Single Winner Balloting

Mike Ossipoff dfb at
Thu Jul 4 13:29:04 PDT 1996

donald at writes:
> Dear members of the Election Methods List,
>           I cast my vote in the Single Winner Balloting for the - -
>                 I N S T A N T   R U N O F F   M E T H O D
>      At this time I would like to ask all members of this list the
> following question: Do you believe one hundred percent that Condorcet has
> made its case?
> If not - then I urge you to also vote for Instant Runoff. With your votes
> we can sweep this election. Right now it is a three way tie between Instant
> Runoff, Steve and Mike.

No it isn't. We're using rank-balloting, and Steve & I have both voted
both Condorcet versions over MPV ("Instant Runoff"). So far, then, it's
two to one for Condorcet over MPV. 

>      I content that Condorcet has not made the case on why Condorcet is
> superior to Instant Runoff. Condorcet requires us to make a giant leap of
> faith in order for us to go from Instant Runoff to Condorcet.

Where have you been? I've listed several important, and precisely-stated,
criteria that Condorcet meets, and which MPV fails:

1. Lesser-of-2-Evils Criterion #1
2. Lesser-of-2-Evils Criterion #2
3. Generalized Majority Criterion

In addition to precisely defining these criteria, I've talked about
why they're important, and I've demonstrated that Condorcet
meets them. I've shown several examples in which MPV fails them.

So a case has been made for Condorcet, and against MPV. You haven't
answered it. Your letter to which I'm replying doesn't answer
my case for Condorcet & against MPV.

Basically the reason why those criteria are important is because
the lesser-of-2-evils problem is important to voters. It dominates
their voting behavior. Getting rid of the lesser-of-2-evils problem
is agreed-upon as the important goal of sw reform. Condorcet does
that, and MPV doesn't.

>      Condorcet is a belief - you must believe - like a cult.

No, Don, it's you who are asking for belief, asking people to take
your word on faith. As I said, I've carefully & precisely defined
some criteria, told why I claim that they're important, and shown
that Condorcet meets them, and that MPV fails them. Maybe the 
lesser-of-2-evils problem isn't important to Don. But it is important
to voters & electoral reformers. That isn't a belief; it's a fact.

>      I have read all information that has been made available on this list
> and the CVD web site. The arguments do not compute. Simply put Condorcet
> argues that if neither of the two lead candidates has a majority then the
> third candidate must be the winner. This poor logic can be found on the CVD

Nonsense. Where does it say that in the definition of Condorcet's method?
Now, if the "third candidate" that you're talking about is a middle
compromise, between the "lead candidates", and neither of the extremes
has a majority, then why do you want one of them to win? Under those
conditions, the middle candidate has majorities over each of the other
candidates, and would beat either one of them in separate 1-on-1
elections. We've been all over this a number of times, Don.

> web site under Condorcet's Method via Alternative Methods.
>      Sometimes Condorcet alludes to the term True Selection of the People
> as if that is its standard - but there is no standard. If there were a

That's news to me. I haven't used the term "True Selection of the People",
and I'm not aware of other Condorcet advocates using it. Certainly none
of have used that term as a "standard". If you'd paid attention to
the discussion, you'd know what our standards are. Condorcet's method
was chosen by us because it best meets the standards that are
important to voters & electoral reformers, based on their comments.

> standard we would have the right to ask - Why not use the standard as our
> election method and drop both Condorcet and Instant Runoff?

Actually, Condorcet's method is a transparent & direct
rule for complying with the Generalized Majority Criterion, upon
which the Lesser-of-2-Evils criteria are based. A standard isn't
really precise enough for a definition of a method, certainly not
enough for an electoral law. A criterion, or a set of criteria,
could conceivably be the rule stated by an electoral law, but
I've never heard of such an electoral law, and people prefer an
exact _procedural_ rule. So we find a choice rule which meets the
criteria that we want to meet. The use of a set of criteria as
an electoral law, while perhaps being workable in principle, would
leave people wondering how the criteria would be implemented. People
want a procedural choice rule.

>      The bottom line is that Condorcet is using the results of the
> Condorcet Method as its standard and proof that Condorcet is the best.

Nonsense. You've been out-to-lunch during the whole discussion.

> Condorcet position is that the Condorcet method must be the best because it
> yields results that look more like Condorcet than anything else. This logic

It's best because it gets rid of the lesser-of-evils problem demonstrably
better than other methods, including MPV.

> is similar to saying that a hippopotamus is called a hippopotamus because
> it looks more like a hippopotamus than anything else.
>      For the sake of making another point let us assume that Condorcet does
> yet prove it is the best - like some of you believe. Do you think that the
> people are going to buy into the Numerology of Condorcet? I Think Not! That
> would be too tough a sell.

So your method isn't "numerology", but other methods are? I've tried
to use precise definitions. Look up "numerology", to be sure that
it's the word that says what you're trying to say. If not, maybe
you could say what you mean a little better. Every count method
unavoidably involves numbers.

>      Therefore I urge both sides of this debate to vote for Instant Runoff
> and let us get on with Election Reform.

No one's stopping you from getting on with electoral reform. You can
even pursue electoral "reforms" that are really inadequate, like MPV,
if you want to. No one's preventing you.

Mike Ossipoff

> Signed: Donald Eric Davison of The Election Reform Gospel According to New
> Democracy at
> .-


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