[EM] Approval-based replacement for jungle primary

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[EM] Approval-based replacement for jungle primary

Rob Lanphier
Hi folks,

As some of you may recall, I've been pondering a viable replacement to
California's jungle primary, and I think I've worked it out.  Full
writeup is on my blog:
<https://blog.robla.net/2018/11/20/replacing-the-jungle-primary/>

In the long writeup, I propose two new acronyms to describe two
different approaches:
1. Majority approval filter (MAF):
<https://electowiki.org/wiki/MAF>

2. Maximum approval top-two (MATT):
<https://electowiki.org/wiki/MATT>

As of right now, the blog post is much better.  The electowiki pages
are pretty raw.  But, I'm hoping that will change soon (maybe with
your help!)

Rob
p.s. I think I'm ready to declare the new electowiki.org to be the
official version of the wiki, since it's in a lot better shape..
There's a few things I need to wrap up on the old wiki to make the
migration complete, though.
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Re: [EM] Approval-based replacement for jungle primary

Ted Stern
Hi Rob,

I like the MAF proposal. I've posted in favor of PR approval based runoff methods before, almost exactly 2 years ago, in fact. 

My only caveat would be that there is a theoretical possibility that including everyone who gets more than 50% approval could introduce a clone crowding effect.  Do you want any limits on the number? 

On Tue, Nov 20, 2018, 23:41 Rob Lanphier <[hidden email] wrote:
Hi folks,

As some of you may recall, I've been pondering a viable replacement to
California's jungle primary, and I think I've worked it out.  Full
writeup is on my blog:
<https://blog.robla.net/2018/11/20/replacing-the-jungle-primary/>

In the long writeup, I propose two new acronyms to describe two
different approaches:
1. Majority approval filter (MAF):
<https://electowiki.org/wiki/MAF>

2. Maximum approval top-two (MATT):
<https://electowiki.org/wiki/MATT>

As of right now, the blog post is much better.  The electowiki pages
are pretty raw.  But, I'm hoping that will change soon (maybe with
your help!)

Rob
p.s. I think I'm ready to declare the new electowiki.org to be the
official version of the wiki, since it's in a lot better shape..
There's a few things I need to wrap up on the old wiki to make the
migration complete, though.
----
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Re: [EM] Approval-based replacement for jungle primary

Rob Lanphier
Hi Ted,

Hmm....I have a tweak to the proposal to run by you.  More below...

On Wed, Nov 21, 2018 at 5:31 PM Ted Stern <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I like the MAF proposal. I've posted in favor of PR approval based runoff methods before, almost exactly 2 years ago, in fact.

Thanks!  My proposal comes with a bit of naivety about prior
proposals.  In the past, I've sent an "oh, I have an idea" post it to
this list, and then someone replies "you mean Coombs?" and I ask
"what's Coombs?" and then someone (possibly after emitting a heavy
sigh) composes a very educational email detailing what Coombs is.

I'm assuming the proposal you're talking about is this one:
http://lists.electorama.com/pipermail/election-methods-electorama.com/2016-November/001054.html

I just read it, and I concur.  Applying proportional-style approval
voting to electoral college selection is a neat idea.  The MAF step 2
in my proposal seems to use a very similar mechanism to the one you
describe.  My proposal below might be even more similar...

> My only caveat would be that there is a theoretical possibility that including everyone who gets more than 50% approval could introduce a clone crowding effect.  Do you want any limits on the number?

The clone problem has been in the back of my mind for a while; I'm
glad you brought it up.  A solution that just occurred to me: what if
we generalized the MAF step 2 mechanism.  So, here's the MAF rules in
my blog post yesterday (er...make that Tuesday):
1. The candidate who receives the highest approval rating qualifies
for the general election
2. If less than 75% approve of the leading candidate, then a second
candidate (the “complementary candidate”), who maximizes the approval
of the electorate, also qualifies
3. All candidates who receive over 50% approval also qualify for the
general election

For a dominant party like the Democratic Party in California in 2018,
under this system, their motivation would be to run as many Democrats
as possible, and hope they all make it to the general election.

What if instead, for all candidates who qualify via step 1 or step 3
(getting between 50% and 75% of the vote), an opposition candidate is
chosen?  If the left-wing/right-wing model persists for a while, it
basically means that every Democrat/Green/PeaceAndFreedom candidate
who advances by getting 50% approval, there could be a
Republican/Libertarian/AmericanIndependent who also advances.  If the
Republican and Democratic parties remain dominant, there would
probably be an R for every D, but of course, once people start getting
comfortable approving an army of clones, it could be that clone
coalitions form that bring in these third parties. For reference,
here's the certified political parties in California:
https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/political-parties/qualified-political-parties/

(and don't hold me to my assessment that
"Democrat/Green/PeaceAndFreedom" == "left" and
"Republican/Libertarian/AmericanIndependent == "right"...I'm a little
uninformed about the nuances of our third parties, and also realize
that, for example, Libertarians would balk at being called "right
wing" in the left/right model)

Advancing an army of clones invites an army of complementary
candidates, so I suspect that would motivate partisan voters to be
stingy about approving an army of clones, and to motivate
parties/coalitions to thin their ranks a little before the primary and
publish focused endorsements, and to motivate candidates to drop out
before the primary if the field is too crowded.

Perhaps a way of formalizing this mechanism would be to change to this
set of rules:
1. Select the candidate who receives the highest approval rating.
This is the "top candidate" and qualifies for the ballot
1a. If the top candidate (and any other candidate) receives greater
than 75% approval, add these candidates to the "highly-approved
candidate pool"
1b. If the top candidate receives less than 75% approval, add the top
candidate to the "majority candidate pool"
2. If the top candidate has been added to the "majority candidate
pool", also add a candidate to the “opposition candidate pool”.  To be
added, this candidate must be the candidate which maximizes the
"majority/opposition ballot satisfaction".  "ballot satisfaction"
generally means voters approve of at least one candidate on a given
ballot.  "majority/opposition ballot satisfaction" is for a ballot
that only contains the "majority candidate pool" and the "opposition
candidate pool".
3. For each candidate who receives over 50% approval, but less than
75% approval:
3a.  Add this candidate to the "majority candidate pool"
3b.  Add a candidate to the "opposition candidate pool" who maximizes
the "majority/opposition ballot satisfaction" of the electorate (as in
step 2)
4.  Eliminate all candidates from the "opposition candidate pool" who
have an overall approval rating under 25%
5.  All candidates remaining in the "highly-approved candidate pool",
the "majority candidate pool" and the "opposition candidate pool"
advance to the general election.

In the original MAF proposal, the "opposition candidate pool" (i.e.
the "complementary candidate") is no more than one candidate.  In this
proposal, the opposition candidate pool could grow to two candidates
if two candidates are added to the majority candidate pool..

This doesn't seem like a radical departure from the rules I described
in my Tuesday blog post.  The added complexity bothers me, but this
seems to solve a problem with the original proposal.  In the old
proposal, the single complementary candidate is chosen as an
alternative to the leading candidate, even if a third candidate is
also added.  In this proposal, it would seem rare to advance just
three candidates; either there's one candidate in each pool ("highly
approved", "majority", "opposition") or there as a candidate pruned
from the "opposition candidate pool" for being under 25% approval.

My hunch: it would take at least 2-3 election cycles before more than
two candidates advance to the general.  I suspect bullet voting would
be common in early elections, and it would take a while before
sophisticated campaign strategies emerge (e.g. like candidates
endorsing each other, holding joint events, and advertising for one
another).  Most elections would result in a single "majority"
candidate, and an "opposition" candidate.

