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Tags approval voting , instant runoff voting , range voting , voting issues , voting systems

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Old 1st May 2012, 01:08 PM   #1
Xulld
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Range Voting

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuKDXeJt7KA

Year after year I hear so many complaints about voting systems, but have not seen much dialog about good alternatives.

I would appreciate a careful critique of Range Voting, perhaps in contrast to Approval voting, or other such weighted systems.

Pro's, con's bring it!
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Old 2nd May 2012, 09:07 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Xulld View Post
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuKDXeJt7KA

Year after year I hear so many complaints about voting systems, but have not seen much dialog about good alternatives.

I would appreciate a careful critique of Range Voting, perhaps in contrast to Approval voting, or other such weighted systems.

Pro's, con's bring it!
Outside of the electoral college for president, I can't say I have ever heard any criticism of the current method of voting. (i.e. one person, one vote per elected position.)
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Old 2nd May 2012, 10:42 AM   #3
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I've thought of range voting before, though I hadn't seen anyone actually put together a tutorial on its pros and cons. A couple concerns I have after watching the video(s):

1) The narrator seems to say the mechanics of performing a range vote take nearly the same effort as caveman voting. But, I don't think I saw any suggestions on how to handle this with paper or mail-in ballots. Poking chads seems like it would be MUCH more complicated for a range. Maybe partially coloring a bar rather than a circle would work, but I expect many many voters would not understand the change and get it wrong. And even if they didn't, it would add more opportunities of legal challenges by the loser.

2) One example he gave (in video 3) was 100/100/0 would win, in the current system, over 90/90/90. I didn't see why. 100/100/0 would translate to 2 votes, while 90/90/90 would translate to 3. I do understand how he is using game theory to show that range can prevent abuse in primaries. But this particular example I didn't get.

3) I wasn't clear whether he was suggesting range voting be used in primaries, or be used to do away with primaries and just use them directly for general elections. I think politically it would be hard to do away with primaries (since it would cause some segment to feel they are losing power), but if used in primaries, I don't think they would then be useful in the general election (since all the range "goodness" was already injected at the primary level, if that makes sense). Still, that would allow local areas to implement their own method of primaries, so maybe some could try range and see how it goes.

4) It is the cynic in me, but I am guessing, while the math sounds promising, I expect once power and money is mixed into range voting, it would make it equal to the current method.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 11:08 AM   #4
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The Least of All Evils

Hi, my name is Dale Sheldon-Hess, and I registered for these forums just to reply to this question. I blog on the topic of election method reform at The Least of All Evils (leastevil.blogspot.com), and participate in the forums of the Center for Range Voting (rangevoting.org) and the Center for Election Science (electology.org).

Quick aside: Approval and range aren't normally referred to as "weighted systems". Rated, cardinal, ratings-based; these are more often used. "Weighted" would be something like the Borda voting method (which I won't be discussing at the moment).

On to the meat of the question!

Approval voting is equivalent to "range 2"; i.e., approval is range with just two possible scores, 0 (not approved) and 1 (approved). So in some sense, approval voting IS range voting, we're just debating the optimal number of different scoring levels.

If voters are highly knowledgeable (meaning they have very accurate, or even perfect, knowledge of what the election results will be, perhaps via pre-election polling) and highly motivated (meaning they are willing to make any kind of strategic manipulation on their ballot in order to get their way), then what we find is that range voters will exaggerate all their preferences, so that each candidate receives either the minimum or the maximum allowable score. So in this case, the extra scoring levels don't matter at all; all voters will use their range ballots as if they were approval ballots.

Only if voters are particularly unclear on the likely outcome, or are open to expressing a willingness to compromise, do additional scoring levels add anything. And in these cases, we will find that total satisfaction with the election outcome will be higher with range voting than with approval.

What do I mean by total satisfaction? I'm referring to a Monte Carlo simulation, performed by Dr. Warren Smith in 2000 (who went on to found the Center for Range Voting in 2005). Simulated voters were assigned utility values for simulated candidates, and simulated votes--both "honest" and "strategic"--were cast using a wide variety--about 20--different voting methods, including approval voting and range voting. These are the (summarized) results: rangevoting.org/BayRegsFig.html

From the graphic, you can see that strategic approval and strategic range are identical, as I already mentioned, while honest range is the best method which was tested; that not only is it significantly better than our current plurality voting method, but it is significantly better than the the instant runoff method (which has lately gained some notoriety in California and elsewhere in the US).

