Power Is The Most Potent Addictive Drug -- Allow Endless Electoral Information Traffic?

Dozens of Georgia witnesses step forward to expose election irregularities—Pt1

Not that I prefer any of the power junkies.

Why not simplest score voting? 0, 4, or 5 votes?

Why all the complicated crap, whereby no one will submit to vote at all?

Because approval is simplest score voting. (0,4,5) isn’t even the simplest triple. If you’re going to allow 1 and only 1 intermediate score, wouldn’t (0,1,2) or even (0,3,5) make more sense?

What does your video have to do with this topic?

It seems to be more of the ‘casting doubt with no proof’ claptrap that has been promulgated since the election.

I’m with Tom, the simplest alternative to get us on the road to more expressive choice is Approval. It could be implemented immediately.

1 Like

Any ‘polling system’, of any kind, is comprised of two completely distinct subsystems, that, while distinct, must interact absolutely coherently. The first subsystem is the ‘ballot system’, and the second subsystem is the ‘tabulation system’. To focus just on the U.S. presidential polling system, we should first observe that each of those two subsystems is radically deficient. And this deficiency is primarily the result of extremely high ‘information traffic’ at both ends. And this is a major contributor to the outlandish level of chaos that we are experiencing presently. So this is what I have attempted to illustrate via the link I provided above.

I was once the president of an legally incorporated ‘commune’ that was combined with a health food store and a restaurant. The board of directors was comprised of mostly rather lazy people, so a legal quorum could never be assembled, and this transformed me into a Dictator. In fact the people wanted me to be even more than that; they wanted me to be their cult Master (which I desperately did not want to be). All of this taught me a whole lot about the nature of political power, as I was actually elected to be a cult Master.

From first hand I know that political polling is about mathematics up to a certain point, beyond which one is no longer just working with voting systems, but with what is in fact the most potent addictive drug that has ever been found; it is called political power. Once power enters the stage, all of the neat mathematical logic of polling systems becomes dangerously entangled with forces that it can no longer accurately account for.

This is why truly political polling systems must possess features that cannot be framed in any strictly mathematical schema. Even the most reasonable possible polling system will utterly fail if participants lack the mental tools to properly apply it. Therefor, I seek systems that are as simple as possible, but no simpler, and which require minimal information traffic.

I intend to discuss ballot systems, tabulation systems, and other considerations tomorrow. Thanks for your time reading all this.

I’m sorry you were pressured into being a cult leader. This a real Me Too moment. But the fact remains that approval voting (AV) is the simplest version of score voting (SV) and the version all others reduce to strategically. 3TTRV is no simpler computationally or descriptively than the more expressive 0-5. Nor would it reduce information traffic. It is only simpler in the sense that the voter has fewer choices. And because that poverty of choice is artificial and inexplicable, the prohibition of certain integers within the range, it will inevitably cause confusion and spoilt or altered ballots if paper ballots are used. If an electronic interface is used, the argument for AV is even stronger, as it requires only the elimination of the prohibition of voting for multiple candidates.

1 Like

For the first time, I am right now writing ‘live’ on this blog. As I write, protesters have broken through barriers and are now occupying the Capital building in Washington, DC. At the most basic level, they are in fact protesting because they feel the US presidential election has been stolen from them via severely hacked voting computers across the United States.

I have been predicting that this would happen someday for 15 years. It is easy to get the impression that computers are just about perfect for tabulating with any electoral system. The reason it is disastrous for that purpose is the same reason some people think it is perfect for that purpose. They make every aspect of tabulation extremely easy to perform, including tampering.

Please recall I said electoral systems always have a ballot system, and a distinct tabulation system. The former includes everything right up to the time a vote is cast. It includes the way the votes are entered, the times and places when and where they are permitted to be entered, various rules, and of course the structure of the physical ballots as well. The latter includes everything about the nature of the system that counts or responds to those votes after they are granted. By dint of their very efficiency, computers should never ever be used in either the ballot system nor the tabulation system.

If we accept this, we should make it as easy to cast and also to evaluate votes as we possibly can.

