by Michael Ossipoff
July 20, 2012
IMPORTANT: READ THE VOTING-INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE VOTING BELOW:
This is a rank-balloting poll–a poll in which you rank the Presidential candidates in order of preference. 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice…etc.
There is another Presidential poll in progress too at Democracy Chronicles. That poll is an Approval poll, which asks you to mark each candidate whom you like. The candidate receiving the most marks wins. If you haven’t voted in the Approval poll, then I invite you to vote in that one too, in addition to voting in this article’s rank-balloting poll. Also, please see my previous article on Approval voting found here.
Why have this poll, in addition to the other one? The Approval poll is intended to demonstrate the do-able, feasibly enactable voting-system reform that lets everyone fully support their favorite(s) in addition to any compromise(s) that they feel compelled to support too. Approval is the voting system that has that property, and also qualifies as a serious public proposal, due to its minimal simplicity. But the purpose of this rank-balloting poll is different.
A ranked ballot takes into account more of your preferences, for the purpose of immediately finding the voter-median candidate, the best candidate whom we all can help to beat everyone who is worse. That’s the ideal of rank balloting, and when counted properly, that ideal is realizable.
A rank-balloting poll, such as this one, can inform and guide our voting in a subsequent ordinary “vote-for-1″ official public election, such as the presidential election in November of this year. That’s the purpose: to show what party, candidate, or candidate-category is the best one that we could help to win, in an ordinary “vote-for-1″ official public election.
Voting instructions will follow, in the next paragraph, but let me say that there is also another article whose purpose is to explain,in more detail, the reasons behind the voting instructions given on this page. That other article will discuss the following matters: The purposes, in more detail, of the Approval poll and this rank-balloting poll; what was learned by the results of the Approval poll. You can find the other article here.
The other article also includes discussion and explanation of strategy considerations in voting, with a more complete explanation for why certain strategies are not needed in this poll–in other words, why you should rank the candidates completely sincerely in this poll. The other article will also describe the count-method that will be used, for the rankings in this poll, and why that count-method provides the strategy guarantees given here and discussed in the other article.
Rank the candidates in order of preference: 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, etc. Post your ballot as a comment. Do that by writing in the “comment” space, below the candidate list where it says “Leave a Reply”.
How to write your ballot? Simply write the candidates in a vertical list. Your favorite candidate goes on the first line. Your 2nd favorite candidate goes on the 2nd line. Your 3rd favorite candidate goes on the 3rd line…etc.
But you can rank two candidates equally if you want to, by writing their names on the same line. For instance, if you write two or three candidates on the first line, that means that they are your equally preferred 1st choices. Likewise for any other line. You can write several candidates on any line, such as 2nd or 3rd line, etc., if you want to. If you rank two or more candidates on the same line, then I suggest separating their names with commas, for clarity. But that isn’t a rule, just a suggestion.
You don’t have to rank all of the candidates, but I urge you to do so. Any candidate whom you don’t rank is regarded as ranked below everyone
whom you ranked. You could, but don’t have to, number each line with “1.” , or “2.”, etc.
Now, because sometimes people are inclined to use strategy when they vote, I’d like to describe 3 kinds of strategy that are not needed in this poll. So, though, I suggest ranking the candidates in your sincere order of preference, I’m specifically telling you some reasons why you have no reason to do otherwise in this poll:
First, just as in the Approval poll, this poll gives you no reason to ever vote anyone else over your favorite. If you like candidate X at least as much as anyone else, or better than all, then there can’t be any reason to not write X’s name on the first line.
There is no benefit or additional protection that can be given to a compromise-candidate, by ranking him/her over your favorite.
Additionally, If you’re part of a majority set of voters who all prefer several candidates over the others, it’s important to actually rank all of those several over the others whom you like less. That’s because, with this count rule, all of the candidates preferred by such a majority can lose, if their supporters don’t sincerely rank each other’s candidates over the ones they like less. In other words, majority coalition support must be mutual–A faction can’t get help from other voters from whom they withhold their sincere support over less liked candidates.
Why do we use a count method with that property? Because, otherwise, with your faction and some other faction having, together, a majority, you might support their candidate, by ranking him/her 2nd, and thereby giving him/her majority support to beat those you rank lower–but the members of that other faction could decline to help your candidate, to ensure that their candidate would win instead of yours. That means their faction has taken advantage of your faction’s co-operation. It creates a game of “chicken”, a co-operation/defection dilemma, in which the message is, “You help, you lose.”
That won’t work for them, by our count rule. That “defection” by that other faction can only worsen their own candidate’s chances, and elect someone they like less than your candidate. Our count rule doesn’t have any of that problem. When majority support has to be mutual, the defection referred to above won’t happen.
And that means that you can help that other faction’s candidate, by ranking him/her 2nd, without any fear of defection on their part. There is no game of “chicken”. “ And that means that you can freely rank the candidates sincerely, without any worry that you’re the supporters of your 2nd choice candidate will defect in the way described above.
Lastly, our count method avoids the strategy-need described above. But the truth is that there is no such thing as a voting system or count rule that doesn’t give any strategy incentive. If this were an actual official public election, using our count rule, here is a strategy that you might want to use, even with our count rule.
Suppose there were one or more really unacceptable candidates who might win. Suppose that the merit difference among the “unacceptables” and among the “acceptables” were negligible in comparison to the merit difference “between” the acceptables and the unacceptables. In that case, your best strategy, in an official public election, would be to rank all of the acceptables together in 1st place, by writing their names on the 1st line.
But this isn’t an official public election. As i said, the purpose of this poll is to find the best candidate, party, or candidate-category whom we can help to beat those who are worse.To that end, you should sincerely rank all of the candidates in order of preference.
That’s the way that we recommend that you vote in this poll, because that’s how this poll will provide the information that will tell you something about the winnability of the candidates and parties–and which candidate is the best one whom we can make to beat those who are worse.
Rank these candidates, as many as you want to rank, preferably all of them, in sincere order of preference, by writing their names in the comment-space directly below, as described above:
Roseanne Barr (Green Party of the United States)
Virgil Goode (Constitution Party)
Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party)
Barack Obama (Democratic Party)
Mitt Romney (Republican Party)
Dr. Jill Stein (Green Party of the United States)