it is not the place to start.
There are lots of other kinds of elections that are also important and
where it will be easier to make a change -- will not require a
constitutional amendment, for starters. Party primaries seem like one
possibility. I think that the way to make the change at the top level is
first to get voters aware of and used to ranked-choice voting. That is
why I implemented CIVS, for use by organizations at all scales.

The specific details of what Condorcet completion method is used are not
that important, I think. Many voters don't know or care how the
electoral college works, despite 200+ years of its use. And the
reasonable Condorcet variations are not more broken than the electoral
college! Voters just need time to become comfortable with ranking
choices instead of picking one.

If you want to try CIVS out, by the way, I happen to be looking for
feedback on a good book to use for a college freshman reading project, at:

http://www.cs.cornell.edu/w8/~andru/cgi-perl/civs/vote.pl?id=E_6d3db58589520629&akey=77b16251195da930

Cheers,

-- Andrew
Juho Laatu
2011-07-07 22:32:07 UTC
Permalink
Also, consider the fierce opposition that would develop from any group that thinks they would suffer. And who might that be? How about the two major parties! Do you think they would have the power to stop it?
If we assume that one of the main targets of political parties is to get lots of votes and lots of power, then any new election method that makes it possible that also other parties might win some seats in some elections are something that they clearly should oppose. From this point of view all attempts to make a two-party system less two-party oriented are doomed.

Actually all administrational systems and organizations resist change for some very similar reasons.
From individual representative point of view any changes in the election method are extremely risky since they themselves got elected with the old method. Changing that to something new might not elect them again. And the old method will, with good probability.
IRV is interesting since it looks like a quite radical reform, but it clearly favours large parties. Fears of some small party winning a seat are much smaller in IRV than e.g. in Condorcet. That may be one reason why IRV has made some progress while Condorcet has not.

What didi people think before the nowadays generally agreed idea that all countries should be democratic. Maybe some idealists discussed the possibility that one day ordinary people might rule the country. I'm sure many others laughed at them and told them that such changes are dangerous and will never work, particularly since they are not in the interest of the current rulers, nor any other rulers that might overthrow the current rulers. So reforms are just a joke and idealistic dreams like democracy will never work. There would quickly be some new rulers that would kick the poor commoners out and probably even kill them.

Today many of us live in democracies and people can make changes if they so want. Actually that was the case already before the age of democracy. Changes were more difficult to achieve then. Now making such improvements should be comparably easy. And despite of having democracy the world is not perfect yet. Improvements are still possible. The key problem is actually, as you say, to agree on the targets, and make a model that majority of the rulers (voters) agree with, and that looks plausible enough so that people can start to believe in that change.
I wish there were a good, viable solution, but I just don't see it happening in the foreseeable future.
We will see.

Juho




----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
Russ Paielli
2011-07-08 05:55:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
What didi people think before the nowadays generally agreed idea that all
countries should be democratic. Maybe some idealists discussed the
possibility that one day ordinary people might rule the country. I'm sure
many others laughed at them and told them that such changes are dangerous
and will never work, particularly since they are not in the interest of the
current rulers, nor any other rulers that might overthrow the current
rulers. So reforms are just a joke and idealistic dreams like democracy will
never work. There would quickly be some new rulers that would kick the poor
commoners out and probably even kill them.
I'll probably get a bit off topic here, but I think it is important to
understand that democracy itself is almost worthless without
Constitutionally guaranteed individual rights (as distinct from bogus "group
rights"). That's what the American revolution was all about. The founders
certainly did not want a "pure" democracy. They know very well where that
majority rule would lead a tyranny of the majority. That's why they gave us
the Bill of Rights.

The main problem with our political system today is that far too few people
understand what freedom and individual rights mean. The Bill of Rights is
just the start of it. Property rights are essential to any real notion of
freedom, and they are also essential to prosperity. When half the population
thinks the gov't should take from those who have "too much" and give to
others who "don't have enough," we are in trouble. Yet that's exactly where
we are. The greatest election methods in the world cannot save us from those
kind of voters.

Are some CEOs overpaid? Yes, I think some are. I happen to believe that some
CEOs and boards are ripping off their own shareholders, and I would like to
see the gov't do something to give shareholders more say in the matter. But
the solution is not to just arbitrarily "raise taxes on the rich," as so
many want to do. People who don't understant the distinction are dangerous,
because they fundamentally believe that the gov't really owns everything and
let's us keep some of it out of sheer benevolence. If the gov't really owns
everything, it owns you too.
Post by Juho Laatu
Today many of us live in democracies and people can make changes if they so
want. Actually that was the case already before the age of democracy.
Changes were more difficult to achieve then. Now making such improvements
should be comparably easy. And despite of having democracy the world is not
perfect yet. Improvements are still possible. The key problem is actually,
as you say, to agree on the targets, and make a model that majority of the
rulers (voters) agree with, and that looks plausible enough so that people
can start to believe in that change.
The fundamental problem now is that too many of us actually want to go back
to a state in which gov't is our master rather than our servant. If gov't
can arbitrarily take from you when it thinks you have too much, it is the
master, and we are the servants. Why is that so hard for some to understand?

--Russ P.
--
http://RussP.us
Juho Laatu
2011-07-08 07:32:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
What didi people think before the nowadays generally agreed idea that all countries should be democratic. Maybe some idealists discussed the possibility that one day ordinary people might rule the country. I'm sure many others laughed at them and told them that such changes are dangerous and will never work, particularly since they are not in the interest of the current rulers, nor any other rulers that might overthrow the current rulers. So reforms are just a joke and idealistic dreams like democracy will never work. There would quickly be some new rulers that would kick the poor commoners out and probably even kill them.
I'll probably get a bit off topic here, but I think it is important to understand that democracy itself is almost worthless without Constitutionally guaranteed individual rights (as distinct from bogus "group rights"). That's what the American revolution was all about. The founders certainly did not want a "pure" democracy. They know very well where that majority rule would lead a tyranny of the majority. That's why they gave us the Bill of Rights.
I think we are on our way from laws of jungle to something more civilized. We can invent better and more fine tuned models on how we should operate in order to achieve whatever we want to achieve. This is not completely off topic since decision making methods are one essential component and tool in making our societies work well.
Post by Juho Laatu
The main problem with our political system today is that far too few people understand what freedom and individual rights mean. The Bill of Rights is just the start of it. Property rights are essential to any real notion of freedom, and they are also essential to prosperity. When half the population thinks the gov't should take from those who have "too much" and give to others who "don't have enough," we are in trouble. Yet that's exactly where we are. The greatest election methods in the world cannot save us from those kind of voters.
Yes, not too much of that, although most societies of course expect those that are well off to take care of those that would otherwise be in trouble.
Post by Juho Laatu
Are some CEOs overpaid? Yes, I think some are. I happen to believe that some CEOs and boards are ripping off their own shareholders, and I would like to see the gov't do something to give shareholders more say in the matter. But the solution is not to just arbitrarily "raise taxes on the rich," as so many want to do. People who don't understant the distinction are dangerous, because they fundamentally believe that the gov't really owns everything and let's us keep some of it out of sheer benevolence. If the gov't really owns everything, it owns you too.
One interesting question is if government is considered to be "us" or "them" or "it". I tend to think that the government and rest of the society (like companies) should serve the people, not the other way around. In a well working democracy we can decide how those structures serve us in the best possible way (allowing e.g. freedom and wealth to all).
Post by Juho Laatu
Today many of us live in democracies and people can make changes if they so want. Actually that was the case already before the age of democracy. Changes were more difficult to achieve then. Now making such improvements should be comparably easy. And despite of having democracy the world is not perfect yet. Improvements are still possible. The key problem is actually, as you say, to agree on the targets, and make a model that majority of the rulers (voters) agree with, and that looks plausible enough so that people can start to believe in that change.
The fundamental problem now is that too many of us actually want to go back to a state in which gov't is our master rather than our servant. If gov't can arbitrarily take from you when it thinks you have too much, it is the master, and we are the servants. Why is that so hard for some to understand?
I think this is a chicken and egg problem. If government is "us", then all the money it takes is because we have agreed to proceed that way. In practice things are more complicated, and governments easily become money hungry beasts that take and spend all the money they can grab.

If we go back to the EM topics, good methods need good and simple and credible models and philosophies to allow regular people (voters) to make sensible decisions on which routes to take. One does not work well without the other.