So, the advantage of approval is that it is simple. The advantage of range is that it can lead to even greater levels of voter satisfaction. But either would be leaps-and-bounds above our current voting system, and indeed, better than ANY other commonly-recommended alternative voting systems.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 11:14 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
Outside of the electoral college for president, I can't say I have ever heard any criticism of the current method of voting. (i.e. one person, one vote per elected position.)
"One person, one vote" is not a prescription of what the ballot looks like, it's an imperative that all voters be given equal weight. A ballot can you let you name one, it can let rank the candidates in order, it can let you score the candidates however you want, or who knows what else. But as long as each voters ballot has the same strength in determining the outcome, it's still "one person, one vote."

And while you may not have heard it, there is quite a bit of discussion going on about the topic. Plurality voting is universally reviled by those participating, and the argument is only over what to replace it with. So I hope you will find this thread educational.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 11:34 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by mudlock View Post
"One person, one vote" is not a prescription of what the ballot looks like, it's an imperative that all voters be given equal weight. A ballot can you let you name one, it can let rank the candidates in order, it can let you score the candidates however you want, or who knows what else. But as long as each voters ballot has the same strength in determining the outcome, it's still "one person, one vote."

And while you may not have heard it, there is quite a bit of discussion going on about the topic. Plurality voting is universally reviled by those participating, and the argument is only over what to replace it with. So I hope you will find this thread educational.
So people discussing range voting and which range voting is best, revile plurality voting? Not surprising, but it means nothing especially if I was to hazard a guess that the overwhelming majority of people have never heard of range voting when applied to elected offices.

Good luck with your efforts. You have an uphill fight. Plurality voting is easy to understand and doesn't need a chart to make it understandable. Also, any changes you want will have to be approved by plurality voting or by someone elected by plurality voting.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 11:40 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Denver View Post
1) The narrator seems to say the mechanics of performing a range vote take nearly the same effort as caveman voting. But, I don't think I saw any suggestions on how to handle this with paper or mail-in ballots. Poking chads seems like it would be MUCH more complicated for a range.
This partially depends on how many scoring levels you allow. The example uses 100, but you could do it with 10, or 3, or just 2 (which is approval voting). Obviously, with 100, it'll be a little tricky to translate that between a paper format and a machine-readable format. But smaller scales would be quite easy.

Originally Posted by Denver View Post
2) One example he gave (in video 3) was 100/100/0 would win, in the current system, over 90/90/90. I didn't see why. 100/100/0 would translate to 2 votes, while 90/90/90 would translate to 3.
Haven't seen the videos (writing from work, so I haven't seen them) but having seen similar, I have a guess here: It's clearer if you look at it from the perspective of the three voters, rather than the two candidates. Voter1's true opinion is 100/90, as is voter2's, while voter3's is 0/90. So, in a plurality election, voter1 and voter 2 will vote for the first candidate (100 rather than 90), while voter3 votes for the 2nd (90 rather than 0). So the 1st candidate wins. But, if they used score voting (and voted honestly) then the 1st candidate gets 200 points (100+100+0), while the 2nd gets 270 (90+90+90).

Originally Posted by Denver View Post
3) I wasn't clear whether he was suggesting range voting be used in primaries, or be used to do away with primaries and just use them directly for general elections. I think politically it would be hard to do away with primaries (since it would cause some segment to feel they are losing power), but if used in primaries, I don't think they would then be useful in the general election (since all the range "goodness" was already injected at the primary level, if that makes sense). Still, that would allow local areas to implement their own method of primaries, so maybe some could try range and see how it goes.
Consider this: the only purpose of political parties is to hold primaries.

Primaries are important, because if two similar candidates run in the same election, they will compete, zero-sum, for the same voters.

But, with range voting, since each voter can score each candidate independently, there isn't a zero-sum competition.

On the one hand, this means you could theoretically skip the primaries entirely and throw everyone into a range election. In practice, there is some direct competition when voters begin to act strategically on their ballots, and it gets hard to keep track of very large numbers of candidates, so it's not a bad idea to continue to use primaries, which means parties are still useful things to have.

Finally, even if range voting were used in primaries, as long as more than two parties put forward candidates for the general election, then it is STILL advantageous to use range voting in that general election. It doesn't ALL get baked in.

