[Fwd: Re: [EM] Re: Use a "turkey" filter]

Chris Benham chrisbenham at bigpond.com
Thu Jul 3 10:08:03 PDT 2003

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [EM] Re: Use a "turkey" filter
Date: Thu, 03 Jul 2003 18:33:36 +0930
From: Chris Benham <chrisbenham at bigpond.com>
To: Anthony Duff <anthony_duff at yahoo.com.au>
References: <20030703021047.31920.qmail at web40708.mail.yahoo.com>

Anthony Duff wrote:

> --- Chris Benham <chrisbenham at bigpond.com> wrote: >
>In  Australia in Federal and most  State elections
>>there is a ridiculous 
>>and indefensible requirement for voters to  put a
>>number in every box. 
>>Most voters (certainly nearly all those with no
>>clear, sincere second 
>>and lower preferences) just fill out their ballots
>>as their favourite 
>>party advises them. 
>I don't know the reasoning for the ballot to be
>compulsory fully ranked.
   C.B:  IRV was first introduced in Australia to rescue a large number 
of conservative candidates from the threat of a Labor win. Presumably 
then, the original  "reasoning" was the hope that many votes for Labor 
could be declared invalid. Since then it has been maintained partly by 
demonising  FPP, and also because since the demise of the DLP  Labor has 
also benefited from preferences and so neither major party likes the 
idea of voters being able to abstain from a choice between them.

>For an optional ranked ballot, look at NSW. (or Queensland).
>>so you can be sure that if  the
>>method used was 
>>Condorcet (especially with truncation allowed)  they
>>would not be 
>>advising  voters to elect so-called  "turkeys"
>How can you be so sure?  Is the following hypothetical
>so unrealistic?:
>In a highly polarised campaign, a strong candidate
>emphasizes the negatives of the incumbent and repeats
>the catchy message "Put [the incumbent] last".  The
>incumbent replies with similar negativity, "[the
>challenger] is dangerous, put him last"  
>If two large minorities put each other's favourite
>last then it becomes very likely that a minor
>candidate will be a CW.  And seeing as the campaign
>was so polarised, that minor candidate may have been
>subjected to very little scrutiny.
>C.B:  Your hypothetical scenario is unlikely because the media, and both leading candidates would be well aware of the "danger". Presumably the media would inform the public that a centrist candidate could win with very few first preferences. It is even possible that there could be more than one would-be compromise candidate campaigning for second preferences.
>>I can see no reason in principle why a  CW with no
>>first preference 
>>votes  is necessarily  in any way illegitimate (or a
>Me neither.  But does it hurt to be a little
>pragmatic?  Apparently, IRVists can exploit the turkey
>issue to criticize condorcet/approval.  Substantial
>nomination requirements defeat the turkey argument.
C.B:  I  don't see how. Actually the the "Condorcet turkey problem" 
thread at E-M was started and largely maintained by an Approval supporter.

>Would substantial nomination requirements do actual
>electoral harm?
C.B:  Probably yes.

>>Maybe with 
>>Condorcet, candidates should have to achieve some
>>minimum  Borda score 
>>to get their cash deposit back.
>A financial barrier to running is inequitable as it is
>less of a burden on the rich.  To run for public
>office, shouldn't popular support be more important
>than money?
 C.B:   In principle, yes. I did say a  "deposit" (not necessarily 
large), and the minimum Borda score need not be very high. In practice 
any  "substantial" momination requirement would be to the advantage of 
the rich. I believe in places in the US where signatures are required it 
is easy for the rich to just buy them. But here is a more detailed 
proposal : to nominate candidates must put up a modest cash deposit  OR 
 a miminimum  of  x% of  the electors'  signatures. To get the cash 
deposit back  the candidate must achieve a modest  Borda score  OR  a 
 modest proportion of  first preferences. There need not be a sharp 
cutoff, but  there could be a sliding scale so that sometimes a 
candidate could get back some but not all of  his/her  deposit back.

Chris Benham    (Adelaide)

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