Juho
Post by Juho Laatu
--Russ P.
--
http://RussP.us
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
Russ Paielli
2011-07-08 08:05:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Russ Paielli
Post by Juho Laatu
What didi people think before the nowadays generally agreed idea that all
countries should be democratic. Maybe some idealists discussed the
possibility that one day ordinary people might rule the country. I'm sure
many others laughed at them and told them that such changes are dangerous
and will never work, particularly since they are not in the interest of the
current rulers, nor any other rulers that might overthrow the current
rulers. So reforms are just a joke and idealistic dreams like democracy will
never work. There would quickly be some new rulers that would kick the poor
commoners out and probably even kill them.
I'll probably get a bit off topic here, but I think it is important to
understand that democracy itself is almost worthless without
Constitutionally guaranteed individual rights (as distinct from bogus "group
rights"). That's what the American revolution was all about. The founders
certainly did not want a "pure" democracy. They know very well where that
majority rule would lead a tyranny of the majority. That's why they gave us
the Bill of Rights.
Let me just correct that sentence: They know very well that majority rule
would lead to a tyranny of the majority.
Post by Russ Paielli
I think we are on our way from laws of jungle to something more civilized.
We can invent better and more fine tuned models on how we should operate in
order to achieve whatever we want to achieve. This is not completely off
topic since decision making methods are one essential component and tool in
making our societies work well.
The main problem with our political system today is that far too few people
understand what freedom and individual rights mean. The Bill of Rights is
just the start of it. Property rights are essential to any real notion of
freedom, and they are also essential to prosperity. When half the population
thinks the gov't should take from those who have "too much" and give to
others who "don't have enough," we are in trouble. Yet that's exactly where
we are. The greatest election methods in the world cannot save us from those
kind of voters.
Yes, not too much of that, although most societies of course expect those
that are well off to take care of those that would otherwise be in trouble.
Yes, I agree. But the well off should *voluntarily* take of the less
fortunate. They should not be forced. I find it ironic that secular Leftists
are constantly trying to impose Christian morality on us. Well, not all of
Christian morality. They have no use for the sexual morality part of it, but
they are gung-ho for what they consider to be the economic morality of
Christianity. But they get that completely wrong, of course. Jesus preached
voluntary charity -- not gov't redistribution of wealth! The two are very
different.

There are also solid practical reasons for not forcing the rich to be
"charitable." For one, they can usually do more for the general good by
running successful businesses that employ people. When you think about it, a
rich person who has the lion's share of his wealth invested wisely is
actually doing great things for society. If his investment wasn't providing
jobs and things that people want or need, then the investment would not be
successful. So long as they live reasonably modestly, they aren't "taking"
any more from society than most other people.

I could go on about how the recipients of public "charity" consider it their
"right," hence have little incentive to get off of it, but I'll leave it at
that.

I need to get to bed. Good night.

--Russ P.
Post by Russ Paielli
Are some CEOs overpaid? Yes, I think some are. I happen to believe that
some CEOs and boards are ripping off their own shareholders, and I would
like to see the gov't do something to give shareholders more say in the
matter. But the solution is not to just arbitrarily "raise taxes on the
rich," as so many want to do. People who don't understant the distinction
are dangerous, because they fundamentally believe that the gov't really owns
everything and let's us keep some of it out of sheer benevolence. If the
gov't really owns everything, it owns you too.
One interesting question is if government is considered to be "us" or
"them" or "it". I tend to think that the government and rest of the society
(like companies) should serve the people, not the other way around. In a
well working democracy we can decide how those structures serve us in the
best possible way (allowing e.g. freedom and wealth to all).
Post by Juho Laatu
Today many of us live in democracies and people can make changes if they
so want. Actually that was the case already before the age of democracy.
Changes were more difficult to achieve then. Now making such improvements
should be comparably easy. And despite of having democracy the world is not
perfect yet. Improvements are still possible. The key problem is actually,
as you say, to agree on the targets, and make a model that majority of the
rulers (voters) agree with, and that looks plausible enough so that people
can start to believe in that change.
The fundamental problem now is that too many of us actually want to go back
to a state in which gov't is our master rather than our servant. If gov't
can arbitrarily take from you when it thinks you have too much, it is the
master, and we are the servants. Why is that so hard for some to understand?
I think this is a chicken and egg problem. If government is "us", then all
the money it takes is because we have agreed to proceed that way. In
practice things are more complicated, and governments easily become money
hungry beasts that take and spend all the money they can grab.
If we go back to the EM topics, good methods need good and simple and
credible models and philosophies to allow regular people (voters) to make
sensible decisions on which routes to take. One does not work well without
the other.
Juho
--Russ P.
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Kristofer Munsterhjelm
2011-07-08 16:56:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Russ Paielli
Post by Juho Laatu
What didi people think before the nowadays generally agreed idea
that all countries should be democratic. Maybe some idealists
discussed the possibility that one day ordinary people might rule
the country. I'm sure many others laughed at them and told them that
such changes are dangerous and will never work, particularly since
they are not in the interest of the current rulers, nor any other
rulers that might overthrow the current rulers. So reforms are just
a joke and idealistic dreams like democracy will never work. There
would quickly be some new rulers that would kick the poor commoners
out and probably even kill them.
I'll probably get a bit off topic here, but I think it is important to
understand that democracy itself is almost worthless without
Constitutionally guaranteed individual rights (as distinct from bogus
"group rights"). That's what the American revolution was all about. The
founders certainly did not want a "pure" democracy. They know very well
where that majority rule would lead a tyranny of the majority. That's
why they gave us the Bill of Rights.
The UK doesn't have a written constitution nor a Bill of Rights, yet it
seems to manage. If anything, it is the European country closest to the
United States in policy matters.
Post by Russ Paielli
The main problem with our political system today is that far too few
people understand what freedom and individual rights mean. The Bill of
Rights is just the start of it. Property rights are essential to any
real notion of freedom, and they are also essential to prosperity. When
half the population thinks the gov't should take from those who have
"too much" and give to others who "don't have enough," we are in
trouble. Yet that's exactly where we are. The greatest election methods
in the world cannot save us from those kind of voters.
"The greatest election methods in the world" could even increase
redistribution. According to Warren Smith's page on proportional
representation (http://rangevoting.org/PropRep.html, "What does
economics say?"), countries with increasing amounts of PR also have
bigger governments and less economic inequality (which is usually
accomplished through redistribution, such as by progressive taxes). To
some extent, it appears that the people want this. See, for instance,
the "ideal" income distributions, as given by the public, mentioned in
http://www.people.hbs.edu/mnorton/norton%20ariely.pdf .

If people want redistribution, then giving them more democracy will lead
to more redistribution. If that is a problem with the people, then it is
a problem with democracy, and as such, a more accurate democracy would
have a greater problem with it.

Even if it's an effect of proportional representation, the method,
rather than an increasingly accurate reflection of the wishes of the
people, that would still mean proportional representation would lead to
more redistribution.
Post by Russ Paielli
The fundamental problem now is that too many of us actually want to go
back to a state in which gov't is our master rather than our servant. If
gov't can arbitrarily take from you when it thinks you have too much, it
is the master, and we are the servants. Why is that so hard for some to
understand?
Another reason for the link between PR and government size might be that
when the people are more accurately represented, they feel that the
government is less "them" and more "us". To the extent that happens, the
concept of dominance is weakened: if the government is "us" then "us
mastering ourselves" is no dangerous relation.

I have no proof of that, though; to get it, I would have to ask people
in PR democracies and non-PR democracies to what degree they think the
government is of, by, and for the people.

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Fred Gohlke
2011-07-10 15:13:20 UTC
Permalink
There is another perspective that better explains why party-based
systems create a demand for re-distribution.

Political parties have two compelling needs: Money to finance their
operations and voters to put their candidates in office. Their ability
to generate these vital resources comes from their power to legislate ...


* Money to finance their campaigns

The financiers who provide the money required to conduct party
operations demand legislation that gives them an advantage. They supply
enough money to enough parties to ensure their agenda is met.

The Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2009, or H.R. 2428, is an
example of the result:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.2428: Broadband Conduit
Deployment Act

This bill requires that highway and rail projects funded by the
government also lay conduit capable of carrying fiber optic cables.
There is no provision in the bill for the communications industry to
bear any portion of the costs imposed by the act, including the
continuing cost of maintenance. Instead, our debt-ridden governments -
and our people - are saddled with costs that should be borne by the
communications industry. This is but one of a multitude of such laws,
purchased with political 'contributions'.


* Voters to put them in office.

Political parties propose and oversee the enactment of laws, couched in
terms of humanity, that use public funds to attract voters. These laws
do not result from public outcry, they are invented by politicians to
attract voters.

When the definition of public issues and the selection of candidates for
public office is controlled by parties, it is not surprising that
offering largess attracts votes. Greece and Ireland and Portugal and
Italy stand in stark evidence of the success of this strategm - and its
dire consequences.


* Summary

Partisanship is natural and healthy. Unfortunately, it is a
double-edged sword. It is an essential part of the evolution of
society, but it is also the root of the evils of party politics.

