Look what the cat dragged in!

New Democracy donald at mich.com
Fri Oct 16 04:18:22 PDT 1998


     MikeO is again subjecting us to his tirads on Choice Run-Off(IRO) - he
is against it.
     There is no fear that people will embrace the cat's offerings, most
people are sensible. But in an effort to give some balance to this current
debate that has been dragged onto this list, I would like to offer my order
of the different single seat election methods. My list is ranked according
to the highest number of times each method will give us a majority winner.

     1) Choice Run-Off(IRO)
     2) Top Two Run-Off
     3) Condorcet
     4) Approval Voting
     5) Plurality(FPTP)

     It should be noted that if the count of the first choices would give
us a majority winner every time we would not need any of these methods.
But, because we do not always get a majority on the first count we are
seeking some method which will give us a majority winner. We should keep in
mind that the point of using some method is the quest of a majority winner.
     In other words: The main requirement of a method is to produce
majority winners.

     Plurality does not claim to give us a majority winner. The lead
candidate is the winner. The position of being the plurality winner has no
special value in our quest for a majority winner.

     Approval Voting is not much better than Plurality because most of the
time it will not give us a majority winner. The supporters of Approval
Voting attempt to get around the lack of a majority problem by changing the
defination of majority, but this can lead to all the candidates getting a
     Approval has another major flaw. Your second choice will be used to
help defeat your first and most preferred choice.

     Condorcet is better than Approval Voting because Condorcet should give
us a majority two out of three times. That third time, Condorcet gives all
candidates a majority. Our quest is looking for something better than this.

     Top Two Run-Off will give us a majority winner every time, except the
rare case of a tie between the top two candidates in the run-off election.
But Top Two Run-Off does have a flaw. When there are four or more
candidates in which two or more are eliminated at one time, it is possible
to eliminate the wrong candidate. The rule is that when two or more
candidates are to be eliminated at the same time, the sum of the votes of
the dropped candidates must be less than the votes of any one of the
remaining candidates.

     Choice Run-Off only eliminates one candidate at a time, therefore it
will not be eliminating the wrong candidate - this is a big improvement
over Top Two Runoff. Besides, Choice Run-Off only needs one election vs two
elections for Top Two Run-Off. Choice Run-Off also has means to solve any
tie between two or more candidates.
     It goes without saying, Choice Run-Off will give us a majority winner
every time.
     Remember, the main requirement of a method is to produce majority winners.

     Choice Run-Off(IRO) is head and shoulders better than Top Two Run-Off,
but Mike comes to the reverse conclusion - MikeO is wrong.
     Choice Run-Off will give us a majority winner every time - Plurality
will never give us a majority winner, but MikeO concludes that Plurality is
better than Choice Run-Off - MikeO is wrong again.

     MikeO is often wrong, but in this case we can be kind to him and blame
the means he used to reach his conclusions. MikeO used two of the methods
as standards to compare the other methods. I quote MikeO:
     "... it looks as if Runoff is clearly better than IRO, if it means
anything to elect a CW--or a CW that's a plurality winner."

     MikeO is using the Condorcet Winner(CW) and the Plurality winner as
measures. When MikeO did this he gave himself away - he is showing us that
he does not know how to compare apples and oranges. When we compare apple
to oranges we cannot use the apple nor the orange as a standard to campare
either fruit. Likewise we cannot use Condorcet nor Plurality nor any of the
election methods to compare the other methods.
     The position of being the Condorcet winner or the Plurality winner has
no special value in our quest for a majority winner. Some of the Condorcet
and/or Plurality winners will become majority winners and some will not.
     The best that can be said for MikeO is that "it was not his fault - he
was let down by his standards". MikeO was in bad company.
     Runoff is not clearly better than IRO and it means nothing to elect a
CW -- nor a CW that's a plurality winner.

     Choice Run-Off is the best of the single seat election methods and any
community that is thinking about changing to Choice Run-Off is taking a
positive step towards election reform.
     The Center for Voting and Democracy is correct in their effort to
promote what they call Instant Run-Off Voting(aka Choice Run-Off).

Donald Davison

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