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Re: supermajority options

On Fri, Nov 22, 2002 at 11:53:48PM +0100, Jochen Voss wrote:
> [6] We could introduce a second kind of vote, which is exclusively used
>     to change the constitution or social contract.  We could use
>     something like: every voter may just say "yes" or "no" to the
>     proposed change (i.e. there is no list of options).  The change
>     is accepted if there are, say, at least Q total votes and at
>     least N times as may "yes" votes the "no" votes.
>  * If we really would want to cover the case of several
>    competing proposals we could use a two step mechanism: we
>    could first determine a candidate via Condorect voting with
>    CpSCC (without any supermajority stuff) and then use [6] the
>    decide whether we want the winner of the first step to be
>    implemented.

People would then just vote insincerely in the first vote.

If an extremist minority[1] fears that a modest but still
strongly-opposed (by them) option might win, they may "split" the
opposition by proposing an even more extreme version of that option,
knowing it will also draw some approving votes from the largely moderate
majority.  They also vote for it themselves so that it dominates the
moderate proposition.  That then becomes the option that goes to step 2
under a simple majority, but it's doomed to fail because only the
"extreme" proponents will actually approve of it.  The opponents will
switch their stripes and the moderates never preferred it in the first

Subsequently, if the issue is re-raised, the radical proponents of the
proposition might vote insincerely, lying about their preference for the
extreme option so that the more modest version is more likely to make it
to step 2.

In either case, the status quo wins, even if a supermajority might have
preferred the moderate form of the proposition.

I think this is the sort of strategic voting the McGann paper is talking
about.  Of course, some people may feel that insincere ballots aren't a
problem, and that we're all better off if we "race to the middle".
However, I think the medocrity of U.S. politics, with two parties who
can barely be distinguished from each other aside from a few
dog-and-pony issues (gun control, abortion) that have nothing to do with
the vast majority of matters before a legislature, instructs us to avoid
this example.

In sum, I think your proposed solution is at least as susceptible as any
to strategic voting.  Maybe more so.

[1] as in "a minority that is extremely opposed", not "a minority that
is extremely small"

G. Branden Robinson                |     You are not angry with people when
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     you laugh at them. Humor teaches
branden@debian.org                 |     them tolerance.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |     -- W. Somerset Maugham

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