It's depressing, really.
The US has what I would consider a big systemic problem, which is that the first-past-the-post system leads to spoiler effects, and the result is a two party system. When I've talked to some people about this, the response I got was "well all voting systems have problems so we can't fix it without introducing new problems".
But the monotonicity paradox for elimination voting doesn't seem quite as serious. It seems to only be likely to come up when the two major choices are close anyway. If all voting systems are evil, it's the lesser evil.
If the US could implement elimination voting, we could remove a big problem (the two party system) and replace it with a smaller one: an occasional wrong choice between the two major parties. But this can happen anyway, for other reasons, eg one candidate wins the popular vote and the other wins the electoral college.
I'm aware that the Democratic and Republican parties benefit from the two party system, so they might not want this, but it seems to me that this is what voters should want.
Basically it removes the "lesser" of two evils from the equation. Yes one could argue, the party in power could stay in power if every year the party abstains from voting but I don't think that would be a likely outcome because, lets face it. The VP probably wouldn't be a leader everyone likes come the next election cycle. They could also abstain from running in the next election if they choose.
EDIT: Also puts a lot of emphasis on selecting a good VP for either party since they could possibly succeed after 2 terms.
If "none of the above" wins, then the sensible thing to do would be to re-start the elections process from the primaries, wherein any person who was a candidate in the previous iteration(s) is ineligible to run again. Mid-November to January is more than enough time to re-do the entire election cycle.
You're not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. You're throwing out the unidentifiable goo, the dirt clod, the rotting fish, and the floating turd. The "none of these" result is a clear indicator that there is no baby worth saving in the entire tub full of bathwater.
I am however on the record elsewhere as saying that a necessary part of the path to improving Washington is, in fact, to throw them all out, so I won't fight you too hard on this!
Their ability to run for office isn't being suppressed, they ran for office the first time and lost. They could possibly run again at the end of the next term. This is no more suppressing a right to run for office than the 22nd amendment suppresses a right to run for office.
Failing that, each party having a number of seats proportional to the number of votes they received is not that bad of a system.
The video doesn’t tell the whole story about what it presents as “ranked voting”, usually known as Condorcet voting. There are systems that always yield the Condorcet winner when one exists, and do a good job of resolving the unavoidable but rare preference cycles as consistently as possible. The most standard one is the Schulze method, which is used by the Debian, Ubuntu, and Gentoo projects, among many other organizations.
The video asserts that what it presents as “elimination voting”, usually known as instant-runoff voting, doesn’t suffer from the third-party spoiler effect. But that’s only true as long as the third party never gains enough support to have a real chance of winning.
(I wonder: can you think of a pair of powerful organizations who might want to ensure that third parties never gain enough support to have a real chance of winning? Hmmm.)
Finally, the video doesn’t talk about approval voting or score voting, which use a different ballot type to which Arrow’s impossibility theorem does not apply. Some game theorists argue that these systems actually do a better job of finding the ideal Condorcet winner than Condorcet systems do, in the presence of strategic voting.
Also, most party systems tend to clump together in ideology making the 'paradoxical' choices rare. For instance in Canada we have two leftist main parties and one conservative. Ranking the conservatives in the middle would be virtually unheard of.
I thought the same thing about party rankings in the US. If we had ranked voting, and the Green and Libertarian Parties ran serious campaigns, it seems that the vast majority would rank G/D and L/R together. I suppose if we had many parties, though, we could see a 'paradoxical' choice.
In this case your rankings for the candidates constitute a Markov matrix where you specify that your vote should "flow" from these candidates over to those candidates. For example someone voting for Alice over Bob over Carol might have a Markov matrix which states their vote is:
1.0 1.0 0.5
0.0 0.0 0.5
0.0 0.0 0.0
Anyway, based on the election, we average everyone's Markov matrices together! Then we start from a state where each candidate has an even share of the vote and everyone collectively determines the flow of the votes in successive cycles. This basically selects out the eigenvector of the Markov matrix with the highest eigenvalue, which represents some probability distribution among the candidates. Now to resolve the pesky problem of cyclic preferences, we use a fair random number generator to choose from the resulting probability distribution. Thus everyone has an even say in who they want to win, someone gets chosen at the end, and if someone really is strongly dominated by someone else then they will generally get eliminated by the flow of votes from the other to them.
