[EM] Limited ranks correction

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[EM] Limited ranks correction

Forest Simmons
4^5 = 1024, not 5^4 = 625 code words!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Forest Simmons <[hidden email]>
Date: Friday, February 12, 2021
Subject: Limited ran

On Friday, February 12, 2021, Forest Simmons <[hidden email]> wrote:
It pains me to see all of the ranked ballot proposals that unnecessarily limit preferences to three or four alternatives because of ignorance of simple higher resolution ballots that can be easily marked and read (by hand or by machine) without ambiguity or confusion from poorly formed characters, stray marks, etc.

A method that allows only three or four candidates to be ranked cannot satisfy clone independence ... the only indispensable justification for scrapping First Past the Post Plurality. And (beyond that) it exacerbates the biggest IRV/STV/RCV defect, the high likelihood that one's choices will be completely exhausted before the final rounds unless you rank lesser evils at the expense of alternatives you like better, because of ranking limitations that highlight the effect of premature eliminations.

It is alleged that because of ambiguous handwriting and lack of room for more than a few "bubbles," only a handful of distinct ranks can be allowed.

But what if each bubble has a different value?:

[8]   [4]   [2]   [1]

The rank of a candidate is the sum of its darkened bubble values ... a number between zero and fifteen.

Suppose that there are to be 26 candidates, then instead of indicating their relative ranks with mere numbers, you can order them with standard alpha numeric code words ... Alpha1, Bravo2, Charlie3, Delta4, Echo5, Foxtrot6, ... Victor22, Whiskey23, Xray24, Yankee25, Zulu26. So the military already solved the ambiguity/ "noisy channel" commuunication problem in the early days of Morse code.

These 26 code words cannot be confused with each other no matter how illegible the hand writing.

If 625 alphabetically ordered code words are needed, there are that many easily distinguished five-letter words that satisfy the following rules:

The 1st letter of each word must be a member of the set {A, F, L, Q}.
The 2nd letter must be from {B, G, M, T}.
The 3rd from {C, H, N, W}, the 4th from {D, J, P, Y}, and the last from {E, K, S, Z}.

The important thing is that each of the five sets consists of four letters that cannot be confused among themselves. Futhermore letters in the same position come from different quarters of the alphabet, making alphabetical order easier to discern.

The ballots are to be accompanied by an easily accessible table of code words numbered in alphabetical order. However, the voters can skip numbers that they don't need when there are more code words than candidates in the race. Similarly, it goes without saying that the same code word can be applied to more than one alternative when equal rankings are allowed. And of course, these code words can be adapted for high resolution ratings if needed in the Range/Score/Cardinal Ratings context.

These suggestions are intended for absentee and other mail-in ballots ... electronic voting machines should allow in person voters to drag the names into a list in any order, and then print out paper copies for voter and precinct receipts.

I am sure there are better ways of doing this, but then why do we still keep seeing proposals with unnecessarily crippling limitations on the number of distinct ranks?

Comments? Suggestions?

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