Proceeding from the the ballot system side, we should not think in terms of ‘expressiveness’; let’s see why. If one person gifts another with a lottery ticket, does it make any difference if the provider writes some random number on the tick before handing it to the receiver, or if he or she just hands over a blank ticket that the recipient can fill in? The winning number will be chosen later at random. So even though the latter case provides the recipient with vastly more ability to wield expressiveness, the end result is exactly the same, because the ‘tabulation system’ so to speak simply does not respond to such expressiveness. So a much more effective term would be the participants ‘degree of influence’, or in the case of voting ‘degree of electoral influence’.

What I called ‘3TTRV’ I will henceforth call just call ‘Hedge Score Voting’ (HSV). The point of it is to effectively disrupt the two-party (or too few party) lock-in produced by the electoral spoiler effect, while being almost as simple as AV. While AV has two choices per contender, 0 and 1, HSV has three choices, 0, 4, and 5. Any ‘lowly’ voter can easily understand how to use this. He or she would grant 0 votes to heavily-fronted greater evil contenders, 4 votes to heavily-fronted lesser evil contenders, and 5 votes to all truly preferred, though perhaps less heavily fronted contenders. Although exactly 20% of degree of electoral influence on behalf of the lesser evil would be sacrificed, the greater evil would still receive 0 votes, and the truly preferred would receive 5 votes. This would disrupt the spoiler effect far more effectively – merely by including one more choice than AV ever could. The voter would never encounter the ‘double bind quandary’ of having to grant the same number of votes – 1 – to both the lesser evil and the truly preferred candidates.

People ask why the 1, 2, and 3 vote grant options are omitted. The answer should now be simple. If no computers are utilized in the tabulation operation, then human beings who count votes will not have to count 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voting options – they only have to count 0, 4, and 5 voting options. That will potentially reduce the labor by 50%, and there will thus perhaps be 50% less temptation to introduce computers.

Along time ago Warren Smith began to develop a ‘splitline algorithmic redistricting’ project, but apparently never completed it. I have re-vamped it completely, and finally come up with an ‘as close to perfect’ – and amazingly simple to implement – method for performing algorithmic redistricting. It’s very new, and more-or-less based on tiling theory. I will describe it very soon.

Who told you that? The one with the “I KILL COMMIES” helmet or the one with the Confederate flag tied to a pitchfork? Yes, hacking is one of the many straws these morons are grasping at, but they’re supporting a man who had a negative approval rating and was way behind in the polls when he declared an election he lost would be rigged by definition. So claiming they would have accepted the results if only paper ballots had been used is ludicrous. We know these morons equate delayed results with fraudulent results, so if anything the extra time hand counting would have taken would have increased their suspicion.

You said that already. We get what you’re saying. But it’s BS. The optimality of min-max is proved. If you believe the proofs to be in error, identify the error you think you’ve found. Otherwise, we can’t help you.

Nonsense. Counters don’t count voting options in the first place. They count votes, the marks voters actually make, not the marks they might have made had they voted differently. Granted, some irrational voters (i.e. voters who would ever consider using intermediate scores) would respond to the poverty of choice by giving more 0s, which would marginally simplify things. But it’s not comparable to the labor-saving effect of AV, in which counters could literally just count, with no addition, multiplication or interpretation necessary.

I don’t come here that much at the moment, but doing so was worth it for this.

I can find no justification for my being treated so ungraciously.

Trump hatred has no place in any serious discussion of electoral systems. From any perspective, our typical single selection system has regularly produced entirely unsuitable delegates and officials, from ‘both’ parties, who are unworthy to hold any office. And that is precisely the problem.

People are always saying that we need candidates who represent the interests of various factions, but that is not quite accurate. We need officials who will defend, not merely ‘represent’ the vital interests of all the people. Such officials would be much more than idealistic – they would be benevolent. Would you prefer have a delegate who believed in everything you do, but sold defective used cars, abandoned their physically ill spouse, and snatched candies from infants – Or would you prefer one who disagreed with much of your dogma, but was trustworthy and benevolent to all factions and camps? This is the question that addresses the reason why proportional ‘representation’ never achieves much of anything.