 While I have you excited about randomness I am also a fan of choosing a leader at random out of the entire population, educating them during a transition period, then handing them the reins. If you happen to disbelieve in the Buddhist metaphysics then an example is the tulku system for obtaining leaders, where they follow somewhat-ambiguous instructions from the previous holder of the seat to seek out a child born at a specific place at a specific time who is believed to be the specific reincarnation of the previous holder of the seat. If you don't believe that metaphysics is right then the search essentially chooses a child at random to be the leader. Seems to usually work pretty well for them either way. There's another example from Muslim history where the leader of the dynasty did not go to one's child because one did not have children; instead it was transferred from eunuch slave-soldier to eunuch slave-solder.
You did mention giving the person training. The problem with that is this will result in a fully self-perpetuating system that finds ways to not give power to people who disagree with it.
It still sounds better than the current system, so I'm all for it.
> If you don't believe that metaphysics is right then the search essentially chooses a child at random to be the leader. Seems to usually work pretty well for them either way.
A cynical take on this might be that those educating the next ruler get a chance to shape him/her to their specific desires.
I'd be interesting in how you would explain this system to an average voter. I didn't really follow it myself, but I've at least heard all the words before (except probably tulku).
Also, interesting point about averages and ranked voting. By the values, Strawberry would have won out, however as stated in the video, a majority does prefer chocolate to strawberry—so how would that be dealt with?
I look forward to the discussions around our [Canada's] new electoral/voting system this December.
I am not sure which part of the video you were looking at where Strawberry would have won, but it seemed by my quick averaging, that the 'right' choice always wins under simple averaging (unless there is a tie which is fine in Canada, not so much in the US).
I was referring to where In ranked voting where the paradox was cyclic preferences, Paul mentions that strawberry would win on averages, but yet the majority of voters would have preferred chocolate over strawberry.
Here's the most basic problem: the video that we're looking at made an implicit assumption when it proposed ranked voting: it said that "here are peoples' preferences!" and then it copied those preferences over to the ballots. Given the way that they're doing ranked voting, this equivocation makes sense, of course you're going to rank in your actual preference order. But with the Borda count this assumption is totally wrong and a lot of the confusion from first-past-the-post systems reoccurs: there is no reason to vote your actual preferences. Consider the 2016 US presidential election as done via Borda count, if we assume peoples' present polling is honest. Think about someone who supports Jill Stein; their preferences are typically Jill > Hillary > Gary > Donald. Will Jill lead their ticket? Given the very lackluster showing of Jill, they will probably narrow down the race mentally to "Hillary or Donald" and turn in the ballot "Hillary > Jill > Gary > Donald," to try to avoid a Trump presidency. It's the same spoiler effect as we had before.
It's not just an isolated problem like that suggests. Suppose an election where we have three candidates, Alice, Bob, and Carol. There are nine voters with the preferences,
4xABC, Alice > Bob > Carol
1xACB, Alice > Carol > Bob
2xBAC, Bob > Alice > Carol
2xCBA, Carol > Bob > Alice.
A beats B 5 - 4
A beats C 7 - 2
B beats C 6 - 3
This is because the remaining four voters see it as down to an Alice-vs-Bob election and want Bob to win, so they turn in ballots saying BCA. The resulting total of points (3 for first place, 2 for second, 1 for third) is:
(ballots: 4x ABC, 1x ACB, 4x BCA)
Alice: 4 * 3 + 1 * 3 + 4 * 1 = 19 points
Bob: 4 * 2 + 1 * 1 + 4 * 3 = 21 points
Carol: 4 * 1 + 1 * 2 + 4 * 2 = 14 points
(ballots: 5x ACB, 2x ABC, 2x CBA)
Alice: 5 * 3 + 2 * 3 + 2 * 1 = 23 points
Bob: 5 * 1 + 2 * 2 + 2 * 2 = 13 points
Carol: 5 * 2 + 2 * 1 + 2 * 3 = 18 points
(ballots: 5x ACDEB, 2x ABCDE, 2x CDEBA)
Alice: 5 * 5 + 2 * 5 + 2 * 1 = 37 points
Bob: 5 * 1 + 2 * 4 + 2 * 2 = 17 points
Carol: 5 * 4 + 2 * 3 + 2 * 5 = 42 points
Dwayne: 5 * 3 + 2 * 2 + 2 * 4 = 27 points
Erica: 5 * 2 + 2 * 1 + 2 * 3 = 18 points
With Nanson it seems that the second to last scenarios (Carol wins) is cleansed of the strategic voting leading to the 'correct' Alice win.
