Brian Olson | 1 Jun 20:57 2008

[Election-Methods] Election Software Update

I made a new polling site:
http://poll.appspot.com/

It allows rankings, ratings or approval ballots.
It requires everyone to have a Google Id. This should cut down on  
ballot box stuffing, but may also be inconvenient for some users.

LGPL implementations of election methods in C, C++, Java and perl are  
available at:
http://code.google.com/p/voteutil/

The C versions can count tens of thousands of votes per second, and  
the other versions are pretty good and handy if you're working in that  
language.

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Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info

Brian Olson | 1 Jun 20:58 2008

[Election-Methods] Election Software Update

I made a new polling site:
http://poll.appspot.com/

It allows rankings, ratings or approval ballots.
It requires everyone to have a Google Id. This should cut down on  
ballot box stuffing, but may also be inconvenient for some users.

LGPL implementations of election methods in C, C++, Java and perl are  
available at:
http://code.google.com/p/voteutil/

The C versions can count tens of thousands of votes per second, and  
the other versions are pretty good and handy if you're working in that  
language.
----
Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info

Jobst Heitzig | 1 Jun 23:57 2008
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Re: [Election-Methods] [english 90%] Re: Challenge Problem

Dear Forest,

glad you find time to delve somewhat deeper into these questions. Looks 
like a good idea to make the probability of using Random Ballot depend 
on some "degree of cooperation".

Two notes as of now:

I guess you meant
   RABMAC*doc^M + RB*(1-doc^M)
instead of
   RB*doc^M + RABMAC*(1-doc^M),
right?

And I'm not so optimistic about monotonicity: Consider n voters with 
these ballots:

   n-3: A favourite > B also approved
   2:   B favourite
   1:   C favourite

With large n, RB elects A almost surely while RABMAC elects B almost 
surely. When the last voters switches to approving A also, this is still 
the case, but the "degree of cooperation" you defined will increase by 
almost 1/n. So your method will move probability from the RB-winner A to 
the RABMAC-winner B while monotonicity demands an increase in A's 
probability. Details:

Before:
doc = ((n-3)²+2(n-1)+1)/n² = 1 - 4/n + 8/n²
(Continue reading)

Fred Gohlke | 2 Jun 00:58 2008
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Re: [Election-Methods] Partisan Politics + a method proposal

Good Afternoon, Juho

re: "One more observation on the risks.  Some people may feel 
participation in a triad to be more challenging than dropping a ballot n 
a box and therefore avoid taking part in such challenging activities 
where they are expected to perform and prove their viewpoint."

Are we to leave our fate to those unable or unwilling to express their 
view on the circumstances that govern our lives?

There is no requirement that they take part in any 'challenging 
activities'.  At the lowest level, they probably don't even have to go 
to a polling place or fill out a ballot.  All they have to do is discuss 
their views with two of their neighbors and select one of the two to 
represent their interest.  The extent to which they engage in the 
process is their option.

The point is that they ... and we ... have the option.

re: "I haven't carefully thought what kind of method would be good for 
this purpose and I'm also not to familiar with the set-up."

Insofar as the outline is concerned, you haven't had time to think 
carefully about the method and none of us know the form it will take. 
You apparently found aspects of my suggestion unacceptable.  Therefore, 
it seemed worthwhile to encourage the development of a different 
approach.  All I've done is take some of the points you mentioned and 
put them in a crude outline.  At the moment, it can't be called a 
method.  It will become one, if and when, we, by suggesting and 
challenging and justifying and discussing, gradually hone it into a 
(Continue reading)

Fred Gohlke | 2 Jun 01:05 2008
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Re: [Election-Methods] Partisan Politics + a method proposal

Good Afternoon, Dave

I did a very poor job of describing my intentions when I started the 
outline based on Juho's comments.  It struck me it would be a good idea 
to encourage a joint effort to create a sound electoral method.  Several 
ideas are regularly discussed on [Election-Methods] and, although I'm 
not intimately familiar with most of them, they seem to favor fixed 
approaches.  Since I don't think any have gained general approval, I 
thought it might be worthwhile to seek a more flexible approach in the 
hope of combining the best elements of all of them.