It is rather likely that approval voting would produce ‘1’ approval votes for heavily-fronted lesser evil contenders, and ‘1’ votes for truly preferred contenders also – But the former would likely win anyway, since they are, after all, the heavily-fronted ones. And lesser evil contenders typically turn out to be far less than benevolent anyway. So the voters lose once again, and will probably revert back to single selection. However, if they are able to grant 5 votes to the truly preferreds, and 4 to the lesser evils, and 0 to the greater evils, they would stand a good chance of obtaining actual benevolent delegates, if those votes are manually added up in a decentralized manner.

Also, it is just trivial to insist that score voting is merely an ‘extension’ of approval voting since, for example, hedge score voting can provide opportunities that approval voting simply cannot. It is akin to claiming that the transfinite numbers are an extension of the real numbers. What resembles a distinction of quantity often is found to be a distinction of quality. And despite the fine work of Emile Borel and John Von Neumann, game theory often never quite rises to the challenge of proving very much in the vastly intricate real world.

What would likely be most revealing might be gathering a cohort of diverse real people, and persuading them to perform, using the hedge score voting’ (HSV) method, an experimental trial ‘re-vote’ of the 2000 W. Bush, Gore, Nader election. And this could be repeated a few times to see how fast they learn to take advantage of the HSV system to obtain whatever results they might strive for. This experiment presumably would not be at all difficult to carry out.

I don’t know why you would think that. Perhaps it would help if you clearly defined the scenario you had in mind, with utilities (or coordinates in issue space) and perceived win (or pivot) probabilities.

What are the specific intricacies of the real world that you think invalidate the proofs I linked to?

It would, however, prove nothing. There would be no stakes and thus no incentive to vote rationally. Nor would they have an incentive or even necessarily the capacity (rational behavior does not imply rational thought, much less the ability to communicate it) to report to the experimenter their true preferences and strengths of preference, without which information it would be impossible to measure their satisfaction with the result.

It is axiomatic to me that no amount of abstract mathematical reasoning can anticipate the greater portion of the potential consequences of the implementation of most types of polling systems. Human relationships are obviously too complex for that, so I usually would not spend personal energy trying to predict such consequences.

I am sincerely devoted to finding methods to overcome the the two-party (or too few party) lock-in disaster that our current single selection voting system has mandated. I am not just trying to perform mathematical evaluations, or to attempt to prove things. I am trying to experiment and discover, and find well-considered solutions.

My evaluation has led to the conclusion that the approval voting method would probably not overcome the two-party (or too few party) problem. But the hedge score voting method (HSV), which allows three choices to grant 0, 4, and 5 votes to as many candidates as the voter decides to grant them to, actually would. If for some odd reason nearly all voters choose to grant only 0 or 5 votes to each contender (an outcome I consider to be nearly impossible) the system will ‘reduce’ to pure approval voting, and will give exactly the same result. The only substantial (but small) difference would be the presence of three, instead of two, ballot marking target areas per contender on paper ballots. This is not an issue to get very concerned about.

Except that you’ve been ranting at great length about the consequences you predict. Your terms are no less abstract than the mathematical ones I insist on; they’re just vaguer. As a practical matter, notice that the line of argumentation you’ve been repeating isn’t convincing anyone. So what do you have to lose, if you have the capacity, by switching from your self-indulgent speechifying to a well-defined theory?

AV and PR are well-considered solutions, which you despise because you didn’t invent them. You’re a narcissist who can’t turn his gaze away from the mirror long enough to crack a book. That’s why you can’t engage in the universal language of mathematics. That’s why your system will never be tested. No one wants to bother testing a system that doesn’t even have theoretical merit.

Right, the issue is more that the allegations you’re making against AV and SV are demonstrably false.

I advocated the approval voting method (without having invented it) in many venues for over ten years since 2005. One of my principle ideas has been that people who attempt to apply mathematics to human relationships in the same way they apply it to physics are seriously barking up the wrong tree. Furthermore, it strikes me as undemocratic to write up majorly complicated articles about voting systems that typical voters will not ever understand. I do not approach this from an academic perspective at all. I really do think democracy is important, and I work very hard trying to untangle its problem areas. I try to find solutions that are as simple and secure as possible.

