Let's found an organization to oppose IRV

Bart Ingles bartman at netgate.net
Tue Nov 21 22:25:34 PST 2000

LAYTON Craig wrote:
> Bart Ingles wrote:
> >Realistic elections would have some variation in voter preference
> >levels, which would tend to dampen out the strategy shifts like those
> >described below.  In other words, not all voters would be likely to
> >shift strategy at the same time.
> I might re-iterate the importance of how-to-vote cards in elections other
> than simple plurality (the parties instruct their voters how to vote).  The
> majority of voters follow the how to vote cards, so a shift need only be
> made by the party strategists.

I don't believe many U.S. voters follow how-to cards.  That this
practice is common in Australia may have to do with ranked ballots,
along with the requirement to rank every candidate on the ballot (does
this requirement apply to lower-house IRV elections as well as the

In fact the only such how-to guides I usually see are actually
shared-advertisement pieces, in which candidates or initiative-backers
pay to appear on the cards.  The cards use slippery wording to try to
masquerade as official recommendations of a political party or some
other advocacy group; as far as I can tell they are mainly compiled and
printed by for-profit vendors.  The parties themselves rarely put out
such pieces.

With U.S. plurality elections, there is really no need for how-to
cards.  Most voters can simply vote a straight party ticket.  This would
probably continue if approval voting were used, IMO.

Since corrective strategy is more complex in IRV, I could see how how-to
cards might be useful (and would generally improve the outcome).  With
FPTP, simply voting for the LO2E candidate is usually all that's

> >IRV has some bizarre strategies as well -- if there is any doubt about
> >Nader's ability to defeat Bush, then the Nader voters should
> >strategically rank Gore first.  Unless of course they think that Gore is
> >not much better than Bush, in which case they should threaten to bullet
> >vote (or even to rank Gore below Bush) in an attempt to coerce the Gore
> >voters into strategically ranking Nader first.
> >
> >Changing strategy in response to polling data is not unique to approval
> >voting.
> All true.  However, assuming that most voters follow their party's
> instructions, some problems in IRV are mitigated by preference swapping
> deals, which generally help to minimise monotonicity violations.

Apparently the same thing is possible with FPTP.  Were you aware of the
vote-swapping U.S. website that attempted to trade Gore votes in close
states for Nader votes in non-competitive states?  I'm not sure how they
intended to enforce the deals, but the site seemed to get a few
officials excited enough to try to ban it.  I didn't see any real
problem with the concept, but would rather not have to resort to that
kind of dealmaking.

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