[EM] Yes/?/No

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[EM] Yes/?/No

Forest Simmons
 Most responders in this thread agree with me that the most difficult aspect of Approval voting is voting strategy, whether zero info, perfect info, dis-info, etc. 

Most people agree that ranking is easier than rating ... after all you cannot do high resolution ratings wthout implicitly ranking the candidates, and the low resolution ratings are often thought of as the result of rounding higher resolution ratings.

Charles Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll was the mathematician who invented Dodgson's  method, a  Condorcet compliant method which in the absence of a ballot CW finds (in ballot space) the nearest ballot set that does produce a CW. Like Kemeny, of which it is reminiscent in some ways, it is computationally intractable. Also like Kemeny It suffers from clone dependence, a problem that is fixable by the right choice of metric in ballot space.

This genius Dodgson considered every method based on rankings including his own namesake method to be too voter hostile to be practical in public elections. I'm sure that he would consider to be even more hostile to voters, ballots requiring ratings, whether high resolution or low (as in Approval).

So what did this genius suggest?

He suggested what Warren Smith dubbed "Asset Voting,"  after discovering it independently more than a century later. In the single winner version the voters vote for one candidate only, the simplest voting rule imaginable. But in this system if no candidate gets a majority, the candidates act as proxies for their respective supporters in the deliberations that determine the winner. As Steve Eppley pointed out in an article he wrote in 2007, Roberts Rules of Order explicitly provide for this situation of group decisions being carried out by proxies.

In that article Eppley proposed VPR, Vote for a Published Ranking, his version of Dodgson's idea, of which he was unaware at the time. Around the same time (also independently) I started playing around with an idea that I called "Candidate Proxy" inspired by the candidate cards most Aussie voters rely on to help them fill out their rankings for their single winner STV elections. Eppley also took inspiration from that practice ... why not remove the tedium?

So within a couple of years of each other Eppley, Smith, and I, independently of Dodgson and each other realized the absolute priority of voter friendly voting. 

The first time it really hit me was while reading editorials against IRV in the newspaper and in the voters pamphlet: nobody had any awareness whatsoever of any of the method defects; every single objection was about how ridiculous it was to expect voters to rank the candidates. and these were only partial rankings! In Australia the voters are required to completely rank the candidates, which is why the candidate cards are so important there. This requirement makes more sense when we realize that IRV/STV is advertised as a way of making sure that the winner is elected by an absolute majority not merely a plurality; we already have a method that elects by a plurality ... the Plurality FPP method. 

In summary, to the common person, the biggest selling point of IRV/RCV is that it achieves a 50+ majority without a physical runoff. And its biggest defect is that it requires the voters to rank the candidates.

And here in the States we compromise the biggest selling point in order to ameliorate the biggest defect. So we have to fall back on the second biggest selling point which is resolution of the Duverger problem that entrenches the two party dynamic. That's a good selling point for 3rd party supporters but not easy to get typical voters excited about.

The good news is that Dodgson gives us a way to break the two party stranglehold without the use of rankings, ratings, etc.

What I have tried to show with Yes/?/No, Voter Friendly Approval, and Earn My Vote, is that even the most voter hostile method (Approval) can be tamed and made voter friendly through Dodgson's basic insight.

It is much easier to tame ASM Approval Sorted Margins ... just use it in Eppley's VPR where the published rankings include a virtual approval cutoff candidate in the ranks.... a piece of cake! 

Yesterday in the election news they were talking about an RCV mediated race where nobody got 50% in the first round, so they said all the ballots had to be rounded up so they could remove the first round loser from all the ballots and go to the second round. ... not very efficient ... especially in comparison with any efficiently summable by precinct method like ASM even w/o its VPR implementation!

It is painful to watch ... very pathetic ... but you have to give them credit for trying!

So how can we get this going before four more years go by?

