Balanced Elimination Voting, Version _n+1_

This version revises the triggering rule for ranks mentioning more than one candidate.

I propose the following form of balanced elimination voting for single-winner elections, unless the political forces favoring the elimination of single-winner elections prevail.

The voters list on their ballots so many ranks as they choose.

Each rank lists one or more candidates and indicates support for or opposition to those candidates listed. It must be support for all or opposition to all, within the rank.

The order of the ranks on the ballot signifies.

Tallying proceeds in rounds, where each round eliminates a candidate from further consideration. The last candidate standing wins the election.

Each round begins by zeroing a counter for each candidate still in the running. The round then examines the ballots. For each ballot, the round must determine the earliest rank such that any candidate named in that rank, and at least one candidate not named in that rank, is still in the running. If this rank declares support for one or more candidates, each of those identified candidates receives a point and a point is deducted from each of the counters of the other candidates. If the rank declares opposition to one or more candidates, a point is deducted from each indicated candidate’s counter and one is added to the counter of each of the other candidates still in the running. Once the so found rank is interpreted in this way, the processing of the ballot is complete for the current round, and the round proceeds onward to the next ballot, if any. Once all the ballots are processed in this way, the round eliminates the candidate having the lowest total on her counter, and that completes the round.

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Balanced Elimination Voting, Version _n_

I forget how many stupid versions I have already published.

The voters list on their ballots so many ranks as they choose. Each rank lists one or more candidates and indicates support for or opposition to those candidates listed. It must be support for all or opposition to all, within the rank. The order of the ranks on the ballot signifies.

Tallying proceeds in rounds, where each round eliminates a candidate. The last candidate not eliminated wins the election.

Each round begins by zeroing a counter for each candidate not already eliminated. The round then examines the ballots. For each ballot, the round must determine the earliest rank (the one closest to the top of the ballot, given that the voters are using a language that is written from top to bottom, such as English) such that each candidate named in that rank is still in the running (i. e. has not already been eliminated by a prior round). If this rank declares support for one or more candidates, each of those identified candidates receives a point and a point is deducted from each of the counters of the other candidates. If the rank declares opposition to one or more candidates, a point is deducted from each indicated candidate’s counter and one is added to the counter of each of the other candidates still in the running. Once the rank is interpreted in this way, the processing of the ballot is complete for the current round, and the round proceeds onward to the next ballot, if any. Once all the ballots are processed in this way, the round eliminates the candidate having the lowest total on her counter, and that completes the round.

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Balanced Elimination Voting

[Version 3]

This is a proposal for a method of election of a single winner.

Prescription

The Ballot

The top of the ballot will sport a checkbox labeled “Tally from the top down.” If the voter does not check this box, the interpretation shall be “Tally from the bottom up”. I will explain the significance of this distinction under the heading of the tally, below.

The voter can rank the candidates. Equal ranking is allowed. If the voter fails to mention any candidates, the tally shall interpret the ballot as though it had an additional rank at the bottom mentioning the unmentioned candidates.

This completes the prescription of the voter’s freedom of movement in filling out the ballot.

The Tally

[Oops, I made a serious error in writing this section. For the moment, please refer to the previous version, linked at the bottom]

Design Motiviation and Analysis

Meeting the Balance Constraint

A balanced election system is one in which for every possible vote, there is another vote that would cancel the effect of the first vote. I believe that balance is necessary to resist the effect of expensive advertising. I believe that IRV advocates cannot bring a proof to the effect that IRV is balanced.

The present proposal meets the balance constraint. The antivote of a given vote turns its ranks upside down and toggles the direction-of-search control. The antivotes thus address the same candidates on a given round, and have the opposite effect on the accumulators.

Bottom-up ballots are based on hatred. They give priority to eliminating the worst candidates.

Top-down ballots are based on love. They give priority to supporting the best candidates, similar to IRV.

Division of the Individual Voter’s Political Power

An advocate for IRV brought me the critique that in Score Voting, if a voter gives any support to a compromise candidate, that can dilute the effective support given to the favorite candidate, depending on the other votes. I designed the present proposal to address this critique. A bottom-up voter gives her full political weight to the elimination of the terrible candidates, so long as they have not been eliminated. If there is sufficient agreement from the other voters that the terrible candidates can be eliminated, then the system allows the bottom-up voter to support her favorite candidates fully. Therefore it seems that the present proposal escapes this critique of Score Voting.