I came up with the set of rules above as I was composing this email,
because I wanted to make the rules fit the examples below.  My first
draft had rules ensuring that if the majority candidate pool had N
candidates, the opposition candidate pool would only have N-1
candidates. In this version, it's possible for the opposition
candidate pool to have just as many candidates as the majority
candidate pool.  But it didn't match my examples below, and I liked my
examples better than I liked my draft rules, so I rewrote the rules.
Now that I have rules I like, I've tweaked my example scenarios to fit
the rules:

Test scenario #1: Let's say that seven candidates qualify to advance,
and the top candidate only receives 55% approval.  It seems that the
order that the primary candidates should enter their respective pools
should be like this:
#1 - Top candidate - first in majority candidate pool
#2 - first in opposition candidate pool (complementing the top
candidate in the majority pool)
#3 - second in majority candidate pool (with 54% approval)
#4 - second in opposition candidate pool (complementing the candidates
above in the majority pool)
#5 - third in majority candidate pool (with 53% approval)
#6 - third in opposition candidate pool (complementing the candidates
above in the majority pool)
#7 - fourth in majority candidate pool (with 52% approval)
#8 - fourth in opposition candidate pool (complementing the candidates
above in the majority pool)

In my original draft, the candidate with the lowest overall approval
score would be eliminated from the opposition pool so that the
majority pool had four candidates, and the opposition pool only had
three, and thus only seven candidates advanced.  In my current rules,
it's possible for eight candidates to qualify, but my new rule #4
above ("Eliminate all candidates from the opposition candidate pool
who have an overall approval rating under 25%") could knock it down to
seven.  Or six,  Or even four.

Test scenario #2: Let's say the top candidate gets greater than 75%
approval. That's a pretty strong indication that the top candidate is
the median candidate.  But if three other candidates also get greater
than 50% approval, it only seems fair to give them a hearing in the
general election.  Thus, when the top candidate gets greater than 75%
approval, it seems the order should go like this:
1 - Top candidate - first in highly-approved candidate pool
2 - first in majority candidate pool
3 - first in opposition candidate pool (complementing the first
candidate in the majority candidate pool)
4 - second in majority candidate pool
5 - second in opposition candidate pool (complementing the candidates
above in the majority candidate pool)
6 - third in majority candidate pool
7 - third in opposition candidate pool (complementing the candidates
above in the majority candidate pool)

I originally wrote "I'm pretty sure it'd be possible to write a set of
rules to achieve this.  I'm just not going to do it tonight".  I
*think* I pulled it off.  That's why I didn't send this mail a couple
hours ago.  Now I really should send this email.  :-)

Rob
p.s for those of you who prefer reading blog stuff on Medium (or feel
like clicking on the applause link), here's the Medium version of this
proposal:
https://medium.com/@robla/replacing-the-jungle-primary-c1e844a5333b
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Re: [EM] Approval-based replacement for jungle primary

Ted Stern
Hi Rob,

The thread I was referring to was actually one that included the following comment, which introduced a complementary approval candidate similar to your own:


But my later suggestion was related, so no problem.

Regarding your modification suggestion, I'm not sure that you fixed anything.  Including everyone above 50% approval potentially creates an over-crowded ballot.  However, as Chris Benham states in the included post above, Approval Winner plus complementary (or, as I like to call it, excluded) approval winner could lead to Condorcet violation.

Let's imagine a Condorcet-like election with a score ballot with more than two ratings, so it's not just approval.  Say 0 to 3, with any score above zero indicating approval.

Infer rankings from the ratings (higher score ranks above lower score), and tabulate the pairwise array.

Then advance the following candidates to the general election:  the Smith set, plus the Approval winner, plus the AW-complement.  This group is guaranteed to include the Condorcet winner, plus at least one other candidate.  If desired, according to your criterion above, you could also include the AW-runner-up.

On Thu, Nov 22, 2018 at 1:12 AM Rob Lanphier <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Ted,

Hmm....I have a tweak to the proposal to run by you.  More below...

On Wed, Nov 21, 2018 at 5:31 PM Ted Stern <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I like the MAF proposal. I've posted in favor of PR approval based runoff methods before, almost exactly 2 years ago, in fact.

Thanks!  My proposal comes with a bit of naivety about prior
proposals.  In the past, I've sent an "oh, I have an idea" post it to
this list, and then someone replies "you mean Coombs?" and I ask
"what's Coombs?" and then someone (possibly after emitting a heavy
sigh) composes a very educational email detailing what Coombs is.

I'm assuming the proposal you're talking about is this one:
http://lists.electorama.com/pipermail/election-methods-electorama.com/2016-November/001054.html

I just read it, and I concur.  Applying proportional-style approval
voting to electoral college selection is a neat idea.  The MAF step 2
in my proposal seems to use a very similar mechanism to the one you
describe.  My proposal below might be even more similar...

> My only caveat would be that there is a theoretical possibility that including everyone who gets more than 50% approval could introduce a clone crowding effect.  Do you want any limits on the number?

The clone problem has been in the back of my mind for a while; I'm
glad you brought it up.  A solution that just occurred to me: what if
we generalized the MAF step 2 mechanism.  So, here's the MAF rules in
my blog post yesterday (er...make that Tuesday):
1. The candidate who receives the highest approval rating qualifies
for the general election
2. If less than 75% approve of the leading candidate, then a second
candidate (the “complementary candidate”), who maximizes the approval
of the electorate, also qualifies
3. All candidates who receive over 50% approval also qualify for the
general election

For a dominant party like the Democratic Party in California in 2018,
under this system, their motivation would be to run as many Democrats
as possible, and hope they all make it to the general election.

What if instead, for all candidates who qualify via step 1 or step 3
(getting between 50% and 75% of the vote), an opposition candidate is
chosen?  If the left-wing/right-wing model persists for a while, it
basically means that every Democrat/Green/PeaceAndFreedom candidate
who advances by getting 50% approval, there could be a
Republican/Libertarian/AmericanIndependent who also advances.  If the
Republican and Democratic parties remain dominant, there would
probably be an R for every D, but of course, once people start getting
comfortable approving an army of clones, it could be that clone
coalitions form that bring in these third parties. For reference,
here's the certified political parties in California:
https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/political-parties/qualified-political-parties/

(and don't hold me to my assessment that
"Democrat/Green/PeaceAndFreedom" == "left" and
"Republican/Libertarian/AmericanIndependent == "right"...I'm a little
uninformed about the nuances of our third parties, and also realize
that, for example, Libertarians would balk at being called "right
wing" in the left/right model)

Advancing an army of clones invites an army of complementary
candidates, so I suspect that would motivate partisan voters to be
stingy about approving an army of clones, and to motivate
parties/coalitions to thin their ranks a little before the primary and
publish focused endorsements, and to motivate candidates to drop out
before the primary if the field is too crowded.

Perhaps a way of formalizing this mechanism would be to change to this
set of rules:
1. Select the candidate who receives the highest approval rating.
This is the "top candidate" and qualifies for the ballot
1a. If the top candidate (and any other candidate) receives greater
than 75% approval, add these candidates to the "highly-approved
candidate pool"
1b. If the top candidate receives less than 75% approval, add the top
candidate to the "majority candidate pool"
2. If the top candidate has been added to the "majority candidate
pool", also add a candidate to the “opposition candidate pool”.  To be
added, this candidate must be the candidate which maximizes the
"majority/opposition ballot satisfaction".  "ballot satisfaction"
generally means voters approve of at least one candidate on a given
ballot.  "majority/opposition ballot satisfaction" is for a ballot
that only contains the "majority candidate pool" and the "opposition
candidate pool".
3. For each candidate who receives over 50% approval, but less than
75% approval:
3a.  Add this candidate to the "majority candidate pool"
3b.  Add a candidate to the "opposition candidate pool" who maximizes
the "majority/opposition ballot satisfaction" of the electorate (as in
step 2)
4.  Eliminate all candidates from the "opposition candidate pool" who
have an overall approval rating under 25%
5.  All candidates remaining in the "highly-approved candidate pool",
the "majority candidate pool" and the "opposition candidate pool"
advance to the general election.

In the original MAF proposal, the "opposition candidate pool" (i.e.
the "complementary candidate") is no more than one candidate.  In this
proposal, the opposition candidate pool could grow to two candidates
if two candidates are added to the majority candidate pool..

This doesn't seem like a radical departure from the rules I described
in my Tuesday blog post.  The added complexity bothers me, but this
seems to solve a problem with the original proposal.  In the old
proposal, the single complementary candidate is chosen as an
alternative to the leading candidate, even if a third candidate is
also added.  In this proposal, it would seem rare to advance just
three candidates; either there's one candidate in each pool ("highly
approved", "majority", "opposition") or there as a candidate pruned
from the "opposition candidate pool" for being under 25% approval.

