The purpose of this post is to argue against the variant of Score Voting (Range Voting) proposed by Donald Arthur Kronos, Ph.D..
The reason I argue is to provide you with the benefit of my knowledge and understanding. The tool for doing this is reason. I wouldn’t argue if I didn’t think you were in error. I also wouldn’t argue if I thought that I had no chance to convince you and/or other readers of how to correct the error. The reason this matters is that I care about democracy, and I believe that the greater the degree to which people become properly informed about those aspects that are essential and central to the possibility of democracy, the closer we all come to that happy day when it will be real in the US.
Since you communicate your ideas almost exclusively through tweets, there is a job of compilation required before our possible readers and I can understand for sure what you are proposing. So, let’s get started.
@DonaldKronos Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe you propose a scale from -x to x where x is positive. So zero on your scale is the mid.
@william_waugh Yes, that much you have correct. It is the REST you have wrong!
From this pair of tweets (one from me and your reply), we can establish for sure that your proposal is for a Score election where the range goes from -x to +x where x is some positive number. The midpoint on such a scale is zero.
@DonaldKronos Let’s say 100 million vote O. +5, R. -5, and as many vote R. +5, O. -5, and 3 people vote Waugh +5. Who wins?
@william_waugh The tie breaker, obviously… since at least on the average that person was “liked” rather than undecidable.
From this two-tweet excerpt, we can see that a candidate who receives three votes out of 200 million three can win the election. Here’s the math: O. receives a net score of zero on Dr. Kronos’s zero-centered scale, because (100 million) * 5 + (100 million) * (-5) + 3 * zero = zero. Similarly, R. receives a score of zero, the middle of the scale. But candidate Waugh receives a score of (200 million) * zero + 3 * 5 = 15. So Waugh receives the highest score and so wins the election.
Dr. Kronos goes on:
I provide a two-pronged argument against the latest statement above. In the first prong, I plan to convince you (all readers) that scenarios of the sort of which I gave a (perhaps ridiculous and extreme) example do deserve consideration. In the second prong of my argument, I will point out that one or more voting systems that are alternatives to the one Dr. Kronos advocates for would reverse “the stupid REALITY we see every election”. If you are convinced by the second prong of my argument, you will be able to see that the dichotomy Dr. Kronos draws between “such an unlikely scenario” and “the stupid REALITY we see every election” is a false dichotomy.
Here’s the horror story that runs through my mind when I think about voting systems that put candidates not named on a ballot in the middle of the scale instead of at the bottom. Any number of subsets of the population are communicating in their cliques and echo chambers in a way that they can reach a fair number of like-minded people without drawing a lot of attention from the rest of the population, those not affiliated with that particular clique. For example, consider the preachers in some of the megachurches. Some of these people can reach hundreds, maybe thousands of listeners or readers without drawing my attention or yours. I suggest that it is plausible that in a close election, a few thousand votes for some preacher could make the difference and elect that preacher President, under the kind of voting system Dr. Kronos proposes. We’re talking about a candidate whose positions are unknown to the vast majority of the electorate. Perhaps that candidate wants to establish a theocracy, or kill everyone caught having certain kinds of sex. That candidate could be in favor of anything at all; almost no one would know, just a relative few followers. Under the proposed system, a voter would not only have to weigh in on the candidates already listed on the blank ballot. The voter would have the need and duty to address every write-in that a few thousand other voters might bring into the election. I would consider the system repaired if the voter were allowed to provide a default score, and say that their ballot should give that score to everyone not specifically named on the ballot. Would you accept, as a compromise, to offer voters that option, Dr. Kronos?
I think it may help readers think about the true meaning of the system Dr. Kronos proposes if we give a bit of discussion to the notion of applying a linear transform to the scores used in the proposed system. Applying a liner transform does not affect the result. Whoever receives the highest score still receives the highest score after the transform is applied. Let us say “x” stands for the highest score in a given Kronosian voting system. Then the lowest score is -x. Let “s” stand for the score that a voter gives to a candidate. Let the transformed score s’ be (s + x) / (2x). After transformation, the range is zero to one, and the center point is 1/2.
When we view the proposal under the transformation, we can see that for write-in candidates that a voter doesn’t know about and doesn’t mention, the system awards that candidate a score of 1/2. That is the system’s error, and that is how it can quite plausibly elect an extremist unknown to almost 100% of the electorate. It registers a tremendous level of support from voters who don’t know about the extremist, amounting to a major proportion of those voters’ political power in the election.
Note that any number of these extremists could be simultaneously sneaking around the periphery of the election. Voters might learn about two or three and make a point of voting against them, but some others could slip under the radar. Some could be put up specifically as distractions. Extremists can try many times, and it takes just one candidate to go unnoticed, plus a close election among the well-known candidates, for the extremists to win.
Prong the Second
I submit that Approval Voting will suffice to reverse “the stupid REALITY we see every election.” And please understand that I share Dr. Kronos’s ardor for reversing said reality. I consider this reality a key, or linchpin, aspect of the means by which the current dictatorship maintains control, keeps the rest of us out of having any political influence, and promotes a false narrative that says the US is a democracy. For more information on Approval Voting, including the should-be-famous New York poll that indicates what a dramatic effect Approval Voting can have on an election outcome, please see the list of links I publish at http://wp.me/p23U97-bd .
Thanks for reading.
Appendix — Citing This Post
Erroneous treatment of candidates not specifically indicated on ballot http://wp.me/p23U97-bn