[EM] An addition to a recent post:

Instant Runoff Voting supporter donald at mich.com
Fri Nov 24 05:27:35 PST 2000


     Within the last few days I may have sent to you a post titled:
       "Do the Math on any Electoral College amendment."

    I now see that I merely assumed an important step. To make sure there
is no misunderstanding, at this time I would like to make that step very
    Below is the revised copy of the text. The necessary step is marked.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 11-24-00

     No one should put Instant Runoff Voting(IRV) on the back burner while
they wait for the Electoral College to be eliminated. (In other words:
Don't hold your breath)
     Instead, we should continue working to install IRV wherever and
whenever we can manage it, and forget about the elimination of the
Electoral College, or at least `Do the Math' before you join any movement.

Consider the following math:
  1) The president is not elected on only the basis of `one man one vote',
the states also have votes, two Electorial votes each, that was the deal.
  2) Most states, 37 of 50, have less than the average population of the
fifty states.
  3) Very few of the 37 below average population states are going to give
up their side of the deal. The two Electoral votes give each of these
states an extra edge in the election of the president.
  4) These 37 states have 168 members in the House of Congress. While it
would take 137 of these 168 members to stop an amendment in the House, it
could be done. If the amendment is not stopped in the House, the below
average population states will have an easier time of stopping it in the
  5) Only 17 states are needed to stop an amendment in the U.S. Senate.
(that too was part of the deal)
  6) Only 13 states are needed to stop an amendment from being passed by
the states. (also part of the deal)
     That's the math. (Read it and weep)

     Instead, you should support some good plan inside a state that will
treat all the voters, candidates, and parties equally, like the following
     A good plan would be that any state, acting alone, could use Instant
Runoff, but only down to two remaining candidates. The state's Electoral
votes would then be divided between these two according to the state's
popular vote count at the time of only two candidates.
     We must keep the last two candidates as contenders and we must divide
the votes between them because this is the only way in which all the voters
in a state can have a say when the final decision is made in the last part
of the election, when these Electoral votes are combined with the votes of
the other states. This is the policy of IRV - everyone can have a vote when
the final decision is made.

- - - - - - - - - added step - - - - - - - - -
     There is one more step before the state submits its official results.
The state must compare its final two candidates with the national final two
candidates. If the two are the same then there is nothing more to do, the
state can submit its official results. But, if the candidates are not the
same, then the state must do the runoff cycles over again with an added
rule. That rule is that neither of the national final two candidates are to
be eliminated this time around. A national runoff would do the same, it
would eliminate a nationally lower candidate even if that candidate was a
leading candidate in a few states.
     This rule is not to be used during the first round of Instant Runoff
     When it happens that the state's candidates are different from the
national candidates, that is because in the state a third party has
overtaken one of the usual top two parties. This may have also happened in
a few other states, but because the national numbers were not great enough
to make the third candidate one of the top two, we go back and recalculate
the final results of the state so that the state's top two are the same as
the national top two. This is necessary because, again, the people's votes
must be there when the final decision is to be made between the final two
national candidates.
- - - - - - - - end of added step - - - - - - - - -

     Under existing conditions, this plan offers the best way in which
Instant Runoff Voting can be used in our presidential election. This is
also the best plan for the so called third parties. When IRV is used in
many states, these third parties will receive far more votes than what they
now receive. Some will even bypass one of the current two major parties in
some states. But, a third party will need to overtake one of the current
top two parties in many states in order to really contend for the office of
the U.S. president. (sorry, but that's the way it is)
      We should take the division of the state's Electoral vote out to two
decimal places, the decimals may become important some day.  No need to
have live persons as Electors. They cannot always be trusted. (besides it
is not fitting to divide live people to two decimal places)

Winner Take all:
     I contend that a major part of the gap between population and
Electoral votes is caused by the policy of `Winner Take All' in the states
that have it. We cannot count on randomness to balance Electoral votes to
     Consider two states with the same number of Electoral votes.
Candidate(A) wins one state by 62 percent while candidate(B) wins the other
state by 51 percent. If we divide the Electoral votes according to popular
vote in each state and then add them together, the Electoral vote count for
these two states will be in the same percentages as the sums of the popular
votes of the two states. But, not so if these states have the `Winner Take
All' policy.
     The percentage gap between population and Electoral votes will be
smaller if we divide the Electoral votes in each state. Besides, the second
candidate in each state is entitled to his share of the electoral votes, so
that he may compete on the national scale.

Regards, Donald Davison

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