Perhaps I’m not very good at ‘selling’ my results to some people here. Well, I do my best. There is nothing here to get all ‘worked up’ over. There surely must be more important things to complain about.

AV is obviously simpler and at least as secure as your alternative. It doesn’t take an academic or a formal model to understand it or its merit. This is, however, an election science forum, not Hyde Park. Your rant is unconvincing, so if you have the capacity to prove your hypothesis formally, it would be insane not to.

There are indeed more important things to complain about than AV, especially given that you evidently have no model and thus no results.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ //
@Tom:
AV is obviously simpler and at least as secure as your alternative. It doesn’t take an academic or a formal model to understand it or its merit. This is, however, an election science forum, not Hyde Park. Your rant is unconvincing, so if you have the capacity to prove your hypothesis formally, it would be insane not to.
// ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AV is only slightly simpler that hedge score voting (HSV). HSV is in fact nothing more nor less than score voting, but with some relatively irrelevant vote grant options omitted.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ //
@RKJoyce:
People ask why the 1, 2, and 3 vote grant options are omitted. The answer should now be simple. If no computers are utilized in the tabulation operation, then human beings who count votes will not have to count 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voting options – they only have to count 0, 4, and 5 [ballot markings on target areas on paper ballots] [i.e. voting options]. That will potentially reduce the labor by 50%, and there will thus perhaps be 50% less temptation to introduce computers.
// ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So obviously any ‘formal model’ (or crystal ball) that validates score voting with all possible options available will also validate HSV. Furthermore, HSV would provide voters with much greater ability to overcome the dreaded spoiler effect, or more generally speaking, the two-party (or too few party) lock-in disaster. Plus, if voters so choose, they can utilize min-max voting by only using the 0 and 5 vote options, and then they would actually be using pure approval voting.

The entire point of this thread was not to promote score or HSV voting. The whole point was to show that complicated voting systems such as PR and RCV result in disastrous, extremely high and thus insecure levels of information traffic, and also two-party (or too few party) lock-in. And to show that score and HSV voting are not susceptible to these unacceptable problems.

Fancy abstract ‘models’ utterly failed to account for high information traffic, and they failed to account for two-party (or too few party) lock-in. So they must not be of much use. However, carefully working through thought experiments did reveal these concepts.

You’ve identified no spoiler or lock-in effect of AV. All you’ve done is vaguely describe a scenario in which AV would initially elect the “lesser evil” over the best candidate. That’s not lock-in. Two-party lock-in is the duopoly winning election after election due to a positive feedback loop between electoral performance and perceived win probability. By contrast, the best candidate would presumably finish second in your scenario, thus taking the place of the “greater evil” as the second frontrunner. He would win the next election, those preferring him to the “lesser evil” no longer having any reason to compromise.

You just quoted yourself falsely claiming there is twice the “temptation to introduce computers” in SV, but I’m glad you now admit SV is “not susceptible” to that. As for what then remains of the argument for HSV, that is unclear. As for RCV, this is the first time you’ve mentioned it, and you don’t have to tell us there are simpler systems with better results. PR, on the other hand, is a class of systems, some of which are significantly more complex than SV and some of which are not. None result in two-party lock-in, theoretically or in practice, and I have no idea where you get that idea. Nor is PR especially “dogmatic” or SV “benevolent”. A majority can force its will in either system, the only difference being who compromises (voters or MPs) in the absence of a majority.

That’s just false. Two-party lock-in has been modeled, which you’d know if you’d bothered to read the Myerson-Weber paper you criticized. The problem with your thought experiment is not so much that it’s not “fancy” as that it’s not well-defined. No one wants to carefully work through something you can’t be bothered to carefully construct.

I said I worked hard for years to find the best polling system, so why so much ungraciousness?

