[EM] IRV unconstitutional?

Anthony Simmons bbadonov at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 9 16:43:37 PST 2002

>> From: "MIKE OSSIPOFF" <nkklrp at hotmail.com>
>> Subject: [EM] IRV unconstitutional?

One might propose along the same lines that if we both vote,
and your favorite wins but my favorite loses, then I have not
been afforded equal protection under the law, suggesting that
the constitution requires that everyone's favorite candidate
has to win.

Reminds me of something I heard years ago, about a man who
was ticketed for speeding, and argued in court that the
police only accused him of speeding because they had chosen
to measure his speed from a totally arbitrary frame of
reference (the earth) -- one not specified in the law.

>> A voting rights amendment has just been passed, which requires that
>> everyone's vote be counted.

>> If a vote is a voted preference, then IRV ignores many votes.

>> If your vote in IRV is your traveling IRV vote, then it seems
>> meaningless to only require counting your vote, because a count rule
>> could put your vote wherever it wants to, and count it there :-)

>> Maybe your vote in IRV means your entire ballot, which must be
>> counted by the same rules as any other ballot. In that case, the
>> amendment says nothing about any count rule. But can't there be
>> count rules that unfairly don't count votes in some way? If so,
>> those count rules make nonsense of the amendment's protection
>> purpose.

>> Since the balloting is one that expresses many pairwise preferences,
>> it seems reasonable to argue that a pairwise preference is the
>> vote that the voting rights initiative should protect.

>> There's also the federal Constitution provision requiring equal
>> protection under the law, and it could be argued that uncounted
>> pairwise preference votes on a pairwise ballot amount to unequal
>> protection in that election.

>> Maybe SF's opposition groups could get an attorney to pursue these
>> questions. Maybe IRV opposition groups in Vermont could hire attorneys
>> to pursue the "equal protection" approach.

>> I believe that uncounted preferences genuinely violate at least the spirit
>> of those provisions.

>> Mike Ossipoff

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