Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

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Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by AniThyng »

I was just pondering the people who claimed they would have voted for "remain" if they had known "leave" would have won and so "protest voted".

Is there a way to create a voting system where instead of a straight up/down vote, people instead select the margin by which they want the vote to go, and that is then tallied to get an average value, and that's the end result?

So to give a greatly simplified example:

If one is certain he wants his party A to win no matter what, one votes "100-0"

If one just wants Party A to win, but not by a whole lot, just enough to ensure they aren't arrogant, he votes "51-49"

Actually this would boil down to each voter being given "100" units of votes which he is now free to distribute as he likes with the candidates, with the understanding one should not give more of ones individual vote to the one one actually wants to lose.

Will this actually change anything with regards to people coming out thinking they wasted their protest vote on the party they didn't want to win ending up winning?
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Kingmaker »

Wouldn't this give disproportionate impact to diehards and overconfident people (or incentivize people to vote as if they were the same)?
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by AniThyng »

Kingmaker wrote:Wouldn't this give disproportionate impact to diehards and overconfident people (or incentivize people to vote as if they were the same)?
Ah, I see where this would break down, yes.

Voter W gives 100 to side A
Voter X gives 49 to A , 51 to B
Voter Y gives 49 to A, 51 to B

In the absence of a voter Z who gives 100 to B, side A will win.

But then again, if voters X and Y were willing to give side A 49 of their votes, that really implies they wouldn't be too hard up if side A actually won, since they were on the fence to begin with.

On the other hand, let's say:

W: A - 100, B- 0
X: A - 30, B -70
Y A - 40 B -60

this leaves ... ehh...

OK yeah it seems this won't work either.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by EnterpriseSovereign »

That's about as unworkable as restricting votes to those who are educated/informed enough to know the consequences of the outcome they're voting for.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Lord Revan »

The "one person, one vote, all votes are equal" system isn't flawless but it's the best system we got. Sure it means people sometimes make stupid and uninformed desesions but that's better then alternatives.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Simon_Jester »

A weighted voting system like this is "workable" in that you could do it without much trouble.

But, as noted, it has the effects that:
1) Elections are dominated by everyone arrogant enough to claim they are 100% sure of what should happen.
2) By expressing uncertainty and saying 60/40 or 55/45, you are depriving yourself of the power to decide the outcome to such a degree you might as well not show up to the polls at all. Since your impact on the outcome of the election is so puny that one person confident (or ruthless) enough to vote 100/0 will have five or ten times the impact you do. At that point, you might as well stay home; you have effectively disenfranchised yourself.
3) People have a strong bias in general of overestimating their certainty. A lot of people will say, on the spot, that they are 90% certain of something that in reality has only a 50% chance of happening. Therefore, people who say "I am 90% certain good things will happen if we leave" can still very easily turn out to be wrong.

The correct way to make sure protest votes don't cause unintended results is to not lodge protest votes when the outcome is in doubt, and to find other ways (there are many) of making your opinion known.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by bilateralrope »

The problem of the people who voted leave when they wanted stay is a lack of education. You fix this by educating people better about how the system works. Including examples of close elections that were decided by people knowingly voting against their own interests.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Kingmaker »

I have an idea that would be a technical nightmare to implement, and that's even before you start to worry about voter intimidation or fraud or security, but I think is interesting conceptually:

You have an open voting period where people can change their vote at any time until the voting period ends, and the current state of the vote is public. So if you cast a write-in for Mickey Mouse because you have utter contempt for all the candidates, you can later recast it for someone you hate the least because you noticed Trump is doing better than you'd like.

The voting period could be a fixed period of time, or it could be until one candidate meets threshold X for Y amount of time.

edit: it's worth noting that Illinois had a cumulative voting system similar to the one mentioned above (though with only three votes instead of 100) for a long time. I believe the long run result was that nearly everyone cast 3 votes for their preferred candidate, but I'm working off memory of a conversation, so I don't have high confidence in that.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Zaune »

Simply requiring a two-thirds majority instead of a simple majority might have fixed this one, honestly. Or just counting anyone who didn't bother showing up as a vote for Remain.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Tribble »

The UK already has a solution - referendums are non-binding, and the government is perfectly able to ignore the results if they feel its not the "right" answer they were looking for. So no worries for those in the Remain group, the UK isn't going anywhere, there's too much money involved for the political / social elites to allow a Brexit to happen, even if the vote was far greater in favor of leaving than it was.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Purple »

You are trying to create a solution to a problem that does not exist. The post election regret you mention is not an expression of the system being somehow flawed but of the people being flawed. It's that simple.