1) You have few candidates on each side Democratic & Republics and eventually folks get eliminated
2) Then you can have independent candidates that can jump in
3) People finally vote for the president
- But we have winner takes it all by state
- The number of electoral votes is decided by the population distribution on the state
- Another complication each state can have a different way of solving ties
- Many candidates run
- If someone has a majority (more than 50% of vote), that person wins
- Otherwise, top x number of candidates move on to next round
This way, changes in availability are addressed, so people can make fair choices between one item and the next.
You literally allow both choices, and each person gets to make their.
That obviously does not work for everything. But it's always important to keep in mind, and if you look at any modern government by those lenses you'll see plenty of superfluous regulation that does nothing but put people down.
Now the worst case is not that you make a few people unhappy (the majority), but the worst case is that people start killing each other in the hopes to change the result. But if you think about it that is also not a bad result, since then there is more ice cream for you.
For example: there is no upper bound on the loop. Why would anyone change their vote when you retry? I.o.w. you might be voting and getting the same result forever.
*edit: I feel a little disappointed that people don't seem get the humor in my post. Maybe dying because people voted chocolate ice cream but you wanted vanilla is a reasonable scenario for some.
EDIT: Perhaps it could involve a hypothesis of sorts before secession, with baked-in options to re-join the parent state if the parent considers adopting some learnings after a successful experiment. Lots of possibilities. Would likely involve re-gearing the concepts of how quasi-independent states (child + parent) would keep relations open, so as not to polarize populations unnecessarily. I don't normally think of diplomacy as exciting, but learning how to make such a system work effectively would be pretty interesting
Here I can isolate it to these statements. First, "The whole point of the election was to force the group to make a choice about an ice cream flavor." This is false. The election's point was to interpret the preference of the electorate. We then use that preference to come to a choice. In the cyclic cases, this is no failure of the voting system. This is an accurate portrayal that the group is not able or ready to come to a decision.
"In its inability to identify a clear winner, ranked voter has failed in its primary task." This is also not true. It was not its primary task, and didn't fail at all. It succeeded wildly in identifying a confusion in the electorate itself.
Of course any attempt to "break that tie" will be flawed and invalid.
For those who don't know, the video up to that point explored Condorcet Voting, and the Condorcet Winner criteria. The existence of a cycle is known as a Smith Set or Schwartz Set (subtly different, but very similar). Tiebreaking methods to elect single winners from Schwartz Sets are all flawed, but that does not mean the Condorcet Winner method is flawed.
Elimination Voting is more commonly known as Instant Runoff voting. In his example at 7:04, this is again a Schwartz Set. So it's improper to declare that one of the three flavors is a winner, because the electorate is inherently undecided. The gold coins scenario changes nothing; it is still a cycle, and the electorate is still undecided. So the tiebreaker chooses a different winner - it doesn't really matter, because it is already invalid to pick a winner in that scenario.
But the bigger problem with IRV (elimination voting) is that it will sometimes pick the wrong winner even when there ISN'T a cycle. This is awful.
Finally, the presenter glosses over his description of Arrow's Theorem. You can practically hear the parentheses when he says, "given certain assumptions". In truth, not all voting criteria are the same. All Arrow's Theorem does is say you can't simultaneously meet four criteria, that he chose, in all cases. It does not prove that those four criteria are required. One of those criteria, the "Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives" criteria, is particularly problematic - and if I recall correctly, it can only move an election from a Condorcet Winner to a Schwartz Set. It cannot itself select a new winner entirely. And in my view, that is not a problem, because if adding a new candidate creates a Schwartz Set, then it only means that the electorate was probably not given enough choice from the outset. Although, there is a counterpoint that says that if you give voters more and more choice, cycles will inevitably occur.
So really when we're talking about voting theory, the entire problem with the subject is that we are conflating two needs. The first need is to measure the public's preference for a choice. But the other need is for the public to come to a choice. Often times, the process of the voting system is what motivates the public to do so. But it is not always sufficient. And at the same time, the fact that the voting system is not sufficient for this, is not a failing of the voting system itself.
I find it instructive to mull two questions, because I find that these two questions drive a lot of opinions on who feels what voting systems are superior.
1) If a candidate would beat all other candidates in a multi-candidate single-winner election head-to-head, should that candidate be the winner?
2) If, in a two-candidate election, one candidate narrowly defeats the other, but the other candidate's supporters are clearly more passionate, should the first candidate still win?
(EDIT: Calmed some language)
It's depressing, really.