I nominate a VPR implementation of ASM. Voters that feel motivated and competent can submit their own rankings (with cutoffs) while the rest vote for a published ballot  of their choice.

Other ideas are needed!

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Re: [EM] Yes/?/No

Kristofer Munsterhjelm-3
On 06/11/2020 06.11, Forest Simmons wrote:
> In summary, to the common person, the biggest selling point of IRV/RCV
> is that it achieves a 50+ majority without a physical runoff. And its
> biggest defect is that it requires the voters to rank the candidates.

I'd say the value of that property is rather illusory. For one, voters
can change their minds between rounds of an actual runoff, which allows
for some strategy beyond what IRV provides. In addition, actual runoffs
can also fail to center squeeze. So sacrificing equal-rank and
truncation on the altar of "majority winners every time!" does not
actually buy the voters what they think it does.

> And here in the States we compromise the biggest selling point in order
> to ameliorate the biggest defect. So we have to fall back on the second
> biggest selling point which is resolution of the Duverger problem that
> entrenches the two party dynamic. That's a good selling point for 3rd
> party supporters but not easy to get typical voters excited about.
>
> The good news is that Dodgson gives us a way to break the two party
> stranglehold without the use of rankings, ratings, etc.

Does it, though? Consider Australia. The how-to-vote cards are, for any
voter that follows such a card, in essence a precommitted ranking proxy
method on top of IRV. And despite having STV for one of its houses,
Australia is still two-party (if you count Lib-Nats as one).

It would seem that it's not enough to have a delegation mechanism on top
of a voting method; the voting method itself has to not be *too*
Duvergerian.

If that's right, then the main benefit of proxy is that it turns
"voter-hostile" methods into less voter-hostile ones by making the
candidates deal with the hostility themselves. Implicitly proxy-assisted
IRV is better than ordinary IRV because the voters don't have to fill in
every ballot, and proxy-assisted Approval is better than ordinary
Approval because the voter doesn't have to decide where to place the
cutoff. But it won't turn a Duvergerian setup into one that supports
third parties.

Although, to be fair, perhaps it's different if there's a negotiating
step after the election rather than precommitted rankings. I don't know
of any real-world cases of such a system, unless you count multiparty
party list parliamentarism, with the parties being the proxies during
the government formation process. But parliamentarism may be more
third-party friendly because the proxies can also withdraw confidence;
the election is not a one-off matter.

> What I have tried to show with Yes/?/No, Voter Friendly Approval, and
> Earn My Vote, is that even the most voter hostile method (Approval) can
> be tamed and made voter friendly through Dodgson's basic insight.
>
> It is much easier to tame ASM Approval Sorted Margins ... just use it in
> Eppley's VPR where the published rankings include a virtual approval
> cutoff candidate in the ranks.... a piece of cake!

I think there's a balance to be had. There's not all that much to gain
from placing a proxy step on top of a method that's very good by itself
(e.g. cloneproof ISDA Condorcet methods that allow equal-rank and
truncation). This because the method isn't particularly hostile to begin
with. In addition, you likely have to spend some kind of political
capital to get a complex method through, so the return on the additional
complexity may not be worth it.

On the other hand, if the method is theoretically good but very hard to
use, then this method plus proxy may be easier to get through than one
of the complex methods above.

I'm not sure where that leaves ASM, though. It would seem to belong to
the first category, in which case there are perfectly good methods that
don't need proxying.

> Yesterday in the election news they were talking about an RCV mediated
> race where nobody got 50% in the first round, so they said all the
> ballots had to be rounded up so they could remove the first round loser
> from all the ballots and go to the second round. ... not very efficient
> ... especially in comparison with any efficiently summable by precinct
> method like ASM even w/o its VPR implementation!
>
> It is painful to watch ... very pathetic ... but you have to give them
> credit for trying!
>
> So how can we get this going before four more years go by?
>
> I nominate a VPR implementation of ASM. Voters that feel motivated and
> competent can submit their own rankings (with cutoffs) while the rest
> vote for a published ballot of their choice.