Partisanship is a critical element in democratic government, The ebb
and flow of public attitudes, as they change with time, must be captured
and integrated into public policy. That is best done by the dynamic
formation of interest groups. However, the groups, themselves, are not
important - and the ideas they espouse are not sacrosanct.

The challenge of democracy is to ensure the various perspectives are
heard, examined, and honed to serve the common interest. The only valid
purpose for discussing Electoral Methods is to seek ways to accomplish
this goal.

There are attempts to improve government going on in several places in
the world. We have an obligation to describe the obstacles we've
encountered with our systems, even when those difficulties flow from the
defects of partisan politics, so those struggling with embryonic systems
can avoid them.

Fred Gohlke
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Michael Allan
2011-07-11 16:55:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Russ Paielli
The main problem with our political system today is that far too few
people understand what freedom and individual rights mean. The Bill
of Rights is just the start of it. Property rights are essential to
any real notion of freedom, and they are also essential to
prosperity. When half the population thinks the gov't should take
from those who have "too much" and give to others who "don't have
enough," we are in trouble. Yet that's exactly where we are. The
greatest election methods in the world cannot save us from those
kind of voters.
In support of your argument, Kant says there is only one essential
right: [1]

_Freedom_ (independence from being constrained by another's choice),
insofar as it can coexist with the freedom of every other in
accordance with a universal law, is the only original right
belonging to every man by virtue of his humanity.

This is the right to enjoy one's property in private, to speak freely
in public, and to pursue other non-rival freedoms. Yet this right
which each of us has in principle can only be safeguarded in practice
by our participation in politics. The 18th century economy gave
wealth to the middle classes, while its technology (printing press,
letter post) gave them information of public affairs and the ability
to communicate widely. Modern democracy was born of the efforts of
shop owners, professionals and other bourgeoisie to secure and
exercise these new freedoms. [2]
Post by Russ Paielli
If people want redistribution, then giving them more democracy will
lead to more redistribution. If that is a problem with the people,
then it is a problem with democracy, and as such, a more accurate
democracy would have a greater problem with it.
We must trust people to make sensible decisions, as Juho puts it. If
the voters in one state manage to alienate their entrepreneurs and
derail their economy, then hopefully the voters (and entrepreneurs)
elsewhere will heed the lesson and work together to avoid a similar
fate.
Post by Russ Paielli
If we go back to the EM topics, good methods need good and simple
and credible models and philosophies to allow regular people
(voters) to make sensible decisions on which routes to take. One
does not work well without the other.
The two topics might be related. If individual freedoms are as
important as Russ says (and Kant), then would it make sense to
evaluate our voting methods in terms of which affords the greatest
freedom to the voter? Or might the voter be systematically
constrained by the voting method, and yet still show a deference to
the freedom of others in his/her decisions?


[1] Immanuel Kant. 1797. The Metaphysics of Morals. Edited by Mary
Gregor. Cambridge Universtity Press. 1996.
http://books.google.com/books?id=MJcrTG6tJsAC&pg=PA30#f=true

[2] Habermas, Jürgen. 1962. The structural transformation of the
public sphere: an inquiry into a category of bourgeois society.
Translated by Thomas Burger, 1989. MIT Press, Cambridge,
Massachusetts. http://books.google.ca/books?id=e799caakIWoC
--
Michael Allan

Toronto, +1 416-699-9528
http://zelea.com/
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Russ Paielli
2011-07-11 19:50:03 UTC
Permalink
You make some good points, Michael. The purpose of my post was to remind the
participants on this list that "pure" democracy is ultimately very
dangerous. I'm sure most of them know that, but an occasional reminder does
no harm.

Without a strong guarantee of individual rights, the best form of
"democracy" based on the best election methods will only end in tyranny by
the majority. If the majority is allowed to silence a minority or
arbitrarily take away some of their wealth and give it away to others in the
interest of "fairness," we are in trouble. (And of course I mean minority in
a general sense, not just racial minorities.)

That's precisely why democracy in the Middle East is not likely to result in
more freedom, for example. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

--Russ P.
Post by Michael Allan
Post by Russ Paielli
The main problem with our political system today is that far too few
people understand what freedom and individual rights mean. The Bill
of Rights is just the start of it. Property rights are essential to
any real notion of freedom, and they are also essential to
prosperity. When half the population thinks the gov't should take
from those who have "too much" and give to others who "don't have
enough," we are in trouble. Yet that's exactly where we are. The
greatest election methods in the world cannot save us from those
kind of voters.
In support of your argument, Kant says there is only one essential
right: [1]
_Freedom_ (independence from being constrained by another's choice),
insofar as it can coexist with the freedom of every other in
accordance with a universal law, is the only original right
belonging to every man by virtue of his humanity.
This is the right to enjoy one's property in private, to speak freely
in public, and to pursue other non-rival freedoms. Yet this right
which each of us has in principle can only be safeguarded in practice
by our participation in politics. The 18th century economy gave
wealth to the middle classes, while its technology (printing press,
letter post) gave them information of public affairs and the ability
to communicate widely. Modern democracy was born of the efforts of
shop owners, professionals and other bourgeoisie to secure and
exercise these new freedoms. [2]
Post by Russ Paielli
If people want redistribution, then giving them more democracy will
lead to more redistribution. If that is a problem with the people,
then it is a problem with democracy, and as such, a more accurate
democracy would have a greater problem with it.
We must trust people to make sensible decisions, as Juho puts it. If
the voters in one state manage to alienate their entrepreneurs and
derail their economy, then hopefully the voters (and entrepreneurs)
elsewhere will heed the lesson and work together to avoid a similar
fate.
Post by Russ Paielli
If we go back to the EM topics, good methods need good and simple
and credible models and philosophies to allow regular people
(voters) to make sensible decisions on which routes to take. One
does not work well without the other.
The two topics might be related. If individual freedoms are as
important as Russ says (and Kant), then would it make sense to
evaluate our voting methods in terms of which affords the greatest
freedom to the voter? Or might the voter be systematically
constrained by the voting method, and yet still show a deference to
the freedom of others in his/her decisions?
[1] Immanuel Kant. 1797. The Metaphysics of Morals. Edited by Mary
Gregor. Cambridge Universtity Press. 1996.
http://books.google.com/books?id=MJcrTG6tJsAC&pg=PA30#f=true
[2] Habermas, Jürgen. 1962. The structural transformation of the
public sphere: an inquiry into a category of bourgeois society.
Translated by Thomas Burger, 1989. MIT Press, Cambridge,
Massachusetts. http://books.google.ca/books?id=e799caakIWoC
--
Michael Allan
Toronto, +1 416-699-9528
http://zelea.com/
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Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
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http://RussP.us
Juho Laatu
2011-07-11 20:22:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Allan
The two topics might be related. If individual freedoms are as
important as Russ says (and Kant), then would it make sense to
evaluate our voting methods in terms of which affords the greatest
freedom to the voter? Or might the voter be systematically
constrained by the voting method, and yet still show a deference to
the freedom of others in his/her decisions?
Those methods that we call good usually do maximize voter freedom. For example Condorcet methods try to maximize the information that they collect from the voters and then make decisions that respect the voter opinions as well as possible. Ranked methods do limit the voters to give only rankings. But the reason behind not using e.g. ratings is that one fears that the methods can not collect reliable ratings, and elections would become strategic, and in the end they would collect less information from the voters and respect less their opinions.

Another example is list based proportional methods vs. STV like proportional methods. STV methods allow greater freedom in the sense that voters can give more information (rankings), even without any party borderline limitations. List based methods collect just bullet votes (to a candidate or to a party) and thereby less information, but those simple votes contain some quite concentrated information if we assume that a party structure is a natural and simple way for human beings to model the world and how it should be managed. Despite of the better freedom in STV, the simpler list based methods work quite well and are nice to use especially if there are many candidates and numerous seats per district. There is thus some sort of balance between freedom of expression and simple modelling (an
d voter understanding) here. This is an idealized and simplified view on these two categories, but maybe these methods may serve as a working example on how the balance between freedom and s
imple modelling might work.

I believe there are still many possible improvements to be made in both areas.

Improvements in how we model the society are endless (although often people seem to think that they or their party already possesses the best possible model of the society). That is however a slow process and it often must work its way forward through trials and errors. It seems that people / societies must first fail a couple of times before they learn not to make those mistakes again. It takes time before people can find simple enough proverbs or other rules or philosophies that become generally accepted and thereby generally stop people making stupid things again and again.

Improvements in election methods are not as numerous since this field of study is simpler (well, often mathematically complex, but still these are just mechanical problems). One can also give more freedom to the voters when they grow wiser. I mean that when modelling of the society takes steps forward, people will be more capable of making sensible decisions at more detailed levels based on that improved understanding.

