[EM] IRV mailing party adventures

Richard Moore rmoore4 at home.com
Tue Apr 3 21:22:51 PDT 2001

Tom Ruen wrote:

> I would assume a voter ALWAYS wants a ranked candidate to get a vote over an
> unranked candidate, but I suppose this may not be the case. He claimed the
> system shouldn't make assumptions about what it means to leave candidates
> unranked.

He has it backwards.

Systems don't make assumptions. They implement specifications. It is a task
of voter education to ensure that voters don't make the wrong assumption
about what the system will do with their vote. This is true of any system.
Even in Plurality, a voter needs to be aware that her ballot is invalid if
she makes multiple marks (i.e., that it is not an Approval election).

> Now I see this MUST make a difference, that we must give a win to a ranked
> candidate over an unranked candidate! We can't say Gore supporters don't
> have an opinion between Gore and Bush just because Bush is left unranked!
> That is too crazy to contemplate! The unranked default must always mean last
> place.

I would agree to that, but that isn't to say that a system that implements the
other rule is defective (I haven't considered the question carefully, so I
don't know). But yes, voters will have to be informed of the meaning of not
ranking a choice.


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