The statements in the outline are not intended (or expected) to remain. 
  They should be replaced by more definitive statements as various 
people challenge this or that assertion and help mold a clear, sound 
method of electing our public officials.  My role in the process is that 
of a clerk.  I fully intend to voice my opinion, but the outline must be 
what others want it to be, not my impression of what they want it to be.

There is the obvious difficulty of properly expressing the views of 
others, so, my preference is that contributions be written to replace 
statements in the outline.  I am concerned about the handling of 
divergent opinions, but will cross that bridge when I come to it.

Ideally, the outline would be in a fixed location where it could be 
maintained, but I've no idea of the practicality of that notion.  Unless 
and until we can made such an arrangement, I will append the outline, in 
it's then-current form, to some of my posts.  I'm not certain I'll be 
available to continue the process, but feel confident that, if the idea 
has merit, someone will find a way to make it work.

(Continue reading)

Dave Ketchum | 2 Jun 05:19 2008

Re: [Election-Methods] Partisan Politics + a method proposal

  On Sun, 01 Jun 2008 19:05:14 -0400 Fred Gohlke wrote:
> Good Afternoon, Dave
> 
> I did a very poor job of describing my intentions when I started the 
> outline based on Juho's comments.  It struck me it would be a good idea 
> to encourage a joint effort to create a sound electoral method.  Several 
> ideas are regularly discussed on [Election-Methods] and, although I'm 
> not intimately familiar with most of them, they seem to favor fixed 
> approaches.  Since I don't think any have gained general approval, I 
> thought it might be worthwhile to seek a more flexible approach in the 
> hope of combining the best elements of all of them.
> 
> The statements in the outline are not intended (or expected) to remain. 
>  They should be replaced by more definitive statements as various people 
> challenge this or that assertion and help mold a clear, sound method of 
> electing our public officials.  My role in the process is that of a 
> clerk.  I fully intend to voice my opinion, but the outline must be what 
> others want it to be, not my impression of what they want it to be.
> 
> There is the obvious difficulty of properly expressing the views of 
> others, so, my preference is that contributions be written to replace 
> statements in the outline.  I am concerned about the handling of 
> divergent opinions, but will cross that bridge when I come to it.
> 
> Ideally, the outline would be in a fixed location where it could be 
> maintained, but I've no idea of the practicality of that notion.  Unless 
> and until we can made such an arrangement, I will append the outline, in 
> it's then-current form, to some of my posts.  I'm not certain I'll be 
> available to continue the process, but feel confident that, if the idea 
> has merit, someone will find a way to make it work.
(Continue reading)

Juho | 2 Jun 08:24 2008
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Re: [Election-Methods] Partisan Politics + a method proposal

On Jun 2, 2008, at 1:58 , Fred Gohlke wrote:

> You apparently found aspects of my suggestion unacceptable.

I think that the Active Democracy / "groups of three based method" is  
ok.  I just pointed out that it does not guarantee full proportional  
representation.  There are however many kind of elections and not all  
of them require strict proportionality.

> Therefore, it seemed worthwhile to encourage the development of a  
> different approach.

The vote counting of the new proposed method used (conventional)  
summing of the votes.  I was expecting something more radical from  
you :-), maybe in line with your "groups of three" style or in line  
with the random ballot and other styles that I discussed.  But the  
nomination process is anyway something that clearly differs from  
typical current methods and is very "bottom-up" as I'd expect from  
you.  The method seems to be quite open for anyone to become a  
candidate.

The rules still seem to contain many options (not as carefully  
thought yet as the Active Democracy method).  They resemble Range  
voting in the way how the given preferences are summed up.  The  
method also seems to have some elements of IRV in how the "order of  
preference" was handled in the votes (it was not quite clear from the  
explanation if this ordering was used to actually elect the  
candidates or just check which ones are electable).

