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Range Voting

By       Message Paul Cohen       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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Returning from a stay at a bed and breakfast, I email requesting that I rate the B&B. Recalling the cold bed with only one thin blanket and breakfast consisting of tepid coffee and a piece of dry toast, I clicked on the link for the survey but found just a single question. Did I enjoy my stay?

The available answers were:

      1. Yes

      2. Enjoyed very much

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      3. Thoroughly enjoyed it

      4. Perfect

      5. Outstanding

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This stands as a nice example of a positive voting system as described in

an earlier article but it seems to be missing something - balance perhaps.

This story also illustrates a range voting ballot, in this case having a range consists of the five ratings listed above. To tally the votes from all the guests over time, the ratings are assigned numerical values, such as the ones shown, that are added or perhaps averaged, depending on how the results are to be used.

Like IRV, range voting allows the voter to register different degrees of approval or, in a slight variation, disapproval of candidates.

In another earlier article of this series I introduced a system of voting that I called Balanced Approval Voting and a reader correctly observed that BAV amounted to range voting with three scores in its range. Using BAV, a voter designates each candidate as one of:

      1. Disapprove

      2. Neither approve or disapprove

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      3. Approve

To tally the votes, we could use the indicated numeric values, 1, 2 and 3 or we could use the values -1, 0 and 1 as suggested in that earlier article. Whichever number assignments are used, the winner will remain the same so long as they are kept in that order and spaced evenly.

Well, actually that is not quite the case. To be certain of that claim we must specify that every voter specifies a rating for every single candidate.

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A concerned citizen and former mathematician/engineer now retired and living in rural Maine.

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