# [EM] Irving and Robert's Rules of Order:

I like Irving donald at mich.com
Sun Mar 18 04:23:26 PST 2001

```- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 03/18/01
Greetings,

I was looking over these pages out of Robert's Rules of Order that
Steve Barney was so kind to send to us, when I seen something I didn't
like.
The point of this letter is to object to some tie solutions that are
presented in Robert's Rules and to offer a better solution for these ties
that can occur in Preferential Voting aka Instant Runoff Voting aka Irving.

One of Robert's tie solutions deals with the case in which two or more
candidates are tied at the bottom.  The second tie solution deals with the
case in which two or more candidates are tied in the winning position, that
is, when the field of candidates has been reduced down to only the tied
candidates.  Below is the text of those two tie solutions from Robert's
Rules of Order:

[First Tie Solution:]
"If at any point two or more candidates or propositions are tied for
the least popular position, the ballots in their piles are redistributed in
a single step, all of the tied names being treated as eliminated."

[Second Tie Solution:]
"In the event of a tie in the winning position--which would imply
that the elimination process is continued until the ballots are reduced to
two or more equal piles--the election should be resolved in favor of the
candidate or proposition that was strongest in terms of first choices (by
referring to the record of the first distribution)."

I claim that both of these tie solutions are unacceptable and that we
should not include them in any Irving proposals.  A better solution will be
offered lower in this letter, but first a few words about Robert's tie
solutions.
After reading the first tie solution, you should have realized that
the solution is to merely eliminate all candidates that are tied at the
lowest level.  This would be acceptable if the tied candidates have a vote
total between them less than the votes of the one candidate ahead of them,
if not then this solution is not acceptable.
If there were a one vote difference between two lowest candidates, we
would eliminate the lowest, transfer his votes and the other candidate
would go on to compete with the rest of the remaining candidates.  While
there is no one vote difference if the two lowest are tied, the solution
should still result in only one candidate being eliminated and the other
candidate going on to compete with the rest of the remaining candidates.
The solution should not be as drastic as eliminating all tied candidates.
Those people at Robert's Rules of Order are the type of people I meant
when I wrote: "It's a shame when peole, who have studied mathematics, have
no mathematical sense of right or wrong."  Of course, I am assuming that
they do have someone among them that has studied mathematics - not always
good to assume, maybe they should ask the sweeper to look over the text
before they publish their next Newly Revised Edition.
Suppose we had a tie between the two lowest candidates in a three
candidate race. And these two lowest candidates also had together a
majority of the votes. To declare the lead candidate the winner would be
the same as going by the rules of Plurality.  This is not a Plurality
election, it is a Irving election, we are trying to get away from
Plurality, we should not use Plurality to solve our ties in Irving
elections.
Tell me, who should win this election?   40 Ax,  30 Bx,  30 Cx
Plurality Rules will have candidate `A' being the winner.
Robert's Rules will also have candidate `A' being the winner.
There is a better solution, but first a word about Robert's second tie
solution.

The second Robert's tie solution also uses Plurality as a solution.
The words, "...strongest in term of first choices" is the same as saying
the leading candidate is to be elected, which is the Plurality Rule.
Who wins the following election?
First choices:  40 Ax,  30 Bx,  20 Cx,  10 Dx
After cycles of Irving:  49 Ax,  49 Bx
Plurality Rules will have `A' being the winner.
Robert's Rules will also have `A' being the winner, and for the same
reason as Plurality Rules, because `A' is the leading candidate of the
first choices.
Again, I say we should not use Plurality to solve ties in our Irving
elections.  Tossing a coin would be a better and a less evil solution than
using Robert's Rules.  We advocate the use of ranked choices, we should
also use these ranked choices to solve any ties.

The Better Solution - Next Lower Choices:
There is a solution that is better than Robert's Rules, better than
tossing a coin.  The tie solution that should be used involves using the
Next Lower Choices.
We do this by conducting a special tally of the next choices of the
current votes of only the two or more tied candidates.  We run this special
tally on the side because we are only trying to determine which candidate
to drop.  We deal only with the current votes of only the tied candidates.
Whichever of the tied candidates has the lowest number of next choices is
the candidate that is dropped.
What we are doing when we go to the next choices is that we are
examining two possible cases at once.  Case one: What would be the next
vote tally for these tied candidates if one of them is dropped?  Case two:
What would be the vote tally if instead the other candidate is dropped?
Whichever one of the tied candidates ends up with the lowest vote tally,
that is the candidate that is dropped.
If they are still tied we must go to the second next choice on the
ballots of these tied candidates and seek a difference.  If they are still
tied after we exhaust all levels of choices then we go back to the next
choices of all the candidates and use those choices.
I prefer to have the tie solved in the choices of the votes of only
the candidates that are tied but if that does not break the tie then the
next step is to use the next choices of all the candidates. It is still a
level playing field for the tied candidates because each has the same
mathematical chance of getting the same number of choices in the next
stage.
I am trying to drop only one of these tied candidates at this place in
the tallying of the ballots. We have a number of stages in which we can
break a tie - the tie most likely will be broken. Ties must be covered
because if there is a tie it will be important that it be handled
correctly.

There is a criticism of using the next lower choices to solve a tie.
It is possible for your next choice to help defeat your current top choice.
You can consider this to be a slight possibility, because in order for
this to happen to you, four conditions must occur at the same time:

One: There must be a tie, which is a rarity and the rarity
increases as the elections become larger.
Two: Your current top choice must be one of the tied candidates.
Three: Your next choice must be the other tied candidate.
Four: Your top choice must lose the tie contest.

It will be rare for all of these conditions to happen to you at one
time, but they will happen to someone in the event of a tie.