Election Mechanics

The present system cannot be tallied by the precincts. This increases the cost of an election as compared to Score Voting. However, the cost of an election is trivial compared to the cost of bad government caused by electing a bad candidate. It would be possible to do a tally where the actual counting happens in the precincts, but there would have to be a dialog between the precincts and the center after each round, to settle on the set of candidates remaining standing for the subsequent round.

Question

I understand that there is a theorem in Game Theory that implies that there is no voting system for which the best strategy is honesty, and no voting system in which the best strategy does not depend on the voter’s estimate of the other voters’ values with regard to the relative merits of the candidacies.

However, if the best strategy in Balanced Elimination Voting isn’t to honestly rank the candidates (allowing equal-ranking if one feels the same degree of support toward two or more candidates) and choose the bottom-up search, I don’t know what it is. This can’t always be the best strategy if my understanding about the theorem is correct.

Who can resolve this paradox?

[I previously described this system differently and offered more flexibility to sophisticated voters.]

[Short link to this post: http://wp.me/p23U97-eZ ]

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US vs. Morals

US citizens should require their government officials to behave morally in foreign and domestic policy. The citizens should require that current and former officials of the US government who engaged the country’s name and resources in torture or aggressive war should be imprisoned. Any honest assessment of Mr. Obama’s service in office should hold him accountable for his failure to have his Justice Department follow up on whatever evidence or credible allegations they could find to the effect that current and former US officials engaged in or ordered such crimes, with a view to prosecution should the evidence warrant.

People who promote the idea attributed to the mythical character “Abraham” that a certain kind of god exists, say that this supposed god knows right from wrong and has the power to make things right. If these assertions on the part of those proponents were both meaningful and true, one would have to conclude that this god deserves judgment for having permitted US war crimes and torture when he could have prevented them.

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Disagree with Trump’s Actions?

I want to encourage those who disagree with Trump’s actions in office to think of systems, not persons.

Ask yourself whether the US has a good way to choose who becomes President. And answer yourself, no it does not. It’s anti-democratic and rather too random. From among the Republican clown car, Trump wasn’t the most approved. He only won with a plurality. Plurality elections do not reflect levels of approval. Vast improvement is possible. In this connection I particularly want to draw your attention to the Smith argument. The wealthy have the power, and a different system would take away their special power and cause all citizens to have equal power. For those of you arguing from the difficulty of changing the system to one that might be seen to work against those already in power, yes, your point has some validity. However, the problem of taking power might not be wholly impossible to solve, and before trying to change the system, it’s necessary to educate people about what kind of change would be adequate to produce better results than the current system does, with a radical difference. So I’m urging you to read and understand what Warren D. Smith points out and his reasoning for his position. I consider this reasoning to be key to understanding how to create a democratic republic.

In addition to the matter of how the person to fill the Presidency is chosen, I want you to think about how much power the office has. Should the people reduce that power and move some of it to the legislative branch of government? Should there be one president for domestic enforcement and another for foreign policy? Should the presidency be held by a seven-person executive council, as they do in Switzerland?

The Declaration of Independence says that when the people are not satisfied with the form of their government, they have a right to change it. How bad do things have to become before you start to consider and discuss exercising this right?

Please do not  focus on how horrible you may think Trump is,  nor how wonderful you may think Bernie or someone else is. Cults of personality won’t solve the public problems.  Calling the officers and owners of large corporations “greedy” is misplacing your focus. If you describe the problem as one of the character of individual persons, that leads your listeners to suppose that the solutions that will work will address themselves to character. Such solutions won’t work; they won’t scale. Focus instead on systems, and systemic change. Peoples’ behavior is substantially shaped by what system they operate within, and by the rules of the game they have to play in order to stay alive and raise offspring. In politics and in economics, focus on the systems.

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Simulating Finer-grained Score Voting Given A Coarse-grained System

Someone commented on Facebook:

So basically approval is saying that for example a Green would be just as happy with a Democrat and that is not true. Too many think that Greens are similar to Democrats when the motives behind Democratic actions are hotly contested.

