Rkjoyce-style Score Voting


Continuing the discussion from Found some IRV talkers who think Approval leads to two party dominance:

And whoever gets the most of these “votes” wins, right?

Is it permissible for a voter to avoid giving even one “vote” to some candidate that that voter opposes? I’m not arguing for an amendment to the system you are describing, just looking to clearly understand what you mean.

William WAUGH


Here’s an odd thing: I tried very hard for many years (over a decade) to hide my actual identity because I found that people would accuse me of “wanting to take credit” for inventing (electoral) things. So I tried to be as anonymous as possible. I was first “outed” by the “Black Box Voting” Queen. Then by WDS himself. And finally here. All these years of political blogging and I finally get outed by three election-related blogs. They didn’t see the problem. Hmm.

I actually have tried to get “on-the-ballot” myself. It turns out the ballot publishers wield great power. I did not get on the ballot, and the votes for me were deemed to be beneath an arbitrary threshold, and so they “disappeared.”

Unless a score electoral system uses the “averaging” technique, having a “zero” score is no different than having an “abstentious” score, except that in the latter case there is no “0” score “box.” If the ballots have options for write-in candidates (which I’m sure they should) it just works the same way, there can be a “0” box, or you “just abstain,” (there is no “0” box at all). Election officials (who are likely the most corrupt folks in the room) could decide that any ballot that didn’t have at least one box marked for every candidate is “spoiled,” and the whole ballot could be thrown out.

Or suppose some group of punks decide to write you in, and your 20 “0” scores get published in the paper the next day. Rather ugly? Or do the often corrupt officials make a rule to “suppress” the announcement of those sadistic votes (and from there, who knows what else is decided)?

Having a “10” box helps the voters to better estimate the portion of assertable support they are granting the candidates. “10” votes out of “1” to “10” represents 100% assertable support. “9” votes out of “1” to “10” represents 90% assertable support. This is much easier to reason about than if there is a “9” box at the top. “9” votes out of “0” to “9” represents 100% assertable support. But “8” votes out of “0” to “9” represents (8/9)*100 = (0.888888888889/9)*100 = (88.8888888889)% assertable support. This is clearly harder for the voter to reason about.

I prefer to keep things simple enough for mortal voters to completely understand. And I demand hand counted paper ballots too. (No “Russian” hackable automation, with possible nuclear war, please.)


Are you going to answer my question eventually? I’ll put it another way. Suppose I am a voter. Suppose, as scientists and mathematicians, we, that is, you and I, and all the readers of these words, receive the privilege of examining the ballot that I cast. Further suppose that in marking my ballot, I followed the rules you advocate. Now. How many stances could I have expressed on my ballot toward a particular candidate, someone who could in theory be elected? I’m guessing eleven. I could have, however “absteneously” you may or may not want to call it in your avalanche of verbiage thrown up to obscure the mathematical characteristics and therefore the power-granting characteristics of the system you are proposing, given candidate Joe Blow a score of zero, right? If I mark nothing on my ballot for Mr. Blow, he gets zero count of “votes” from me (the horror quotes are because you use the term differently from how I do), right? So, if I read through your writing in a way to catch the mathy part of what you intend, and ignore the rest, I think what I see you saying is that the count of my possible stances toward Blow amounts to exactly eleven-count, vis, zero, one, two, three, …, nine, ten. But I’m not 100% certain I caught your meaning, so please confirm or deny.


This is not the first time I have encountered this way of thinking that you apply here. It is as if this was pure mathematics, and we are all expected to have autism, or even to be meat-based mechanical devices. I know that mathematicians often attempt to speak in such a manner. So the speaker is permitted to utter no implications, and the hearer is permitted to make no inferences; it is as if we are all computers, but I long ago decided that this is simply not tenable. Perhaps we are limited to using set theory, or first order logic? But set theory was literally born bearing the burden of dealing with “uncountable” numbers, and first order logic cannot do all that higher order logic can.

We have seen the counting numbers expressed as an endless sequence of embedded sets (or even lambdas!). But with higher order logic, predicates can be elements of higher predicates. So if the number 7 is defined as a second order predicate, we can express that some predicate P bears seven member elements by simply writing =// 7P //=, where 7 is just a second order predicate. And then this “implies” that (using =// _E //= to indicate the “existential operator”) =// _E_e( P ) //= ; which is to say that there exists at least one e that is a member of (first order) P (that e being one of 7 in this example). But higher order logic suffers from a Cassandra syndrome, and seems to tell people things they don’t want to think about.

So I suspect there will be some “informal” implications here, by necessity. A ballot is a piece of paper (or at least the representation of such) upon which electors can vote for political candidates. Certain (sometimes untrustworthy) officials decide which candidates will be “on” this ballot, and hopefully electors can vote for write-in candidates that the officials did not place “on” the ballot. So let us consider two kinds of ballots, “one to ten” and “zero to nine.” They are:

=// Joe Blow: (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10) //=

=// Joe Blow: (0), (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9) //=

With the first, “one to ten” ballot, the voter has exactly eleven options; (1) to (10), plus abstention.

With the second, “zero to nine” ballot, the voter has exactly eleven options; (0) to (9), plus abstention.

With the first kind of ballot the significance of abstention is obvious. With the second kind, the significance of abstention remains to be determined by officials. Plus, as mentioned above, “one to ten” ballots are significantly easier for voters to reason about.

Have I answered the question?


And it is?

“With the second kind, the significance of abstention remains to be determined by officials.”

If you are proposing the system for discussion, you get to specify the meaning of abstention via your specifying its effect on the tally.


Might I suggest an explicit “zero” box? Because (1) it makes it harder to confuse with an IRV ballot and (2) you can mark the 0 so that you remember that you actually voted zero as opposed to forgetting to fill in a Score for that candidate and (3) someone cannot somehow intercept your ballot and write a 10 in the blank column.

(Not marking anything still would count as zero. But if you want for some reason you could still explicitly mark 0.)

EDIT: For extra clarity, I mean, not 0 to 9, not 1 to 10, but 0 to 10.


It’s not ‘expecting you to have autism’ to want clearly defined arguments. It’s up to you to substantiate your claims. Vague, imprecise statements are not convincing.

Similarly, clearly defined rules for elections are necessary specifically to avoid leaving things to the interpretation of potentially corrupt officials. If you don’t want blank or spoiled scores to spoil every score on the ballot, put that in the rules: “An invalid marking for one candidate’s score on a ballot does not invalidate any other candidate’s score on that ballot.” If you want blank scores to be treated a certain way, you have to have a rule. Otherwise it really will just be open to some official’s interpretation.

Also, how does not listing a score of zero as an option makes it clearer that it is the default option?