My hunch: it would take at least 2-3 election cycles before more than
two candidates advance to the general.  I suspect bullet voting would
be common in early elections, and it would take a while before
sophisticated campaign strategies emerge (e.g. like candidates
endorsing each other, holding joint events, and advertising for one
another).  Most elections would result in a single "majority"
candidate, and an "opposition" candidate.

I came up with the set of rules above as I was composing this email,
because I wanted to make the rules fit the examples below.  My first
draft had rules ensuring that if the majority candidate pool had N
candidates, the opposition candidate pool would only have N-1
candidates. In this version, it's possible for the opposition
candidate pool to have just as many candidates as the majority
candidate pool.  But it didn't match my examples below, and I liked my
examples better than I liked my draft rules, so I rewrote the rules.
Now that I have rules I like, I've tweaked my example scenarios to fit
the rules:

Test scenario #1: Let's say that seven candidates qualify to advance,
and the top candidate only receives 55% approval.  It seems that the
order that the primary candidates should enter their respective pools
should be like this:
#1 - Top candidate - first in majority candidate pool
#2 - first in opposition candidate pool (complementing the top
candidate in the majority pool)
#3 - second in majority candidate pool (with 54% approval)
#4 - second in opposition candidate pool (complementing the candidates
above in the majority pool)
#5 - third in majority candidate pool (with 53% approval)
#6 - third in opposition candidate pool (complementing the candidates
above in the majority pool)
#7 - fourth in majority candidate pool (with 52% approval)
#8 - fourth in opposition candidate pool (complementing the candidates
above in the majority pool)

In my original draft, the candidate with the lowest overall approval
score would be eliminated from the opposition pool so that the
majority pool had four candidates, and the opposition pool only had
three, and thus only seven candidates advanced.  In my current rules,
it's possible for eight candidates to qualify, but my new rule #4
above ("Eliminate all candidates from the opposition candidate pool
who have an overall approval rating under 25%") could knock it down to
seven.  Or six,  Or even four.

Test scenario #2: Let's say the top candidate gets greater than 75%
approval. That's a pretty strong indication that the top candidate is
the median candidate.  But if three other candidates also get greater
than 50% approval, it only seems fair to give them a hearing in the
general election.  Thus, when the top candidate gets greater than 75%
approval, it seems the order should go like this:
1 - Top candidate - first in highly-approved candidate pool
2 - first in majority candidate pool
3 - first in opposition candidate pool (complementing the first
candidate in the majority candidate pool)
4 - second in majority candidate pool
5 - second in opposition candidate pool (complementing the candidates
above in the majority candidate pool)
6 - third in majority candidate pool
7 - third in opposition candidate pool (complementing the candidates
above in the majority candidate pool)

I originally wrote "I'm pretty sure it'd be possible to write a set of
rules to achieve this.  I'm just not going to do it tonight".  I
*think* I pulled it off.  That's why I didn't send this mail a couple
hours ago.  Now I really should send this email.  :-)

Rob
p.s for those of you who prefer reading blog stuff on Medium (or feel
like clicking on the applause link), here's the Medium version of this
proposal:
https://medium.com/@robla/replacing-the-jungle-primary-c1e844a5333b

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Re: [EM] Approval-based replacement for jungle primary

Rob Lanphier
Hi Ted,

Thanks for pointing back to the conversation Chris Benham started.  I
need to read and fully absorb that conversation, but I'm going to try
replying in advance of that.  More inline...

On Thu, Nov 29, 2018 at 1:27 PM Ted Stern <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Regarding your modification suggestion, I'm not sure that you fixed
> anything.  Including everyone above 50% approval potentially creates an
> over-crowded ballot.

If a candidate requires 50% approval to advance to the general
election ballot (to get into the "majority candidate pool" as I call
it in my 2018-11-22 email), I have a hard time believing that an
"overcrowded ballot" will really be a problem.  If people become
familiar enough with approval voting that a majority of voters are
approving a large number of candidates, that seems like a really good
problem to have.  In some of the offline conversations I've had, I've
received pushback that 50% approval is way too high.  It seems that if
we get an overcrowded ballot because we allow every candidate that has
50% approval to advance, then by definition, a majority of the
electorate *wants* an overcrowded ballot. Plus, it seems like there
are policy countermeasures that could be introduced as disincentives
for a unified block of candidates to operate this way (e.g. having a
fixed pool of money for public campaign financing divided evenly among
the candidates in the majority candidate pool)

As you point out, my "Majority Approval Filter" [MAF] draft proposals
also call for allowing an "opposition candidate pool" to advance, such
that it's possible for candidates with lower than 50% approval to
advance.  My initial draft (from my 2018-11-20 email) allowed for
exactly one candidate to advance via the opposition candidate pool.
My second draft (from my 2018-11-22 email) allowed for an opposition
candidate pool that could be potentially as large as the majority
candidate pool.

[MAF]: https://electowiki.org/wiki/MAF

I'm probably going to use electowiki to create a third draft of MAF
when I get around to it.  More about that below...

> However, as Chris Benham states in the included
> post above, Approval Winner plus complementary (or, as I like to call it,
> excluded) approval winner could lead to Condorcet violation.

I did some reading of the prior discussions on this topic.  In
particular, I looked at Chris's email:
[EM] Top-two Approval Pairwise Runoff (TTAPR)
<http://lists.electorama.com/pipermail/election-methods-electorama.com/2016-November/000991.html>

...which in turn refers to earlier conversations (e.g. "earlier
suggestion of mine for a 2 trips to the polling station method using
simple Approval ballots."). In my brief scan of those conversations, I
found this as a possible entry point:
"A better 2-round method that uses approval ballots"
<http://lists.electorama.com/pipermail/election-methods-electorama.com/2013-June/097206.html>

I'm not sure I get how a Condorcet winner violation can occur with
MAF, and I don't know which of Chris Benham's earlier suggestions
you're pointing me to.  I'm willing to believe there's something
obvious I'm missing (because that happens a lot), but there's nothing
obvious to me yet about that reference.

One possible interpretation: my "Maximum approval top-two"  [MATT]
proposal from 2018-11-20 is subject to a Condorcet winner violation.
I'll acknowledge that that is true, since not every candidate in the
majority candidate pool advances in MATT.

[MATT]: https://electowiki.org/wiki/MATT

At this point, though, I'm planning to refine and advocate for MAF.
MATT is a proposal-of-last-resort if (for whatever reason) it becomes
impossible to advance an initiative that replaces the general election
first-past-the-post voting method with a system that works well with
three or more candidates.  MAF is great since (if my hunch is correct)
it will *usually* only advance two candidates (at least at first), and
thus won't seem so weird to voters that are used to California's
current system that exclusively advances two candidates per office.

> Let's imagine a Condorcet-like election with a score ballot with more
> than two ratings, so it's not just approval.  Say 0 to 3, with any score
> above zero indicating approval.
>
> Infer rankings from the ratings (higher score ranks above lower score),
> and tabulate the pairwise array.
>
> Then advance the following candidates to the general election:  the
> Smith set, plus the Approval winner, plus the AW-complement.  This group
> is guaranteed to include the Condorcet winner, plus at least one other
> candidate.  If desired, according to your criterion above, you could
> also include the AW-runner-up.

This is an interesting solution to the problem that isn't obvious to
me yet.  As of right now, I'm not yet convinced that we need to make a
more complicated ballot than an approval ballot for the primary.
Moreover, I think there's tremendous benefit to allowing both the
primary election and the general election to use the same
approval-style ballot instructions.

Here's the end goal for my requirements for a third draft of MAF,
using similar vocabulary as my 2018-11-22 proposal: 1) advance three
pools of candidates ("highly-approved candidate pool", "majority
candidate pool", "opposition candidate pool") to the general election.
2) provide electoral motivation for candidates to maximize their
overall approval score, and not obsess about their base voters 3)
ensure the resulting general election ballot achieves a very high
"ballot satisfaction" score.

