I have learnt about a simple yet interesting decision making model: instead of choosing the most voted outcome, choose the one that is the least disliked.

For example, the team has to decide a place to have a short team building and has three options:

  • (O1) go out for pizza
  • (O2) play ping-pong
  • (O3) play bowling

One classic way to choose is for each member to cast a vote and choose the option with the most votes. However, this might end with most disliking the outcome (winning options is favored by less than a half).

"Least resistance" decision making instead allows each member to place a "dislike" score for each option. Finally each option gets a "dislike" score (sum) and the least disliked (the option with has the least resistance in the team) is chosen.

I wondering if such a decision making (or similar) is or has been used in politics. Heuristically it should lead to satisfying results and it might also increase voter turnout, since this allows many to point to someone they hate.

Question: Is electing officials by least disliked or the candidate that creates the least "resistance" used or has been used in politics? Or at least to have such a model for decision making within political councils (e.g. city council)

  • 2
    I would say that a big problem with this if used in politics, is that it would probably lead to mediocrity - the person who is elected is the one who caused the least offense either way, quite probably the candidate who no one's ever heard of / cares about at all... Politicians would never try to get attention, try to avoid it in fact - which some may say is a good thing, but actually you'd just end up with a list of candidates you know nothing about. Politics would become even more negative as politicians try to convince you to vote against their opponents (rather than for them)
    – colmde
    Apr 12 '19 at 10:11

What you describe is called approval voting. You basically pick all options you'd be OK with and then tabulate the most approved.

It's in use in some places, or has been used - most prominently, in the Papal State and in the Republic of Venice in the past.

It's a great way to pick a restaurant between friends (if you use FPTP your burger eating friends may very well end up eating at a vegan place); it's not that great for actual elections because it's prone to strategic voting. (Ranked Choice voting is often considered better for that reason.)

  • 1
    Also used in some reality TV shows... (e.g. vote for who you'd like to see "evicted")
    – colmde
    Apr 12 '19 at 10:08

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