On this website we have some people writing computer simulations, some doing thought experiments, and some doing some sort of game theory. I guess some of those doing game theory models expect others to do what they do, and they can become virtually hostile when the others won’t. I did begin to study game theory about 35 years ago, but decided to quit because it became apparent to me that it was mostly just very limited and inapplicable to all but a very narrow range of areas of application. I certainly do not think it can be meaningfully applied to reasoning pertaining to polling systems. Here’s an interesting quote from a real top-notch expert in mathematical systems engineering:

-// Game theory, for the uninitiated, is a branch of mathematics that uses computational models to predict the behavior of human beings in potentially conflictual situations. It’s complex, involves a lot of formal logic and algebra, and is mostly useless. //-
Rishank Jhavar / deqode

Just because people can learn something in college does not mean it is valid. They can learn homeopathy, for example. People spent centuries learning to joint the priesthoods of polytheistic ancient Rome. There once existed a very questionable Pythagorean cult. So why should anyone demand that I must produce some game theory ‘model’ for HSV?

I believe it should become obvious that pretty much all federal level elected elected delegates and officials are effectively sociopathic. Consider all the wars we start. And all the radically defective ‘health care’ systems we have, and so on. The common people surely suffer tremendously due to these policies. With AV the people would probably vote for some sane (not perfect, of course, but there does seem to exist an abrupt moral departure between decent and corrupt politicians) contenders such as, perhaps, Ralph Nader, but would likely also have to vote for some effectively sociopathic lesser evil contenders, only in order to escape rule by some effectively sociopathic greater evil contenders. I think that in this scenario the sociopathic lesser evil contenders would be likely to win, since they would have the support of aristocrats who could essentially pay them off to exploit the commonalty.

And even if there are a delegates from a dozen different parties, this will be a very bad situation if they are all effectively sociopathic. But with HSV, the voters could grant 0 votes to the worst sociopaths, and 4 votes to the less dreadful sociopaths, in order to ‘block’ the worst ones, and 5 votes to actually elect the relatively sane ones. This is just simple common sense. It requires no homeopathic snake oil esoteric game theory ‘models’. Political power over the common people is not a game. It can be a deadly addiction.

I think I’m through rejecting demands for highly questionable mathematical ‘proofs’. Enough of this, thank you.

By the way, Warren D. Smith has a new website where he is forming a group to promote adoption of score voting. It is called:

All 50 Score by 2024

Thought experiments are fine when they’re up to the task, but yours is not. For all your reams of self-indulgent speechifying, the information you’ve provided about your thought experiment can be summarized thus:

  1. A (let’s call him) is the rightful winner and is running against sociopathic frontrunners B (“lesser evil”) and C (“greater evil”) and an unidentified number of other candidates.

  2. B and C are “heavily-fronted”.

Is the sociopath-saint dimension the only non-trivial dimension or are there others? Is A>B>C for all voters? If not, how many? What are the other voter types and their numbers? Are all preferences equally strong or shall we say, e.g., that A>>B>C or A[5] B[1] C[0]? Do all voters have the same perceived pivot probabilities? What are they? Or do you not get that it matters how much more likely a BC near-tie is than an AB near-tie? What, if any, is the effect of being “heavily fronted”? Is it merely an explanation for why B and C are perceived likeliest to win, or does it affect preferences? If so, what exactly is the effect?

It’s clear to me that the outcome depends on the answers to these questions. You may disagree, but if you were confident in your conclusions you would humor me; answer the questions and then let me prove you right by failing to prove you wrong.

Asked and answered:

But why would they be? You identified Ralph Nader as a non-sociopath. He got 2.74% of the vote in the election you referenced. PR would thus have seated him in any body with over 36 MPs (i.e. any realistic body), and that’s assuming his ceasing to be a spoiler wouldn’t have increased his votes. Don’t get me wrong, PR and AV are not panaceas. There are other reforms that are more important. HSV just isn’t one of them.

No, in fact it’s nonsense. There are scenarios (namely, if C leads B by 4) in which B[5] but not B[4] would block C and scenarios (namely, if B leads A by 1-4) in which B[0] but not B[4] would elect A. That the optimal score for B is either 5 or 0 (never 4) is due to the fact that, in a large election, the probability of X leading Y by one margin within the range is sufficiently near the probability of X leading Y by any other margin within the range that the effect of adding or subtracting 1 to your score for B is sufficiently independent of your initial score for B. IOW, there is no “Goldilocks zone” where B blocks C but not A.