My first draft had a rather arbitrary and small opposition candidate
pool (one candidate).  My second draft probably has one that is too
big.  I've got ideas for my third draft that I think passes the
Goldilocks test  :-)

Rob
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Re: [EM] Approval-based replacement for jungle primary

Ted Stern
Hi Rob,

Thanks for pointing me to Chris Benham's Approval runoff suggestion from 2013.  With what I have learned since 2016 it makes more sense now.

In that light, I'm getting toward being on board with your MAF idea.  However, I'm still unclear on how you set up the opposition candidate pool.

So I understand you have the Approval Winner (AW), plus, if AW's approval is less than a threshold, all candidates with approval > 50% and complementary approved candidates.  The question is, after you have chosen the first complementary approved candidate, the candidate who is approved on the most ballots that don't approve AW, how do you form the complement for the other opposition candidates?

In my opinion, when you have a runner up highly approved candidate, the complementary candidate should be the candidate with highest approval on ballots that don't approve of the runner-up, not the AW.  And if that complementary opposition candidate is already in the runoff, take the next-highest approved on those ballots until you find a new candidate.

For example, if the approval winner is A with approval less than the dominance threshold, also include complementary opposition candidate B (highest approved on ballots that don't approve A), plus highly approved runner up C with approval > 50%, plus complementary opposition candidate D (highest approved candidate who is not A or B, on ballots that don't approve C).  If there is another highly approved runner up E with approval > 50%, then include complementary candidate F, who is the highest approved non-(A,B,C,D) candidate on ballots that don't approve of E.  And so on.

What do you think?

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Re: [EM] Approval-based replacement for jungle primary

Rob Lanphier
Hi Ted,

Thanks for helping refine the idea.  More inline:

On Mon, Dec 3, 2018 at 12:57 PM Ted Stern <[hidden email]> wrote:
> In that light, I'm getting toward being on board with your MAF idea.

Cool!

> However, I'm still unclear on how you set up the opposition candidate pool.

So am I.  Before I respond to the rest of this, I'm going to lay out
some goals that occurred to me as I started thinking through my reply.
As I type these words, I have no idea whether or not your method
complies with the goals I set out.

Here's the main goal: an Approval-based system that advances truly
viable candidates to the general election, creating a ballot approved
by a large portion of the electorate (i.e. with a high ballot
satisfaction score)

Now to assign some arbitrary metrics to the subjective terms expressed
or implied above:
*  "viable candidate" - a candidate who receives greater than 25%
approval in the primary
*  "truly viable candidate" - a candidate who receives greater than
50% approval in the primary
*  "marginally viable candidate" - a candidate who receives less than
50% approval, but greater than 25%
*  "non-viable candidate" - a candidate who receives less than 25%
approval in the primary
*  "ballot satisfaction score" - percentage of primary election voters
who approve of at least one candidate on a ballot containing a given
subset of primary election candidates
*  "high ballot satisfaction score" - Greater than 90% ballot satisfaction

A rough outline for MAF version 3:
*  Identify the approval winner, and advance that candidate
*  Advance all truly viable candidates (>50% approval)
*  Advance a small number of marginally viable candidates to create a
ballot with a high ballot satisfaction score (>90% ballot
satisfaction)

That last step is one that I'm still trying to figure out.  There's a
couple of testcases that I'm still trying to think though, and design
MAF v3 around:

Testcase A: Let's say that after we select all truly viable
candidates, we only have a ballot satisfaction score of 85%.  Let's
also say that among the marginally viable canidates we have candidate
A1, who is the next highest rated candidate that has 49.9% approval,
but only just barely brings the ballot satisfaction score to 90%.
Let's say there's a different candidate (A2) who only receives 35%
approval, but brings the ballot satisfaction score up to 99%.  I think
my preference in that case is to have an algorithm that selects
candidate A1.

Testcase B: Once again, after all truly viable candidates (TVCs), we
only have a 85% ballot satisfaction.  Let's say that B1 is next
highest, with 45%, but only brings the ballot satisfaction to 86%.
Next is B2, with 44%.  Adding B2 to the ballot also only gets us to
86% satisfaction, and adding both B1 and B2 only gets us to 87%
(TVCs+B1+B2=87%).  Let's say we keep stepping through the marginally
viable candidates, and we only get 1% at a time, such that
TVCs+B1+B2+B3+B4+B5=90%.  However, let's also say there's a candidate
B9 that only has 35% overall approval, but adding that candidate alone
would improve the ballot satisfaction score to 99%.  I *think* I would
prefer an algorithm that selects B9 rather than adding (B1, B2, B3,
B4, B5).

It could be very difficult to find an elegant algorithm that selects
A1 for Testcase A, and B9 for Testcase B.  Now to see what your
proposal does....

> So I understand you have the Approval Winner (AW), plus, if AW's
> approval is less than a threshold, all candidates with approval > 50%
> and complementary approved candidates.  The question is, after you have
> chosen the first complementary approved candidate, the candidate who is
> approved on the most ballots that don't approve AW, how do you form the
> complement for the other opposition candidates?

That's what I'm still struggling with.

> In my opinion, when you have a runner up highly approved candidate, the
> complementary candidate should be the candidate with highest approval on
> ballots that don't approve of the runner-up, not the AW.  And if that
> complementary opposition candidate is already in the runoff, take the
> next-highest approved on those ballots until you find a new candidate.

I think we agree on the first point.  The complementary opposition
candidate should be complementary to the candidate(s) that barely get
greater than 50% approval, not to the Approval Winner (AW).  The best
algorithm may involve starting with the truly viable candidate with
the lowest approval rating (e.g. a candidate with 50.01% approval) and
working our way up to the AW until we have an acceptable ballot
satisfaction score.

> For example, if the approval winner is A with approval less than the
> dominance threshold, also include complementary opposition candidate B
> (highest approved on ballots that don't approve A), plus highly approved
> runner up C with approval > 50%, plus complementary opposition candidate
> D (highest approved candidate who is not A or B, on ballots that don't
> approve C).  If there is another highly approved runner up E with approval
> > 50%, then include complementary candidate F, who is the highest approved
> non-(A,B,C,D) candidate on ballots that don't approve of E.  And so on.

I fear that this algorithm would bias toward selecting candidates A2
and B9 in my test cases up above.  Both of those candidates are likely
to be the most polarizing candidates, most inclined to rile up their
base voters without aspiring to achieve 50% approval.

An elegant algorithm that selects A1 and B9 might be hard to come by.
My preference for B9 over (B1, B2, B3, B4, B5) is not very strong, and
in fact, it may be that reducing the minimum ballot satisfaction score
from 90% to 85% might be the right solution for that particular test
case (thus not allowing B1, B2, B3, B4, B5 or B9).  "90%" and "85%"
are arbitrary percentages, and in fact, maybe 75% is high enough.
There would be a certain elegance to choosing the same percentage
(75%) for both the "highly approved candidate pool" and the "high
ballot satisfaction score".  That would be great motivation for
candidates to try to get to 75% approval; by doing so, they could lock
out marginally viable candidates from the general election ballot.
But candidates getting greater than 75% approval would still have to
face other highly viable candidates (candidates between 50% and 75%)
in the general election.

Rob
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Re: [EM] Approval-based replacement for jungle primary

Ted Stern
Hi Rob,

What you're describing with your percent satisfaction sounds a lot like Proportional Representation, though the context of a primary is quite different.

I come from the school of "challenge makes you stronger", so I would welcome more contrasting voices into the general election. 

I think that including the complementary opposition winners against your "truly viable candidates" would be a way to do that.

You're more likely to get engagement and consequent turnout when more people feel like their voices are being heard in the debate. A slate of blandly similar center seekers would be a recipe for voter apathy. 

If the viable candidates are A_1 (= Approval Winner), A_2 (Approval runner up), etc., with complementary opponents B_1, B_2, etc., then I think it would be appropriate to add them in (A_i, B_i) pairs until your desired representation level is met.

Actually, I don't know if I would put the truly viable cutoff at 50%. In a true jungle primary, you might end up with only 40% winners at the highest.  I might go down to 33. 3% A_i candidates if that's what it takes to get at least 66.6% voter representation. 