If these conditions do pile up on you and you become one of these
someones, your next choice will go on to compete with the rest of the
candidates, but compare this to what happens when we use Robert's Rules,
both your current top choice and your next choice will be eliminated,
neither will go on to compete with anyone.
This Next Lower Choices solution has this slight downside of your next
lower choice helping to defeat your current top choice.  I accept this
downside because it will be a very small downside compared to having both
of my choices eliminated.  After all, which is worst, having one choice
causing another choice to be elimiated or having both choices being
eliminated?
Having your candidate involved in a tie will be rare. Add to that the
odds against your next choice being the other candidate in the tie, it
becomes something that may never happen to you, and if it does happen to
you, it'll be best to keep one of your top two choices still in the game.

This solution can also be used if the tied candidates are in the
winning position, which will be a more democratic solution than the
Plurality solution of Robert's Rules or the random selection of tossing a
coin.
Next Lower Choices solution is the best solution to use. 03/18/01

Donald Davison

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Note: In the following pages of Robert's Rules of Order, the term `repeated
balloting' refers to the election method of merely repeating the balloting
over and over in the hopes that enough votes will be changed on some ballot
to result in a majority.  No candidates are eliminated in the balloting.
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Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised,  10th edition, 2000,  pp. 411-414

§45                          VOTING PROCEDURE

Preferential Voting [aka Inving]:  The term preferential voting
refers to any of a number of voting methods by which, on a single ballot
when there are more than two possible choices, the second or less-preferred
choices of voters can be taken into account if no candidate or proposition
attains a majority. While it is more complicated than other methods of
voting in common use and is not a substitute for the normal procedure of
repeated balloting until a majority is obtained, preferential voting is
especially useful and fair in an election by mail if it is impractical to
take more than one ballot. In such cases it makes possible a more
representative result than under a rule that a plurality shall elect. It
can be used only if expressly authorized in the bylaws.
Preferential voting has many variations. One method is described
here by way of illustration. On the preferential ballot--for each office to
be filled or multiple-choice question to be decided--the voter is asked to
indicate the order in which he prefers all the candidates or propositions,
placing the numeral [1] beside his first preference, the numeral 2
Page 411
beside his second preference, and so on for every possible choice.  In
counting the votes for a given office or question, the ballots are arranged
in piles according to the indicated first preferences--one pile for each
candidate or proposition.  The number of ballots in each pile is then
recorded for the tellers' report.  These piles remain identified with the
names of the same candidates or propositions throughout the counting
procedure until all but one are eliminated as described below.  If more
than half of the ballots show one candidate or proposition indicated as
first choice, that choice has a majority in the ordinary sense and the
candidate is elected or the proposition is decided upon.  But if there is
no such majority, candidates or propositions are eliminated one by one,
beginning with the least popular, until one prevails, as follows: The
ballots in the thinnest pile--that is, those containing the name designated
as first choice by the fewest number of voters--are redistributed into the
other piles according to the names marked as second choice on these
ballots.  The number of ballots in each remaining pile after this
distribution is again recorded.  If more than half of the ballots are now
in one pile, that
candidate or proposition is elected or decided upon.  If not, the next
least popular candidate or proposition is similarly eliminated, by taking
the thinnest remaining pile and redistributing its ballots according to
their second choices into the other piles, except that, if the name
eliminated in the last distribution is indicated as second choice on a
ballot, that ballot is placed according to its third choice.  Again the
number of ballots in each existing pile is recorded, and, if necessary, the
process is repeated--by redistributing each time the ballots in the
thinnest remaining pile, according to the marked second choice or
most-preferred choice among those not yet eliminated--until one pile
contains more than half of the ballots, the result being thereby
determined.  The tellers' report consists of a table listing all candidates
or
Page 412
propositions, with the number of ballots that were in each pile after each
successive distribution.
If a ballot having one or more names not marked with any numeral
comes up for placement at any stage of the counting and all of its marked
names have been eliminated, it should not be placed in any pile, but should
be set aside.  If at any point two or more candidates or propositions are
tied for the least popular position, the ballots in their piles are
redistributed in a single step, all of the tied names being treated as
eliminated. In the event of a tie in the winning position--which would
imply that the elimination process is continued until the ballots are
reduced to two or more equal piles--the election should be resolved in
favor of the candidate or proposition that was strongest in terms of first
choices
(by referring to the record of the first distribution).
If more than one person is to be elected to the same type of
office--for example, if three members of a board are to be chosen--the
voters can indicate their order of preference among the names in a single
fist of candidates, just as if only one was to be elected. The counting
procedure is the same as described above, except that it is continued until
all but the necessary number of candidates have been eliminated (that is,
in the example, all but three).   [aka Bottoms Up]
When this or any other system of preferential voting is to be used,
the voting and counting procedure must be precisely established in advance
and should be prescribed in detail in the bylaws of the organization. The
members must be thoroughly instructed as to how to mark the ballot, and
should have sufficient understanding of the counting process to enable them
to have confidence in the method. Sometimes, for instance, voters decline
to indicate a second or other choice, mistakenly believing that such a
course increases the chances of their first choice. In fact, it may prevent
any candidate from receiving a majority and require
Page 413
the voting to be repeated.  The persons selected as tellers must perform
their work with particular care.
The system of preferential voting just described should not be used
in cases where it is possible to follow the normal procedure of repeated
balloting until one candidate or proposition attains a majority.  Although
this type of preferential ballot is preferable to an election by plurality,
it affords less freedom of choice than repeated balloting, because it
denies voters the opportunity of basing their second or lesser choices on
the
results of earlier ballots, and because the candidate or proposition in
last place is automatically eliminated and may thus be prevented from
becoming a compromise choice.
Page 414
--end

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