Currently the freedom of the voters is typically limited so that democracies are not direct democracies but representative democracies where regular voters are not allowed to decide, but they must elect some wise men to decide on their behalf. It is possible that when the education level and overall understanding of the society improves, one could give the voters also more power to decide. But maybe not too much and not too often since in order to collect as much information as possible (and thereby supporting true freedom to actually decide on political matters) one should not disturb the (often lazy) voters so often and with so detailed questions that they will lose interest. Parties are also a good traditional tool here. The minimum requirement to the voters is to just decide which team
they will support.

There are also many other possible approaches to giving voters more decision power as the methods evolve and as the understanding of the voters evolves. The already mentioned STV style methods are one approach to allowing voters to decide in more detail. Parties could also be divided in smaller opinion segments in elections in order to allow voters to influence also in secondary key questions, not only in the primary ones. New computer based technologies could allow many new more interactive ways to communicate and influence decision making. Information flow in both directions is an important part of democracy and we could probably do better than use yellow press as the primary tool of communication.

In summary, it is possible to allow even more freedom (and also gain true freedom to decide), but one should not forget that people need also constraints and agreements (both voluntary and mandated) in the society to make it work well (and thereby also optimize the level of freedom that we can offer to people). Good models are essential since they allow people to work better together with minimum friction and maximum freedoms (and better understanding on where to voluntarily not do anything stupid).

Juho






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Kristofer Munsterhjelm
2011-07-08 07:36:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Russ Paielli
Let me just elaborate on my concerns about complexity. Most of you
probably know most of this already, but let me just try to summ it up
and put things in perspective.
Some of the participants on this list are advanced mathematicians, and
they have been discussing these matters for years. As you all know, the
topic of election methods and voting systems can get very complicated.
As far as I know, there is still no consensus even on this list on what
is the best system. If there is no consensus here, how can you expect to
get a consensus among the general public?
*Because* some of the participants on this list are advanced
mathematicians. We (list participants, since I'm not an advanced
mathematician, at least not formally :-) might discuss whether or not
Ranked Pairs is better than Schulze, but were it to come to a referendum
or a common suggestion, I would support either without a thought.

(What happened to that idea of finding a compromise method that
everybody on EM could support? Did the idea get sidetracked by SODA?)

I would support Schulze and Ranked Pairs, and the uncovered versions
thereof. I would have to think a bit longer, but I would probably also
support Minmax (a bit concerned about clones though) and even
Nanson/Baldwin (since it's not so different from IRV, and has actually
been used) and BTR-IRV (for those areas where IRV has buried its claws,
if the choice is between BTR-IRV and IRV or Plurality).

I would have to think further yet, but I would probably also support
Approval (depends on what the alternatives were), and Range
(reluctantly), or top-two (because it works in France). I wouldn't
support IRV, as I don't think it'll make a significant difference
(consider Australia, for instance).
Post by Russ Paielli
But let's suppose a consensus is reached here on the EM list. What
happens next? You need to generate public awareness, which is a major
task. As far as the general public is concerned, there is no problem
with the voting system per se. Voters vote, and the votes are counted.
The candidate with the most votes wins. What else do you need?
Andrew has given a strategy here: let the people become used to ranked
balloting (primarily) and to Condorcet resolution (secondarily).

Schulze is also getting some use in different organizations, and it may
be possible to spread it further to other organizations in that way. If
the members there get used to counting ballots in the Schulze manner,
they may start wondering why that isn't done in their local election. It
may be a slow strategy, but you can't wave a magic wand and alter the
Presidential election system out of the blue, I think.
Post by Russ Paielli
So let's say we somehow manage to get widespread public awareness of the
deficiencies of the current plurality system. Then what? Eventually, and
actual change has to go through Congress. Try to imagine Senator
Blowhard grilling the experts on the proposed rules of their favorite
system. It would certainly be good for one thing: fodder for Jon Stewart
and Steven Colbert!
By then, hopefully there will be local elections being counted by that
system, and then one can use that as precedent. Something to the effect
of: "the people in XYZ vote by method W and like the results. It's more
complex than Plurality, but XYZ has many independents and smaller
parties, which is a rarity elsewhere, and the people like it".

For that matter, if what I know about US lawmakers is correct, the
Senators (and Representatives) usually don't know or read the more
involved bills themselves anyway. They don't have the time or knowledge.
Post by Russ Paielli
Also, consider the fierce opposition that would develop from any group
that thinks they would suffer. And who might that be? How about the two
major parties! Do you think they would have the power to stop it? For
starters, they would probably claim that any "complicated" vote transfer
algorithm cannot be used because it is not in the Constitution.
Yup, that's a problem. It's a general problem for any kind of change: if
you have an unfair system and wish to correct it, then if those who
currently benefit from the unfair distribution of power are also the
gatekeepers, then they will, and can, oppose your change. It's their
power on the line.

There are no quick fixes to this. The only way to handle it would be
through the democratic process, which means one should organize and try
to convince the people themselves to support the change.

It might be useful to look at the history of the Proportional
Representation League in this respect. Their push for PR did manage to
get it passed in certain areas (New York, Cincinnati), but then the
machines caught on and, well, those areas no longer use PR. It's going
to be tough, no doubt about that, and I hope someone around here is good
enough at organizing, or that someone who *is* would appear if the
methods get initial momentum (in local elections, organizations, etc).

However, there is a special case: the two parties may themselves be
interested in these sorts of methods for their primaries. I don't know
US politics in depth, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I'd think the
Republican party in particular could be interested, since they're having
to deal with the internal fractioning around Tea Party lines. For that
party, it might be more a matter of reality than of ideology: find a
better primary method or face the dangers of the split.
Post by Russ Paielli
I realize that IRV has garnered considerable support and success. I
suppose that's a tribute to the "open-mindedness" of ultra-leftist
enclaves such as SF and Berkeley. On the other hand, it just goes to
show that a fundamentally flawed system can be sold in such enclaves.
I think they've been lucky - at the right place at the right time - but
that's a subject for another post.

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Jameson Quinn
2011-07-08 10:56:02 UTC
Permalink
First, I'd ask people on this list to please stop discussing tax policy
here. It's not the place for it.
(What happened to that idea of finding a compromise method that everybody
on EM could support? Did the idea get sidetracked by SODA?)
More or less. My impression was that we had agreed that a statement should
explain and support no more than two simple methods, and mention as good a
broad range - as many as could get broad acceptance. For the simple methods,
it seemed that people were leaning towards (Condorcet//Approval or
Minimax/WV) plus (Approval or SODA). For the "generally agreed as
improvements", I think we could get consensus that the aforementioned ones
plus MJ, Range, and a catch-all "condorcet methods" (since in practice they
are unlikely to differ), would all be improvements over plurality.

So, I guess the question is: is there anyone who would support Approval but
not SODA? Respond in text. Also, I made a poll on betterpolls - go vote.
http://betterpolls.com/v/1425
Dave Ketchum
2011-07-08 16:11:56 UTC
Permalink
What I see:
.. Condorcet - without mixing in Approval.
. SODA - for trying, but seems too complex.
. Reject Approval - too weak to compete.

Dave Ketchum
Post by Jameson Quinn
First, I'd ask people on this list to please stop discussing tax
policy here. It's not the place for it.
(What happened to that idea of finding a compromise method that
everybody on EM could support? Did the idea get sidetracked by SODA?)
More or less. My impression was that we had agreed that a statement
should explain and support no more than two simple methods, and
mention as good a broad range - as many as could get broad
acceptance. For the simple methods, it seemed that people were
leaning towards (Condorcet//Approval or Minimax/WV) plus (Approval
or SODA). For the "generally agreed as improvements", I think we
could get consensus that the aforementioned ones plus MJ, Range, and
a catch-all "condorcet methods" (since in practice they are unlikely
to differ), would all be improvements over plurality.
So, I guess the question is: is there anyone who would support
Approval but not SODA? Respond in text. Also, I made a poll on
betterpolls - go vote. http://betterpolls.com/v/1425
Jameson Quinn
2011-07-08 16:47:39 UTC
Permalink
I'm sorry, but aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhh.

I think that people on this list are smart, but this is pathetic. I don't
mean to be hard on Dave in particular. But why is it impossible to get any
two of us to agree on anything? I want to make a list of systems which are

1. Commonly agreed to be better than approval.
2. Commonly agreed to be simple for an average voter to feel that they
understand what's going on.