Ted 

On Mon, Dec 3, 2018, 17:51 Rob Lanphier <[hidden email] wrote:
Hi Ted,

Thanks for helping refine the idea.  More inline:

On Mon, Dec 3, 2018 at 12:57 PM Ted Stern <[hidden email]> wrote:
> In that light, I'm getting toward being on board with your MAF idea.

Cool!

> However, I'm still unclear on how you set up the opposition candidate pool.

So am I.  Before I respond to the rest of this, I'm going to lay out
some goals that occurred to me as I started thinking through my reply.
As I type these words, I have no idea whether or not your method
complies with the goals I set out.

Here's the main goal: an Approval-based system that advances truly
viable candidates to the general election, creating a ballot approved
by a large portion of the electorate (i.e. with a high ballot
satisfaction score)

Now to assign some arbitrary metrics to the subjective terms expressed
or implied above:
*  "viable candidate" - a candidate who receives greater than 25%
approval in the primary
*  "truly viable candidate" - a candidate who receives greater than
50% approval in the primary
*  "marginally viable candidate" - a candidate who receives less than
50% approval, but greater than 25%
*  "non-viable candidate" - a candidate who receives less than 25%
approval in the primary
*  "ballot satisfaction score" - percentage of primary election voters
who approve of at least one candidate on a ballot containing a given
subset of primary election candidates
*  "high ballot satisfaction score" - Greater than 90% ballot satisfaction

A rough outline for MAF version 3:
*  Identify the approval winner, and advance that candidate
*  Advance all truly viable candidates (>50% approval)
*  Advance a small number of marginally viable candidates to create a
ballot with a high ballot satisfaction score (>90% ballot
satisfaction)

That last step is one that I'm still trying to figure out.  There's a
couple of testcases that I'm still trying to think though, and design
MAF v3 around:

Testcase A: Let's say that after we select all truly viable
candidates, we only have a ballot satisfaction score of 85%.  Let's
also say that among the marginally viable canidates we have candidate
A1, who is the next highest rated candidate that has 49.9% approval,
but only just barely brings the ballot satisfaction score to 90%.
Let's say there's a different candidate (A2) who only receives 35%
approval, but brings the ballot satisfaction score up to 99%.  I think
my preference in that case is to have an algorithm that selects
candidate A1.

Testcase B: Once again, after all truly viable candidates (TVCs), we
only have a 85% ballot satisfaction.  Let's say that B1 is next
highest, with 45%, but only brings the ballot satisfaction to 86%.
Next is B2, with 44%.  Adding B2 to the ballot also only gets us to
86% satisfaction, and adding both B1 and B2 only gets us to 87%
(TVCs+B1+B2=87%).  Let's say we keep stepping through the marginally
viable candidates, and we only get 1% at a time, such that
TVCs+B1+B2+B3+B4+B5=90%.  However, let's also say there's a candidate
B9 that only has 35% overall approval, but adding that candidate alone
would improve the ballot satisfaction score to 99%.  I *think* I would
prefer an algorithm that selects B9 rather than adding (B1, B2, B3,
B4, B5).

It could be very difficult to find an elegant algorithm that selects
A1 for Testcase A, and B9 for Testcase B.  Now to see what your
proposal does....

> So I understand you have the Approval Winner (AW), plus, if AW's
> approval is less than a threshold, all candidates with approval > 50%
> and complementary approved candidates.  The question is, after you have
> chosen the first complementary approved candidate, the candidate who is
> approved on the most ballots that don't approve AW, how do you form the
> complement for the other opposition candidates?

That's what I'm still struggling with.

> In my opinion, when you have a runner up highly approved candidate, the
> complementary candidate should be the candidate with highest approval on
> ballots that don't approve of the runner-up, not the AW.  And if that
> complementary opposition candidate is already in the runoff, take the
> next-highest approved on those ballots until you find a new candidate.

I think we agree on the first point.  The complementary opposition
candidate should be complementary to the candidate(s) that barely get
greater than 50% approval, not to the Approval Winner (AW).  The best
algorithm may involve starting with the truly viable candidate with
the lowest approval rating (e.g. a candidate with 50.01% approval) and
working our way up to the AW until we have an acceptable ballot
satisfaction score.

> For example, if the approval winner is A with approval less than the
> dominance threshold, also include complementary opposition candidate B
> (highest approved on ballots that don't approve A), plus highly approved
> runner up C with approval > 50%, plus complementary opposition candidate
> D (highest approved candidate who is not A or B, on ballots that don't
> approve C).  If there is another highly approved runner up E with approval
> > 50%, then include complementary candidate F, who is the highest approved
> non-(A,B,C,D) candidate on ballots that don't approve of E.  And so on.

I fear that this algorithm would bias toward selecting candidates A2
and B9 in my test cases up above.  Both of those candidates are likely
to be the most polarizing candidates, most inclined to rile up their
base voters without aspiring to achieve 50% approval.

An elegant algorithm that selects A1 and B9 might be hard to come by.
My preference for B9 over (B1, B2, B3, B4, B5) is not very strong, and
in fact, it may be that reducing the minimum ballot satisfaction score
from 90% to 85% might be the right solution for that particular test
case (thus not allowing B1, B2, B3, B4, B5 or B9).  "90%" and "85%"
are arbitrary percentages, and in fact, maybe 75% is high enough.
There would be a certain elegance to choosing the same percentage
(75%) for both the "highly approved candidate pool" and the "high
ballot satisfaction score".  That would be great motivation for
candidates to try to get to 75% approval; by doing so, they could lock
out marginally viable candidates from the general election ballot.
But candidates getting greater than 75% approval would still have to
face other highly viable candidates (candidates between 50% and 75%)
in the general election.

Rob

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Re: [EM] Approval-based replacement for jungle primary

Rob Lanphier
Hi Ted,

This has been an incredibly helpful discussion!  More inline...

On Mon, Dec 3, 2018 at 11:11 PM Ted Stern <[hidden email]> wrote:
> What you're describing with your percent satisfaction sounds a lot
> like Proportional Representation, though the context of a primary is
> quite different.
>
> I come from the school of "challenge makes you stronger", so I would
> welcome more contrasting voices into the general election.

Yeah, I think we may have been educated in the same school. ;-)  I
would welcome contrasting voices too, to a point.  An approval-based
primary should only advance candidates who are trying to ultimately
get a high approval rating in the general election.  The primary
election should select candidates with the desire and ability to earn
the approval of a majority of voters during the general election
cycle, rather than wasting the time and energy of the general election
electorate who may not have the time or patience to evaluate
candidates who aren't serious contenders.

Ted also wrote:
> I think that including the complementary opposition winners against your
> "truly viable candidates" would be a way to do that.
>
> You're more likely to get engagement and consequent turnout when more
> people feel like their voices are being heard in the debate. A slate of
> blandly similar center seekers would be a recipe for voter apathy.

My hope is that after a few years, primary election voters become
accustomed to the system.  They might then stop approving bland
center-seekers, and start approving exciting center-seekers.  Or maybe
bland but incredibly competent center seekers.  Voters would hopefully
be at liberty to stop being overly-focused on the left-right
continuum, and start looking at other dimensions (e.g.
competence-incompetence, honesty-corruption,
charisma-unpersuasiveness). If elections became a little less
exciting, that might actually be a good thing.

Moreover, voters would hopefully become more generous about approving
candidates in the primary that they're not yet ready to vote for in
the general election, as a way of saying "hey, having Katie
McKrazypants in the general election debates ought to make things
interesting!  Let's vote for her!".   Over time, I suspect that
candidates would get good at positioning themselves as good
safe-to-fail experimental candidates.  Then the general election
becomes the safeguard where many of the same voters might then cast a
more critical vote.  Given that we'll have over seven months(!) to vet
the general election candidates, we should assume that some voters
will change their mind, and/or Katie McCrazypants would get thoroughly
vetted and found to be not-so-crazy after all.