Originally Posted by Denver View Post
4) It is the cynic in me, but I am guessing, while the math sounds promising, I expect once power and money is mixed into range voting, it would make it equal to the current method.
Range would deliver better results. It makes it much easier for 3rd parties to grow and eventually compete, and it is more likely to select compromise candidates rather than partisans. The challenge is overcoming the money and power to get there, and fighting the money and power to keep it.

In the 1910s, an alternative voting method called Bucklin was popular. But when it elected someone outside the two major parties, a Socialist no less, the major parties fought hard to eliminate it, and did so successfully.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 11:45 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by mudlock View Post
Consider this: the only purpose of political parties is to hold primaries.
You couldn't be more wrong. Political parties HATE primaries. They try to avoid them whenever possible.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 11:51 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
So people discussing range voting and which range voting is best, revile plurality voting?
No, that's not it. There are all SORTS of voting methods people argue for, of which range voting is just one. You'll find people arguing for majority judgment, instant runoff, several variations of Condorcet's method, the Borda count... my personal favorite is approval, since it's very simple, and captures most of the advantages of range (since it's "range 2".)

Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
Good luck with your efforts. You have an uphill fight. Plurality voting is easy to understand and doesn't need a chart to make it understandable. Also, any changes you want will have to be approved by plurality voting or by someone elected by plurality voting.
Thank you, and I know; I've been at this for three years, some for much longer, and it's very, very slow going. And I hold off on the charts until people ask specific questions (like "give me the pros and cons of range versus approval"); I don't just pop them out when someone isn't even aware that plurality is just one choice among many. Different people obviously have different levels of familiarity with the material here

Although I will say that Germany's (now) third-most-popular party, the Pirate Party, are huge fans of approval voting. They use it in their internal elections and they're looking at 10% of the seats in some state-level legislatures over there. So it's starting to move, maybe, even if not yet here in the US.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 11:55 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
You couldn't be more wrong. Political parties HATE primaries. They try to avoid them whenever possible.
And I hate to do my job too, but that's still why I'm here.

Seriously, political parties exist SOLELY to avoid having like-minded candidates split the vote and guarantee that ALL of them lose. Sure, they'd rather not go through the public process and have their incumbent get publicly ripped at, but that IS their only purpose. A back-room party-leader deal is the same result, and is still the party serving this (its one) purpose.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 11:57 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mudlock View Post
No, that's not it. There are all SORTS of voting methods people argue for, of which range voting is just one. You'll find people arguing for majority judgment, instant runoff, several variations of Condorcet's method, the Borda count... my personal favorite is approval, since it's very simple, and captures most of the advantages of range (since it's "range 2".)



Thank you, and I know; I've been at this for three years, some for much longer, and it's very, very slow going. And I hold off on the charts until people ask specific questions (like "give me the pros and cons of range versus approval"); I don't just pop them out when someone isn't even aware that plurality is just one choice among many. Different people obviously have different levels of familiarity with the material here

Although I will say that Germany's (now) third-most-popular party, the Pirate Party, are huge fans of approval voting. They use it in their internal elections and they're looking at 10% of the seats in some state-level legislatures over there. So it's starting to move, maybe, even if not yet here in the US.
The Pirate Party? 3rd most popular party? Did you use range voting to get to that conclusion? According to this, they were a distant 7th.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_...election,_2009
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Old 2nd May 2012, 11:59 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by mudlock View Post
And I hate to do my job too, but that's still why I'm here.

Seriously, political parties exist SOLELY to avoid having like-minded candidates split the vote and guarantee that ALL of them lose. Sure, they'd rather not go through the public process and have their incumbent get publicly ripped at, but that IS their only purpose. A back-room party-leader deal is the same result, and is still the party serving this (its one) purpose.
Seriously, NO THEY DON'T. Have you ever been involved in a mainstream party? Their SOLE goal is to get their guys elected and having primaries does not help them do that. It exposes candidates to infighting and wastes resources that could be used in the general election.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
The Pirate Party? 3rd most popular party? Did you use range voting to get to that conclusion? According to this, they were a distant 7th.
2009? Old news, friend.

(Excuse the non-clickability; I'm still too new to be allowed to make proper links.)

www (dot) businessweek (dot) com/news/2012-04-10/germany-s-pirate-party-siphons-opposition-support-poll-shows
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:26 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by mudlock View Post
2009? Old news, friend.

