# Electoral College reform (was Re: Addition to earlier post)

Steve Eppley seppley at alumni.caltech.edu
Mon Oct 14 21:18:07 PDT 1996

```Don wrote:

>I wish to make an addition to my earlier post today dealing with
>Electorial College reform.  I wish to increase the number of
>candidates in the runoff of top candidates.
>The change is as follows:
>  The candidates in the runoff will be the top two plus any other
>  candidates that can win the national election if they gain all
>  the electoral votes of the reformed states.

Good.  That's my proposal, almost, but not quite as good as mine,
imho: there's no good reason to include the "top two" if they can't
win nationally.  (There's also a weakness in the way Don would
decide which are the top two, since the vote-for-only-one ballots
in the unreformed states stink.)

To morph it into my proposal:
The candidates in the runoff will be any candidate(s) that can
win the national election if all the electoral votes of the
candidate(s) won in the unreformed states.
I think this is also better than Don's on the KISS standard.  :-)

Instead of using the term "runoff", which implies a second round
of balloting in the reform states, just use the results of the sw
method in the reform states after eliminating the candidates who
can't possibly win from the ballots which were already cast.

I also agree with Mike's suggestion that the candidate who finishes
last in the combined reformed states should also be eliminated from
contention.  There's no point in awarding delegates to the most
despised candidate just because s/he's the only one who can win a
majority of the electoral college.  That would be worse than letting
the House of Representatives pick a winner.  (There may be ways to
improve this even further, such as to include the None Of The Rest
choice and eliminate all candidates beaten by NOTR.)

* *

Single-winner methods do more than pick a winner--they also sort all
the candidates in a "collective preference" order if the following
algorithm is applied:

To find which candidate finishes in nth place in the collective
order, eliminate the 1st thru (n-1)th place finishers from the
ballots, retally the remaining candidates using the sw method,
and select the "winner" of the remaining candidates.

For example, given the 3-candidate race with the familiar ballots:
20: Clinton

If the method is Condorcet then the collective order is:
That's because Clinton is the sw winner and therefore the 1st place
finisher in the collective order.  After eliminating Clinton from
the ballots, what's left is:
20: wasted
Dole wins this by Condorcet and gets the 2nd place spot in the
collective order.  That leaves the 3rd place spot to Nader.

If the method is Instant Runoff then the collective order is:

* *

So, the current proposal (which perhaps Don, Mike and I can all
agree on) is:
1. Determine the collective order in the combined reformed states.
(The sw method isn't specified here, but all the reformed states
would have to agree on which one.)
2. Eliminate from the collective order the last place finisher.
3. (optional) Eliminate candidates beaten by NOTR.
4. Eliminate from the collective order all candidates who can't
win a majority of the electoral college.
5. If at least one candidate remains in the collective order,
award all the reformed states' delegates to the collectively
most preferred of the remaining candidates.
Else award all the delegates to the candidate who was first in
the collective order before any eliminations were made (i.e.,
first in the order determined in step 1.)

Example:
Suppose the reformed states have 120 delegates to award.
Suppose Dole and Clinton each won at least 150 delegates in the
unreformed states but Nader won less than 150 delegates.
Suppose the collective order in the reformed states is:
Step 2: Eliminate the last place finisher Nader:
1.Dole 2.Clinton
Step 3: not applicable: NOTR wasn't used.
Step 4: Eliminate Nader (again) since he can't win 270 delegates:
1.Dole 2.Clinton
Step 5: Award the 120 delegates to Dole, who wins the office.

The more states join the reformed group, the greater would be the
incentives on the other states to join.  When the reformed group
reaches 270 delegates, the other states would feel compelled to
join before the next election, whether or not they allow citizens'
initatives.

---Steve     (Steve Eppley    seppley at alumni.caltech.edu)

```