A close candidate who gets 45% approval (e.g Cassie McCloseypants) but
doesn't get quite enough approval to advance to the general election
still sends a pretty strong signal.  It would seem that at least some
of the advancing general election candidates (e.g. Larissa
McLeftypants and Ronald McRightypants) would come to understand that
the 45% candidate (Cassie McCloseypants) was trying to advance some
issues that are worthy of further discussion during the general
election cycle.  Both general election candidates would be well
advised to seek out an endorsement from Cassie McCloseypants, and
would have plenty of time to broker for support from the Cassie
McCloseypants campaign (e.g. recruiting volunteers, getting email
lists, getting contact databases, etc)

Ted also wrote:
> If the viable candidates are A_1 (= Approval Winner), A_2 (Approval
> runner up), etc., with complementary opponents B_1, B_2, etc., then I
> think it would be appropriate to add them in (A_i, B_i) pairs until your
> desired representation level is met.
>
> Actually, I don't know if I would put the truly viable cutoff at 50%. In
> a true jungle primary, you might end up with only 40% winners at the
> highest.  I might go down to 33. 3% A_i candidates if that's what it
> takes to get at least 66.6% voter representation.

The tradeoff that we're up against: providing genuine choice for a
large part of the electorate vs properly culling the list of primary
contenders so as not to overwhelm voters with options.  Though I
suspect your intuition is correct about almost all candidates scoring
well under 50% in the first few elections, my fear is that you're
being too generous for the long-term.  The benefit of having a 50%
threshold for _automatic_ advancement to the general election is that
it makes the barrier high enough that it becomes difficult for rabid
extremists to game the system.

What I fear: as the system becomes routine, sophisticated candidates
will learn to optimize their primary candidacies to achieve whatever
the minimum percentage required to guarantee them a spot on the
general election ballot.  50% is a respectable target.  33% is
horrifyingly low target.  With FPTP, we live in a world where each
party optimizes for 50.1% inclusion by estranging the other 49.9% that
aren't part of the tribe.  I shudder to think about what tactics would
emerge to optimize political tribes for 33.4% in/66.6% out.

Mind you, I'm still proposing we develop a small loophole for allowing
"marginally viable candidates" to advance, though only in service of
increasing overall ballot satisfaction.  It seems too large of a
loophole to allow *every* complementary candidate to the runners-up to
advance, doesn't it?  Granted, it does at least provide disincentive
for the dominant political party to flood the field with clones, but
it also seems like it would be possible for the complementary
candidates to be fringe, extremist candidates with very low approval
scores.  Perhaps the answer to that is to just set the floor for
"marginally viable" to be 40%, and then only advance marginally viable
candidates who increase the ballot satisfaction score.  We can also
still limit the number of marginally viable candidates who advance
(the "opposition candidate pool") by maintaining the rule that the
opposition candidate pool will be no larger than the majority
candidate pool.

I suspect that it would take a few years of usage before any
second-place candidate gets above 50% approval.  In fact, it may be
common for even the Approval Winner (AW) to get less than 50%.

With all this in mind, it may be worth reading Clay Shentrup's
responses to my blog post:
<https://medium.com/@ClayShentrup/i-challenge-this-858b5ab0a09a>
<https://medium.com/@ClayShentrup/way-too-much-complexity-b4b2c8d6ee6e>

In short, he's suggesting to just use the top two Approval winners.
That seems likely to motivate candidates of the dominant party to
unite as clones of one another, but maybe I'm missing something.
Still, the KISS principle of his proposal is appealing.

I think I'm pretty close to being able to write up draft 3 of MAF,
which should be simple enough.  What I have in mind now is basically:
"allow all candidates who (usually) get over 50% approval, and allow a
(usually) equal number of opposition candidates who get over 40%
approval".  The first "(usually)" acknowledges the possibility that
there may not be any candidate that gets over 50% approval, and the
second "(usually)" acknowledges that there might not be any candidates
who qualify as opposition candidates, or that the opposition
candidates may be outnumbered.

Rob
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Re: [EM] Approval-based replacement for jungle primary

VoteFair-2
A new subreddit (within Reddit) has just been created to get approval
voting adopted in California primary elections:

   r/ApprovalCalifornia

I strongly support the use of approval voting in U.S. primary elections.
  The winner will never be from the wrong political party, so the
imperfections of approval voting are small compared to the huge
unfairnesses of plurality voting.

The top-two runoff method in California's general election takes care of
yielding a fair outcome in the general election (in spite of using
plurality voting).

The fact that only the wording on the ballots needs to change make this
a much easier reform.

The more people realize that there are other kinds of ballots, the
sooner the even better reforms can be adopted.

The method recommended in this thread is interesting, and might be even
better than standard approval voting.  When California starts using
approval ballots, hopefully the relevant vote counts will be shared to
allow this method to become either better validated, or not.

On 12/5/2018 1:40 PM, Rob Lanphier wrote:> What I fear: as the system
becomes routine, sophisticated candidates
 > will learn to optimize their primary candidacies to achieve whatever
 > the minimum percentage required to guarantee them a spot on the
 > general election ballot.  50% is a respectable target.  33% is
 > horrifyingly low target.  With FPTP, we live in a world where each
 > party optimizes for 50.1% inclusion by estranging the other 49.9% that
 > aren't part of the tribe.  I shudder to think about what tactics would
 > emerge to optimize political tribes for 33.4% in/66.6% out.

Reforms of how voting is done within a legislature can fix this
unfairness.  I created www.NegotiationTool.com to demonstrate how that
can be done.

Richard Fobes
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Re: [EM] Approval-based replacement for jungle primary

Kristofer Munsterhjelm-3
In reply to this post by Ted Stern
On 2018-12-04 08:11, Ted Stern wrote:
> Hi Rob,
>
> What you're describing with your percent satisfaction sounds a lot like
> Proportional Representation, though the context of a primary is quite
> different.

If you're doing what is in essence proportional representation, then the
primary problem and the PR problem becomes the same - so use a
proportional representation algorithm. (Something like PAV.) That's
pretty much what James Green-Armytage concluded in his runoff paper (
http://jamesgreenarmytage.com/runoff.pdf) too.

The difference seems to be that in a primary, you want to elect however
many winners are required to keep voter satisfaction above a certain
level, rather than elect a fixed number of winners. Furthermore, it
might be necessary to adjust the outcome towards a proportional ordering
(in practice, only considering outcomes that include the Approval winner).

Using proportional representation also avoids having a bunch of bland
center-seekers, because if the center only satisfies x% of the voters,
it will only get x% of the seats, up to roundoff errors and the
center-skewing effect of including the Approval winner. In proportional
representation methods, a slight center-skew might not be too bad, as it
helps kingmaker scenarios favor the center instead of a wing. In a
primary, there's no kingmaker scenario that I can see, so the reason for
including the Approval winner is mostly to not make the method any worse
than if it had just been single-stage Approval.

So, the above seems to suggest that the cutoff shouldn't be on support
of the last candidate, but on satisfaction (what something like PAV is
optimizing). On the other hand, just *explaining* what that score is
might be hard... and the more seats you use PAV to allocate, the more
opaque the workings of a global optimization method might become in the
eyes of the voters.
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Re: [EM] Approval-based replacement for jungle primary

Ted Stern
In reply to this post by Rob Lanphier
Hello Rob (et al.),

Returning to this after a while out of the loop.

Two round methods have been on my mind while walking the dogs.

After a lot of thought, I think that if you're going to just use Approval, the simplest method would be to have a runoff between the Approval Winner and the complementary Approval Winner ( "CAW", wins approval on all ballots that do not approve of AW), and leave it at that.  And that would occur only if the AW had less than 50 percent of the vote.

But that still seems unsatisfactory to me.  I'm not happy with allowing the possibility of letting clones into the second round, but it also feels like there might be a compromise candidate who is missed.  Maybe take the AW and AW-runner-up and the CAW plus CAW-runner-up.  I'd be willing to go with this based on its simplicity.

I've been looking again at Jameson Quinn's 3-2-1 voting method (https://electowiki.org/wiki/3-2-1_voting).  It has a number of attractive properties, but a plurality faction could defeat it with clones.

