What name should I use for the incumbent method?

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What name should I use for the incumbent method?

Sorry, I didn't see an appropriate forum for this question so I picked the best I could. Moderates can move as needed I hope.

on the flyer (http://electology.org/sites/default/files/flyer_approval_voting_double-s...) It uses the term plurality voting for our current system. Basically this means the most votes wins. Isn't this true for approval voting? I am confused why "Plurality Voting" was selected as the opposing name for the voting system most commonly used. I have found it difficult myself to find a simple descriptive name. First past the post, majority takes all, and others have been used.

I believe I am going to start using a more concise rhetorical device  when discussing our current system. I plan to call it:

Restrictive Choice Voting

This will not get me hung up on whether a majority is required or not and focuses on the important aspect of our system which is limiting choices. The problem Approval Voting fixes.

I am posting this here because others may understand what I am dealing with better. They may know proper wording or have come up with a better name. I am not really looking for the best nomenclature here to most accurately describe and label our standard voting system, although I am interested in that, but instead I am looking for an appropriate rhetorical PR device. 

If this has already been well hashed out and I just missed it I apologize. I was trying to answer a question today and just fell short of a short and helpful label to call our voting system.

My pet peeve!

>Basically this means the most votes wins. Isn't this true for approval voting? 
>I am confused why "Plurality Voting" was selected as the opposing name for the voting system most commonly used.

Yes, exactly! I believe that poor nomenclature is partly to blame for our lack of success. "We want to replace the current crappy voting method, Plurality Voting, with a method where you can choose as many candidates as you want, and the winner is the one with a plurality." 

We name the current voting method by its decision basis, and our preferred method by its expression method. No consistency. And then there is "first past the post"... Uh, where is the post with a plurality?

So I usually call it choose-one plurality voting (COPV), or choose-N plurality voting (CNPV) in the multi-winner case (which others call plurality-at-large voting). Few agree with me, but a couple have begun prefixing their PV with a lower-case "choose-one" as a clarifier. I'll settle for that.

You'll find more on this topic if you search for "nomenclature" or "taxonomy" In our google group:


Just my opinion

I believe the term First Past the Post was analogous to a horse race. You bet on one horse to win per race. The key phrase being "per race". The first horse to run a set distance is the winner regardless of time. While in politics, the candidate to get the most votes by a certain time is the winner regardless of distance from zero to top vote getter.

When there's more than one or two candidates under plurality, a close political race means the winner may get only a plurality of votes instead of a majority. I said one candidate because so many legislative districts nowadays are gerrymandered such that one major party candidate winning a primary election runs either unopposed or against a minor party candidate in the general election who has zero chance of getting a majority vote.

Approval voting can elect a winner without a majority of the of the votes, and it can also produce a winner with multiple candidates getting a majority of the votes. Say there are 100 voters and six candidates. Candidate A gets 77 approvals, Candidate B gets 61 approvals, Candidate C gets 52 approvals, and the rest get under 50. A majority of voters approved of three candidates, but only Candidate A in a single-member district is elected to the position.

While I like the marketing aspect of your term "Restrictive Choice Voting", there are a couple of problems I have with it. First, it seems restrictive only from a cardinal voting advocate's point of view. That's because it restricts a voter's expression of information to voting for only one candidate per race. With approval voting and other cardinal methods, a voter gets to express an opinion for each and every candidate not each race only. Second, the acronym RCV is already being used for marketing purposes by advocates of ordinal voting systems as the term "Ranked Choice Voting". Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is the most common ordinal system used today and promoted by FairVote in the US as a RCV method.

I personally use the term plurality instead of FPTP because it is shorter and the vast majority of the people understand the terminology. For other systems, I use categorical names where appropriate: cardinal or ordinal; or I use specific names of the methods: Instant Runoff, Approval, Borda, Score, Condorcet, etc. I prefer Score Voting as a name to Range Voting, but I've seen those two names used interchangeably. Whatever terms you use, there needs to be a connection with those terms as symbols to something better than what we have now. Until that happens, it doesn't matter what you call a particular voting method.

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