Let's found an organization to oppose IRV

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Mon Nov 13 17:30:41 PST 2000

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?
>I see three reasons for viewing this as more than a symbolic reform.
>1)  The electoral system gives certain advantages (money) to candidates
>with enough first place support.

That's true, but, using Approval, if Nader gets more votes than
the losing big-2 candidate, and if the ballots voting for Nader+Gore
outnumber the ballots voting for Gore but not Nader, then that too
should show everyone that Nader is a deserving contender.

But yes, it's true that even IRV would bring the benefit that you
suggested, if Nader really was a sure-loser. But I don't believe
he was. My conversations indicate that Nader is favorite to more
people than Gore is. If people voted sincerely in IRV, in this
election, Nader might very well eliminate Gore. And then he might
lose to Bush, just as in our badexamples. After that happens, how
many of our cautious progressives will vote sincerely again. It will
be as in Australia, where small party people vote usually for a
lesser-evil big-2 candidate in 1st place.

>2)  To eventually win, a party will likely have to go through a stage of
>only symbolic support, which will make people take it more seriously.

Sure, but, at that transitional stage, passing from sure loser to
winner, there's a spoiler stage in Plurality & IRV, where people will
learn the hard way that they can't safely vote for that party or
candidate fully.

>3)  It seems clear that some people will vote for a third party, even
>though it doesn't help.  IRV keeps their votes from being wasted, and
>would obviously have had an effect in the last election.

I believe it's likely that Nader would have eliminated Gore in
this recent election, using IRV in one big national count.

>There's a similar problem in approval, though.  For Nader to actually
>win, his supporters have to start voting for him alone.  This creates a
>risk of back-firing.  It's also not clear to me that people will
>understand precisely when they should make this shift.

When Nader gets more votes than the Republican. Then it will be clear
that we can beat the Republican without giving the election away to
the Democrat.

Of course, Approval isn't Condorcet. We can't expect the luxuries of
Condorcet with other methods. But Approval, unlike IRV shows Nader's
support even when his voters strategize to protect Gore. Approval
quickly homes in on the voter median position, and stays there.

To be continued later tonight...

Mike Ossipoff

>>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
> >>that to your fellow Nader supporter, especially after the last
> >
> >There are certainly a number of ways in which Plurality is better than
> >IRV. Participation, IIAC, Consistency, etc.
>Saying that approval meets IIAC is meaningless, because the method can't
>represent a full ranking of the candidates.  We therefore don't know how
>the voter would have voted with fewer candidates, even assuming
>Participation and Consistency suggest that the method is in some way
>consistent with itself.  Although I don't view these criteria as
>reasonable, someone who did might argue that a methods
>self-inconsistency proves that it isn't giving the ideal answer in all
>cases.  However, I'm not arguing that for IRV, and you're not arguing
>that for approval.
> > 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
> >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.
>Obviously, if the CW gets a plurality of the votes, I agree that
>plurality is picking the best winner.  However, you seem to be implying
>that a gradual tapering will always result in IRV picking someone
>different.  Is that true?
>I wouldn't be so confident in the centre being a plurality winner.  This
>depends on how close the next two most extreme positions are to the
>centre on the ideological spectrum.  If people vote on a left-right
>basis, then a central candidate will on average only get half the number
>of votes between the nextmost left and nextmost right candidates.
> >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?
>I certainly wouldn't argue that IRV is the best possible.  On the other
>hand, I wouldn't try to organize against the efforts of people trying to
>implement it.
>But perhaps you can help me with what I consider to be the biggest
>problem with approval.  Because in approval you must place all
>candidates in one of two conditions, you run into problems if there are
>a large number of reasonable candidates.
>For example, if parties started running their presidential candidates
>directly in the election, instead of a primary, then a voter has to make
>a choice.  Do I use my ballot to distinguish between candidates from my
>party, and therefore increase the danger of the other party winning, or
>do I vote a strict party slate and get no opportunity to distinguish
>between the candidates of my party.
>When the result comes in it doesn't appear to me to be terribly
>meaningful.  If one party triumphs over another, than can just mean that
>it's supporters were more willing to ignore differences between its
>candidates.  If one candidate wins among the candidates of one party,
>that may just mean that his supporters were more willing to risk loss to
>the other party.  Kind of like a game of "chicken".
>For this reason, I see IRV as being substantially better than approval
>when there are a large number of winnable candidates.
>Blake Cretney

Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com.

Share information about yourself, create your own public profile at 

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list