Making Decisions

Top Preferences with Set Points

Sometimes you and your friends have to make a choice among many possible options. We see this in the selection of the Most Valuable Player of a sports league like MLB or NBA, where any player that plays in the league would be eligible to win. We would like to have a fast method to select a winner that also shows people’s preferences.

For the NBA MVP selection, the voters, made up of sportswriters and broadcasters, vote for their top five choices:

1st-place vote = 10 points; 2nd-place vote = 7 points; 3rd-place vote = 5 points;
4th-place vote = 3 points; 5th-place vote = 1 point. Source: Business Insider.

So instead of before — asking everyone for one selection, or give a point distribution for all choices — we can ask each group member to give their first choice and second choice. We then make a fixed assignment of points. For instance, each first-place vote = 10 points and each second-place vote = 4 points.

Use this voting method for your restaurant choices. Choose the number of top choices each person can make and set the point assignments. Do you get a new winner?

Questions to Ponder:

(1) If you have only few choices to select a winner from, would you choose this voting method?

(2) Could such a voting lead to a tie? If so, what would you do?

(3) What is your favorite voting method? Could you come up with a better one?