I am not asking each person who responds to choose the best or simplest
system according to them. I'm asking everyone to vote in the
poll<http://betterpolls.com/do/1425> and
approve (rate higher than 0) all systems which meet those two very low bars.
Hopefully, the result will be a consensus. It will almost certainly not be
the two best, simplest systems by any individual's personal reckoning.
Post by Dave Ketchum
. Condorcet - without mixing in Approval.
You need some cycle-breaker. Implicit approval is the only order-N
tiebreaker I know; fundamentally simpler than any order-N² tiebreaker like
minimax. You don't have to call it approval if you don't like the name.
Post by Dave Ketchum
. SODA - for trying, but seems too complex.
I disagree, but I'm biased. I feel that "approve any number of candidates or
let your favorite candidate do it for you; most approvals wins" is easy to
understand. But I can understand if people disagree, so I'm not criticizing
this logic.
Post by Dave Ketchum
. Reject Approval - too weak to compete.
Worse than plurality????????

JQ
Juho Laatu
2011-07-08 18:00:09 UTC
Permalink
There are many reasons why it is difficult to find a statement that numerous people on this list would be willing to sign. As you know there are probably as many different opinions on different methods as there are people on this list. There have been some related (inconclusive) discussions also earlier on this list.

I'll write few comments below to outline some possible problems.
Post by Jameson Quinn
1. Commonly agreed to be better than approval.
First I'd like to understand what is the target environment for the method. In the absence of any explanation I assume that we are looking for a general purpose method that could be used for many typical single-winner elections and other decision making in potentially competitive environments.

Numerous people on this list may think that Condorcet methods are better. People may find also numerous other methods better than approval, but it may be more difficult to find many people with firm and similar opinions on them.
Post by Jameson Quinn
2. Commonly agreed to be simple for an average voter to feel that they understand what's going on.
Different societies may have very different expectations here, depending on what they are used to. Maybe Condorcet voting (ranking) is considered simple enough. Maybe the voters need to understand only how to vote, not how to count the results.

Some more reasons why people may have problems with signing the statement.
- there is no statement yet
- they don't understand or agree that these two targets would be the key targets (why just better than approval, what do the voters need to understand, what is simple)
- they may think that there should be more targets or less targets
- it might be easier to find an agreement on even smaller statements, one at a time
- this proposal would not meet the needs of their own default target environment (maybe some specific society) (maybe their current method is already better)
- they are afraid of making public statements that they might regret later
- they don't want to take part in web campaigns in general (e.g. because their primary focus is in their academic or other career)
- they are simply too uncertain and therefore stay silent
- there might be one sentence in the statement that they don't like (or one method)
- this initiative was not their own initiative
- they have a personal agenda and this initiative does not directly support it (maybe some favourite method, or some particular campaign, maybe this initiative competes with their agenda)
- technical arguments

I hope you will find some agreements. But I'm not very hopeful if the target is to find an agreement of numerous persons on numerous questions. Maybe if the statement would be very simple. One approach would be to make a complete personal statement and then try to get some support to it (maybe with comments).

Juho
Post by Jameson Quinn
I'm sorry, but aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhh.
I think that people on this list are smart, but this is pathetic. I don't mean to be hard on Dave in particular. But why is it impossible to get any two of us to agree on anything? I want to make a list of systems which are
1. Commonly agreed to be better than approval.
2. Commonly agreed to be simple for an average voter to feel that they understand what's going on.
I am not asking each person who responds to choose the best or simplest system according to them. I'm asking everyone to vote in the poll and approve (rate higher than 0) all systems which meet those two very low bars. Hopefully, the result will be a consensus. It will almost certainly not be the two best, simplest systems by any individual's personal reckoning.
. Condorcet - without mixing in Approval.
You need some cycle-breaker. Implicit approval is the only order-N tiebreaker I know; fundamentally simpler than any order-N² tiebreaker like minimax. You don't have to call it approval if you don't like the name.
. SODA - for trying, but seems too complex.
I disagree, but I'm biased. I feel that "approve any number of candidates or let your favorite candidate do it for you; most approvals wins" is easy to understand. But I can understand if people disagree, so I'm not criticizing this logic.
. Reject Approval - too weak to compete.
Worse than plurality????????
JQ
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
Jameson Quinn
2011-07-08 18:37:45 UTC
Permalink
I agree that there are plenty of reasons, good and bad, for not signing on
to any given statement. My plea is simply that people consider the reasons
for signing it too. No joint statement will ever say exactly what each
inidividual signator would have said, but I for one am still willing to make
the effort.

As for the specific concerns - which systems, how many, etc - several of
those questions are touched on by the poll <http://betterpolls.com/do/1425>.
Post by Juho Laatu
There are many reasons why it is difficult to find a statement that
numerous people on this list would be willing to sign. As you know there are
probably as many different opinions on different methods as there are people
on this list. There have been some related (inconclusive) discussions also
earlier on this list.
I'll write few comments below to outline some possible problems.
1. Commonly agreed to be better than approval.
First I'd like to understand what is the target environment for the method.
In the absence of any explanation I assume that we are looking for a general
purpose method that could be used for many typical single-winner elections
and other decision making in potentially competitive environments.
Numerous people on this list may think that Condorcet methods are better.
People may find also numerous other methods better than approval, but it may
be more difficult to find many people with firm and similar opinions on
them.
2. Commonly agreed to be simple for an average voter to feel that they
understand what's going on.
Different societies may have very different expectations here, depending on
what they are used to. Maybe Condorcet voting (ranking) is considered simple
enough. Maybe the voters need to understand only how to vote, not how to
count the results.
Some more reasons why people may have problems with signing the statement.
- there is no statement yet
- they don't understand or agree that these two targets would be the key
targets (why just better than approval, what do the voters need to
understand, what is simple)
- they may think that there should be more targets or less targets
- it might be easier to find an agreement on even smaller statements, one at a time
- this proposal would not meet the needs of their own default target
environment (maybe some specific society) (maybe their current method is
already better)
- they are afraid of making public statements that they might regret later
- they don't want to take part in web campaigns in general (e.g.
because their primary focus is in their academic or other career)
- they are simply too uncertain and therefore stay silent
- there might be one sentence in the statement that they don't like (or one method)
- this initiative was not their own initiative
- they have a personal agenda and this initiative does not directly support
it (maybe some favourite method, or some particular campaign, maybe this
initiative competes with their agenda)
- technical arguments
I hope you will find some agreements. But I'm not very hopeful if the
target is to find an agreement of numerous persons on numerous questions.
Maybe if the statement would be very simple. One approach would be to make a
complete personal statement and then try to get some support to it (maybe
with comments).
Juho
I'm sorry, but aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhh.
I think that people on this list are smart, but this is pathetic. I don't
mean to be hard on Dave in particular. But why is it impossible to get any
two of us to agree on anything? I want to make a list of systems which are
1. Commonly agreed to be better than approval.
2. Commonly agreed to be simple for an average voter to feel that they
understand what's going on.
I am not asking each person who responds to choose the best or simplest
system according to them. I'm asking everyone to vote in the poll<http://betterpolls.com/do/1425> and
approve (rate higher than 0) all systems which meet those two very low bars.
Hopefully, the result will be a consensus. It will almost certainly not be
the two best, simplest systems by any individual's personal reckoning.
Post by Dave Ketchum
. Condorcet - without mixing in Approval.
You need some cycle-breaker. Implicit approval is the only order-N
tiebreaker I know; fundamentally simpler than any order-N² tiebreaker like
minimax. You don't have to call it approval if you don't like the name.
Post by Dave Ketchum
. SODA - for trying, but seems too complex.
I disagree, but I'm biased. I feel that "approve any number of candidates
or let your favorite candidate do it for you; most approvals wins" is easy
to understand. But I can understand if people disagree, so I'm not
criticizing this logic.
Post by Dave Ketchum
. Reject Approval - too weak to compete.
Worse than plurality????????
JQ
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
Russ Paielli
2011-07-08 18:26:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jameson Quinn
I'm sorry, but aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhh.
I think that people on this list are smart, but this is pathetic. I don't
mean to be hard on Dave in particular. But why is it impossible to get any
two of us to agree on anything? I want to make a list of systems which are
1. Commonly agreed to be better than approval.
2. Commonly agreed to be simple for an average voter to feel that they
understand what's going on.
I am not asking each person who responds to choose the best or simplest
system according to them. I'm asking everyone to vote in the poll<http://betterpolls.com/do/1425> and
approve (rate higher than 0) all systems which meet those two very low bars.
Hopefully, the result will be a consensus. It will almost certainly not be
the two best, simplest systems by any individual's personal reckoning.
Jameson, I think the answer depends on what you mean by "better." (You may
have defined that specifically in an earlier post, but if you did, I forgot
it. Sorry!)

