[Noisebridge-discuss] approval voting

jim jim at systemateka.com
Fri Jan 13 08:28:11 PST 2012


On Thu, 2012-01-12 at 23:54 -0800, Leif Ryge wrote:
> For our upcoming Board of Directors election, I propose that we use
> approval voting[1] instead of the Schulze[2] condorcet[3] method which
> we used previously.
> Condorcet methods are designed to select the candidate most preferred
> by a majority of voters. Approval voting selects the candidate who is
> acceptable to the largest number of voters. I think the latter is more
> appropriate for Noisebridge.
> Paraphrasing wikipedia:
> > The Schulze method is a voting system that selects a single winner
> > using votes that express preferences. The method can also be used to
> > create a sorted list of winners. It is a Condorcet method, which
> > means the following: if there is a candidate who is preferred over
> > every other candidate in pairwise comparisons, then this candidate
> > will be the winner when the Schulze method is applied.
> > Approval voting is a single-winner voting system. The method can
> > also be used to create a sorted list of winners. Each voter may vote
> > for (or 'approve' of) as many of the candidates as the voter wishes.
> > The winner is the candidate receiving the most votes. Each voter may
> > vote for any combination of candidates and may give each candidate at
> > most one vote.
> It is worth noting that neither method is really meant for electing
> multiple winners, but either can be modified for that purpose. With
> approval voting, the multi-winner method is fairly obvious since the
> candidates can simply be ranked by how many votes they received. With
> condorcet methods such as Schulze, after a single winner is selected,
> to select each additional winner the counting process must be repeated
> ignoring votes for the previous winner(s).
> What are the downsides to approval voting? As far as I can tell (please
> correct me if I'm missing something!), they boil down to these two:
> 1) Sincere voters (those who honestly vote for every candidate who is
> acceptable to them) can help their more-preferred candidate lose to a
> less-preferred-but-acceptable candidate. (I think, in our case at least, 
> that this is actually a feature.)
> 2) When strategic (insincere) voters' predictions of the outcome are
> incorrect, their strategy can fail. For example, imagine the USA were
> using approval voting in the 2004 presidential election. A voter who
> would prefer Dennis Kucinich over John Kerry (but would prefer either
> of them over George W. Bush) would logically cast votes of approval for
> both Kucinich and Kerry if they expected that only Bush and Kerry were
> "viable" candidates. However, if they mistakenly believed that Kerry
> and Kucinich were both viable and Bush was not, they might
> strategically withhold their vote for Kerry.
> What is the downside to condorcet voting? Simply put, using a condorcet
> method, a candidate who is unacceptable to 49% of voters yet preferred
> by 51% will beat a candidate who is acceptable to 100% of the voters.
> I hope that using approval voting (and encouraging sincere voting) we
> will have enough candidates with 100% approval to fill the board, and
> then we will have effectively consensed on an acceptable set of board
> members! If we have more than enough winning candidates, in lieu of a
> runoff election I suggest we could use a lottery and/or expand the size
> of the board.
> I'll be bringing this up for discussion at this week's meeting, and
> hopefully we can get consensus about it at the following meeting.
> ~leif
> 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Approval_voting
> 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schulze_method
> 3: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condorcet_method
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