When ever there is a vote with more than one option to chose from someone is by definition going to lose. That's just how it works. You can't have an election where everyone gets to have their way. If you could than there would be no point in holding the election to begin with.

Assuming turnout is reasonably high and all proceedings are legitimate than the end results of a vote are the legitimate will of the majority of the population. And that's what matters. So if you want to get rid of problem you think exists focus on fixing the people and not the system.

Teach them so that they vote intelligently and than educate them on the fact that grownups some times have to accept that they can't always win.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Gandalf »

What Purple said.

You're better off investing in voter education so people understand how the fuck a vote works. If you protest vote for the opposite of what you want, then having vote portions probably won't fix that problem.

That said, a greater investment in things like online voting would make it way easier to get popular turnout. Taxes can be done online in a few minutes, so I don't see why voting can't be as well.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by mr friendly guy »

I think education is the way to go and a sense of responsibility. When I say responsibility I mean in the context that "do no harm," ie if you don't understand the issue is about, and you can't be half arsed to learn about it, then abstain.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Grumman »

mr friendly guy wrote:I think education is the way to go and a sense of responsibility. When I say responsibility I mean in the context that "do no harm," ie if you don't understand the issue is about, and you can't be half arsed to learn about it, then abstain.
This. If you want to vote 51-49 then you might as well just vote 50-50 by not voting, and save yourself the trip.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by K. A. Pital »

Tribble wrote:The UK already has a solution - referendums are non-binding, and the government is perfectly able to ignore the results if they feel its not the "right" answer they were looking for. So no worries for those in the Remain group, the UK isn't going anywhere, there's too much money involved for the political / social elites to allow a Brexit to happen, even if the vote was far greater in favor of leaving than it was.
I don't think this will be so easily ignored. Merkel might not get her way because many understand that leaving things hanging "uh we unsure yes or no" is much worse in the long run than quickly removing Britain from the EU.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by AniThyng »

Points taken. There's no other way we can try to avoid tactical voting backfiring then in a winner takes all election I suppose?
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Adam Reynolds »

There are options like a Single Transferable Vote, but it only works for candidates:
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Tribble »

K. A. Pital wrote:
Tribble wrote:The UK already has a solution - referendums are non-binding, and the government is perfectly able to ignore the results if they feel its not the "right" answer they were looking for. So no worries for those in the Remain group, the UK isn't going anywhere, there's too much money involved for the political / social elites to allow a Brexit to happen, even if the vote was far greater in favor of leaving than it was.
I don't think this will be so easily ignored. Merkel might not get her way because many understand that leaving things hanging "uh we unsure yes or no" is much worse in the long run than quickly removing Britain from the EU.
It really doesn't matter what the EU thinks, until Article 50 is actually invoked the UK can take as much time as it needs in order to ignore the referendum. Merkel knows that which is precisely why she is trying to get the EU to calm down. All they have to do is keep their mouths shut for awhile and the UK will overturn the results on its own.

The only real question is how much the EU plans on punishing the UK for daring to have this little vote, I suspect in the long run the UK would be punished more for dragging things out and staying then if they had invoked article 50 immediately and started the process to leave.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by EnterpriseSovereign »

Tribble wrote:
K. A. Pital wrote:
Tribble wrote:The UK already has a solution - referendums are non-binding, and the government is perfectly able to ignore the results if they feel its not the "right" answer they were looking for. So no worries for those in the Remain group, the UK isn't going anywhere, there's too much money involved for the political / social elites to allow a Brexit to happen, even if the vote was far greater in favor of leaving than it was.
I don't think this will be so easily ignored. Merkel might not get her way because many understand that leaving things hanging "uh we unsure yes or no" is much worse in the long run than quickly removing Britain from the EU.
It really doesn't matter what the EU thinks, until Article 50 is actually invoked the UK can take as much time as it needs in order to ignore the referendum. Merkel knows that which is precisely why she is trying to get the EU to calm down. All they have to do is keep their mouths shut for awhile and the UK will overturn the results on its own.