The absolutely simplest negotiation method is Asset itself - Plurality
plus negotiation. If negotiation can "un-Duverger" a method, then that
*should* be good enough; otherwise, the base should probably be some
kind of Approval.

To avoid double counting, in a straightforward Approval Asset, the
tradeable assets should be votes, not approvals. Proxies could only give
a ballot to a candidate who is listed as approved on the ballot in
question, and the candidate with the most ballots after negotiation wins.
But it's not clear how to initially distribute the votes to the proxies,
unless the voter specifies a favorite. If you split each ballot evenly
between the approved candidates, you get something more like cumulative
vote plus negotiation, and that doesn't sound like a good solution.

And the simplest variant of EMV is probably straight up Approval, but
with continuous feedback. The voters approve of a number of candidates
and the number of approvals for each is publicly shown. The candidates
then adjust their positions according to the approval distribution until
some deadline, after which the candidate with the most approvals wins.
But it's only simple in theory. The logistics is a completely different
matter.
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Re: [EM] Yes/?/No

Forest Simmons


On Friday, November 6, 2020, Kristofer Munsterhjelm <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 06/11/2020 06.11, Forest Simmons wrote:
> In summary, to the common person, the biggest selling point of IRV/RCV
> is that it achieves a 50+ majority without a physical runoff. And its
> biggest defect is that it requires the voters to rank the candidates.

I'd say the value of that property is rather illusory. For one, voters
can change their minds between rounds of an actual runoff, which allows
for some strategy beyond what IRV provides. In addition, actual runoffs
can also fail to center squeeze. So sacrificing equal-rank and
truncation on the altar of "majority winners every time!" does not
actually buy the voters what they think it does.

> And here in the States we compromise the biggest selling point in order
> to ameliorate the biggest defect. So we have to fall back on the second
> biggest selling point which is resolution of the Duverger problem that
> entrenches the two party dynamic. That's a good selling point for 3rd
> party supporters but not easy to get typical voters excited about.
>
> The good news is that Dodgson gives us a way to break the two party
> stranglehold without the use of rankings, ratings, etc.

Does it, though? Consider Australia. The how-to-vote cards are, for any
voter that follows such a card, in essence a precommitted ranking proxy
method on top of IRV. And despite having STV for one of its houses,
Australia is still two-party (if you count Lib-Nats as one).

It would seem that it's not enough to have a delegation mechanism on top
of a voting method; the voting method itself has to not be *too*
Duvergerian.

I did not mean to imply that any old base method (least of all IRV/RCV/STV) would do, rather only that any good method could be made voter friendly by use of proxies, whether or not it required complete rankings or majorities of one kind or another.  

If that's right, then the main benefit of proxy is that it turns
"voter-hostile" methods into less voter-hostile ones by making the
candidates deal with the hostility themselves. Implicitly proxy-assisted
IRV is better than ordinary IRV because the voters don't have to fill in
every ballot, and proxy-assisted Approval is better than ordinary
Approval because the voter doesn't have to decide where to place the
cutoff. But it won't turn a Duvergerian setup into one that supports
third parties.

Although, to be fair, perhaps it's different if there's a negotiating
step after the election rather than precommitted rankings. I don't know
of any real-world cases of such a system, unless you count multiparty
party list parliamentarism, with the parties being the proxies during
the government formation process. But parliamentarism may be more
third-party friendly because the proxies can also withdraw confidence;
the election is not a one-off matter.

> What I have tried to show with Yes/?/No, Voter Friendly Approval, and
> Earn My Vote, is that even the most voter hostile method (Approval) can
> be tamed and made voter friendly through Dodgson's basic insight.
>
> It is much easier to tame ASM Approval Sorted Margins ... just use it in
> Eppley's VPR where the published rankings include a virtual approval
> cutoff candidate in the ranks.... a piece of cake!

