[EM] On Naming and Advocacy

Simmons, Forest simmonfo at up.edu
Mon Jun 19 11:50:53 PDT 2006

I agree with Brian Olson and RL Suter in the main point below that from the voter point of view, for methods that rely on ranked ballots this common feature looms larger than the difference in how the winner is determined once those ranked ballots have been submitted by the voters.
As Steve Eppley recently pointed out there are two additional valuable features that can be used with any method that makes use of voter rankings of the candidates:  (1) the candidate withdrawal option, and (2) the selection from published rankings option.
The second option is just that: it doesn't preclude voters from supplying their own original rankings.  It just facilitates the process for voters that happen to agree with one of the published rankings.
Option (1) tends to increase the Condorcet efficiency of non-Condorcet methods like IRV, and option (2) ensures that voting is as easy or easier than in a Plurality election.  [easier because there is no need to agonize over lesser evil considerations]
I believe that (on the political front) we should temporarily not worry about which ranked ballot method we are pushing for, and focus on promoting (as an election method framework) the ranked ballot with the candidate withdrawal and selection from published rankings options. 
Once this framework is in place, we can worry about selling our favorite ranked ballot "back end."  In fact, different back ends can be tried within the same framework.  If IRV gets adopted within this framework, it won't be the end of the world, because its worst features will be ameliorated, and because it can be replaced with another method as a relatively minor adjustment, without bringing down the whole framework.

Brian Olson wrote:

>Outside this list, I've been plugging "rankings and
>ratings ballots" as the generic label for the issue.
>I deliberately want to leave the back-end counting method
>vague due to the IRV - the world feud.

RL Suter responded ...

That's an important point. As voting methods as opposed
to counting methods, IRV and Condorcet are identical or
nearly so and will be seen that way by voters. They will
differ only if there are different ranking instructions,
such as "you must rank all candidates" or "you may rank
any two or more candidates equally." But assuming ranking
instructions are identical, the only differences in the
two are in how they interpret ballots after an election
to determine winners. Both take information from ranked
ballots and use it to simulate the results of voting
methods that are too complicated and time consuming
to be used in public elections. IRV simulates a series
of elections in which one candidate is eliminated after
each election, while Condorcet simulates an election
in which voters are presented with all possible pairs
of candidates and asked to choose the one in each pair
they prefer more.

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