(Excuse the non-clickability; I'm still too new to be allowed to make proper links.)

www (dot) businessweek (dot) com/news/2012-04-10/germany-s-pirate-party-siphons-opposition-support-poll-shows
http://www.businessweek.com/news/201...ort-poll-shows

There you go.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:28 PM   #15
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K.I.S.S. it. You're confusing people unneccessarily.

The only new system that would be an improvement would be Instant Runoff with a None of the Above option.

We tried IRV in Pierce County, WA. We wound up with a crazy bastard for County Assessor.

No, thank you.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:34 PM   #16
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Okay, the currently most popular minor party in Germany supports range voting. It still hasn't been used outside the party itself, has it?

I don't think you can make any correlation to what's happened in Germany to what's going to happen in the USA with respect to voting methodology.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:37 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
Seriously, NO THEY DON'T. Have you ever been involved in a mainstream party? Their SOLE goal is to get their guys elected
Take a step back.

Why did parties form?

George Washington railed against it, as did most of the rest of the founding fathers. And yet, here we are.

It's because, and only because, of the zero-sum nature of voting.

Yes, parties formed to "get their guys elected", which means they formed to hold primaries, because primaries are the first step to how you get your guys elected. Not always through a formal process where all voters are allowed to participate, with ballot boxes or voting booths (that's a more recent turn), but the idea of making an internal decision among like-minded individuals as a way of limiting the number of like-minded candidates running in the election, that is the foundation of party. That is what they do. Without that necessity, we would have headed Washington's warnings.

I apologize if using the word "primary" for that concept set off a series of connotations implying something like what we saw, for example, in the last six months with the Republican party. I intended something much more general.

Parties exist to ensure that no more than one member of the party will run for each office.

(And think that's enough now for that one side-tangent; I hope we can discuss some of the other, more on-topic, points now.)
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:42 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
Okay, the currently most popular minor party in Germany supports range voting. It still hasn't been used outside the party itself, has it?

I don't think you can make any correlation to what's happened in Germany to what's going to happen in the USA with respect to voting methodology.
Not in any governmental capacity, no.

It's being used (or rather, approval voting, aka "range 2" has been used) by a number of professional organizations, including The Mathematical Association of America and The American Statistical Association, and some college student governments, such as Dartmouth, are starting to pick it up.

Then there's the whole world of online "voting", done with Amazon product ratings, IMDB's "Top Movie" ratings, some Olympic events, etc. etc.. It's hard to get people to see that as counting, though mathematically it's all the same idea.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:47 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
K.I.S.S. it. You're confusing people unneccessarily.

The only new system that would be an improvement would be Instant Runoff with a None of the Above option.

We tried IRV in Pierce County, WA. We wound up with a crazy bastard for County Assessor.

No, thank you.
I'm confused! Is this a post in _favor_ of IRV ("would be an improvement"), or opposed ("wound up with a crazy")?

IRV is very different from range voting. If you follow my initial link, to Smith's results, you'll actually see that strategic IRV gives you the same outcomes as plurality voting, which are much worse than the results you'll get from range or approval.

IRV has, unfortunately, gained a large amount of mindshare, despite its ineffectiveness. And when it fails, it tends to poison the well for other, better electoral reforms.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:49 PM   #20
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The whole idea seems to be not to piss anybody off.

Forget it. Sometimes (like right now) we need somebody to come in there and shake things up and snatch society back from the edge of the cliff.

Perot would have won.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:50 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by mudlock View Post
I'm confused! Is this a post in _favor_ of IRV ("would be an improvement"), or opposed ("wound up with a crazy")?

IRV is very different from range voting. If you follow my initial link, to Smith's results, you'll actually see that strategic IRV gives you the same outcomes as plurality voting, which are much worse than the results you'll get from range or approval.
I specified IRV with a None of the Above option.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:52 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by mudlock View Post
Not in any governmental capacity, no.

It's being used (or rather, approval voting, aka "range 2" has been used) by a number of professional organizations, including The Mathematical Association of America and The American Statistical Association, and some college student governments, such as Dartmouth, are starting to pick it up.

Then there's the whole world of online "voting", done with Amazon product ratings, IMDB's "Top Movie" ratings, some Olympic events, etc. etc.. It's hard to get people to see that as counting, though mathematically it's all the same idea.
You need better examples, if you're trying to sell this to the common man.
Mathematical group? Ivy League schools? Sounds intimidating.

I wouldn't use Amazon as an example. It's notorious for rigged ratings.
Olympic events are judged by people who are supposed to be experts. If just anybody did the judging they wouldn't have any idea what to look for to judge properly.