I think there's a balance to be had. There's not all that much to gain
from placing a proxy step on top of a method that's very good by itself
(e.g. cloneproof ISDA Condorcet methods that allow equal-rank and
truncation). This because the method isn't particularly hostile to begin
with.

  
If some voters think ranking is easy, they  do not need to delegate that task to a proxy. 



 In addition, you likely have to spend some kind of political
capital to get a complex method through, so the return on the additional
complexity may not be worth it.

There is no complexity to VPR, which is what I suggest for base methods like River, CSSD, ASM, RP, et. 


On the other hand, if the method is theoretically good but very hard to
use, then this method plus proxy may be easier to get through than one
of the complex methods above.

I'm not sure where that leaves ASM, though. It would seem to belong to
the first category, in which case there are perfectly good methods that
don't need proxying.

ASM uses rankings where the approval cutoff is treated as a virtual candidate that is ranked among the other candidates ...  no special treatment! 

So VPR is the appropriate voter friendly implementation.

> Yesterday in the election news they were talking about an RCV mediated
> race where nobody got 50% in the first round, so they said all the
> ballots had to be rounded up so they could remove the first round loser
> from all the ballots and go to the second round. ... not very efficient
> ... especially in comparison with any efficiently summable by precinct
> method like ASM even w/o its VPR implementation!
>
> It is painful to watch ... very pathetic ... but you have to give them
> credit for trying!
>
> So how can we get this going before four more years go by?
>
> I nominate a VPR implementation of ASM. Voters that feel motivated and
> competent can submit their own rankings (with cutoffs) while the rest
> vote for a published ballot of their choice.

The absolutely simplest negotiation method is Asset itself - Plurality
plus negotiation. If negotiation can "un-Duverger" a method, then that
*should* be good enough; otherwise, the base should probably be some
kind of Approval.

It depends on how much free rein the voters are willing to give to their proxies in a bargaining / negotiations session.

If the voters trust their proxies implicitly, then Asset voting is ideal.


Voter Friendly Approval is appropriate at an intermediate level of trust.  Voters exercise complete control over the approvals or lack thereof for the candidates that they want to, presumably the ones they feel strongly about whether for or against. And (in the tightest control version) they can designate different proxies to resolve different question marks if they so choose.

If they do not trust their proxies with any active role, then VPR is the most appropriate approach; the candidates publish their ballots before the election and then submit xerox copies of them for all their supporters as soon as they find out how many supporters they have.

To avoid double counting, in a straightforward Approval Asset, the
tradeable assets should be votes, not approvals. Proxies could only give
a ballot to a candidate who is listed as approved on the ballot in
question, and the candidate with the most ballots after negotiation wins.
But it's not clear how to initially distribute the votes to the proxies,
unless the voter specifies a favorite. If you split each ballot evenly
between the approved candidates, you get something more like cumulative
vote plus negotiation, and that doesn't sound like a good solution.

Combining Asset with Approval in the way you suggest below makes the approval ballots too stiff ...  not enough flexibility to fully exploit the strategic nature of approval voting during the bargaining.


And the simplest variant of EMV is probably straight up Approval, but
with continuous feedback. The voters approve of a number of candidates
and the number of approvals for each is publicly shown. The candidates
then adjust their positions according to the approval distribution until
some deadline, after which the candidate with the most approvals wins.
But it's only simple in theory. The logistics is a completely different
matter.

One more remark about VFA: here's the best way imho to give the punch line: once all of the question marks have been resolved into yeas and nays, the candidate with the greatest ratio of yeas to nays is declared winner. 

