Let's found an organization to oppose IRV

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Thu Nov 9 17:39:12 PST 2000

> >Mr. Ossipoff wrote--
> >
> >Would anyone like to help me found a national organization to
> >prevent the enactment of IRV in the U.S.?
> >
>Let's look at the recent American Presidential election.  You've
>mentioned that you support Nader.  Now, let's say you want to explain to
>a fellow Nader supporter why you prefer plurality to IRV.
>Presumably he would say, that under IRV he gets to vote for his real
>favourite, and still prevent the Republican from winning.

That has symbolic value, I guess, but of course the LO2E voter can
only do it when Nader hasn't got a chance. It's safe to vote Nader 1st
only when it can't do any good, results-wise. You call that a reform?

>Perhaps, if
>the Green party is effective in getting its message across, and voters
>aren't afraid of vote-splitting, they could eventually win.  Under
>plurality, people won't vote Green because they are wasting their votes.

Yeah? Apparently we succeeded in sinking Gore. When the middle
CW is someone like Gore, I want to get rid of the LO2E problem so
that voters can vote sincerely, even when it matters. It isn't that
I want to protect the likes of Al Gore.

>In approval, he at least gets to vote his favourite as one of the
>approved, but cannot vote it in first place without wasting the vote.
>So, for this voter, approval appears not as good as IRV.

Of course you're right about the mistaken belief that any rank method
is better than any nonrank method. To that person, I'd explain that
this safety of ranking Nader 1st disappears as soon as it could do any
good. That same voter will later be voting a Gore over a Nader, having
seen what IRV can do. With Approval he'd never have to do that. So I
would explain that to him.

>But you're not even just claiming that IRV isn't as good as approval.
>You're claiming that it is worse than plurality.  How could you justify
>that to your fellow Nader supporter, especially after the last election?

There are certainly a number of ways in which Plurality is better than
IRV. Participation, IIAC, Consistency, etc. For me, an important way
in which IRV becomes worse than Plurality is when candidates' support
tapers gradually away from the voter median point, with the voter
median canddiate having the most 1st choice support. That doesn't sound
at all unusual or contived. In fact it sounds typical. And in that
ordinary, typical scenario, IRV fails where sincere voting would work
fine in Plurality.

How is IRV better than Plurality? Though IRV fails UUCC, it doesn't
do so as easily as Plurality does. And IRV meets MMC, and Plurality
doesn't. MMC is about a fortuitous special case, so it doesn't mean
much to me. But it weighs some on the IRV side, in IRV's comparison
with Plurality.

MMC doesn't mean anything when comparing IRV to Approval, because
every favorable IRV MMC example is an IRV badexample, for the
IRV failings that we're all familiar with.

But, in those MMC examples, Plurality is no better than IRV, no matter
which side of the example you're on, and, on one side, Plurality is
worse than IRV.

I think it's questionable whether MMC is enough to outweigh the
gradual-taper-from-the-median scenario. I'd say that the best we can
say for IRV, with respect to Plurality, is that the comparison is
inconclusive. It seems to me that IRV is a little worse, but different
people would weight those 2 scenarios differently.

So it isn't so much that IRV is _worse_ than Plurality--it's that
if it's better at all, it isn't significantly better. And why waste
our time with a nonreform posing as a reform?

Mike Ossipoff

>Blake Cretney

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