The only real question is how much the EU plans on punishing the UK for daring to have this little vote, I suspect in the long run the UK would be punished more for dragging things out and staying then if they had invoked article 50 immediately and started the process to leave.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't- if the Government states one way or another what they'll do they'll get an immediate slew of protests from the opposing side, which is only to be expected given there was <2% in it. And forming a new government is hardly likely to change things either, as the issue has split both labour and conservatives down the middle.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Simon_Jester »

Zaune wrote:Simply requiring a two-thirds majority instead of a simple majority might have fixed this one, honestly. Or just counting anyone who didn't bother showing up as a vote for Remain.
The problem is that if you generalize this to all referenda, you're biasing things very heavily in favor of the status quo. Requiring 66.7%, or even 60%, of the population to turn out in favor of 'change the status quo' before anything can happen may seem appealing to Remain voters who lost this particular referendum, but it's not a good thing in general.

Likewise, there are probably a lot of people for whom not showing up on election day is a response to practical circumstances of their own, rather than just pure laziness. Counting them as Remain voters may be severely misrepresenting their opinions.
K. A. Pital wrote:
Tribble wrote:The UK already has a solution - referendums are non-binding, and the government is perfectly able to ignore the results if they feel its not the "right" answer they were looking for. So no worries for those in the Remain group, the UK isn't going anywhere, there's too much money involved for the political / social elites to allow a Brexit to happen, even if the vote was far greater in favor of leaving than it was.
I don't think this will be so easily ignored. Merkel might not get her way because many understand that leaving things hanging "uh we unsure yes or no" is much worse in the long run than quickly removing Britain from the EU.
The point is that a British government can ignore a referendum. There is a mechanism for doing so. The mechanism may not be used in this case, for reasons specific to this situation, but it exists.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Zaune »

Simon_Jester wrote:The problem is that if you generalize this to all referenda, you're biasing things very heavily in favor of the status quo. Requiring 66.7%, or even 60%, of the population to turn out in favor of 'change the status quo' before anything can happen may seem appealing to Remain voters who lost this particular referendum, but it's not a good thing in general.
Biasing things in favour of the status quo was kind of the point, actually...

I dunno. Maybe a third option on the ballot for "I Don't Care"?
Likewise, there are probably a lot of people for whom not showing up on election day is a response to practical circumstances of their own, rather than just pure laziness. Counting them as Remain voters may be severely misrepresenting their opinions.
They had from 7AM to 10PM to attend the polling station in person, the ballot was announced several weks in advance and the voter registration deadline was extended by a week due to exceptionally high demand. You can appoint a proxy voter as long as you give 48 hours notice. We don't even ask for any proof of identity whatsoever on the day, not even proof of address.

Unless they were waylaid by a serious medical emergency and were unable to leave hospital to go to the polling station even in a Patient Transport Service vehicle accompanied by a nurse, I'm struggling to come up with any way someone could be unable to cast their ballot that wasn't at least partly due to their own negligence.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Crown »

AniThyng wrote:I was just pondering the people who claimed they would have voted for "remain" if they had known "leave" would have won and so "protest voted".
Can I just point out that aside from some anecdotal evidence and lots and lots of clickbait headlines I haven't actually seen any poll done to actually prove that this post Brexit regret from Leave voters is actually a thing?

Like the only poll I know of is from ComRes for the Sunday Mirror, and they show that in fact there is no such phenomenon at all (source)?
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Grumman »

Simon_Jester wrote:
Zaune wrote:Simply requiring a two-thirds majority instead of a simple majority might have fixed this one, honestly. Or just counting anyone who didn't bother showing up as a vote for Remain.
The problem is that if you generalize this to all referenda, you're biasing things very heavily in favor of the status quo. Requiring 66.7%, or even 60%, of the population to turn out in favor of 'change the status quo' before anything can happen may seem appealing to Remain voters who lost this particular referendum, but it's not a good thing in general.
It is a good thing in general, because society cannot turn on a dime. The worst thing that could happen is for the vote to flip-flop around the 50% mark for months or years, because even if you were on the Remain side, it's easier to plan your life knowing Brexit is going to happen than to plan for both possibilities. If the status quo cannot flip again until 20.01% of the population changes their mind, that's something you can rely upon; if only 0.01% is required you can't.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Crown »