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Re: [EM] Yes/?/No

Kristofer Munsterhjelm-3
On 07/11/2020 03.52, Forest Simmons wrote:

>
>
> On Friday, November 6, 2020, Kristofer Munsterhjelm
> <[hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:
>
>     On 06/11/2020 06.11, Forest Simmons wrote:
>     > In summary, to the common person, the biggest selling point of IRV/RCV
>     > is that it achieves a 50+ majority without a physical runoff. And its
>     > biggest defect is that it requires the voters to rank the candidates.
>
>     I'd say the value of that property is rather illusory. For one, voters
>     can change their minds between rounds of an actual runoff, which allows
>     for some strategy beyond what IRV provides. In addition, actual runoffs
>     can also fail to center squeeze. So sacrificing equal-rank and
>     truncation on the altar of "majority winners every time!" does not
>     actually buy the voters what they think it does.
>
>     > And here in the States we compromise the biggest selling point in
>     order
>     > to ameliorate the biggest defect. So we have to fall back on the
>     second
>     > biggest selling point which is resolution of the Duverger problem that
>     > entrenches the two party dynamic. That's a good selling point for 3rd
>     > party supporters but not easy to get typical voters excited about.
>     >
>     > The good news is that Dodgson gives us a way to break the two party
>     > stranglehold without the use of rankings, ratings, etc.
>
>     Does it, though? Consider Australia. The how-to-vote cards are, for any
>     voter that follows such a card, in essence a precommitted ranking proxy
>     method on top of IRV. And despite having STV for one of its houses,
>     Australia is still two-party (if you count Lib-Nats as one).
>
>     It would seem that it's not enough to have a delegation mechanism on top
>     of a voting method; the voting method itself has to not be *too*
>     Duvergerian.
>
>
> I did not mean to imply that any old base method (least of all
> IRV/RCV/STV) would do, rather only that any good method could be made
> voter friendly by use of proxies, whether or not it required complete
> rankings or majorities of one kind or another. 
Ah, I misunderstood. I still suspect, though, that what seems to
be inevitable for ranked systems (e.g. the complexity of ranking
absolutely every candidate) may just be a consequence of certain
implementations of certain ranked methods (IRV).

It's important to distinguish between how hard ranked voting methods are
in general as opposed to how hard a particular ranked voting method is -
just like it's unfair to condemn e.g. Ranked Pairs because IRV is a
lousy method, it's also unfair to have the difficulty of ranking every
candidate in IRV with absolute majority requirements count against
Ranked Pairs as a method.

But of course, there's the problem: since AV is the most notable use of
ranked voting (which is how FairVote can get away by calling IRV "ranked
choice voting"), it's hard to disentangle the effects. There's little
data on the use of non-IRV methods.

I have checked with some local NZ election data, since in NZ local
elections that use STV, truncation is allowed (unlike in Australia). In
addition, since some regions use FPTP and others STV, it should give a
pretty reasonable picture of what happens when you use STV or FPTP, all
other things equal.

In 2016 and 2019, in both the mayoral and district council elections (AV
and STV respectively), the turnout for all STV districts as a whole
(i.e. the chance that a random eligible voter in an STV district
actually casts a ballot) is higher than the similar turnout under FPTP.
Spoilage rates are somewhat higher in STV district council elections
than FPTP ones, so if you take spoiled ballots into account, the rates
are about equal. (See document.)

The results would suggest that ranking is not that much more difficult
than voting for one; or, at least, that it's not enough of a burden that
the voters fail to show up.

The source data can be found at
https://www.dia.govt.nz/Services-Local-Elections-Local-Authority-Election-Statistics-2019.

>> In addition, you likely have to spend some kind of political
>> capital to get a complex method through, so the return on the additional
>> complexity may not be worth it.
>
> There is no complexity to VPR, which is what I suggest for base methods
> like River, CSSD, ASM, RP, et.

The complexity would mostly be in the infrastructure: allowing the
candidates to submit their lists, making sure those are printed,
registering the proxies and substituting the votes in the algorithm, etc.

