[EM] Re: Issues about "personal data" in releasing results of ballots:

Donald Davison donald at mich.com
Sun Nov 23 02:21:01 PST 2003

Greetings List Members,

Hi Diana, you wrote: " Am I way off base here and if so in what form ought
I to be asking for the data such that no-one's privacy gets breached?  I'd
prefer the data in the form I requested, but as I'm particularly hoping to
compare Condorcet methods with IRV here a pairwise matrix would suffice --
but I don't think I could trust the central administration to draw such up!
Which is why I asked for what I thought the most foolproof way of
presenting the data.    C'est la vie" ...  Diana.

Donald here: If you are asking for the ballots of some voters by name, then
of course you are off base, but you do not say in this letter what form you
are asking for the data, so we are not in a position to say if you are off

I am one who believes that all the ballots (without names) should be
available so that interested members of the public can work the ballots and
confirm or protest the official results, but the Cambridge central
administration may be fearing people who will work the ballots under some
other method and then YELL OUT that the city has given the position to the
wrong candidate, that candidate `X' is the real winner of the election, and
of course candidate `X' will agree and proceed to sue the city for fraud.

Now the central administration could present to the public and candidate
`X' the argument that this Condorcet analysis is not valid because it is
not proper to use Irving data in a Condorcet trial election.  This is
because people will vote differently in a Condorcet election.

I for one will most certainly vote differently.  In a Irving election I
would freely rank as many preferences as I care to make, there would be no
danger to my first choice, but in a Condorcet election I would not do that.
Under Condorcet, if my first preference was one of the two front runners,
I would bullet vote that one candidate.  If my first preference was a third
candidate, I would make a second choice of one of the two front runners,
that's all, only two preferences in this case.

The administration could say that the Condorcet method is deceptive because
it is asking the voter to make lower preferences that will help elect some
lower candidate while their higher preferences are still contenders.

Yes, the administration could say these things, but lawsuits are expensive,
so, maybe, just maybe, the administration finds it best to merely stonewall

You wonder if you can trust the central administration.  Can the central
administration trust you??

Besides, your analysis is suspect, Condorcet advocates have already made
their minds up, any analysis of Condorcet vs Irving they make is merely a
ruse to badmouth Irving.

If you really need ballots, use the Real World Condorcet election ballots
that Alex Small was kind enough to post to this list on October 03, 2003.
Those voters knew that they were voting in a Condorcet election, so we can
assume that they voted accordingly.

But then, you still face the same problem, it would not be valid for you to
work the Condorcet ballots as a Irving election.

The best analysis of Condorcet vs Irving will only come from giving a group
of knowledgeable voters two ballots, one Condorcet and one Irving, and
asking them to vote each ballot so that their first preference wins in both


More information about the Election-Methods mailing list