Discussion:
[EM] Election-Methods Digest, Vol 169, Issue 20
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steve bosworth
2018-07-20 00:48:29 UTC
Permalink
From Steve to Rob et al:
In the light of the recent discussions about IRV, please not that the CA jungle primary could be most simply and democratically solved by not having any primaries at all. Instead, elect any single-winner using Majority Judgment. From many candidates, MJ ensures that the one winner will be seen as the one candidate evaluated by an absolute majority of voting citizens to have at least the highest median grade of suitability for the office when compared with any of the other candidates. Similarly, as explained by the previously posted published article, EPR would guarantee that each winner in a muliti-winner general election would be the one most highly regarded by his or her electorate, and no citizens would be wasted in the senses defined by the 2nd paragraph of that article.
If you disagree, please explain.

Message: 1
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2018 15:26:21 -0700
From: Rob Lanphier <***@robla.net>
To: Election Methods <election-***@lists.electorama.com>
Subject: [EM] A simpler approval based way of replacing the CA jungle
primary
Message-ID:
<CAK9hOY=iJ41kh__=***@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"

Hi folks,

During the California jungle primary, it's become clear to many of my
fellow activists that our top-two jungle primary doesn't make sense.
A while back, I posted "Party-based top two with approval", which
resulted in a great on-list conversation with Kevin Venzke. As I've
been talking to folks, I've been afraid of bringing up my complicated
rules or pushing my system via my blog/wherever.

After mulling it over, I think this simple version could get traction.
The rules, in a nutshell:

a. All candidates who receive over 50% approval advance to the general election
b. If less than two candidates get 50% approval, then advance the two
candidates approved by the most number of voters

There's some intentional ambiguity in that second bullet point. The
goal would be to find two candidates for whom the largest portion of
the electorate approves at least one of. So, let's say we have three
candidates: A-left, B-center, and C-right. A-left and C-right are
popular with their respective base voters, and B-center is a weak
centrist. Let's the voters vote like this:

25% - approve only A-left
20% - approve A-left and B-center
10% - approve only B-center
20% - approve B-center and C-right
25% - approve C-right

This would result in the following approval scores for the individual
candidates:

A-left: 45%
B-center: 50%
C-right: 45%

However, in this version of the rules, we look for the pair of
candidates where at least one candidate meets with approval.

AB (A-left and B-center): 75%
BC (B-center and C-right): 75%
AC (A-left and C-right): 90%

Using the rules in this proposal, A-left and C-right would advance to
the general election. It would be possible to layer some more
slightly more complicated rules on top of this system to avoid this
flavor of center squeeze. However, these rules dissuade candidates
from relying on a "mushy middle" lesser-of-either-evil campaign, but
instead, push candidates to earn the approval of either left or right
base voters. Moreover, in this scenario, both A-left and C-right
would be worried about the possibility of their ideological opposite
getting 50% approval thus making it so that two candidates have the
required 50%. Trying to divide the electorate rather than achieving
50% approval would an extremely risky strategy.

The slightly complicated additional rule could be a guarantee that the
candidate that gets the highest approval rating automatically advances
to the general election. However, as would happen in this example,
that means that instead of 90% of voters having a candidate that they
approve of in the general election, only 75% of primary voters like
one of the choices that move on to the general election.

The other suboptimal outcome with these rules would be if there were
many, many clone candidates (say, A1-left, A2-left, .... , A500-left)
that all managed to squeak through with 50% approval, creating a
ballot with 501 candidates (including B-center), and still leaving 25%
of voters without a choice they approve of. Or let's say that C-right
still manages to also get 50% approval, which would mean that there
are 502 candidates on the ballot.

There are many ways of dealing with this:

1. Only allow 2 candidates to advance, keeping with the spirit of
"top two", and use simple plurality in the general election.
2. Have higher limit (e.g. 5 candidates) and only allow the top 5
approval getters to advance. Tally the general election using
approval voting.
3. Choose the 5 candidates for whom at least one is approved.
Calculating this seems complicated, but the goal would be the 5
finalists would be A1-left, A2-left, A3-left, B-center and C-right.
Once again, tally the general election using approval voting.

It seems to me it would be shocking to have 502 candidates (or even 5
candidates) who are approved by at least 50% of the voters, and that
having 3 or more seems like a good problem to have. My suspicion is
that the more frequent problem would be that only one or zero
candidates who achieve 50% approval when approval primaries are first
implemented, and only when the electorate becomes less polarized would
we see a lot of candidates getting the required name recognition for
an approval vote.

Has anyone else written up this variant somewhere already, or is this
arguably the only writeup of the idea so far? Is this a reasonable
set of rules?

