[EM] Open primary

Tom Ruen tomruen at itascacg.com
Fri Apr 13 04:07:30 PDT 2001

Tom (that's me) said:
> For partisan primary elections, Minnesota (as like most states I assume)
> makes people vote only for all candidates of one party, or their ballot is
> spoiled. The theory is that parties don't want supporters of the opposite
> party voting for the overall less popular (or more extreme) of two
> candidates hoping that candidate will pass the primary and not get the
> independent votes to win the general election.
> P.S. [One related thought] to nonpartisan elections like city council: If
> general election has 2 open seats, and voters can vote for two candidates,
> and a "primary" will allow 4 candidates to go on to the general election,
> then you can consider it a "4 seat/winner" primary. Four winners means
> votes, right?! This sounds like backdoor logic to get approval voting into
> open primaries! This is, IN FACT, pure approval w/runoff! Very

Now that I think more, my initial thoughts against open primaries
demonstrate why approval w/runoff is a poor method - because voters can
strategically vote against candidates in early rounds that are judged most
likely to defeat one's favorite in the final round. Approval w/runoff gives
voters too much power to vote AGAINST specific candidates with insincere
support for others.

This seems a very good argument against allowing voters more votes than
seats/final-winners in a runoff process. I wonder if voters really would
approval vote for a democrat and republican in an open primary to eliminate
a strong centrist? It is hard to imagine, but it is a very safe vote if a
second election is guaranteed.

It is perhaps amazing - approval voting favors compromise candidates while
approval w/runoff with strategic insincere voting may eliminate good
compromises more often than even plurality!

Because of this problem, I am forced to judge that I really can't approval
of approval w/runoffs! Wow!


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