It seems to me that one could make 3-2-1 cloneproof and get a 2-round method at the same time:

  • W321 = 3-2-1 voting winner according to Jameson's page above.
  • On all ballots that do not approve of W321, find the 3 candidates with highest top ("Good") rating sums (summed over only those ballots not approving W321).
  • Of those 3 candidates, drop the candidate with lowest top + compromise ("Good" + "OK") ratings (summed over only those ballots not approving W321).
  • Between those two remaining candidates, CW321 = the candidate most preferred on non-W321 ballots.
In a single round election the winner would be the candidate most preferred between W321 and CW321 on all ballots.  Up until the CW321 step above, all aspects of the method are summable in a single pass, but finding the CW requires another pass, thought that would be summable.  Then the W321 vs. CW321 pairwise check would require another pass.

For a two round election, you could have the W321 winner and the runner up, plus the two candidates from the CW321 step.  And the 2nd round would only be necessary if the W321 candidate had less than 50% approval, or either of the CW321 pair were preferred to W321.  This would be at most 4 candidates, and would require only a single summable pass through the ballots.

For the final round, you would still have to do the clone-proofing step, but it would be much easier with at most 4 choices.







On Wed, Dec 5, 2018 at 1:41 PM Rob Lanphier <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Ted,

This has been an incredibly helpful discussion!  More inline...

On Mon, Dec 3, 2018 at 11:11 PM Ted Stern <[hidden email]> wrote:
> What you're describing with your percent satisfaction sounds a lot
> like Proportional Representation, though the context of a primary is
> quite different.
>
> I come from the school of "challenge makes you stronger", so I would
> welcome more contrasting voices into the general election.

Yeah, I think we may have been educated in the same school. ;-)  I
would welcome contrasting voices too, to a point.  An approval-based
primary should only advance candidates who are trying to ultimately
get a high approval rating in the general election.  The primary
election should select candidates with the desire and ability to earn
the approval of a majority of voters during the general election
cycle, rather than wasting the time and energy of the general election
electorate who may not have the time or patience to evaluate
candidates who aren't serious contenders.

Ted also wrote:
> I think that including the complementary opposition winners against your
> "truly viable candidates" would be a way to do that.
>
> You're more likely to get engagement and consequent turnout when more
> people feel like their voices are being heard in the debate. A slate of
> blandly similar center seekers would be a recipe for voter apathy.

My hope is that after a few years, primary election voters become
accustomed to the system.  They might then stop approving bland
center-seekers, and start approving exciting center-seekers.  Or maybe
bland but incredibly competent center seekers.  Voters would hopefully
be at liberty to stop being overly-focused on the left-right
continuum, and start looking at other dimensions (e.g.
competence-incompetence, honesty-corruption,
charisma-unpersuasiveness). If elections became a little less
exciting, that might actually be a good thing.

Moreover, voters would hopefully become more generous about approving
candidates in the primary that they're not yet ready to vote for in
the general election, as a way of saying "hey, having Katie
McKrazypants in the general election debates ought to make things
interesting!  Let's vote for her!".   Over time, I suspect that
candidates would get good at positioning themselves as good
safe-to-fail experimental candidates.  Then the general election
becomes the safeguard where many of the same voters might then cast a
more critical vote.  Given that we'll have over seven months(!) to vet
the general election candidates, we should assume that some voters
will change their mind, and/or Katie McCrazypants would get thoroughly
vetted and found to be not-so-crazy after all.

A close candidate who gets 45% approval (e.g Cassie McCloseypants) but
doesn't get quite enough approval to advance to the general election
still sends a pretty strong signal.  It would seem that at least some
of the advancing general election candidates (e.g. Larissa
McLeftypants and Ronald McRightypants) would come to understand that
the 45% candidate (Cassie McCloseypants) was trying to advance some
issues that are worthy of further discussion during the general
election cycle.  Both general election candidates would be well
advised to seek out an endorsement from Cassie McCloseypants, and
would have plenty of time to broker for support from the Cassie
McCloseypants campaign (e.g. recruiting volunteers, getting email
lists, getting contact databases, etc)

Ted also wrote:
> If the viable candidates are A_1 (= Approval Winner), A_2 (Approval
> runner up), etc., with complementary opponents B_1, B_2, etc., then I
> think it would be appropriate to add them in (A_i, B_i) pairs until your
> desired representation level is met.
>
> Actually, I don't know if I would put the truly viable cutoff at 50%. In
> a true jungle primary, you might end up with only 40% winners at the
> highest.  I might go down to 33. 3% A_i candidates if that's what it
> takes to get at least 66.6% voter representation.

The tradeoff that we're up against: providing genuine choice for a
large part of the electorate vs properly culling the list of primary
contenders so as not to overwhelm voters with options.  Though I
suspect your intuition is correct about almost all candidates scoring
well under 50% in the first few elections, my fear is that you're
being too generous for the long-term.  The benefit of having a 50%
threshold for _automatic_ advancement to the general election is that
it makes the barrier high enough that it becomes difficult for rabid
extremists to game the system.

What I fear: as the system becomes routine, sophisticated candidates
will learn to optimize their primary candidacies to achieve whatever
the minimum percentage required to guarantee them a spot on the
general election ballot.  50% is a respectable target.  33% is
horrifyingly low target.  With FPTP, we live in a world where each
party optimizes for 50.1% inclusion by estranging the other 49.9% that
aren't part of the tribe.  I shudder to think about what tactics would
emerge to optimize political tribes for 33.4% in/66.6% out.

Mind you, I'm still proposing we develop a small loophole for allowing
"marginally viable candidates" to advance, though only in service of
increasing overall ballot satisfaction.  It seems too large of a
loophole to allow *every* complementary candidate to the runners-up to
advance, doesn't it?  Granted, it does at least provide disincentive
for the dominant political party to flood the field with clones, but
it also seems like it would be possible for the complementary
candidates to be fringe, extremist candidates with very low approval
scores.  Perhaps the answer to that is to just set the floor for
"marginally viable" to be 40%, and then only advance marginally viable
candidates who increase the ballot satisfaction score.  We can also
still limit the number of marginally viable candidates who advance
(the "opposition candidate pool") by maintaining the rule that the
opposition candidate pool will be no larger than the majority
candidate pool.

I suspect that it would take a few years of usage before any
second-place candidate gets above 50% approval.  In fact, it may be
common for even the Approval Winner (AW) to get less than 50%.

With all this in mind, it may be worth reading Clay Shentrup's
responses to my blog post:
<https://medium.com/@ClayShentrup/i-challenge-this-858b5ab0a09a>
<https://medium.com/@ClayShentrup/way-too-much-complexity-b4b2c8d6ee6e>

In short, he's suggesting to just use the top two Approval winners.
That seems likely to motivate candidates of the dominant party to
unite as clones of one another, but maybe I'm missing something.
Still, the KISS principle of his proposal is appealing.

I think I'm pretty close to being able to write up draft 3 of MAF,
which should be simple enough.  What I have in mind now is basically:
"allow all candidates who (usually) get over 50% approval, and allow a
(usually) equal number of opposition candidates who get over 40%
approval".  The first "(usually)" acknowledges the possibility that
there may not be any candidate that gets over 50% approval, and the
second "(usually)" acknowledges that there might not be any candidates
who qualify as opposition candidates, or that the opposition
candidates may be outnumbered.

Rob

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Re: [EM] Approval-based replacement for jungle primary

Ted Stern
Thinking some more about Rob's MAF proposal, I think I have it boiled down to a simple method:

First round:

Total Approval Winner (AW) plus any other candidate with >= 50% approval, plus the Complementary Approval Winner (CAW) -- the candidate who is approved most on ballots that do not approve AW.

Second round Approval Winner is the overall winner.

Rationale:

If AW and other candidates have >= 50% approval, the sincere Condorcet winner is probably among them.

If AW has < 50% support, the sincere Condorcet Winner might not be included as the Approval runner up if the AW is part of a clone set.  

In addition, having a contrasting candidate to the AW, no matter what the level of approval, means that the sentiment space in which an approval cutoff is measured is broadened.

This method is clone-resistant, summable, and resistant to pushover.  I think that it may also be resistant to burying.

I would like to see a Yee plot of this method.  I may eventually get around to programming that but it could be a while.

On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 2:41 PM Ted Stern <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello Rob (et al.),

Returning to this after a while out of the loop.