I think we can break the evaluation of election methods down into three
major categories:

1. Technical criteria
2. Complexity
3. Equipment requirements

Technical criteria includes all those "theoretical" criteria that have been
defined and discussed here for many years, such as Condorcet Criterion,
monotonicity, etc. Complexity relates to the vote counting and/or transfer
rules.

As I wrote a couple days ago, I strongly suspect that any vote counting
rules beyond simple addition will be extremely difficult to sell on a large
scale. IRV may be a counterexample, but I suspect that (1) it has only been
adopted in very "liberal" cities, and (2) it will never gain traction for
major public elections.

The more I think about it, the more I am starting to think that Range Voting
is the answer. I'm sure Warren will be glad to hear that! One great
advantage of Range is its ultra-simple counting rules. Its only real
disadvantage is the equipment requirements, but those are not
insurmountable.

An open issue about Range is, of course, how many rating levels should be
used. A "natural" choice is 10, but anything from about 5 to 10 or so seems
reasonable to me.

As I said before, I am very concerned about the large number of candidates
in the Republican presidential primary. I would love to see Range Voting
used there. That won't happen, of course, but if Republicans end up largely
unhappy with their candidate (as they were with McCain), the silver lining
to that could will be an opportunity to promote Range Voting to Republicans.

--Russ P.
--
http://RussP.us
Jameson Quinn
2011-07-08 18:33:31 UTC
Permalink
just a quick comment on a minor point:

IRV may be a counterexample, but I suspect that (1) it has only been
Post by Russ Paielli
adopted in very "liberal" cities,
I don't think that's because they're liberal, per se, but rather because
they were burned by the 2000 election. We'll see how it works after a
conservative Nader throws a national election to the Democrats. (Of course,
right now, Republicans go out of their way to at least apear to kow-tow to
the conservative base, while Obama goes out of his way to at least appear to
distinguish himself from the liberal base, so Republicans have far less need
for a third-party candidate. But that can change.)

JQ
Andrew Myers
2011-07-08 18:41:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Russ Paielli
As I wrote a couple days ago, I strongly suspect that any vote
counting rules beyond simple addition will be extremely difficult to
sell on a large scale. IRV may be a counterexample, but I suspect that
(1) it has only been adopted in very "liberal" cities, and (2) it will
never gain traction for major public elections.
The more I think about it, the more I am starting to think that Range
Voting is the answer. I'm sure Warren will be glad to hear that! One
great advantage of Range is its ultra-simple counting rules. Its only
real disadvantage is the equipment requirements, but those are not
insurmountable.
An open issue about Range is, of course, how many rating levels should
be used. A "natural" choice is 10, but anything from about 5 to 10 or
so seems reasonable to me.
As I said before, I am very concerned about the large number of
candidates in the Republican presidential primary. I would love to see
Range Voting used there. That won't happen, of course, but if
Republicans end up largely unhappy with their candidate (as they were
with McCain), the silver lining to that could will be an opportunity
to promote Range Voting to Republicans.
To me, Range remains a non-starter for political settings, though I can
see some valid uses.

I have implicitly argued that the real barrier to adoption of other
voting method is simply the complexity of constructing one's ballot.
Range voting is more complex than producing an ordering on candidates.
For me the problem of determining my own utility for various candidates
is quite perplexing; I can't imagine the "ordinary voter" finding it
more pleasant.

Range also exposes the possibility of strategic voting very explicitly
to the voters. Only a chump casts a vote other than 0 or 10 on a
10-point scale. Range creates an incentive for dishonesty.

So if the lazy voters are voting approval style because they don't want
to sort out their utilities, and the motivated voters are voting
approval style because that's the right strategy, who's left? It seems
to me that we might as well have Approval and keep the ballots simple
rather than use Range.

-- Andrew
Toby Pereira
2011-07-08 22:09:35 UTC
Permalink
I can see the point about strategic range just being approval, but strategic
First-Past-The-Post is just ignoring everyone except the top two candidates, and
you wouldn't just cut out all other candidates in an election to make it
simpler. (I think I nicked that point from Warren Smith). If range voting does
still produce some honest voters then it might still give a better winner than
approval. I suppose the main worry is that under First-Past-The-Post, people
know that if they are voting for someone who's unlikely to win then they are
"wasting" their vote, whereas under range voting, the best strategy isn't
necessarily as obvious so people lose voting power by not understanding the ins
and outs of tactical voting. To me, that's probably the biggest point against
range voting. Having said that, if it's as simple as always give 0 or 10 (if
it's out of 10), then I imagine it should catch on pretty quickly, although who
to give the 0s and 10s to might not always be as obvious.

But anyway, I would use range voting for multi-winner elections. For me the
biggest problem is not which particular system we use to elect a single winner,
but that there is a single winner that takes everything. When we had the
referendum for Alternative Vote (Instant Run-off) in the UK, I think most people
that preferred it to First-Past-The-Post agreed that it was just scratching the
surface and that although it seemed nicer in principle it wouldn't really make
much of a material difference (and generally for single-winner systems). And I
think most people who voted for Alternative Vote really wanted a proportional
system. Anyway, the point I was going to make is that I wonder what strategies
people would adopt under a proportional range system - would it always be 0 or
10?




________________________________
From: Andrew Myers <***@cs.cornell.edu>
To: election-***@lists.electorama.com
Sent: Fri, 8 July, 2011 19:41:27
Subject: Re: [EM] Has this idea been considered?

To me, Range remains a non-starter for political settings, though I can see some
valid uses.

I have implicitly argued that the real barrier to adoption of other voting
method is simply the complexity of constructing one's ballot. Range voting is
more complex than producing an ordering on candidates. For me the problem of
determining my own utility for various candidates is quite perplexing;  I can't
imagine the "ordinary voter" finding it more pleasant.

Range also exposes the possibility of strategic voting very explicitly to the
voters. Only a chump casts a vote other than 0 or 10 on a 10-point scale. Range
creates an incentive for dishonesty.

So if the lazy voters are voting approval style because they don't want to sort
out their utilities, and the motivated voters are voting approval style because
that's the right strategy, who's left? It seems to me that we might as well have
Approval and keep the ballots simple rather than use Range.

-- Andrew
Russ Paielli
2011-07-09 02:19:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Toby Pereira
Post by Russ Paielli
As I wrote a couple days ago, I strongly suspect that any vote counting
rules beyond simple addition will be extremely difficult to sell on a large
scale. IRV may be a counterexample, but I suspect that (1) it has only been
adopted in very "liberal" cities, and (2) it will never gain traction for
major public elections.
The more I think about it, the more I am starting to think that Range
Voting is the answer. I'm sure Warren will be glad to hear that! One great
advantage of Range is its ultra-simple counting rules. Its only real
disadvantage is the equipment requirements, but those are not
insurmountable.
An open issue about Range is, of course, how many rating levels should be
used. A "natural" choice is 10, but anything from about 5 to 10 or so seems
reasonable to me.
As I said before, I am very concerned about the large number of candidates
in the Republican presidential primary. I would love to see Range Voting
used there. That won't happen, of course, but if Republicans end up largely
unhappy with their candidate (as they were with McCain), the silver lining
to that could will be an opportunity to promote Range Voting to Republicans.
To me, Range remains a non-starter for political settings, though I can see
some valid uses.
I have implicitly argued that the real barrier to adoption of other voting
method is simply the complexity of constructing one's ballot. Range voting
is more complex than producing an ordering on candidates. For me the problem
of determining my own utility for various candidates is quite perplexing; I
can't imagine the "ordinary voter" finding it more pleasant.
Range also exposes the possibility of strategic voting very explicitly to
the voters. Only a chump casts a vote other than 0 or 10 on a 10-point
scale. Range creates an incentive for dishonesty.
So if the lazy voters are voting approval style because they don't want to
sort out their utilities, and the motivated voters are voting approval style
because that's the right strategy, who's left? It seems to me that we might
as well have Approval and keep the ballots simple rather than use Range.
You raise an interesting point, Andrew. I vaguely recall discussing this
very point years ago. From a strict mathematical/probabilistic perspective,
you may be correct. But from a psychological perspective, maybe there's more
to it.

The most common complaint about Approval is that the voter is forced to rate
his approved candidates all equally. Range obviously gets around that
objection.

I would consider rating some candidates off the limits. Does that make me a
chump? Maybe. I'd probably rate my "approved" candidates from 8-10 and my
"disapproved" candidates from 0-2, or something like that -- so at least I
would not be a hard-core chump!

