[EM] IRV in action

Markus Schulze markus.schulze at alumni.tu-berlin.de
Mon Apr 7 13:04:02 PDT 2003

Dear James,

here are some quotations on bullet voting under PR-STV.

Harold F. Gosnell ("Motives for voting as shown by the
Cincinnati PR election of 1929," National Municipal Review,
pp. 471-476, 1930) writes:

> A. Lee Beaty, a prominent Negro in Cincinnati, requested a place
> on the organization Republican ticket, but this was refused. Beaty
> then joined forces with the two independent Negro candidates and
> became their campaign manager. He advised the Negroes to vote only
> for the two Negro candidates and to express no other choices. The
> purpose of this move was to deprive the organization Republican
> candidates of the transfers from the independent Republican Negro
> candidates.

Frederick Shaw ("The History of the New York City Legislature,"
Columbia University Press, New York, 1954) writes:

> No one seriously believed that 9% of the city's electorate were
> extreme radicals. But how did it happen that two Communists were
> elected in 1943 and again in 1945? Part of the answer lay in the
> technique they developed. Realizing they could scarcely seat more
> than one candidate in any borough, they instructed their adherents
> to cast a single vote, without secondary preferences. "Bullet"
> voting, as it was called, assured such candidates of a solid block
> of votes.

Warren Moscow ("What have you done for me lately?," Prentice-Hall,
Englewood Cliffs, 1967) writes:

> The Communists, with possibly 50000 dedicated supporters, were
> unimportant in a state or city-wide general election, but they
> were very important when consolidated behind candidates for the
> City Council under the system of proportional representation,
> which fostered bullet voting, that is, casting only one first
> choice vote for a single candidate and ignoring all others.

Basil Chubb ("The Government and Politics of Ireland," 1971) writes:

> When the Sinn Fein Party appealed to its supporters in 1957 not to
> give lower preferences to candidates of other parties, the number
> of votes that became nontransferable as Sinn Fein candidates were
> eliminated was very much higher than normal.

Mart Bax ("Harpstrings and Confessions," University of Amsterdam, 1973)

> At this point in my argumentation one may object that fellow party
> candidates must cooperate because under PR systems they need each
> other's second and lower preferences to be elected. Indeed, Boissevain
> observes that one of the main tactics of Maltese politicians is to
> exchange second preferences. To some extent this holds also for Ireland.
> However, a candidate is _never sure_ that his party colleague will keep
> his promise; he might promise his second preferences to more than one
> colleague. Indeed, he might even try to induce the electorate to give
> no more votes than just for him. (This happened on a large scale in one
> constituency during the 1969 Dail elections. The candidate in case won
> with a landslide, he headed the poll, but with the result that the
> second candidate of the party was eliminated. The successful candidate
> expected to obtain a post as a junior minister, and bought a new suit
> in anticipation. Unfortunately, however, the prime minister punished
> him by not giving him the "prize".)

Markus Schulze

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