You are going against centuries of entrenched behavior. You are going to need overwhelmingly compelling evidence that can be understood by the average person in a couple sentences if you really want to effect change. Better isn't a good enough reason to change.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 01:02 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by mudlock View Post
Take a step back.

Why did parties form?

George Washington railed against it, as did most of the rest of the founding fathers. And yet, here we are.

It's because, and only because, of the zero-sum nature of voting.

Yes, parties formed to "get their guys elected", which means they formed to hold primaries, because primaries are the first step to how you get your guys elected. Not always through a formal process where all voters are allowed to participate, with ballot boxes or voting booths (that's a more recent turn), but the idea of making an internal decision among like-minded individuals as a way of limiting the number of like-minded candidates running in the election, that is the foundation of party. That is what they do. Without that necessity, we would have headed Washington's warnings.

I apologize if using the word "primary" for that concept set off a series of connotations implying something like what we saw, for example, in the last six months with the Republican party. I intended something much more general.

Parties exist to ensure that no more than one member of the party will run for each office.

(And think that's enough now for that one side-tangent; I hope we can discuss some of the other, more on-topic, points now.)
If you don't mean primary then don't say primary. A primary IS a formal process where all voters are allowed to participate.

You are taking the results of the forming of parties as the reason for forming parties. Parties were formed to concentrate power. It was not some ideological exercise to find the best candidate of like-minded people. It was to form a bloc which could be used to further political objectives. Candidates for office were often chosen by party bosses. At the local level that could have been one person. Finding the 'best' candidate was sometimes a side effect but it wasn't the always the goal.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 01:09 PM   #24
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This range voting plan seems to complicate an issue that apparently befuddles enough people already...

Seriously, it's the dumbest thing I have ever seen...

One person, one vote. That's simple enough isn't it? Ya know just because you CAN change sumthin doesn't mean you SHOULD
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Old 2nd May 2012, 01:14 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
You are going against centuries of entrenched behavior. You are going to need overwhelmingly compelling evidence that can be understood by the average person in a couple sentences if you really want to effect change. Better isn't a good enough reason to change.
Well, I didn't come here with my cold-pitch, I came to answer the initial question.

But my cold-pitch would be "Sick of choosing between the lesser of two evils? Approval voting lets you show your support for all the candidates you would like, without any of them spoiling the election."

Also, there ARE centuries of history for approval voting. It was used for 500 years in the Republic of Venice. It was used to elect Popes for 300 years. But that was a long time ago; if I say that, you'll say "give me something recent." If I give you recent you say "but you're up against something old."

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Old 2nd May 2012, 01:20 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
Outside of the electoral college for president, I can't say I have ever heard any criticism of the current method of voting. (i.e. one person, one vote per elected position.)

I hear it quite frequently (albeit often coming from my own lips).

Here's a link to an earlier JREF thread on instant runoff voting, for instance. I think I recall a number of other threads on IRV, although most of them don't appear to be tagged yet.

The issue of alternative voting systems comes up periodically in the news. Often it's local, such as when a particular city, county or state considers using different voting procedures -- so if it's not your locality, you could easily miss the news story. (Portland ME, for instance, used IRV in a mayoral election last fall.)

But it's also been in national news stories. When Lani Guinier was nominated by Bill Clinton to a high Justice Department post, for instance, she was blocked largely because she was knowledgeable about and in favor of alternative voting systems.

If you click the voting systems tag at the top of this thread, it should take you to at least some of the threads discussing alternative systems and reasons for using them.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 01:21 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
I specified IRV with a None of the Above option.
Ah.

That would not significantly change the election outcomes.

Nevada uses plurality with NotA. It has never won. (Although by their implementation, if NotA wins, whoever comes in second is elected; it just lets people complain.)
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Old 2nd May 2012, 02:23 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
... I can't say I have ever heard any criticism of the current method of voting...

The most common criticism -- which I have heard quite a lot, and suspect you have too -- has to do with the candidates who are selected and appear on the ballot.

I've heard many people complain, in many elections, that they don't care for either of the two major-party candidates on the ballot. But they don't feel they have any other choice, since if they vote for a third-party candidate they're essentially taking a vote away from the candidate (of the big 2) they'd prefer to win and thus increasing the chance the candidate they least prefer will win.

