part 3, cat dragged in reply

Mike Ositoff ntk at
Fri Oct 16 21:30:53 PDT 1998

replying farther down:

> Greetings,
>      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
> majority.
>      Approval has another major flaw. Your second choice will be used to
> help defeat your first and most preferred choice.

Only if you vote for it when you didn't need to, and sufficiently
many other people do. But IRO has the same problem, if you try
to help a candidate that you mistakenly believe that you need in
order to beat someone worse, by insincerely ranking that compromise
1st. The difference, as I said before, is that Approval, compared
to IRO, needs twice as many suckers to give away an election. And
with Approval, it doesn't happen at equilibrium, though it can
with IRO & Plurality.

>      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.

Your quest has found something that I didn't know about: Condorcet
gives all the candidates a majority?

>      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.

Runoff admittedly isn't as good as VA or Approval, but I've talked
about why it's better than IRO. for one thing, a CW can't lose
if it is 1st or 2nd in terms of 1st choice votes.

>      Choice Run-Off only eliminates one candidate at a time, therefore it
> will not be eliminating the wrong candidate - this is a big improvement

So it didn't eliminate the wrong candidate in my 60,70,100,83,75 example?
The example where a CW who's favorite to more people than any other
candidate loses?

> 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

Genuine Runoff could be done with one election, and then "Instant
Runoff" wouldn't be a fraudulent name. It would use rankings,
counted like Runoff. If no one has a 1st choice majority, then
determine which of the top 2 is ranked over the other by more people.

> 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.

_Your_ main requirement. Not everyone agrees that it means anything
to "produce" a majority winner.

>      Choice Run-Off(IRO) is head and shoulders better than Top Two Run-Off,
> but Mike comes to the reverse conclusion - MikeO is wrong.

Well, that settles that issue :-)

>      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.

You're wrong there: I've been saying that IRO & FPP are near equal,
that the difference is inconclusive.

>      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

IRO advocates use the Plurality standard when they say that it's
ok to eliminate a CW who has fewest 1st choice votes. Then they
try to hide from it when IRO eliminates a CW Plurality winner.

As for the Condorcet Criterion, only the most ignorant spacecase
could say that we're using a method as a standard. The Condorcet
Criterion methods are advocated because we consider the Condorcet
Criterion important. Again, Don appears quite ignorant of the standards
that are universally agreed-upon by voting system authors.


> 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).
> Regards,
> Donald Davison
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