Questions for Steven Brams

Help generate discussion questions for Steven Brams.

CES will hold an interview with Steven Brams tomorrow, Monday, April 13 at 6pm Eastern Time, 5 CT, 4 MT, 3 PT via Zoom:

I had a few questions, and I bet you do too, so here’s a thread for some questions.

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Question: Do you think polling will help Fargo hold a successful election?

I think it would be a good idea for CES to help Fargo with some pre-election-day polls. In your book, Approval Voting, you discussed the ways a poll can help voters to decide where to draw the line between candidates that they would like to approve and the rest.

I have a few questions about multi-member systems.

  1. Are you bothered that your “Excess Method” is not clone proof?
  2. You favour the Jefferson formula over Webster in SPAV. Considering a 2 seat race with two factions Red and Blue. Assume Red is the larger party so it will win one of the seats. The fraction of votes Red needs to win the second seat is 3/4 in Webster but 2/3 in Jefferson. It seems obvious that the 3/4 threshold is the better option. Do you dispute that or is there another consideration like a quota criterion which you think is more important?
  3. In the multi-winner case do you still think approval ballots carry enough information or should score methods be considered? Sequentially Spent Score and Sequential Monroe voting being notable examples.

His answers were: (these will all be paraphrased so hopefully I get the intent correct)

Good questions, still under investigation.

Both are good in different situations. Webster is better for representative assemblies and Jefferson is better for state apportionment. He said there was a book on it by Balinski and Young.

They may be better but they are more complicated. Moving to a multi-winner approval system is such a step in progress that we should be satisfied with that.

Question: what’s the point of using approval voting if you still use Partisan primaries to limit the field to partisans before the general election?

You can always run as an independent.