I've also heard that complaint in the primaries. Often there's a lesser-known (or lesser-financed) candidate whom people would prefer to see get the nomination -- but they know s/he has no chance to win the nomination, so feel they have no choice but to pick the one of the front-runners who appeals to them most / disgusts them least.

That's the thing about IRV: in general you can vote for the candidate you truly prefer without worrying that you are wasting your vote.**

I hope that's a bit more helpful in understanding the reasons why some people favor IRV. So far the discussion in this thread seems to be focused more on the mechanics of alternative voting systems (i.e. what one would expect in a thread on IRV over in the Sci/Math/Tech section of the forum) than the social aspects (i.e. what one would expect in a thread here in Social Issues).

** Yes, it is possible to construct a scenario in which you are worse off if you vote for the candidate you truly prefer.

But with the current system it takes no effort at all to construct such a scenario; it is the usual case. With IRV it's theoretically possible but in practice it's generally not the case.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 02:26 PM   #29
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For me, all the posts along the lines of "too compicated, not needed" are just arguments from ignorance. There has been tons of PoliSci literature on this issue and voting systems in general. KISS just doesn't cut it.

I recommend Gaming the Vote as a layman's introduction to all the debate and research on the issue.

If you think FPTP voting equals Democracy, then there is nothing to discuss. But elections are tools for Democracy, and I think it is quite appropriate to question what systems lead to better results (And again, their are a variety of ideas about how to measure the best result).
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Old 2nd May 2012, 02:37 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Tsukasa Buddha View Post
For me, all the posts along the lines of "too compicated, not needed" are just arguments from ignorance. There has been tons of PoliSci literature on this issue and voting systems in general. KISS just doesn't cut it.

I recommend Gaming the Vote as a layman's introduction to all the debate and research on the issue.

If you think FPTP voting equals Democracy, then there is nothing to discuss. But elections are tools for Democracy, and I think it is quite appropriate to question what systems lead to better results (And again, their are a variety of ideas about how to measure the best result).
If there is any arguments from ignorance going on , it is the folks who think that this would work in the uSA. Do you not remember all the problems we have every election with just a simple voting system? You start adding scoring in there... it's gonna be a mess.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 03:06 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
K.I.S.S. it. You're confusing people unneccessarily.

The only new system that would be an improvement would be Instant Runoff with a None of the Above option.

We tried IRV in Pierce County, WA. We wound up with a crazy bastard for County Assessor.

No, thank you.
I think range voting is simple.

We do it now in all kinds of things.

Any form you filled out that asked if you Strongly agree, agree, or disagree, or strongly disagree is really the same system. It would be a range4 system if I understand correctly.

A range two system as described (If I understand) would be even simpler.

I think saying this is too complex is saying Americans are too stupid to fill out the most basic of comment cards.

Quote:
If there is any arguments from ignorance going on , it is the folks who think that this would work in the uSA. Do you not remember all the problems we have every election with just a simple voting system? You start adding scoring in there... it's gonna be a mess.
Any change is going to cause some confusion, I really do not think that is a strong argument against change . . . really for any issue.

Originally Posted by Tsukasa Buddha View Post
For me, all the posts along the lines of "too compicated, not needed" are just arguments from ignorance. There has been tons of PoliSci literature on this issue and voting systems in general. KISS just doesn't cut it.

I recommend Gaming the Vote as a layman's introduction to all the debate and research on the issue.

If you think FPTP voting equals Democracy, then there is nothing to discuss. But elections are tools for Democracy, and I think it is quite appropriate to question what systems lead to better results (And again, their are a variety of ideas about how to measure the best result).
I agree, and really I do not know what system I favor yet, that was why I posted this here to get everyone impressions. However any argument from ignorance is really just anti-productive and I have little patience for that theme.

Quote:
Better isn't a good enough reason to change.
Where I come from it is. In fact no other reasons should matter.

Quick question, did you watch the vid? If you did then color me surprised that you do not understand, I thought it was very well done, and a very easy concept.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 03:14 PM   #32
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I don't see how scoring candidates on a 1-wtvr scale is an improvement. I'm of the opinion that anytime you make something more complicated than it needs to be you have made it worse.

How does this make voting faster,easier and better?


btw, are the people promoting this mathematicians or engineers? that would explain a lot
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Old 2nd May 2012, 03:23 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by BravesFan View Post
I don't see how scoring candidates on a 1-wtvr scale is an improvement. I'm of the opinion that anytime you make something more complicated than it needs to be you have made it worse.