Grumman wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:
Zaune wrote:Simply requiring a two-thirds majority instead of a simple majority might have fixed this one, honestly. Or just counting anyone who didn't bother showing up as a vote for Remain.
The problem is that if you generalize this to all referenda, you're biasing things very heavily in favor of the status quo. Requiring 66.7%, or even 60%, of the population to turn out in favor of 'change the status quo' before anything can happen may seem appealing to Remain voters who lost this particular referendum, but it's not a good thing in general.
It is a good thing in general, because society cannot turn on a dime. The worst thing that could happen is for the vote to flip-flop around the 50% mark for months or years, because even if you were on the Remain side, it's easier to plan your life knowing Brexit is going to happen than to plan for both possibilities. If the status quo cannot flip again until 20.01% of the population changes their mind, that's something you can rely upon; if only 0.01% is required you can't.
Referendums aren't that common that this should be a concern though. The last EU referendum was in 1975.
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Re: Is it possible to devise the voting system to prevent post result regret?

Post by Simon_Jester »

Zaune wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:The problem is that if you generalize this to all referenda, you're biasing things very heavily in favor of the status quo. Requiring 66.7%, or even 60%, of the population to turn out in favor of 'change the status quo' before anything can happen may seem appealing to Remain voters who lost this particular referendum, but it's not a good thing in general.
Biasing things in favour of the status quo was kind of the point, actually...
While that might seem like a good idea to you today when you were just on the losing side of a referendum you think is leading your country to a disaster... It will probably not seem like a good idea if applied generally in all times and places.
I dunno. Maybe a third option on the ballot for "I Don't Care"?
How is this different than the act of not showing up? If I really don't care, I won't bother to go to the polling place.
Unless they were waylaid by a serious medical emergency and were unable to leave hospital to go to the polling station even in a Patient Transport Service vehicle accompanied by a nurse, I'm struggling to come up with any way someone could be unable to cast their ballot that wasn't at least partly due to their own negligence.
Put this way. I think there are a lot of people who, if you paid them 50 pounds to not vote, would not vote.

There are perhaps even more people who would refrain from voting, if they had to pay 50 pounds to vote.

And there are probably at least that many people who will abstain from voting, if they see it as costing them 50 pounds in opportunity costs (such as closing their business for two hours).

If that reflects a character flaw on their part, then it is a flaw so common it's stupid to get indignant about it.
Grumman wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:
Zaune wrote:Simply requiring a two-thirds majority instead of a simple majority might have fixed this one, honestly. Or just counting anyone who didn't bother showing up as a vote for Remain.
The problem is that if you generalize this to all referenda, you're biasing things very heavily in favor of the status quo. Requiring 66.7%, or even 60%, of the population to turn out in favor of 'change the status quo' before anything can happen may seem appealing to Remain voters who lost this particular referendum, but it's not a good thing in general.
It is a good thing in general, because society cannot turn on a dime. The worst thing that could happen is for the vote to flip-flop around the 50% mark for months or years, because even if you were on the Remain side, it's easier to plan your life knowing Brexit is going to happen than to plan for both possibilities. If the status quo cannot flip again until 20.01% of the population changes their mind, that's something you can rely upon; if only 0.01% is required you can't.
Thing is, the degree of certainty would have to be attuned to the importance of the subject. Leaving the European Union is a big deal and perhaps it should be subject to a 60% majority requirement. But the SNP might reasonably cry 'bias' if someone told them that they had to pass a 60% threshold to get independence from Britain. And if I were voting to, for example, recall a bad politician, a 60% majority would seem excessive.

[Note that recalling bad politicians may or may not be something that referenda are used for in Britain, but it's certainly something they're used for in other countries.]

The argument that referenda should not be subjected to flip-flop is best addressed directly by not holding repeated referenda on the same subject over a short span of time. Requiring a supermajority is a solution to a different problem... and has problems of its own.
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