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Re: Ending votes early

On Tue, 13 May 2003 03:10:56 -0400, Raul Miller <moth@magenta.com> said: 

>> > I've always taken it to mean "ignoring the slight possibility
>> > that people who have voted didn't mean what they said".

> On Mon, May 12, 2003 at 08:02:00PM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>> I am not sure that the possibility is slight, really.

> Oh?  In the elections you have details on, roughly how many ballots
> (out of how many total) got changed?

	No, I do not have numbers either way -- which is precisely my
 point. There isnot enough data to convince me that in futurre votes,
 there won't be a whole lot of people switching their votes. 

>> Certainly this should not happen for general resolution, or for DPL
>> elections. That takes care of all the secret balloting, and since
>> most of the votes are not secret, I think the use case for ending
>> the vote early loses, since the group can decide to take action
>> based on the current status if they are sure. Why should the
>> decision lie with the secretary, and not the customers fo the
>> voting mechanism?

> Hmm... but if they can take action without resolving the vote, why
> bother with the vote at all?

	You are misunderstanding me. If the secrerary can somehow
 determine that the outcome of the vote is no longer in doubt, so can
 the tech ctte; and they can act before hand. In general, the
 customers of the voting mechanism would have a better idea on when it
 is safe to act on partial results than would the secretary; and they
 can take action whenever they are satisfied the outcome is not in

>> For smaller groups, I would rather have a smaller window for
>> counting votes, rahter than give the secretary the power to close
>> off the polls.

> For technical committee decisions, that period is fixed at one week
> [and, much of the delay in casting the votes has to do with when
> people check their email].  I don't think changing the voting period
> works there.

	And, given this short a time period, shaving a day or so does
 not buy much.

>> > Since we should recognize that a small number of people might
>> > want to change their votes, I'd recommend "when the vote would no
>> > longer be in doubt if no more than quorum voters change their
>> > current ballots."
>> What are the use cases for pushing for an early resolution?  Have
>> we ever been in a situation where a early decision was critical?

> No, we haven't.  Nor have we been in a situation where the ballot
> would have been unambiguously determined before the end of the
> voting period.

> I'm thinking the advantage here is a [minor] reduction in the
> red-tape factor of our decision making.  But, you're right it's a
> rare event where this would be significant.

	We seem to be in agreement, then. 

>> BTW, people did revote on the last day of the DPL elections, and
>> the narrowest victory was in single digit votes, ( 4 beats 2: 228
>> 224 = 4 ). A voter would not have known a pariori whether the vote
>> was close or not -- and this does add pressure to vote early, since
>> your franchise would be worthless unless you got in early.

> The outcome isn't unambigous in a situation like that.  You can't
> assume that the vote is determined ahead of the deadline unless it's
> true that if every voter who hasn't voted votes against the current
> outcome (and, for my proposal if quorum people change their votes
> from favoring the current outcome to opposing it) the outcome
> remains unchanged.

	Quite. Well, I do not have enough data to make a determination
 if "quorum" is a reasonable estimate of people who are likely to
 change their vote, and I would much rather not put such a guesstimate
 into the constitution, unless there were a compelling case for it. 

	I posit the minor reduction in red tape, and the rare
 reduction in time of voting is not enough to offset the potential for
 disputes; the most recent vote was tainted with accusation of lack of
 trust in the vote counters integrity; reducing the time period of the
 vote by the vote counter shall probably only make these accusations
 more shrill. 

>> Also, I don't like this kind of power being added to the
>> secretaries position.

> Doesn't seem like much power to me.

	Having the power to cut a vote short, or not, depending on how
 some last minute lobbying effort was meeting with success, is some
 power. Suppose people initially voted for option A. Then, opponents
 of option A came up with a smoking gun; but before a bunch of people
 can go and change the vote; the secretary, a proponent of option A,
 closes the vote, and declares A a winner. (Of course, of the
 opponents of option A had not discovered the evidence until the vote
 was over, they would have been equally out of luck; but one person
 should not be able to make this kind of a difference).

	I do not feel strongly about this point; I just felt I should
 supply my reasoning, however marginal the case may be.

> Were you thinking that it didn't matter what people who hadn't voted
> yet would vote?

	Umm, no. Why do you ask?

I don't even butter my bread.  I consider that cooking. Katherine
Manoj Srivastava   <srivasta@debian.org>  <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024R/C7261095 print CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05  CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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