My response:

For voters, there’s a way around the coarseness of Approval Voting. Suppose for example it’s Bush, Gore, and Nader, and my true preferences are Bush -50, Gore -40, Nader 50. In finer-grained Score Voting, I would exaggerate my support for Gore and vote strategically Bush -50, Gore 49, Nader 50. Can I use the same strategy with Approval Voting? Yes. I obtain a random number from a computer or some coin tosses or something, and I approve Gore with probability 99%. If lots of people do that, he will receive the amount of support toward his final score, relative to the min and max possible, as though they were voting in a finer-grained Score system.

(Location of original conversation on Facebook: link).

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Debating The Accusations Against Russia Distracts From The Real Problems

[ Update 2017-01-08:

I’ve come across another writer with a somewhat similar point to mine. Caitlin Johnstone says:

The correct response to “Russia hacked the election!” isn’t “Oh yeah? Prove it!” The correct response is, “Our government actively sabotages any candidate who wants to help ordinary Americans put food on their table. That is infinitely more dangerous and outrageous.”

http://www.newslogue.com/debate/244

]

Original post by me 2016-12-20:

I write the present post to protest against the onslaught of anti-Russian bullshit in the US that the self-styled “Democrats” and the lamestream media are propagating. It’s about the worst bout of misleading and wrong propaganda I have seen, and I guess I would have started to notice things like that around the age of 10, which arrived for me in the early ’60’s. Of course, there was McCarthyism, and the current hysteria makes no more good sense than that did.

Now these pernicious propagandists are saying daily and in many voices that the government of Russia “hacked” the e-mails of the “Democratic” National Committee, and that thereby it (and specifically President Putin) “interfered” with the US electoral system, and that so interfering amounts to a coup, and that the US system is a “democracy” and that this supposed interference works against democracy. All of these assertions are wrong.

Whoever did expose Ms. Wasserman Schultz and the “Democratic” National Committee as what they are, in actuality an antidemocratic national committee, did democracy a service, not a disservice. The “DNC” and Ms. Wasserman Schultz ran a crooked campaign in the primary season so that the contest of ideas would not be fair.

Some say to me, the “Democratic” Party is a private organization and they have the right to make their internal decisions as they see fit. This is not in essence true. Every State (so far as I know) in this United States of ALEC (and so far as I know, the District of Columbia as well) accords to the “Democratic” and Republican parties the power to put a name on each ballot for political office, a power that said States and DC deny to other parties unless such parties take the time to gather signatures. This power makes the Republican and self-styled “Democrat” decision-making processes in effect parts of the political system, and therefore, a matter of public interest. This special ballot access by the major parties (which I oppose) makes them responsible to participate in a democratic way. When they don’t, then their actions amount to an attack on democracy. If they know better (and I credit the Republicans with probably not knowing better), then their actions are immoral and reprehensible. Whoever exposes antidemocratic secrets serves democracy by such exposing.

Then on top of all that, there is no evidence that the Russian government did anything. The likely purposes of accusing them are to whip up hysteria so the accusers can sell more bombs, aircraft, etc., and to distract from “Democratic” national committee criminality.

Now some say to me, that it doesn’t matter how the self-styled “Democratic” national committee ran their primary season, on the grounds that the only contest in that primary was that between Mrs. Clinton and Senator Sanders, and that Sanders showed his true colors when he endorsed Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. And I agree that those were his true colors. However, the principle is what matters, that the political system of the US must become a contest of ideas rather than some other kind of power struggle or game. Every part of the mechanism that works against democracy deserves to be exposed and rooted out.

Some of my interlocutors say that they oppose democracy for central North America. They call it mob rule and so on. My response is to ask, what grounds do you have for denying me equal political power to your own, because that is the essence of what you stand for. I assert a civil right to equal political power. Any system that would sort people according to whether they should have power deserves suspicion. Maybe you just want to use political power to enrich yourselves and assure the your family proliferates and mine dies out so you can eat the resources of the earth and leave us none. To hell with that; you should have to share or get out. And on top of that, we have a common interest in reducing waste and in trying to raise the probability of the survival of the human species for longer than just a few years. Why should I accept that you are wiser than I am in deciding about how to achieve those common goals?

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