Two round methods have been on my mind while walking the dogs.

After a lot of thought, I think that if you're going to just use Approval, the simplest method would be to have a runoff between the Approval Winner and the complementary Approval Winner ( "CAW", wins approval on all ballots that do not approve of AW), and leave it at that.  And that would occur only if the AW had less than 50 percent of the vote.

But that still seems unsatisfactory to me.  I'm not happy with allowing the possibility of letting clones into the second round, but it also feels like there might be a compromise candidate who is missed.  Maybe take the AW and AW-runner-up and the CAW plus CAW-runner-up.  I'd be willing to go with this based on its simplicity.

I've been looking again at Jameson Quinn's 3-2-1 voting method (https://electowiki.org/wiki/3-2-1_voting).  It has a number of attractive properties, but a plurality faction could defeat it with clones.

It seems to me that one could make 3-2-1 cloneproof and get a 2-round method at the same time:

  • W321 = 3-2-1 voting winner according to Jameson's page above.
  • On all ballots that do not approve of W321, find the 3 candidates with highest top ("Good") rating sums (summed over only those ballots not approving W321).
  • Of those 3 candidates, drop the candidate with lowest top + compromise ("Good" + "OK") ratings (summed over only those ballots not approving W321).
  • Between those two remaining candidates, CW321 = the candidate most preferred on non-W321 ballots.
In a single round election the winner would be the candidate most preferred between W321 and CW321 on all ballots.  Up until the CW321 step above, all aspects of the method are summable in a single pass, but finding the CW requires another pass, thought that would be summable.  Then the W321 vs. CW321 pairwise check would require another pass.

For a two round election, you could have the W321 winner and the runner up, plus the two candidates from the CW321 step.  And the 2nd round would only be necessary if the W321 candidate had less than 50% approval, or either of the CW321 pair were preferred to W321.  This would be at most 4 candidates, and would require only a single summable pass through the ballots.

For the final round, you would still have to do the clone-proofing step, but it would be much easier with at most 4 choices.







On Wed, Dec 5, 2018 at 1:41 PM Rob Lanphier <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Ted,

This has been an incredibly helpful discussion!  More inline...

On Mon, Dec 3, 2018 at 11:11 PM Ted Stern <[hidden email]> wrote:
> What you're describing with your percent satisfaction sounds a lot
> like Proportional Representation, though the context of a primary is
> quite different.
>
> I come from the school of "challenge makes you stronger", so I would
> welcome more contrasting voices into the general election.

Yeah, I think we may have been educated in the same school. ;-)  I
would welcome contrasting voices too, to a point.  An approval-based
primary should only advance candidates who are trying to ultimately
get a high approval rating in the general election.  The primary
election should select candidates with the desire and ability to earn
the approval of a majority of voters during the general election
cycle, rather than wasting the time and energy of the general election
electorate who may not have the time or patience to evaluate
candidates who aren't serious contenders.

Ted also wrote:
> I think that including the complementary opposition winners against your
> "truly viable candidates" would be a way to do that.
>
> You're more likely to get engagement and consequent turnout when more
> people feel like their voices are being heard in the debate. A slate of
> blandly similar center seekers would be a recipe for voter apathy.

My hope is that after a few years, primary election voters become
accustomed to the system.  They might then stop approving bland
center-seekers, and start approving exciting center-seekers.  Or maybe
bland but incredibly competent center seekers.  Voters would hopefully
be at liberty to stop being overly-focused on the left-right
continuum, and start looking at other dimensions (e.g.
competence-incompetence, honesty-corruption,
charisma-unpersuasiveness). If elections became a little less
exciting, that might actually be a good thing.

Moreover, voters would hopefully become more generous about approving
candidates in the primary that they're not yet ready to vote for in
the general election, as a way of saying "hey, having Katie
McKrazypants in the general election debates ought to make things
interesting!  Let's vote for her!".   Over time, I suspect that
candidates would get good at positioning themselves as good
safe-to-fail experimental candidates.  Then the general election
becomes the safeguard where many of the same voters might then cast a
more critical vote.  Given that we'll have over seven months(!) to vet
the general election candidates, we should assume that some voters
will change their mind, and/or Katie McCrazypants would get thoroughly
vetted and found to be not-so-crazy after all.

A close candidate who gets 45% approval (e.g Cassie McCloseypants) but
doesn't get quite enough approval to advance to the general election
still sends a pretty strong signal.  It would seem that at least some
of the advancing general election candidates (e.g. Larissa
McLeftypants and Ronald McRightypants) would come to understand that
the 45% candidate (Cassie McCloseypants) was trying to advance some
issues that are worthy of further discussion during the general
election cycle.  Both general election candidates would be well
advised to seek out an endorsement from Cassie McCloseypants, and
would have plenty of time to broker for support from the Cassie
McCloseypants campaign (e.g. recruiting volunteers, getting email
lists, getting contact databases, etc)

Ted also wrote:
> If the viable candidates are A_1 (= Approval Winner), A_2 (Approval
> runner up), etc., with complementary opponents B_1, B_2, etc., then I
> think it would be appropriate to add them in (A_i, B_i) pairs until your
> desired representation level is met.
>
> Actually, I don't know if I would put the truly viable cutoff at 50%. In
> a true jungle primary, you might end up with only 40% winners at the
> highest.  I might go down to 33. 3% A_i candidates if that's what it
> takes to get at least 66.6% voter representation.

The tradeoff that we're up against: providing genuine choice for a
large part of the electorate vs properly culling the list of primary
contenders so as not to overwhelm voters with options.  Though I
suspect your intuition is correct about almost all candidates scoring
well under 50% in the first few elections, my fear is that you're
being too generous for the long-term.  The benefit of having a 50%
threshold for _automatic_ advancement to the general election is that
it makes the barrier high enough that it becomes difficult for rabid
extremists to game the system.

What I fear: as the system becomes routine, sophisticated candidates
will learn to optimize their primary candidacies to achieve whatever
the minimum percentage required to guarantee them a spot on the
general election ballot.  50% is a respectable target.  33% is
horrifyingly low target.  With FPTP, we live in a world where each
party optimizes for 50.1% inclusion by estranging the other 49.9% that
aren't part of the tribe.  I shudder to think about what tactics would
emerge to optimize political tribes for 33.4% in/66.6% out.

Mind you, I'm still proposing we develop a small loophole for allowing
"marginally viable candidates" to advance, though only in service of
increasing overall ballot satisfaction.  It seems too large of a
loophole to allow *every* complementary candidate to the runners-up to
advance, doesn't it?  Granted, it does at least provide disincentive
for the dominant political party to flood the field with clones, but
it also seems like it would be possible for the complementary
candidates to be fringe, extremist candidates with very low approval
scores.  Perhaps the answer to that is to just set the floor for
"marginally viable" to be 40%, and then only advance marginally viable
candidates who increase the ballot satisfaction score.  We can also
still limit the number of marginally viable candidates who advance
(the "opposition candidate pool") by maintaining the rule that the
opposition candidate pool will be no larger than the majority
candidate pool.

I suspect that it would take a few years of usage before any
second-place candidate gets above 50% approval.  In fact, it may be
common for even the Approval Winner (AW) to get less than 50%.

With all this in mind, it may be worth reading Clay Shentrup's
responses to my blog post:
<https://medium.com/@ClayShentrup/i-challenge-this-858b5ab0a09a>
<https://medium.com/@ClayShentrup/way-too-much-complexity-b4b2c8d6ee6e>

In short, he's suggesting to just use the top two Approval winners.
That seems likely to motivate candidates of the dominant party to
unite as clones of one another, but maybe I'm missing something.
Still, the KISS principle of his proposal is appealing.

I think I'm pretty close to being able to write up draft 3 of MAF,
which should be simple enough.  What I have in mind now is basically:
"allow all candidates who (usually) get over 50% approval, and allow a
(usually) equal number of opposition candidates who get over 40%
approval".  The first "(usually)" acknowledges the possibility that
there may not be any candidate that gets over 50% approval, and the
second "(usually)" acknowledges that there might not be any candidates
who qualify as opposition candidates, or that the opposition
candidates may be outnumbered.

Rob

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