How does this make voting faster,easier and better?


btw, are the people promoting this mathematicians or engineers? that would explain a lot
Did you watch the video? It made it easy to understand how much better this system is. There was three videos in that series, Id advise anyone interested to watch all three.

Plurality voting moves votes to the extremes, it forces centrists out, and it allows a lot of lesser of two evils votes, AND it causes politicians to get elected who really did not have the most support. From the vid it seems range voting helps all of these facets.

One example was that you have 2 candidates on one side, and one on the other side.

lets say 2 Democrats and 1 Republican.
The voter base is 60% Democrat, and 40% Republican.
You split the D vote between the two candidates and each gets 30%, so even with a majority of D voters you get a R candidate. Range voting removes that problem. Just this problem alone is enough for me to want something else.

The pizza example was a good one as well, Id have to watch it again to explain it properly.

3 vids, worth the watch. Each are short with good visual aids.

1http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuKDXeJt7KA
2http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnjJh...feature=relmfu
3http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0u9QXkn5uI
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Old 2nd May 2012, 03:32 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by BravesFan View Post
Do you not remember all the problems we have every election with just a simple voting system? You start adding scoring in there... it's gonna be a mess.

No. In practice IRV is extremely simple.

Voters are allowed (but not required) to rank the candidates. You put a 1 beside the candidate you like best. You can, if you wish, stop right there. Or, if you wish, you can put a 2 beside the candidate you like second-best. Again you can stop right there; or you can continue, putting a 3 beside the candidate you like third-best; a 4 beside the candidate you like fourth-best; a 5 beside the candidate you like fifth-best; etc.

One school I attended used IRV for student elections; no one found it confusing.

The vote-count is what is potentially confusing, especially if there is a large voting population and a large slate of candidates. But now that computers are available which can be programmed to read and count IRV ballots quickly and accurately, that no longer needs to be an obstacle.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 03:36 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Xulld View Post
Did you watch the video? It made it easy to understand how much better this system is. There was three videos in that series, Id advise anyone interested to watch all three.

Plurality voting moves votes to the extremes, it forces centrists out, and it allows a lot of lesser of two evils votes, AND it causes politicians to get elected who really did not have the most support. From the vid it seems range voting helps all of these facets.

One example was that you have 2 candidates on one side, and one on the other side.

lets say 2 Democrats and 1 Republican.
The voter base is 60% Democrat, and 40% Republican.
You split the D vote between the two candidates and each gets 30%, so even with a majority of D voters you get a R candidate. Range voting removes that problem. Just this problem alone is enough for me to want something else.

The pizza example was a good one as well, Id have to watch it again to explain it properly.

3 vids, worth the watch. Each are short with good visual aids.

1http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuKDXeJt7KA
2http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnjJh...feature=relmfu
3http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0u9QXkn5uI

But we don't have 3 candidates in general election usually. So you want to get rid of the primary system and just have 14 different candidates running based on a scoring system? Think about this for a second

If you went to range voting, the parties would ONLY run one candidate as they wouldn't want to risk the other side running only one and creating your above scenario. So it would always be two. So, IMO the people would have even less to do with who get's their own parties nod as the bigwigs would do it for them.

Unless you are saying we keep primaries, but where does the multiple candidates thing come from?

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Old 2nd May 2012, 03:46 PM   #36
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Quote:
But we don't have 3 candidates in general election usually
Your right currently we have that issue in primaries, and much strategic voting occurs, and many centrists are seen as not electable even when they have the popular support. We get politicians changing parties because of the issues, and much confusion even in our current system which I would not call simple just becuase its plurality voting.

Many problems that need attention in our current voting system. Im not sold one way or the other but the firs step is to acknowledge the problems and compare other systems to see if the problems are resolved. From my limited knowledge I think Range voting is far better than plurality voting (strong opinion weakly held, I need more data). We shall see, I am going to spend more time looking into the various systems.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 04:12 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by BravesFan View Post
But we don't have 3 candidates in general election usually.
BINGO.

And that's because plurality voting does a really terrible job of adjudicating three (or more) candidate races. That's why parties work so hard to ensure that only one of their members will run, and it's also why we only have two parties.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 04:41 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by BravesFan View Post
How does this make voting faster,easier and better?

All right, let's consider the recent Republican primary. People had a choice of Michelle Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman (among others).

