Adam M. Costello : Soap Box

Half-Thumbs Voting

In each row check one box to vote or half-vote for or against that candidate, or leave the row blank.
The candidate with the greatest vote total wins.






Ballots that let each voter vote for only one candidate collect too little information and promote the dominance of just two parties, because you can vote for a third party only by giving up the ability to express any preference between the two candidates most likely to win.

Ballots that ask voters to rank the candidates are more difficult to fill out, and much more complex to tabulate. Most voters won't really understand how the winner is chosen, which could exacerbate distrust in elections. There is no obvious way to summarize election results. The most common tabulation method, Instant Runoff Voting, sometimes produces nonsensical winners.

Score voting, where each voter assigns a numerical score to each candidate, and the candidate with the greatest sum wins, is very simple for voters to understand, and lets them support their honest favorite while still expressing a preference between the leading candidates. Election results are easily summarized as vote totals, as usual.

Score voting where the scores can be positive and negative, with zero as the default, lets people explicitly vote against candidates, which may encourage more participation. A voter reluctant to vote in favor of the lesser evil may be happy to vote against the greater evil. Negative scores can also make election results more informative. With only positive votes, vote totals don't distinguish between a candidate who won because of wide support, versus a candidate who won and was widely considered the lesser evil.

With score range of [-1,1] the maximum vote total for any candidate is the number of voters, same as in already-familiar voting systems, which makes the results more intuitive and lets people think in familiar terms of casting votes and summing up vote totals, rather than assigning scores and summing up score totals.

Five discrete scores (including the default 0) are the fewest that let a voter distinguish more than one level of approval, more than one level of disapproval, and neutrality. Some voters might sometimes wish to make finer distinctions, but a system with more levels would impose larger ballots and more mental burden on all voters in all elections. Surveys commonly ask respondents to select among five answers (strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree).

[AMC]  Prepared by Adam M. Costello
 Last modified: 2022-Nov-10-Thu 03:00:24 GMT
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