--Russ P.
--
http://RussP.us
Dave Ketchum
2011-07-09 00:38:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jameson Quinn
I'm sorry, but aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhh.
I think that people on this list are smart, but this is pathetic. I
don't mean to be hard on Dave in particular. But why is it
impossible to get any two of us to agree on anything? I want to make
a list of systems which are
1. Commonly agreed to be better than approval.
We pretty much agree that approval is a step up from plurality - but
most of us agree that we want a bigger step - but have trouble
agreeing how to do that.
Post by Jameson Quinn
2. Commonly agreed to be simple for an average voter to feel that
they understand what's going on.
Voters should understand, but not necessarily be ready to do for
themselves - leave that to whoever gets assigned to build the system.
Post by Jameson Quinn
I am not asking each person who responds to choose the best or
simplest system according to them. I'm asking everyone to vote in
the poll and approve (rate higher than 0) all systems which meet
those two very low bars. Hopefully, the result will be a consensus.
It will almost certainly not be the two best, simplest systems by
any individual's personal reckoning.
. Condorcet - without mixing in Approval.
You need some cycle-breaker. Implicit approval is the only order-N
tiebreaker I know; fundamentally simpler than any order-N²
tiebreaker like minimax. You don't have to call it approval if you
don't like the name.
When you look close:
. If approval thinking could get involved when there is a cycle,
we must consider whether this will affect voters' thinking.
. Will not the approval thinking affect what is extracted from the
ballots.

While there are many methods for resolving cycles, might we agree on:
. Each cycle member would be CW if the other cycle members were
set aside - why not demand that the x*x matrix that decided there was
a cycle be THE source for deciding on which cycle member should be
winner.
. Remember that, when we are electing such as a senator or
governor, retrieving new information from the ballots is a complication.
Post by Jameson Quinn
. SODA - for trying, but seems too complex.
I disagree, but I'm biased. I feel that "approve any number of
candidates or let your favorite candidate do it for you; most
approvals wins" is easy to understand. But I can understand if
people disagree, so I'm not criticizing this logic.
Your favorite candidate for, hopefully, getting elected is not
necessarily one you would trust toward getting a good substitute
elected.
Post by Jameson Quinn
. Reject Approval - too weak to compete.
Worse than plurality????????
No - but we should be trying for something better.
Post by Jameson Quinn
JQ
Jameson Quinn
2011-07-09 01:08:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jameson Quinn
I'm sorry, but aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhh.
I think that people on this list are smart, but this is pathetic. I don't
mean to be hard on Dave in particular. But why is it impossible to get any
two of us to agree on anything? I want to make a list of systems which are
1. Commonly agreed to be better than approval.
Oops, I meant plurality.
We pretty much agree that approval is a step up from plurality - but most
of us agree that we want a bigger step - but have trouble agreeing how to do
that.
It's not an irrevocable choice, it's just an endorsement. It would be great
news if ANY good system were tried in a real, high-stakes single-winner
election.
Post by Jameson Quinn
. SODA - for trying, but seems too complex.
I disagree, but I'm biased. I feel that "approve any number of candidates
or let your favorite candidate do it for you; most approvals wins" is easy
to understand. But I can understand if people disagree, so I'm not
criticizing this logic.
Your favorite candidate for, hopefully, getting elected is not necessarily
one you would trust toward getting a good substitute elected.
Agreed, although they would be worth trusting more often than not. But the
point of SODA is that it's optional; if you don't trust them, don't delegate
to them.
Post by Jameson Quinn
Post by Dave Ketchum
. Reject Approval - too weak to compete.
Worse than plurality????????
No - but we should be trying for something better.
Sure, try for the best. But support everything better than what we have.
Because no system will ever be a consensus best, but many systems are
consensus better.

JQ
Kristofer Munsterhjelm
2011-07-08 17:35:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jameson Quinn
First, I'd ask people on this list to please stop discussing tax policy
here. It's not the place for it.
(What happened to that idea of finding a compromise method that
everybody on EM could support? Did the idea get sidetracked by SODA?)
More or less. My impression was that we had agreed that a statement
should explain and support no more than two simple methods, and mention
as good a broad range - as many as could get broad acceptance. For the
simple methods, it seemed that people were leaning towards
(Condorcet//Approval or Minimax/WV) plus (Approval or SODA). For the
"generally agreed as improvements", I think we could get consensus that
the aforementioned ones plus MJ, Range, and a catch-all "condorcet
methods" (since in practice they are unlikely to differ), would all be
improvements over plurality.
So, I guess the question is: is there anyone who would support Approval
but not SODA? Respond in text. Also, I made a poll on betterpolls - go
vote. http://betterpolls.com/v/1425
After a fashion. SODA may be a good method in a vacuum, but it's also
very new and has no precedent at all (apart from its components). Thus,
mentioning it in a practical proposal could run the risk of making it
seem left-field and thus the rest of our suggestions appear less serious.

----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
Andy Jennings
2011-07-08 19:57:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jameson Quinn
So, I guess the question is: is there anyone who would support Approval but
not SODA? Respond in text. Also, I made a poll on betterpolls - go vote.
http://betterpolls.com/v/1425
Wow, that results page is hard to read when the poll is about voting systems
and the results are analyzed with lots of different voting methods. Very
"meta".

In any case, I went and voted.

I was pretty hard on SODA. Even though I like where it's going, I, like
Kristofer, don't think it's been analyzed enough to become our endorsed
system at this point.

Let's keep working on it...

Andy
Toby Pereira
2011-07-08 21:31:58 UTC
Permalink
The thing about SODA is that it's harder to "get" than Approval Voting. I
haven't exactly read through all the posts on it here thoroughly but I've looked
at the page -
http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/Simple_Optionally-Delegated_Approval - and I do
find myself thinking "What?" All of its advantages over other systems may be
within the posts on this board, but they are not that clear to me from reading
the article. The method is explained and also the criteria it satisfies but I'm
not happy that I've been convinced why it works.

Why are the votes only delegable if you bullet vote (or is that obvious)? Also
it seems like a lot of work for just the people who bullet vote (and also allow
delegation). Do we know in practice what proportion of people do bullet vote in
Approval Voting? Might SODA reduce this number anyway?

From the page: "If any candidate has an absolute majority at this point, or
cannot possibly be beaten by any other candidate using the delegable votes and
candidate rankings available, then they win immediately." Does absolute majority
just mean over 50%? But with Approval 50% isn't a particular threshold. You can
get over 50% and still be beaten. Maybe I'm just unclear on "absolute majority",
but it's been put as distinct from "cannot possibly be beaten by any other
candidate using the delegable votes and candidate rankings available".

And it still seems strange to me that candidates pre-declare their delegation
order but then still get to negotiate. Yes, there's an explanation, but I'm not
really sure I get it. "The system as it stands allows them to see, after the
votes are counted, which of them deserves to win. That one will not delegate
their votes, and the other one (of necessity) will." Couldn't there be a way in
the system to decide who deserves to win (e.g. based on who would get more
votes after the delegation or who had more to start with)?


Also, just out of interest, is there a multi-winner version?




________________________________
From: Andy Jennings <***@jenningsstory.com>
Cc: election-***@lists.electorama.com
Sent: Fri, 8 July, 2011 20:57:52
Subject: Re: [EM] Has this idea been considered?
So, I guess the question is: is there anyone who would support Approval but not
SODA? Respond in text. Also, I made a poll on betterpolls - go
vote. http://betterpolls.com/v/1425
Wow, that results page is hard to read when the poll is about voting systems and
the results are analyzed with lots of different voting methods.  Very "meta".

In any case, I went and voted.

I was pretty hard on SODA.  Even though I like where it's going, I, like
Kristofer, don't think it's been analyzed enough to become our endorsed system
at this point.

Let's keep working on it...

Andy
Jameson Quinn
2011-07-08 23:13:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Toby Pereira
The thing about SODA is that it's harder to "get" than Approval Voting. I
haven't exactly read through all the posts on it here thoroughly but I've
looked at the page -
http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/Simple_Optionally-Delegated_Approval - and I
do find myself thinking "What?" All of its advantages over other systems may
be within the posts on this board, but they are not that clear to me from
reading the article. The method is explained and also the criteria it
satisfies but I'm not happy that I've been convinced why it works.
Post by Toby Pereira
Why are the votes only delegable if you bullet vote (or is that obvious)?
Because if you vote for several, which one would get to assign the delegated
votes?
Post by Toby Pereira
Also it seems like a lot of work for just the people who bullet vote (and
also allow delegation). Do we know in practice what proportion of people do
bullet vote in Approval Voting?

