[EM] CR style ballots for Ranked Preferences

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Mon Sep 24 12:53:55 PDT 2001

On Mon, 24 Sep 2001 06:14:41 Anthony Simmons wrote, in part:
> We have an interesting institution in the U.S., which
> illustrates the importance of arbitrary boundaries:  The
> electoral college.  California gets a certain number of
> electors in the presidential election.  If, as some people
> would like, California were to split into two states, the
> total number of electors for California would be increased by
> two.  Same people, same territory, two more electors.
> Likewise, small states get more electors than they would have
> if they were combined into a single state.  The effect is to
> make boundaries important not just because they determine
> which people will interact politically as groups.  They have
> political signicance in their own right.

Actually, the above assumes something that is not in the US
Constitution:  Presidential elections:
     Each state is authorized 2 electors for being a state, and 1 for
each Representative its population assigns it.  Very few restrictions
(e.g., Representatives cannot serve here).
     Each state has a Legislature (presumably elected by the people, but
no words here on this topic).
     The Legislature in each state decides how electors get picked for
that state.
     NOTHING in there about whether the people get involved in picking
electors, or how the legislature might decide they get involved.
     LOTS of room for any state to get into proportional representation
or other fancy election procedures.

In defense of what IS in the Constitution:  This clearly was agreed to
when the Constitution was written - presumably to give small states a
reasonable amount of muscle.  Splitting CA WOULD create a couple extra
electors AND a couple extra Senators - and would thus be permitted only
if it was worth this pain (if I remember right, Texas asked for and got
permission to split into as many as 5 states if Texas ever thought that
to be desirable).
> There are other similar effects.  Districts are designed in
> order to improve the prospects of the party that designs
> them.  Large minority concentrations have more political
> clout than the same members would have if spread out, because
> they have representation.
> It seems to be a fact that we live with, that how we divide
> up the populace determines group decisions when the election
> takes districting into account in some fashion.  In the case
> of elections that extend across boundaries, it would be nice
> to know that the choice of boundaries does not influence the
> outcome of the election.

Actually there are two classes of districting involved here:
     Whoever designs Congressional districts, and even town, city, and
ward boundaries, does their thing.
     Election districts (precincts) normally do not cross any of the
above lines and, where that rule would permit too large a precinct, may
divide up potential single precincts.
     Election methods had BETTER get the same results for electing a
mayor or governor as would be expected if all the voters managed to vote
in a single precinct in that election.

Actually, I see that as another black mark against IRV.  I expect a
dozen candidacies for NY governor in 2002 (we had 12 in 1998).  That
means a LOT of potential vote patterns, and patterns are significant in IRV.

BTW - candidacies is tricky.  In NY with plurality voting multiple
parties may nominate the same candidate.  The votes are kept separate to
decide if a party retains ballot status; summed (fusion) to decide which
candidate gets to be governor.
 davek at clarityconnect.com    http://www.clarityconnect.com/webpages3/davek
  Dave Ketchum    108 Halstead Ave, Owego, NY  13827-1708    607-687-5026
             Do to no one what you would not want done to you.
                   If you want peace, work for justice.

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