I guess what I'm saying is that *if* ranking isn't too onerous, then
there shouldn't be much of a reason to use a proxy ordering. The NZ
results suggest that it's not, at least not in that setting. Now,
particular methods may make the burden of voting properly much higher:
e.g. IRV/AV with what you called the "Majority fetish"; or Approval,
where it's hard to figure out which honest vote to submit. But much of
the inherent complexity in River, Schulze, etc. is there to satisfy
criteria that make quick ranking work.

There's another perspective which may be influencing my position: the
parliamentary election system in Norway is (mostly) closed party list.
In local elections, it's possible to give an additional vote to a
particular member of a party's list; but very few people do so, and so
the election results per party per municipality or region generally
follows the list order, which is generally set by the party leadership.
Part of me is concerned that by providing proxy as an easy option, the
system may get locked into a closed list-like dynamic, where the parties
decide and too few voters bother to vote "below the line", as it were.

In any case, I think that the advanced methods are flexible enough to
support low-burden votes, and good enough to do reasonably well given
them[1]. Of course, if the voters of a particular small town *feel* that
ranking is too complex, they may decide to use VPR anyway, but I think
the absent such a demand, there's no need to augment an advanced methods
with such a mechanism. If the closed list experience is generalizable,
there may be a risk to supplying a vote proxying mechanism.

(I'm not sure if any method with grades or approvals would support
low-burden votes, but that might just be because I'm in the minority
(apparently) that finds ranking easier than rating. This because when
ranking there's no need to calibrate the scale.)

[1] Condorcet in particular seems to resist noise quite well; I think
Brian Olson did some simulations on this.

>>     To avoid double counting, in a straightforward Approval Asset, the
>>     tradeable assets should be votes, not approvals. Proxies could only give
>>     a ballot to a candidate who is listed as approved on the ballot in
>>     question, and the candidate with the most ballots after negotiation
>>     wins.
>>     But it's not clear how to initially distribute the votes to the proxies,
>>     unless the voter specifies a favorite. If you split each ballot evenly
>>     between the approved candidates, you get something more like cumulative
>>     vote plus negotiation, and that doesn't sound like a good solution.
>
>
> Combining Asset with Approval in the way you suggest below makes the
> approval ballots too stiff ...  not enough flexibility to fully exploit
> the strategic nature of approval voting during the bargaining.
I was thinking of a Republican-Democratic-Green scenario. The idea would
be that e.g. a Green voter can freely approve Nader without (much) risk.
Because the voter's ballot approves of both Nader and Gore, the Green
party can then use the ballot as a chip when bargaining with the
Democratic party. However, a hard-core Nader voter could still choose
not to vote Gore, in which case that ballot can't be transferred to
count for Gore. So the "stiff" approach seems to work.

In a Burlington setting with a number of equally large candidates, it
still comes down to who blinks (concedes) first, but I imagine that's
common to all Approval proxy methods.

It would be possible, under simplifying assumptions, to argue that the
median voter candidate is in a position closest to a compromise that
would please everybody, and so would win such negotiations -- in which
case, Montroll would probably have won. But then again, such assumptions
may not necessarily hold in the real world.

>
>
>     And the simplest variant of EMV is probably straight up Approval, but
>     with continuous feedback. The voters approve of a number of candidates
>     and the number of approvals for each is publicly shown. The candidates
>     then adjust their positions according to the approval distribution until
>     some deadline, after which the candidate with the most approvals wins.
>     But it's only simple in theory. The logistics is a completely different
>     matter.
>
>
> One more remark about VFA: here's the best way imho to give the punch
> line: once all of the question marks have been resolved into yeas and
> nays, the candidate with the greatest ratio of yeas to nays is declared
> winner. 
Isn't Approval the same whether you use the ratio of approvals to
non-approvals or just the count of approvals? Since the logarithm is
monotone increasing on positive reals, x/(v-x) > y/(v-y) should hold
when x-(v-x) > y-(v-y), which again holds when x > y. So it shouldn't
matter how you phrase it. Or am I missing something?

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