When alternatives are presented; when candidates are nominated and proposed
In majority-based systems, both in voting on issues and in electing candidates, an individual’s vote can produce an inadequate picture of what he really wanted to express; it can even lead to an outcome that is different from the one intended. As the number of alternatives or nominations and candidates rises, it becomes harder to achieve a particular result by voting contrary to one’s own convictions. Sequential choice and fund voting appear to change this. The addition of another alternative or candidate does not complicate the vote. It is therefore probable that the number of alternatives or candidates will be larger with sequential choice or fund voting than with conventional majority-based voting, and that there will be less opportunity to achieve results by voting dishonestly. It is a feature of both sequential choice and fund voting that closely similar alternatives can be proposed without this damaging one’s interests.
As is only natural when a new method is being discussed, people ask whether it is open to abuse through tactical voting. In the case of sequential choice, there is little experience to go on as yet; if people do cheat, then they don’t advertise the fact. In two instances of which I am aware, it was alleged that people had voted contrary to their own convictions. In a sequential choice in a senior school it was rumoured that a group of pupils had ranked the alternatives contrary to their own convictions. This proved not to have been the case. In a seven-man committee sequential choice was used without any preparation in a case in which there were three alternatives. People’s positions were known in advance, and it was suspected that one of the members had ranked the alternatives contrary to his convictions, in the light of what he thought he knew about the other members’ positions. With so few participants it was easy to have such an overview. The fact remains, however, that since more alternatives are likely to be presented in sequential choice and fund voting than in conventional methods, it will become more difficult to get an overview of the general pattern; it should therefore become more difficult to achieve a particular result by abusing the system.
Questions of many types may arise as to whether fund voting is open to abuse. The author is not aware of any examples where attempts were made or intended, but on the other hand there is as yet very little experience of the method on which to rely. To begin with, fund voting will probably not be used for purposes other than surveying opinions. Those who assess the findings of such surveys will then, as always, have to pay attention to how they were conducted and, in particular, to the question of whether people have tried to use tactical voting.