[EM] UC davis STV election data - not very useful, actually

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Fri Nov 11 15:57:37 PST 2005

> Warren Smith Sent: Friday, November 11, 2005 9:09 PM
> I do not understand why these elections are of interest to 
> single-winner voting researchers.  Two reasons for my 
> non-interest:  1. they are multiwiner elections.  2. Assuming 
> one of these is an interesting election, we are unable to 
> apply other voting methods or to see if the election 
> exhibited non-monotonicity, etc, because UC Davis does NOT 
> post the actual votes, only a statistical summary of them.
> This is the usual policy in IRV/STV elections, and it is 
> apparently done intentionally to prevent anybody from ever 
> knowing that the election was non-monotonic.  I.e. secrecy 
> ==> nobody can prove there was a problem ==> everybody is "happy".

Your pejorative comments betray your prejudices.

The real reason why the overwhelming majority of ballots from public STV-PR elections around the world have not been
made available is because they have been recorded on paper and were sorted and counted manually.  Where full electronic
recording has been adopted, eg in three constituencies in the Republic of Ireland for the 2002 Dáil Éireann election,
the full preferences on every valid ballot have been published.  These are available as downloadable CSV files from the
websites of the respective Returning Officers:

It is standard practice to publish information about the numbers of invalid votes (spoilt papers) in STV-PR public
elections.  The analyses sometimes include classifications by reason for the invalidity.

The non-monotonicity of STV -PR is well known and does not merit further research.  It is an unfortunate feature of
STV-PR, but it is totally irrelevant for public elections because neither the voters nor the candidates can exploit it
in public elections.

You are, however, correct to assert that the analysis of multi-winner elections is of little help in devising the "best"
voting system for single-winner elections.

James Gilmour

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