[Election-Methods] Borda-elimination, a Condorcet method for public elections?

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Sat Dec 22 06:45:18 PST 2007

Dave Ketchum > Sent: 22 December 2007 01:35
> The standard method of describing IRV skips its problem of failures due to 
> not looking at all that the ballot says - so implied understanding aids 
> its acceptance without bothering with true understanding.

To say that the standard method describing IRV skips its problem of failures  _"due to not looking at all that the ballot says"_  is
a statement based on a social choice interpretation of the ballot information, whereas the preferential information on an IRV ballot
had a very different origin.  On an IRV ballot, the successive preferences are contingency choices, i.e. the second preference is to
be brought into play ONLY if the first choice is no longer relevant, and so on.  An IRV ballot should be viewed as nothing more than
recording on one occasion the choices that would be made in a fully exhaustive ballot, i.e. in an election with successive rounds
which eliminate only one candidate at a time until there is a majority winner.  The only difference between IRV and the exhaustive
ballot is that when you mark your successive preferences on an IRV ballot you do not know what the outcome of the preceding round
would be.  (Some see that as an advantage, others see it as a disadvantage.)

If you wish to utilise in some way all the information that could be recorded on a preferential ballot, that is a completely
different voting system from IRV, with different objectives.  The preferences are no longer 'contingency choices', but take on a new
function depending on the detail of the voting system.  It is almost certain that the voters would mark their ballots in a different
way in an election by such a voting system from how they would mark their contingency choices in an election by IRV.

So the "failure" of IRV is not that it does look at all that the ballot says, but rather that it has objectives different from the
objectives of some other voting systems that some find more desirable.

James Gilmour

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