Let's say you lean right, and think Romney is too far to the left. You like Herman Cain and Michelle Bachman a lot, with Michelle your slight favorite of the two; you could settle for Rick Santorum; you think Newt isn't much better than Mitt, but at least he isn't the father of RomneyCare; and you think Huntsman is as bad or worse than Romney.

As things stand, you're forced to pick which one of the not-Romneys you think has the best chance of beating him. All the other folks who don't want Romney are also faced with that choice. Result: when the smoke clears, you likely wind up with Romney.

With IRV, you mark your ballot according to your preferences:

[1] Michelle Bachmann
[2] Herman Cain
[4] Newt Gingrich
[ ] Jon Huntsman
[ ] Mitt Romney
[3] Rick Santorum

1, 2, 3, 4. Easy! You don't need to agonize over which one's got the best chance to beat Romney; you just mark down which ones you truly want, in the order you truly want them.

Let's suppose there were a lot of other folks who loved Michelle as a candidate but under the current system were afraid to vote for her because they 'knew' she couldn't get the nomination. Under IRV, there's no such fear and they're free to vote their true preference. If Michelle is who people actually want they've got a good chance of getting her.

But let's suppose she's not all that popular, and that you were in a small minority. Let's suppose most of the right-leaning folks liked Rick Santorum best. Under the current system, you're out of luck if you voted your true preference; by voting for Michelle rather than Rick, you kept Rick from getting the votes he needed and Romney emerged triumphant. In November you'll have a choice between a socialist and a socialist.

But with IRV your vote isn't wasted. If most people prefer Rick to Mitt then Rick gets the votes and is declared the winner.

Same things applies from the left. If, say, in 2008 you didn't like either Clinton or Obama, and there was a lesser-known candidate who represented your views better than either Clinton or Obama, you could have freely voted for that person without worrying that by doing so you might be helping Clinton win (if you preferred Obama to Clinton) or that you might be helping Obama win (if you preferred Clinton to Obama). So again, no agonizing, no long debates with your conscience, and no feeling dirty when you emerged from the voting booth.

Under the current system, candidates tend to win because they're considered electable. Under IRV candidates tend to win because people are excited by them and want them in office.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 04:42 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Nova Land View Post
That's the thing about IRV: in general you can vote for the candidate you truly prefer without worrying that you are wasting your vote.**

** Yes, it is possible to construct a scenario in which you are worse off if you vote for the candidate you truly prefer.

But with the current system it takes no effort at all to construct such a scenario; it is the usual case. With IRV it's theoretically possible but in practice it's generally not the case.
So, there are two things that IRV proponents claim: one is that it "lets you vote for your true favorite" (which I see you've caveated; good) and the other that "it helps third parties."

The problem I have with IRV is that, as the second claim begins to approach being true, the first claim becomes more and more false.

IRV "works" fine when there are two big parties and a lot of little ones; people can rank the little ones highly, but they get eliminated, and your votes get moved back to the "proper" major party that they belong too. Okay, fine.

But when the little parties grow, that breaks down.

So consider, step one; A and B are major parties, C is a (very well-performing! 25%!) 3rd party.

45%: A > B > C
30%: B > A > C
25%: C > B > A

IRV handles this well. C is eliminated, and B wins by a narrow 55% to 45%.

But then the next election comes, and C is able to get their message out, and grows in popularity among those B-voters:

45%: A > B > C
25%: B > A > C
30%: C > B > A

C is in 2nd place now! So now the winner is... A? By a better than 2:1 margin? Well that doesn't seem right. No one's opinion of A has improved (and in fact, some people moved them from 2nd to 3rd). What happened here is that C spoiled the election, which is easy to see; if you ignore C, there's still a 45%/55% split among voters, favoring B in the A vs. B contest.

And then what happens in the NEXT election, is voters punish C. They go back to voting for B, because they'll be damned if they let A win again! Because the truth is you CAN'T vote for your favorite under IRV, not when it actually matters, which means IRV WON'T help third parties either.

Range voting (and approval voting) do not have this problem. All else held equal, as support for a third party grows, it NEVER spoils an election. Instead, at some point, the third party just wins. You can ALWAYS vote for your true, honest favorite among the candidates.

Anyway; I'd hoped to chat up the advantages of range and approval; I don't want to just bad-mouth IRV. But, considering its better name-recognition and regrettably poor outcomes, I often find it necessary.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 05:58 PM   #40
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I don't think there would be primaries anymore with this system. The parties wouldn't risk having the wrong person win .
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