Rob


------------------------------

Message: 2
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2018 01:37:43 +0200
From: Kristofer Munsterhjelm <***@t-online.de>
To: Rob Lanphier <***@robla.net>, Election Methods
<election-***@lists.electorama.com>
Subject: Re: [EM] A simpler approval based way of replacing the CA
jungle primary
Message-ID: <7733a345-b5a9-3081-943a-***@t-online.de>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed
Hi folks,
During the California jungle primary, it's become clear to many of my
fellow activists that our top-two jungle primary doesn't make sense.
A while back, I posted "Party-based top two with approval", which
resulted in a great on-list conversation with Kevin Venzke. As I've
been talking to folks, I've been afraid of bringing up my complicated
rules or pushing my system via my blog/wherever.
After mulling it over, I think this simple version could get traction.
a. All candidates who receive over 50% approval advance to the general election
b. If less than two candidates get 50% approval, then advance the two
candidates approved by the most number of voters
There's some intentional ambiguity in that second bullet point. The
goal would be to find two candidates for whom the largest portion of
the electorate approves at least one of. So, let's say we have three
candidates: A-left, B-center, and C-right. A-left and C-right are
popular with their respective base voters, and B-center is a weak
25% - approve only A-left
20% - approve A-left and B-center
10% - approve only B-center
20% - approve B-center and C-right
25% - approve C-right
This would result in the following approval scores for the individual
A-left: 45%
B-center: 50%
C-right: 45%
However, in this version of the rules, we look for the pair of
candidates where at least one candidate meets with approval.
AB (A-left and B-center): 75%
BC (B-center and C-right): 75%
AC (A-left and C-right): 90%
Using the rules in this proposal, A-left and C-right would advance to
the general election. It would be possible to layer some more
slightly more complicated rules on top of this system to avoid this
flavor of center squeeze. However, these rules dissuade candidates
from relying on a "mushy middle" lesser-of-either-evil campaign, but
instead, push candidates to earn the approval of either left or right
base voters. Moreover, in this scenario, both A-left and C-right
would be worried about the possibility of their ideological opposite
getting 50% approval thus making it so that two candidates have the
required 50%. Trying to divide the electorate rather than achieving
50% approval would an extremely risky strategy.
This sounds like a combination of majoritarian and minmax Approval. I
think that a two-round system should contain the winner of the first
round so that if the first round is correct, the winner is preserved.

So how about making that more explicit? Say something to the effect of:

The Approval winner advances, and
two other winners advance so as to maximize the number of ballots that
approve of at least one of them.

By having three instead of two, a center candidate won't bias the runoff
towards either the left or right in an LCR situation. On the other hand,
it's harder to justify once opinion space becomes multidimensional; and
having three instead of two does lead to the Approval dilemma of whether
to approve your favorite only or also approve your second best.

You could run the second round with a ranked method, but that would make
it a lot more complex. Letting two candidates pass instead of three
would solve the problem, as you could use Plurality for the second
stage, but any LCR situation would be biased: either it would be
left-leaning (LC), right-leaning (RC), or miss the centrist (LR).

From a design perspective, the best would probably be to have the
Approval winner advance, and as many additional candidates as are needed
to achieve proportional representation up to some set level (which would
act as an effective threshold). That suggests using a house-monotone PR
method to pick the candidates for the second round; but that would be
anything but simple.
1. Only allow 2 candidates to advance, keeping with the spirit of
"top two", and use simple plurality in the general election.
2. Have higher limit (e.g. 5 candidates) and only allow the top 5
approval getters to advance. Tally the general election using
approval voting > 3. Choose the 5 candidates for whom at least one is approved.
Calculating this seems complicated, but the goal would be the 5
finalists would be A1-left, A2-left, A3-left, B-center and C-right.
Once again, tally the general election using approval voting.
If I recall correctly, choosing the candidates to maximize the number of
voters who approve of at least one of them is NP-hard for general n. See
https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FMaximum_coverage_problem&data=02%7C01%7C%7C4cdcb4a99f704762731d08d5ed541c28%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636675867857537071&sdata=wp6xBT%2FRURF9gk%2FGnOd4XzaPi7%2FkwU95Dpmm6%2F%2BdlMI%3D&reserved=0.

The best you can do without P = NP is a very obvious greedy algorithm
(successively pick the candidate that maximizes the number of additional
voters covered by the set of candidates so far). The greedy algorithm
makes it relatively easy to start with one or more candidates picked by
other means (e.g. the Approval winner) and then filling in the rest.


------------------------------

Message: 3
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2018 22:35:25 -0400
From: Abd ul-Rahman Lomax <***@lomaxdesign.com>
To: Richard Lung <***@ukscientists.com>
Cc: election-***@lists.electorama.com
Subject: Re: [EM] IRV / RCv advances
Message-ID: <83a9ce25-9cee-ab6a-3def-***@lomaxdesign.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"; Format="flowed"

I'm not getting my message across.
Thankyou for your discussion.
I just pick-up on two or three points. People often think of first,
second, third choices, in terms of a poor choice for a single vacancy,
so that their second choice, or even their first, is not someone they
really want. A fifth choice in a large multi-member constituency,
equitably elected, can be a better choice than a first choice for a
single vacancy.
I'm encouraging looking at basic democratic process, as has been
practiced in NGOs for centuries. NGOs, generally, don't allow members to
name proxies (while share corporations uniformly do so). Most small
organizations don't have any representative assembly. They may elect
boards, and board members are more like officers than representatives
(though multiwinner methods might be used).