Bullet voting in Bucklin is strategically equivalent to bullet voting in
Approval. In fact, approval would have if anything more bullet voting than
Bucklin, because Approval gives no way except bullet voting to express a
unique first preference. A quick search finds two results for bullet voting
in Bucklin: "In Alabama, for example, in the 16 primary election races that
used Bucklin Voting between 1916 and 1930, on average only 13% of voters
opted to indicate a second choice." and in a Spokane mayoral election "568
of the total of 1799 voters did not add second rank votes". That's a broad
range, but certainly enough to see that it's significant.
Post by Toby Pereira
Might SODA reduce this number anyway?
SODA takes away most of the strategic motivations NOT to bullet vote, so if
anything it would lead to more bullet voting.
Post by Toby Pereira
From the page: "If any candidate has an absolute majority at this point, or
cannot possibly be beaten by any other candidate using the delegable votes
and candidate rankings available, then they win immediately." Does absolute
majority just mean over 50%?
Yes.
Post by Toby Pereira
But with Approval 50% isn't a particular threshold.
That's right. However, if most votes are bullet votes, then it is. Also, it
is important when selling a system to just be able to say "majority wins"
and not have to qualify it. Sure, there are people who are willing to listen
to your explanation of why not, but there are a lot of people who aren't.
Post by Toby Pereira
You can get over 50% and still be beaten. Maybe I'm just unclear on
"absolute majority", but it's been put as distinct from "cannot possibly be
beaten by any other candidate using the delegable votes and candidate
rankings available".
That's right, these are two separate possibilities, but the rule is
deliberately stated in a manner so that a reader who wasn't as aware as you
would just read this as one case, so they don't feel that there are too many
special cases.
Post by Toby Pereira
And it still seems strange to me that candidates pre-declare their
delegation order but then still get to negotiate. Yes, there's an
explanation, but I'm not really sure I get it. "The system as it stands
allows them to see, after the votes are counted, which of them deserves to
win. That one will not delegate their votes, and the other one (of
necessity) will." Couldn't there be a way in the system to decide who
deserves to win (e.g. based on who would get more votes after the delegation
or who had more to start with)?
In real-world elections, with no more than a half-dozen viable candidates
with the rest getting tiny handfuls of votes, it would be quite feasible to
work out the unique rational strategy and have the system do it for them.
This is not done for two reasons:

1. To allow a "foregone kingmaker" scenario. A non-winning candidate with a
large pile of votes deserves to be a focus of media attention for a few
days, and has earned the right to make minor and reasonable demands (on the
order of a cabinet seat or two for their party, to serve at the pleasure of
the executive). Remember, because the delegation order is pre-declared, the
eventual result is almost fore-ordained; minor candidates do not have the
power to get too greedy in their demands. And if they take the radical step
of NOT sharing their delegated votes in the rationally-correct fashion,
their voters would justly want to know why - and their party would suffer if
they didn't have a good explanation.

2. As a check on the possibility of strategic declared rankings. In a
1-dimensional 3-candidate scenario, imagine one wing buried the center
candidate and managed to be the apparent "rational" winner thereby. If the
other candidates realize this, they can keep this trick from working, but
only if their "rational" strategy is not automatic.

Also, just out of interest, is there a multi-winner version?
SODA outputs approval ballots (which can also be considered as 3-rank
Bucklin ballots). Any proportional method with approval ballots as an input
can then be used. With the number of dimensions on which such systems can
vary, I could easily list two dozen distinct methods (although results would
tend to agree across many of them).

JQ
Toby Pereira
2011-07-09 11:01:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jameson Quinn
 
Post by Toby Pereira
Why are the votes only delegable if you bullet vote (or is that obvious)?
Because if you vote for several, which one would get to assign the delegated
votes?
Can't they all delegate the votes that they get from you?
 
 

Also, just out of interest, is there a multi-winner version?
Post by Jameson Quinn
SODA outputs approval ballots (which can also be considered as 3-rank Bucklin
ballots). Any proportional method with approval ballots as an input can then >be
used. With the number of dimensions on which such systems can vary, I could
easily list two dozen distinct methods (although results would tend to agree
Post by Toby Pereira
across many of them).
With a proportional approval system, it wouldn't always be obvious who would get
elected under a particular result before going into the calculations. So when it
gets to the delegation stage, wouldn't it be a headache for the candidates to
work out what would happen depending on how they delegated?
Kevin Venzke
2011-07-08 23:27:14 UTC
Permalink
--- En date de : Ven 8.7.11, Toby Pereira <***@yahoo.co.uk> a écrit :
The thing about SODA is that it's harder to "get" than Approval Voting.
I haven't exactly read through all the posts on it here thoroughly but
I've looked at the page - http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/
Simple_Optionally-Delegated_Approval - and I do find myself
thinking "What?"
[end quote]


Well hmm. I'm kind of looking at this article as a collection of things
that have been said by SODA people. As a neutral intro to the method
for people who don't know whether the inventors have any idea what they
are talking about, it's kind of terrible.

In particular that intro paragraph... I didn't want to go on.

"I'm going to abandon the neutral voice and talk as myself."

Ahaha.

Maybe the article should be forked. Have one concise, neutral version
(like neutral neutral), and then the exciting one.

Kevin
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
Andy Jennings
2011-07-12 19:58:49 UTC
Permalink
I agree with Kevin that the existing SODA page on the wiki is _not_ for
novices.

I created a simplified page:
http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/Simple_Optionally-Delegated_Approval_(simplified)

Feel free to edit, but let's add to it as little as possible, or even take
some away if we can.

Andy
Post by Toby Pereira
The thing about SODA is that it's harder to "get" than Approval Voting.
I haven't exactly read through all the posts on it here thoroughly but
I've looked at the page - http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/
Simple_Optionally-Delegated_Approval - and I do find myself
thinking "What?"
[end quote]
Well hmm. I'm kind of looking at this article as a collection of things
that have been said by SODA people. As a neutral intro to the method
for people who don't know whether the inventors have any idea what they
are talking about, it's kind of terrible.
In particular that intro paragraph... I didn't want to go on.
"I'm going to abandon the neutral voice and talk as myself."
Ahaha.
Maybe the article should be forked. Have one concise, neutral version
(like neutral neutral), and then the exciting one.
Kevin
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
Jameson Quinn
2011-07-12 20:16:19 UTC
Permalink
I like the overall structure, but the syntax could certainly be edited for
clarity. Shorter sentences with a few concrete examples will feel simpler,
even if it ends up longer. I'll make an attempt later.

Also, I think that the two pages should be merged, with your page as the
introductory section of mine.

JQ
Post by Andy Jennings
I agree with Kevin that the existing SODA page on the wiki is _not_ for
novices.
http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/Simple_Optionally-Delegated_Approval_(simplified)
Feel free to edit, but let's add to it as little as possible, or even take
some away if we can.
Andy
Post by Toby Pereira
The thing about SODA is that it's harder to "get" than Approval Voting.
I haven't exactly read through all the posts on it here thoroughly but
I've looked at the page - http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/
Simple_Optionally-Delegated_Approval - and I do find myself
thinking "What?"
[end quote]
Well hmm. I'm kind of looking at this article as a collection of things
that have been said by SODA people. As a neutral intro to the method
for people who don't know whether the inventors have any idea what they
are talking about, it's kind of terrible.
In particular that intro paragraph... I didn't want to go on.
"I'm going to abandon the neutral voice and talk as myself."
Ahaha.
Maybe the article should be forked. Have one concise, neutral version
(like neutral neutral), and then the exciting one.
Kevin
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
Jameson Quinn
2011-07-12 22:14:58 UTC
Permalink
I made an attempt to revise and merge, and also to reduce the use of the
first person on the main page. Check out
http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/Simple_Optionally-Delegated_Approval#Opinionated_sales_pitches_.28hard_sell.29
to
see the results.
Post by Jameson Quinn
I like the overall structure, but the syntax could certainly be edited for
clarity. Shorter sentences with a few concrete examples will feel simpler,
even if it ends up longer. I'll make an attempt later.
Also, I think that the two pages should be merged, with your page as the
introductory section of mine.
JQ
Post by Andy Jennings
I agree with Kevin that the existing SODA page on the wiki is _not_ for
novices.
http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/Simple_Optionally-Delegated_Approval_(simplified)
Feel free to edit, but let's add to it as little as possible, or even take
some away if we can.
Andy
Post by Toby Pereira
The thing about SODA is that it's harder to "get" than Approval Voting.
I haven't exactly read through all the posts on it here thoroughly but
I've looked at the page - http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/
Simple_Optionally-Delegated_Approval - and I do find myself
thinking "What?"
[end quote]
Well hmm. I'm kind of looking at this article as a collection of things
that have been said by SODA people. As a neutral intro to the method
for people who don't know whether the inventors have any idea what they
are talking about, it's kind of terrible.
In particular that intro paragraph... I didn't want to go on.
"I'm going to abandon the neutral voice and talk as myself."
Ahaha.
Maybe the article should be forked. Have one concise, neutral version
(like neutral neutral), and then the exciting one.
Kevin
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
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