> An aspect of Active Democracy that may have escaped notice is:
(Continue reading)

Juho | 2 Jun 21:58 2008
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Re: [Election-Methods] Partisan Politics + a method proposal

On Jun 2, 2008, at 2:05 , Fred Gohlke wrote:

> I am concerned about the handling of divergent opinions, but will  
> cross that bridge when I come to it.

I have seen plenty of different opinions on various matters on this  
mailing list, so better to just try to propose methods that would  
appeal at least to some subgroup of the opinions here.  Presenting a  
well justified proposal that need not be agreed by all is maybe a  
good approach.

> I suspect our best course would be to select one race (you've  
> already mentioned 'governor') and build up a method around that.

I don't believe there would be a method that would be a good proposal  
for all needs in all environments at all times.  It is therefore  
important to identify the environment and the target.  One could e.g.  
try to propose a realistic reform to the governor elections of the  
USA.  The current methods in use and the traditions (e.g. use of  
write-ins in the USA) and the current opinions (is there an interest  
to make a reform, and how much or how little can be changed) are  
essential when trying to generate a proposal for such practical  
situation (defining theoretical ideal models would be another approach).

It would also make sense to clearly lay out the basic requirements.   
In this case I expect that the method should be such that it would  
not be fully controlled by the current powerful parties but would  
allow also third parties and/or individuals to be active and  
influence the outcome.

(Continue reading)

Jobst Heitzig | 6 Jun 16:44 2008
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Re: [Election-Methods] Challenge Problem

Dear Forest,

I think the following modification of your method is both monotonic and 
performs better in the 33/33/33-situation:

1. We use approval ballots with favourite option indicated. We determine 
all approval scores. Assume the highest approval score divided by the 
number of voters is  x.

2. One ballot is drawn.

3. With a probability of P=f(x), that option which has the highest 
approval score amoung those approved on this ballot wins, otherwise the 
favourite of that ballot wins.

In other words: Perform Random Approval Ballot with a probability of 
P=f(highest approval rate), else perform Random Ballot.

The function f(x) is chosen so that in important reference situations 
full cooperation is encouraged.

Let us assume we want to encourage full cooperation in the following 
situation:
   50: A (1) > C (gamma) > B (0)
   50: B (1) > C (gamma) > A (0)
Here full cooperation is an equilibrium when the expected utility of the 
A-voters given that all B voters cooperate, is maximal for x=1, and vice 
versa. As this expected utility is
   f(x)*(x*gamma + (1-x)*1) + (1-f(x))*1/2,
which equals gamma for x=1, the condition on f is this:
(Continue reading)

Fred Gohlke | 6 Jun 16:53 2008
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Re: [Election-Methods] Partisan Politics + a method proposal

Good Morning, Juho

Again, I must apologize for taking so long to respond.  I assure you, it 
is not from lack of interest.

re: "I just pointed out that it does not guarantee full proportional 
representation."

This point seems to center on what one considers proportional.  You 
appear to believe minorities should have representation in proportion to 
their size.

I believe that, when the entire electorate participates in the electoral 
process, minorities are represented in proportion to their size.  If 18% 
of the electorate holds a minority opinion and 100% of the electorate 
participates in the electoral process, precisely 18% of the electorate 
represents the minority view.

Furthermore, it is vital to recognize that, as to any individual (and, 
hence, as to any collection of individuals), a minority condition ... 
whether an opinion, a fact of their life, or their race, creed or 
religion ... is a small part of the total person. No matter what one's 
minority condition, the need for food, clothing and shelter dominates 
our existence.  Compared to that need, the gravity of a minority 
condition pales.  It is wrong to magnify the significance of such a 
condition and equate it to the totality of the person.  Whether one is a 
communist or an atheist or a caucasian is of much less importance than 
the fact that one is a human being.

I understand that you believe the mechanism I described will operate to 
(Continue reading)


Gmane