I'm pointing out that if I cannot choose my representative to an
allegedly representative assembly, I am not represented. Rather, my
district might be represented, i.e., a majority in my district, or some
quota. Not me.

Imagine this concept for choosing a representative assembly. Candidates
are listed and people openly vote for them, and can change their votes
at any time. When a quota of people choose a candidate, the candidate
gains a seat. All seats, then, represent by choice the same number of
people. (The system stops accepting votes for a candidate, when the
candidate gains a quota).

Then add this tweak: if candidates may still accept votes after reaching
the quota, they may then transfer the votes to other candidates. This,
then, becomes Asset. It is very close to direct choice of representation.

It is simple, optimal voting strategy is totally obvious -- vote for
your best choice -- and is then compatible with secret ballot in the
primary election, which simply creates electors who then have so many
votes to transfer to create seats, and who may serve to reassign votes
as needed pending the next full election.

The electoral college, then, represents the/entire electorate,/ by
direct choice.

I would have the Assembly formed decide its own rules, as is
traditional. Because deliberative democracy is essential (not merely
aggregative popular democracy), I would handle all officer elections in
the Assembly, officers to serve at the pleasure of the Assembly. I.e., a
parliamentary system.

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Message: 4
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2018 22:20:31 -0700
From: Rob Lanphier <***@robla.net>
To: Kristofer Munsterhjelm <***@t-online.de>
Cc: Election Methods <election-***@lists.electorama.com>
Subject: Re: [EM] A simpler approval based way of replacing the CA
jungle primary
Message-ID:
<***@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"

Thanks for the quick response! I'll offer a quick response now, and
maybe a more detailed response later.
From the perspective of coming up with a system that is a politically
viable choice for California in the near-ish term, my bias is toward a
system that picks exactly two candidates as a replacement for our
current top two. Using your "LCR" notation, I'm mildly biased toward
a system that errs on the side of selecting "LR" rather than "LC",
since I think that a lot voters are more likely to find "LR" to be
more fair than "LC", even though there will be some cases where "C"
would be the winner of a one-round approval contest. My fear is that
with "LC", the supporters of "R" are more likely to declare the system
unfair, and push for a repeal.

That said, you're right that it's best to allow three candidate to
advance in the (hopefully) rare case that the two candidate set
doesn't already include the approval winner. If this proposal is done
as a replacement for the current top-two system, that just means we
have a three-way plurality race. I haven't decided if it'd be viable
to call for a change to approval voting for the general election as
well. I'll save that for a future response (and please weigh in with
your thoughts)

I'll send a more detailed response later, I think...

Rob


------------------------------

Message: 5
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2018 10:46:09 +0200
From: Kristofer Munsterhjelm <***@t-online.de>
To: Rob Lanphier <***@robla.net>
Cc: Election Methods <election-***@lists.electorama.com>
Subject: Re: [EM] A simpler approval based way of replacing the CA
jungle primary
Message-ID: <7a0c024c-5ecf-a264-ece5-***@t-online.de>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed
Thanks for the quick response! I'll offer a quick response now, and
maybe a more detailed response later.
From the perspective of coming up with a system that is a politically
viable choice for California in the near-ish term, my bias is toward a
system that picks exactly two candidates as a replacement for our
current top two. Using your "LCR" notation, I'm mildly biased toward
a system that errs on the side of selecting "LR" rather than "LC",
since I think that a lot voters are more likely to find "LR" to be
more fair than "LC", even though there will be some cases where "C"
would be the winner of a one-round approval contest. My fear is that
with "LC", the supporters of "R" are more likely to declare the system
unfair, and push for a repeal.
That said, you're right that it's best to allow three candidate to
advance in the (hopefully) rare case that the two candidate set
doesn't already include the approval winner. If this proposal is done
as a replacement for the current top-two system, that just means we
have a three-way plurality race. I haven't decided if it'd be viable
to call for a change to approval voting for the general election as
well. I'll save that for a future response (and please weigh in with
your thoughts)
I'd imagine that the more polarized things are, the more important it
would be to keep the centrist in the running, so that there's at least a
possibility of getting back into a less polarized state of things. E.g.
suppose L is quite far on the left and R is quite far on the right. But
you're right; it's impossible to do that with only two candidates if L
and R are strong enough, since any inclusion of the centrist would be
biased towards whatever wing got included.

If the second round method is plurality, and it's three-way, then the
centrist would probably lose in any case.


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