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The social value of voting in elections is something where I've seen a lot of good arguments on both sides of an issue and it's unresolved with substantial implications for how I should behave. I would really love to see a debate between Holden Karnofsky, Eric Neyman, and Toby Ord against Chris Freiman and Jacob Falkovich.

Context for people who don't follow the authors:

"Why Swing-State Voting is not Effective Altruism" by Jason Brennan and Chris Freiman: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jopp.12273

Eric Neyman on voting:

https://ericneyman.wordpress.com/?s=vot

"Casting the Decisive Vote" by Toby Ord

https://www.tobyord.com/writing/decisive-vote

"Vote Against" by Jacob Falkovich

https://putanumonit.com/2015/12/30/010-voting/

I will say that I think most of this stuff is really just dancing around the fundamental issue, which is that expected value of your single vote really isn't the best way of thinking about it. Your vote "influences" other people's vote, either through acausal decision theory or because of norms that build up (elections are repeated games, after all!).

I think the local causal expected value of your vote and most other things you do is actually a decent proxy, even if you accept acausal influence. The proxy probably doesn't work well if you include options to trade acausally (unless acausal trade is much weaker than non-trade-based acausal influence and so can be practically ignored).

  1. I doubt your own voting has much causal impact on the voting behaviour of others.

  2. I doubt there's much acausal influence from your voting on others locally on this Earth (and this quantum branch, under many-worlds).

  3. And then everything gets multiplied with correlated agents across a multiverse, not just voting. So if voting didn't look good on its local causal EV compared to other things you could do with that time, then I doubt it would look good on its acausal EV (suitably defined, in case of infinities).

I guess one caveat with acausal influence across a multiverse is that the agents you're correlated with could be voting on entirely different things, with totally different local stakes (and some voting for things you'd disagree with). But the same would be true for other things you do and your acausal influence over others for them. So, it’s not clear this further favours voting in particular over other things.

Hmm, I still don’t think this response quite addresses the intuition. Various groups yield outsized political influence owing to their higher rates of voting - seniors, a lot of religious groups, post-grad degree ppl, etc. Nonetheless, they vote in a lot of uncompetitive races where it would seem their vote doesn’t matter. It seems wrong that an individual vote of theirs has much EV in an uncompetitive race. On the other hand, it seems basically impossible to mediate strategy such that there is still a really strong norm of voting in competitive races but not in uncompetitive races (and besides it’s not clear that that would even suffice given that uncompetitive races would become competitive in the absence of a very large group). I think all the empirical evidence shows that groups that turn out more in competitive races also do so in uncompetitive races.

So you think your influence on future voting behavior is more impactful than your effect on the election you vote in?

That and/or acausal decision theory is at play for this current election

What are some EA/LW/etc coworking spaces that could accommodate ~10 people for ~5 days? I'm aware of Constellation and Lighthaven (Berkeley, CA), HAIST and MAIA (Cambridge, MA), Wytham Abbey and Trajan House (Oxford, UK), CEEALAR (Blackpool, UK), LEAH and LISA (London, UK), Epistea and Fixed Point (Prague, Czechia). Are there any others?

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