[EM] Re: preferential voting - rank-order voting?

Dr. Ernie Prabhakar drernie at radicalcentrism.org
Mon Aug 23 12:14:15 PDT 2004

Hi all,

In response to a California columnist's call for  
10386675p-11306421c.html>, I wanted to suggest an overhaul of electoral  
policies based on Condorcet-style voting.  However, this discussion  
seems to indicate that the term 'preferential voting' has way too many  
connotations, especially around IRV.

 From a users perspective, I think the most salient feature of these  
systems is that voters (on the front-end) can list multiple options in  
order of preference.  How those votes are counted is really a secondary  
(back-end) consideration -- what I'd consider an implementation detail,  
albeit a crucial one.

Therefore, for purposes of a high-level letter to a newspaper, I'd like  
to use the term "rank-order voting."  That's more of a front-end view  
than the terms 'ranked ballots', which is how the counting system views  
them.  I would probably still refer to Robert's Rules indirectly, as  

One way to improve participation in California's electoral process is  
the use of rank-order voting, also called "preferential voting" in  
Robert's Rules of Order. This allows voters to rank options in order of  
preference, rather than merely picking a single favorite; done  
properly, it makes it easier to vote sincerely rather than having to  
worry about strategic considerations such as vote-splitting.

That is, I want to present the concept in a way that avoids the IRV vs.  
Condorcet discussion for now, but highlights the overall benefits.  As  
such, is that a reasonably accurate (if incomplete) statement?   Any  
suggestions on better phrasing?

- Ernie P.

NORMAAL - the Network of Radical Middle Activists and Learners

On Aug 22, 2004, at 1:42 PM, Dave Ketchum wrote:

> On Sun, 22 Aug 2004 07:08:06 -0700 Steve Eppley wrote:
>> Hi,
>> Check out the definition of "preferential voting" in the Scott,  
>> Foresman book on Robert's Rules of Order.
>> I don't have a copy but my recollection is that it
>> defines preferential voting as any voting method in which the voters  
>> express their orders of preference--
>> my words, not theirs--and it offers IRV as one example.  Their use of  
>> IRV as an example could explain why some people now believe the term  
>> is a synonym for IRV.
> Robert's likes repeated balloting much better, but concedes that is  
> not always practical.
> They offer IRV (by description, not by name) as an example, and say  
> nothing against other preferential methods such as Condorcet.
On Aug 22, 2004, at 1:54 PM, Steve Eppley wrote:
>> Yes.  They do point out problems with IRV.
>> In particular, that it can easily defeat the
>> best compromise.  It would be nice if someday
>> they discuss a better preference order method.
>> --Steve

> Trivia:
>      1990 edition was Scott, Foresman.
>      2000 edition is Perseus Publishing and is current - words on  
> Preferential look identical to me.
>      www.robertsrules.com says there is now a CD-ROM with the rules.

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