[EM] Dave: Primaries, runoffs

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Sun Jan 5 12:35:31 PST 2003

On Sun, 05 Jan 2003 07:33:44 +0000 MIKE OSSIPOFF wrote:

> Dave said:
>>> The above considerations suggest that if we propose Approval for
>>> municipal elections now done by Runoff, then the Approval balloting
>>> should be followed by a top-2 runoff. It's a matter of suggesting
>>> merely
>>> that people be allowed to vote for as many as they want to in
>>> the 1st balloting instead of only for 1.
> Sounds like regression. Separate elections as runoffs are an UGLY attempt
> to make a weak method acceptable. Looking for a strong method to offer as
> a replacement, minimizing the number of physical elections should be a goal.
> But I said that I prefer ordinary Approval, with just one balloting.
> Even if it isn't as good to have a runoff, and I agree that it isn't,
> I merely meant that it makes for a more minimal proposal, for municipal
> elections. If you ask people to get rid of the runoff, then you're
> asking them for one more thing, and it's something that past experience
> shows that they're reluctant to accept. For instance one objection to
> IRV when it's been proposed is that people want to keep the runoff.

Seems like, if eliminating runoffs has not been salable, the proposed 
election method must not have been proposed as being strong enough to 
provide acceptable results without a runoff.  Runoffs are expensive, have 
low voter turnout, and can have unacceptable results such as the French 
managed last year.

> 1 balloting with Approval or Condorcet would be better, but when
> proposing Approval, we'd be asking the voters for less if we didn't
> ask them to get rid of the runoff. That's all I meant.
> Alex pointed out an offensive order-reversal strategy that's possible
> when Approval is used with a top-2 runoff, but the victims of that
> offensive strategy will notice it, and will have ample opportunity
> to retaliate against it in the runoff. If, for instance, the Republicans
> got a runoff consisting of Bush & Nader, then the Democrats could
> retaiate by voting for Nader in the runoff. That possibility would
> probably deter the offensive order-reversal by the Republicans.
> I don't think that offensive order-reversal will be a problem in
> Approval with runoff. A similar offensive order-reversal strategy is
> possible in Sequential Pairwise (SP) a method that's standard in
> meetings & legislatures. Voters vote between some pair. The winner
> of that vote goes against the next candidate in the list, in another
> vote. And so on till there's only one unbeaten candidate.
> IN SP, as in Approval with top-2 runoff, offensive order-reversal
> strategy is possible, but can be retaliated against. In SP, as in
> Approval with top-2 runoff, if you notice that people have used
> offensive order-reversal against your favorite, then you should vote
> against their favorite when it comes up for a vote. I've never heard
> of offensive order-reversal  being a serious problem in SP.
> I'd said:
>>> I don't care if they keep the party primaries. No
>>> doubt people would insist on it, though I agree with the Libertarians
>>> that parties have no right to expect the public to pay for parties'
>>> voting to decide whom they'll run.

It is the public in NY that want to restrict each party (we had 8 last 
year) to having a single candidate for each office for the general 
election (note that primaries are offered to EVERY party):
      Should each party be allowed to nominate a dozen - (our theoretical 
limit is 20, practical limit probably less than 12).
      If not primaries, what might be workable and affordable?

> Dave, if the people insist on it then the primaries will be kept. I
> didn't mean to make you think that I meant that the primaries should
> be taken away even though people insist on keeping them :-)
> What I meant was that, though people will insist on keeping the 
> primaries, and they'll be kept, it still makes no sense for
> the parties' internal voting on whom to run to be paid for by the
> public. Or maybe people will agree that they'd like to save lots of
> money by dropping the primaries. So maybe I was wrong, and maybe
> people won't insist on keeping the expensive & unnecessary primaries.
> Here, Dave speaks for the people:
> Libertarians might be more popular if they could recognize that government
> should properly do whatever the people wish government to do.
> I reply:
> Now there's a radically new suggestion. Have you invented democracy?

Just expressing annoyance at Libertarians sometimes being their own enemies.

> Ok, so then you, Dave, are the people's spokesman?
> Is it that whatever is the status quo is also what the people most
> want?

ABSOLUTELY NOT - among other things, I would not be here if I did not 
desire improvements in election methods.  There are MANY other problems, 
some of which the Libertarians attempt to address.

Also, sometimes the people need educating as to what they should want.

> If you'll forgive us, Dave, some of us have temerity to suggest that
> it might make more sense to do some things differently from the way
> in which they're now done.
> Alex had said:
>> I see it this way: Parties should have the right to nominate their
>> candidates at private conventions open only to registered members.
>> However, if they avail themselves of the public primaries then ANY voter
>> should be allowed to participate, not just registered members. I
>> suspect that the candidates nominated in open elections will fare better
>> than those nominated in smoke-filled rooms.
> Dave replied:
> How does a party get its millions of members together for such a
> convention to nominate a candidate for governor in NY or CA? Once
> together, how do the members manage to accomplish anything useful?
> I reply:
> You're missing the point, Dave: How they get their people together,
> and how they accomplish anything useful when they're together--those
> are their problems, not the problem of government, not a problem that
> the public should spend its much money on.

You missed my point.  Proposals should be restricted to activities that 
are possible (really should be restricted to what might be practical).  A 
party with millions of members, with members living as much as 400 miles 
from any central meeting location, can hardly get that many participants 
together in a meeting place, nor can they likely conduct a meaningful 
meeting if they ever get together.

In my post last time I made the point that, while some nominating gets 
done in smoke-filled rooms in NY, they do not have a monopoly, and not 
even participation in most elections in NY.

> Mike Ossipoff

  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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